Sunday, April 1, 2007


The Bethy and I have a few debates we occasionally return to. I doubt either of us may ever change our opinion to the other's, but it's always a good discussion ;). One of our disputed topics is the notion of Intention vs Results.

Beth maintains that if one's intentions are good and noble, there is virtue in attempting to solve a problem... even if the problem itself remains unsolved. I take the opposite view; unless you've solved the problem (or actually done something tangible to improve it), there's nothing virtuous about it at all.

To put it in the simplest terms, Beth will give you credit if you try to do something good - even if in the end you fail. I'll only give you credit if you succeed.

So it was interesting this morning when I read that there has been a new discovery in the matter of Amelia Earhart's disappearance... someone has found the diary of a reporter who was covering her ill-fated trip around the world. (IMHO, this diary won't give much insight to Amelia's actual fate. It's a good headline, though.)

As I stepped out onto my balcony for the day's first smoke, I began to think about Earhart. And then it suddenly occurred to me: who was the first woman to circle the globe solo?

Countless books have been written about Earhart, and though I don't feel like checking Google or IMDB, I'm sure there have been a few movies or TV specials. Certainly the History Channel has taken up her story. Back in the days when children actually learned history in school, all of us knew the story of the brave female aviator who attempted to prove that flying around the globe was not only something a man could do.

The only problem is: she didn't prove it.

Our culture remains intrigued by the fate of Amelia Earhart, yet we've mostly forgotten who actually accomplished flying solo around the world.

Jerrie Mock was the woman that succeeded. Go on and click the link for her story... it's a very good one.

We remember Earhart for her intentions, but have forgotten Mock's results.

How strange.


Anonymous said...

Seriously, could our blogs be any different? You're all substance, I'm all fluff.
I enjoy being your fluff-injector. You needed some.

Anonymous said...

...and I still say intent can make or break the virtue thing.
If I devote my whole life to solving world hunger, and fail, that means I suck at solving world hunger, but I'm chock full of virtue. If you solve it by accident and don't give a flying fig, I don't see you getting any kudos.

thorn said...

On the contrary, I think I would get a lot of kudos from all the formerly-hungry people ;).

They would likely care more about the abundance of food they now had, and less about my motivations (or lack thereof).

Anonymous said...

idea: let's travel the world via HelloKitty Airlines and eat cat shaped cookies as we discuss it.

Anonymous said...

There is some virtue in trying and failing... as long as that failure does not make the problem worse. However, if you make the situation worse then all your good intentions aren't worth crap.