161. I am myself and my circumstances

The quote that titles this entry is one of many acute thoughts by JL Ortega y Gasset, the great XX century Spanish philosopher. I was reminded of it by an interview I just read with Michael J Sandel, the Harvard sociology professor, a current great thinker. Sandel discusses the success culture which pervades modern society. The successful forget that their circumstances have played a great role in that success, they apportion causality disproportionately to own merit. Luck and environment are removed from this revisionist view of biography. Conversely, if success is fruit only of dedication, effort and talent, so must failure be the just harvest of their antagonists. With this simple, reductionist logic, society blames the unsuccessful for their hardship and, in a fell swoop, removes the need for solidarity. This is unjust and dishonest and, if nothing else, the current appeal of populism tells us it is high time for fairness and honesty from the fortunate (I choose the word pointedly) 

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