The Duality of Man

Moments after announcing the addition of my latest goal, Goal #160) Throw a hand grenade, a reader pointed out that such a goal seemed at odds with my ambition of joining the Peace Corps, saying:

“Hmmmm.  I thought you wanted in the PEACE Corps.  I sense some irony here…”

And (undoubtedly) what they meant by “irony,” was actually “hypocrisy.” By definition, hypocrisy is claiming to have certain moral standards or beliefs to which our behavior does not conform. But does the appearance of being at odds make them so? Would throwing a hand grenade make me a hypocrite? What about the intent behind those actions? Is it possible to throw a hand grenade and promote world peace and friendship?

When I first read the comment, I was reminded of the scene in Full Metal Jacket when Private Joker is asked why he’s wearing a peace button on his jacket, and has “Born to Kill” written across his helmet. “I think I was trying to suggest something about the duality of man, sir.” The duality of man. The internal struggle between good and evil. Is my desire to throw a hand grenade some sort of manifestation of my “evil” side? I doubt it. Isn’t it just possible that I want to throw a hand grenade because I think it’d be fun?

“It is neither good nor bad, but thinking makes it so.” ~ William Shakespeare

There are those who claim money is, or that guns are, evil. I don’t believe either is true. Guns and money have no capacity in and of themselves for good or ill. They’re inanimate objects. In the wrong hands, both can be used to cause harm. The capacity for humans to do evil things doesn’t make the objects with which they carry out those actions evil.

And a hand grenade is no different…

6 thoughts on “The Duality of Man

  1. As you end your post with a ‘…’ I couldn’t help but laugh a little. That’s an interesting goal, i don’t think it matters where you’re headed in life, you’re allowed to want to do little (or big) things, even some like this! It’s not like you said you wanted to throw a hand grenade into an unsuspecting village or something. I’m sure it’ll be a neat experience to look back on whenever you complete it!

  2. I fight a desire to throw plates at our rock fireplace sometimes – not because I’m angry but because I think it would be fun.

    Then I think of the mess I’d have to clean up and all the plates I’d have to buy and decide to think of other things.

    I’m just saying – I get it when you’d think it would be fun to toss a grenade.

    Where would you like to throw one?

  3. It actually seems to be a fairly popular “underground” tourist activity in Cambodia. Just ask the Tuk Tuk driver to take you to where you need to go…

  4. Wow. I had never even thought of this one. I’ve shot tracers at night and that was a lot of fun. I think I’d also like to try out some night vision goggles too!

  5. you could donate the resources required to achieve that “fun” goal into something more beneficial to ones less fortunate like charity hmmm then again i spend money on crap that people usually get for free like bottled water hmmm i think i just found my own dilemma or shall i say “duality of man”

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