Life Chances

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Tarieles, Jan 10, 2017.

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  1. So, college has started up for me, that means soon I will be full of sociological quandaries and questions to pose. In fact, I already have one that I received.

    According to Max Weber, we have life chances that can be broken down into a simple equation.
    C+C+C+C= Life Chances
    When broken down further, this equation is this:
    Chromosomes (genes) + Culture (circumstances) + Choices (individual actions) + Chance (sheer luck) = Life Chances

    This means that according to Weber, this formula indicates that our life chances (whether or not we find a significant other, have children, get an awful disease, etc) hinge on all four of these.

    So my questions are simply,
    Do you agree with Weber's equation? Why or why not? What would you change, and what would you keep? Do any parts of the equation hold more weight than other parts, or do they all have the same weight in determining life chances?
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  2. Yeah, seems right to me. I mean, what else would need to be added?

    As for division of weight, it depends on the chance. Some are more relying on genes and culture, while some are mostly luck.
  3. "Life chances" by itself is such a vague term that, yeah, it's easy to attribute it to any one of those four things. As for which factor(s) carry the most weight? That depends on what specific thing we're talking about.
  4. Not necessarily all four.

    To use one of your examples, take inheriting disease. That has happened before the individual having said disease has the attained capability of deciding for their selves.

    Chance... There's simply factors too numerous, small or invisible to measure and predict by. So to be a huge fucking nerd about it, I am going to call this processes and patterns you cannot possibly predict or influence. There is no true RNG.

    Culture feels very broad. I mean do circumstances include technology and wealth and accessibility? I mean I should probably Google this but I'm a lazy fuck.

    I mean overall I feel this is pretty spot on at the surface, but to answer something like weight that feels very interdependent. Like if you are born a woman in India, your chromosomes are suddenly a lot heavier because of your culture if you want to pursue becoming a cab driver than they would be if you were born in America.

    I would give a less shitty answer if I wasn't writing this while waiting for the office to close and could be bothered to do my research.
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  5. I'm not sure about genes, since I don't know anything about them. I don't believe, however, that chance equates to life chances. I think it depends mainly on choices, and to an extent, culture. I came to this conclusion after reading "The Other Wes Moore", a book I found rather fascinating and one I would highly recommend. The book is about two males, same exact name, with very similar life situations. Both Wes Moores grew up in a world of gang violence, drugs, and absent fathers. They both struggled with academics and discipline. However, despite their strangely similar upbringings (in the same area), they both had a completely different fate.

    The author Wes Moore successfully graduated from high school and became a Rhodes Scholar, while the other Wes Moore got life sentence in jail for a felony murder. Similar cultures, similar backgrounds, same name, but completely different fates? I wondered to myself how that was even possible, and in my opinion, it all came down (mainly) to the individual's choices. What did each Wes Moore do to get to where they are today? One may have struggled greatly with an absent father and a negative atmosphere, but that didn't stop him from becoming a veteran, a business leader, and a man who served in the White House. The other went down a completely different road though and ended up staying in jail the rest of his life.

    More information can be found in the book itself, as well as this educational website.

    All in all, I think this brings us to the question: How do our actions, fundamentally speaking, shape our choices? How does this contribute to our chances at life?

    In conclusion, I agree, but would remove the chances and quite possibly the genes.
  6. Eh. I don't think it's fair to say that chances and genes don't affect anything. While we have some control over our own destinies, the things that are beyond our control still affect us quite a bit.

    For example, my ADHD most likely comes from my genes. And it's had such a big impact on my life that I feel like I'd be a very different person without it.

    Being born white and female has probably also affected my life in subtle but important ways. Hell, maybe just being short has led me to lead a slightly different life than I would have if I was taller. And there's also the fact that, with my eating and exercise habits, I'd probably be overweight if I didn't naturally have a fast metabolism that kept me skinny while I was growing up. And, fuck, I could go on for days about all the ways in which the curliness of my hair has affected my life.

    And then there's the family that I was born into -- which I guess would fall under "chances". I'm more privileged than someone who was born into poverty, for sure, but, I also felt significantly less privileged than many of my peers growing up. While all my friends were confident that they would get that new game console that they wanted for Christmas or their birthday, I already knew there was no way I'd get such an expensive gift -- and I'd have to save up for something like that, myself. I suppose I can't say for sure how exactly this led my life to go in a different direction than it otherwise would have, but I feel like even small things like this can impact who we become as a person.

    Of course, even if someone was born into all the exact same circumstances as me -- they of course wouldn't wind up living the exact same life as me, because our individual choices still have an impact on things. But just because individual choice has an impact on our lives, doesn't mean that other factors don't weigh in, as well. Hell, I'd say that all the other factors can have quite a big impact on the choices we even think to make in the first place!
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  7. @Kagayours Again, I don't know anything about genes, so I can't personally say for sure how it affects things, but thank you for your input! I like the example you used and find it insightful. As for chance, well, my mentality is more of a "hard work and persistence leads to good things rather than chance" kind of person, so while I still don't really see how chance affects people, I appreciate your input there as well. I'm always happy to see the different kinds of perspectives people have! :D
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  8. :P Well, you don't really need to know much about the science behind how genes work to at least know that some physical traits (race and sex being the two most obvious examples) are genetic. Any genetically-inherited conditions (ADHD, colorblindness, etc) are also pretty good examples of how genes alone can have quite a strong impact on one's life (even not counting the much more serious, life-threatening conditions!).

    Anyway, while I can understand where you're coming from on that, I for one strongly disagree with the idea that hard work alone can get you anywhere. To me, it seems to be rather dismissive of the many challenges that people face in life just due to their own unique circumstances. Sure, when a person who was born into poverty manages to climb their way out and reach great success -- that's a very inspirational story! But there's a reason why not everyone born into poverty manages to be such a success story. In addition, there are lots of people who were born wealthy, and, even if they slip up and lose some of their wealth, they'll still be much better off than the person who was born into poverty, and who is trying their damnedest to make their life better, but it's so difficult that saying "well if you just worked harder then you wouldn't be in poverty" just sounds like a slap in the face. It makes it sound as if all the people who are struggling in life are only struggling because they just didn't try hard enough to make a better life for themselves. It's a nice thought in theory, that hard work alone can lead to a good life -- but, unfortunately, life just doesn't offer us all an even playing field like that. Yes, hard work is important -- but some of us will have to work much harder than others to achieve the same result, just because some of us happened to be dealt a better hand than others.

    I mean this with no offense to you, by the way. Those are just my thoughts on the subject.
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  9. @circe And anyone else who's interested -- I think this comic illustrates my perspective on this rather well.
  10. Hey, I'm not trying to say everything is earned through hard work and I apologize if it sounds that way. I know how difficult it can be (my Mom is in poverty), and I think the misunderstanding here is that I personally see poverty as a circumstance/culture kind of deal, rather than sheer luck/chance.
  11. Ahhh, I see. I think of "circumstance" as being an element of luck, which I guess was where the disconnect was -- and why I didn't agree that chance should be left out. XD (Edit: Come to think of it, genetics can play into circumstance, too... O.o)
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  12. It makes a good baseline. But unless if it falls under circumstances, it's missing wealth.
    And there's probably other smaller elements that would work too, so good baseline, but not the full picture.
    A disclaimer that it's a baseline only.
    Completely depends on the cards you're dealt.
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