How did I get here?

There are, I am now convinced upon the most casual reflection, many ingredients which stimulated the evolution of my existence. This may resonate as an obvious conclusion but I intend the observation specifically to enlarge upon what is for many the sole or substantial ingredient of growth; namely, themselves and their various talents and attributes. They perhaps credit the other influences as extraneous or peripheral only. The broader ingredients of progress might usefully be summarized as familial, educational, associative, accidental, providential and serendipitous.  And quite possibly in that exact order because that is the order in which I track the development of my own life when condensing the past three-quarters of a century.

The significance of this analysis is that it emphasizes what are often misconstrued as purely natural processes, as though one were from birth destined to pursue the identical course of circumstances. There is however nothing either natural or Darwinian about the evolution of any one of us.  Nor is there, apart from the most superficial gloss, anything divine or hereditary about our particular lifetime expression.  Certainly matters familial have a bearing upon one’s character and destiny; but the critical factors which ordain and ornate one’s being are a complex of those other strands I mentioned.

My personal theory of evolution differs from Dawin’s by virtue of emphasizing the gradual evolution as not so much a product of necessity as one of pure engineering. Each of those ingredients – from family to serendipity – changed the course of my development with time. There were indeed occasions in my personal experience when, but for chance or favour, my ultimate future would have been much different. Those critical factors had nothing whatever to do with my innate or trained resources.

If there were anything “natural” about my development it was my adaptation to the avenues down which I was otherwise unwittingly and as often unintentionally directed. I can for example account people who manifestly changed the course of my life and expression. The same applies to certain institutions or bodies corporate. Nor can I take any credit for the merit other than gratitude. The best identification I can apply to the source of my personal evolution is a willingness to absorb the nutrition and to permit its ingredients to flavour my growth. I have in addition the shameless arrogance to accept the result without qualification!