Monday, July 18, 2005

Musings: People want what they want

The reasons people give for their intentions and decisions are often misleading, because they carry only a casual connection in logic or common sense. All things being equal (or, at worst, completely stripped down), the best explanation for a person's choices and actions is usually naked inclination. We can make water run upstream with dams, locks and dredged channels (all good things); but when these fail, or are absent, water will always run downhill (a good thing to keep in mind at all times).

With more time I could give more examples, but the closest one in mind is when a couple discussing their division of labor agrees that the man will do certain "manly" tasks (such as mow the lawn). They may believe in traditional gender-based roles or simple practicality; the woman may even be better than the man at a given task. (Perhaps, like BC, she grew up on a farm where her father taught her to fix anything mechanical, and enjoys it.) No matter what the rationale, however, if the man wants to perform a certain task and the woman prefers to avoid it, the argument "Well, I'm the man of the house" works immediately; no contest.


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