Nor the Zebra Change Its Spots…

February 11, 2011 § Leave a comment

We’ve come across animal print before and today when I looked at another unmentionable that I’m jettisoning, I couldn’t get this proverbial question out of my mind, “Can a leopard change its spots? Can a zebra change its stripes?”

It comes from the Bible, Jeremiah 13:23: “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? Then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.”

Curious. Clearly when we say it we are querying the ability of any person or creature to change its innate being. But this Greek proverb assumes that humans can change their ways, leaving absolutely no room for predestination or determinism. What if our actions are out of our hands? I don’t know what I believe but I certainly don’t believe in determinism enough as to not take responsibility for my actions and decisions (whether or not they are actually mine). If we do believe in free will, then we have to consider the impact every decision has on everyone around us present and future.

I recently read somewhere that some crazy scientists believed that the actions of our great grandparents are still affecting the current generation in a large way (if I ever find the article I will update this post!). I understand and agree with that to a certain extent but you have to consider, I guess, but what that means besides their choice of a life mate, or their decision on whether to take that job or refinance their mortgage. What if it’s the little things too?

I don’t know if the decisions I’m making on a daily basis are what I would want to build the next three generations after me on. Perhaps if we all made decisions based on far away goals and not tomorrow, the world would be look a lot different.


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