May 5, 2024


by: tguerry


Categories: Current Culture

The Sins of the Fathers

The Sins of the Fathers

I would suggest that sometime around 1,000BC, when the writer of the Biblical book of Exodus penned the verse, “The Lord…visits the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” (Exodus 34:6-7), that what they were mistakenly identifying as God’s judgement, was in reality, the natural law of Entropy.

About a dozen years ago, my friend, Ray, showed up to our Friday night poker game a half hour early, providing the two of us time for an enlightening conversation. Ray had just returned from a discussion group consisting mostly of male parolees who inhabited a halfway house where we both volunteered. When I asked how it went, Ray blurted out, “I never realized how extraordinary it was to grow up with a father who never drunkenly beat me, cheated on my mom, or tried to live his life vicariously through me.”

I was in awe because I too had apparently drawn nature’s four-leaf clover when it came to fathers. As Ray and I discussed how incredibly lucky we’d both been, we did eventually come admit that our parents (both fathers and mothers) had not been perfect. Since that day, I’ve spent countless hours pondering how we — that would be you and me — absorb our parents’ character flaws, enlarge those flaws via our own misguided perspectives and pass them on to our kids and grandkids. That’s Entropy in a nutshell.

It Ain’t Fair
Nothing in nature is fair. Is it fair that an eight-year-old boy suffers violence at the hands of an alcoholic father? Is it fair that the alcoholic father grew up without a mother because his own mother’s physical desire for a man outside her marriage outweighed her nurturing instinct? Is it fair that the faithless mother lost her own parents of Native American genetics to the smallpox virus brought to North America by European settlers? Is it fair that those sixteenth century pioneers had to leave their homelands to escape the tyranny of a state-run church? Is it fair that self-serving individuals gained power in the church’s bureaucracy over fifteen centuries and twisted the gospel of a loving God into an ugly, rigid legalism in order to increase their dominance over their fellow man?

What is “fair” anyway? Is it not an ego-centric concept based on the individual preferences of fifty-one percent of the herd. “Fairness” is never the same to any two herds. Don’t believe me? Try sitting on a park bench between a Jew and a Muslim and starting up a conversation about “equity”.

But It Is What It Is
At the end of the day, every atom, every bacterium, every virus, every plant, every sensate creature is in a fight for survival and by extension, a fight for dominance. At the heart of every relationship, deep, deep down in the darkest recesses of our psyches that we don’t dare explore, is that basic instinct to enjoy dominion over life and other living creatures. No matter how much we try to stifle it and put the welfare of our loved ones first, that flaw subtly pollutes our intentions and passes from generation to generation like a hidden genetic defect. In the end, Entropy always wins and everything eventually wears out – atoms, plants, animals, humans, relationships, cultures, planets.

The result is middle-aged men and women who are still either rebelling against their parents or naively worshiping them. Some of us never muster the strength, or miraculously encounter the enlightenment, to hit the restart button and jettison the past. But wasting time obsessing about our upbringing or shaking our impotent little fists in the face of the Creator is not the answer. Learning how to minimize the effects of entropy and move into the future unencumbered by the failings of our forefathers is the only solution, and it requires something new — a radically different moral anchor unrelated to that ego-based sense of fairness we’ve spent lifetimes cultivating.

The Cure
Throughout history, revolutions (spiritual, social, political, personal) have resulted in renewed perspectives and breaks from the self-serving instincts that were handed down — replacing the inward-focused survival instinct with an outward sense of collaboration and fidelity. Those revivals have brought hope into entire cultures on the verge of collapse have and provided meaning amidst tedium of individual struggles.

I’m not telling you how to do that here. My goal is simply to communicate the observation. Your job is to seek the elusive solution. I do contend, however, that the solution cannot be found within ourselves. A sustainable solution must originate with some unpolluted source outside our own egos. Let me know when you figure it out and we can both move forward together.

Let’s talk. I’d really like to hear what you have to say, and it might even give me something to write about. Email me at
I’ll buy you coffee and we can compare notes. I promise not to steal your ideas without permission.


“Indeed, what we have discovered in our digitally saturated society is that we have a remarkable endurance and capacity to remain attuned to our devices—it is the first thing we greet in the morning and it is the last thing we take into bed with us at night. ― Felicia Wu Song


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Dopamine Nation

— Dr. Anna Lembke

We’re living in a time of unprecedented access to high-reward, high-dopamine stimuli: drugs, food, news, gambling, shopping, gaming, texting, sexting, Facebooking, Instagramming, YouTubing, tweeting. The smartphone is the modern-day hypodermic needle, delivering digital dopamine 24/7 for a wired generation. We’ve all become vulnerable to compulsive overconsumption. This book is about pleasure and pain, and how to find the delicate balance between the two.

A meeting of great minds who think alike