The Third Leader: Triumph of the will

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The Independent Online

Further dispatches from those brave men and women boldly going where no man has gone before to explore that final frontier of self-knowledge, the human genome: some of us are biologically predisposed to find giving up smoking more difficult than others. The intellectual rigour of the brave men and women would not allow this to be described as evidence of the existence of a giving-up gene, but down here there are no such scruples.

How, I wonder, are you predisposed to react to this revelation? Surprised? Sympathetic? A touch cynical, requiring more proof? Or completely open-minded? That last, I should say, since you are an Independent reader and as such predisposed to fight predisposition.

It is all a bit worrying, though, isn't it? Previously, for example, I had been inclined to think that, in the matter of willpower, vis à vis, for example, ice cream, custard, and vital DIY projects, we all started on a similarly contoured recreational area. But now? Again, I thought that my sympathy for the frailty of others and ability to take a distanced view of material success was the result of a thoughtful journey through life. Now it seems I might just lack the Sir Alan Sugar gene.

Such uncertainties lead me to suggest an embargo on excuses and invidious comparisons until the explorers have more definitive findings on the true balance between nature and nurture, predestination and free will. For now, we must all struggle on as usual (except for the lucky gits who were born not to) and thank God, luck or Richard Dawkins that at least the weather's quite nice in Wales at the moment.