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…