Wisdom of the Duke, April 13th

Welcome to the Friday the 13th edition of Wisdom of the Duke. Next week I’m going to do a companion piece to What I Learned from my Dad entitled “What I Learned from my Mom”; wouldn’t want those mothers to feel left out.

Anyway, on to this weeks edition.

A man’s got to have a code, a creed to live by, no matter his job.

I’m not precisely certain when exactly John Wayne said this; but it does line up squarely with how I feel about a lot of things. When you look at people, you’ll see an almost insatiable need to define ourselves with something. You see this trend very commonly with religious folk, who will tend to self-identify as Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, etc. Even under those broad categories, people will further identify with specific sects of their faith, Catholic, Baptist, et al.

The trend is not confined to religions, as people will choose all manner of things with which to identify, such as race, ethnicity, sports teams, hobbies, the list goes on and on. People are very social monkeys as a general rule; it creates an incredible desire to belong to something that is larger than that person.

For example, I have a friend who is an atheist. He would scoff at the concept of needing to “belong” to something larger than himself, and yet in his opposition to religions, he willing chooses to self-identify as an atheist – as part of a group, something bigger than his individuality.

A lot of people derive a huge chunk of their personal philosophy from their sense of belonging. There are times that because I identify myself as a veteran I do (or don’t do) certain actions because of how they would reflect on that reputation.

Everyone believes in something. Whether it’s science, Jesus, the flag, money, or the Red Sox; everyone believes in something. The Duke was quite right in his statement, he might have not known how right he was.