Thursday, October 18, 2007

Luck, life, assumptions ~ OSB

11. The scene where Ian helped his father work on the cut and profusely-bleeding logger was very powerful. Ian himself was shocked that the man died under his hands between one breath and the next, and his meditations took him here:
Good luck. Maybe that's all it was. Maybe the whole of life depended not on how hard you tried, how determined you were, how sensible, how smart: maybe the whole shooting match depended on luck. (p. 126)
Is luck that important? Does determinations and hard work matter? Is the author saying being sensible or smart doesn't make much difference if your luck runs out?

I used to believe that one's success in life depended on how hard one worked, determination, etc. I was a good Republican! LOL However, the older I get the more I realize that although what one does has an impact on one's successes, luck also plays a major role. A former boss once explained that he found that the harder he tried, the luckier he got. I agree with that, but still realize the role that random luck has in outcomes. Another coworker once told about a quote from a wealthy soul (I think Malcolm Forbes) who responded when asked his advice on becoming financially successful, "Choose your womb very carefully." It is interesting how much of anyone's life is predetermined by this "choice". I remember how hard my daughter worked in her following the dream of becoming a basketball player and how in spite of her talent, hard work, and determination, lady luck (also known as the luck of the coaches one gets stuck with) wound up being primarily a bench warmer.

12. And yet, in the same chapter, Ian knows there may be angry people on the reserve, but is enraged with Pete's tone after almost missing the final exam ... thus ruining his chance of getting a passport out of Struan:
"You have a choice, whether or not you let yourself get drawn into all that crap! It's history! Some people are stuck in it, but you have a choice!"Pete, his eyes still closed, his face still turned to the sun, said, "You know what I like about you, man? You have such a simple view of life." (p. 130)
The oppressed usually understand the situation quite differently from the oppressors, so Pete probably feels the tensions between his and Ian's communities more deeply. What do you think, does Pete have a choice? Does Ian just not get it? Is it luck to be born into one family or another? And how does that impact your life?

Pete's quote above was one of my favorites that I have noted in the book. I remember in my own life how much easier things were when I had the simpler black and white philosophy of things, believing that things were either right or wrong and that there were fewer complexities in making choices. Although I believe that Pete (or anyone) has choices, these choices are not as easy as they may appear on the surface. I think that Ian doesn't get it at this point in his life, but have faith that he may later. He does seem like a very thoughtful person, but hasn't gotten beyond the fairy tale way of thinking. If one's ancestry isn't luck, what is it? The family one is born to has a wide range of heredity (physical and financial implications) as well as the environment that this family provides. I think that this early "luck" (or lack thereof) plays a major role in the chances one has in life and how one responds to things throughout life. Although it is true that how one responds to life's challenges and opportunities (with luck being a major factor in what those are) does determine how one's life turns out, even the responses are rooted in one's "luck" at birth.

13. What happens when we assume everyone thinks the way we do? Can you think of an example?

It would be boring if everyone thought the same way and there would be no point of asking for the opinions of others or even talking to one another since we would all be the same. However, I often find myself guilty of this assumption. One example from many years ago was when I noticed that my then preschool age son was wearing his underwear backwards. I gently commented about this to him and he looked at me as if I was crazy and replied, "I am a tiger and I have the hole there for my tail." This amused me considerably and helped me realize that each of us approaches life from different perspectives and all of our lives are so much richer because of our differences.


caboose said...

Limp: I have had a limp all my life. I was born clubfoot, my left leg below the knee was twisted in (inverted) and down. I had surgery when I was one year old and wore a cast on my leg for a few years. When I was older I remember my mother, God rest her soul saying to me Carolyn, there was a man who complained because he had no shoes until he met a man who had no feet. WOW! Somehow did my mother see into the future? In 1988 they took both my feet below the knees, fallowing a massive heart attack. I grew up with the thought in mind that I could run and play with all the kids, and I have a limp today and wore a build on my shoe until I was a teenager. I have never felt sorry for me because I knew, as a child who I am. Some of my makeup is good, some could be improved, but that is what makes me Carole. One thing I do have is courage, it took me four years after my oldest son was killed in a car accident to remember who I am, Carole a strong woman who loves life, no one can keep me down is my attitude then and now. I want people to not look at what I do not have but look at me for who I am. Have I made mistakes you bet, can I be a better person, yes. I will always walk with a limp, and thank God every night I have two feet to walk on.

justmejo said...

Way to go girl. The best we all can do is accept who we are, improve when we can and be grateful for what we DO have, instead of crying for what we don't have. I didn't know you lost a child. When was that? I lost my youngest daughter to cancer in '91.

caboose said...


Miguel was killed in a car accident in Jan of 84. I did not know you lost your daughter to cancer. I sure am grateful for what I do have. I like your name justmejo, I see the connection.