The Automaton, a simulacron of a great golfer

I have changed my mind about Tiger because I thought the man and the player (of golf) could be separated. I have decided that Tiger is no longer the greatest to have played the game. Through his actions, he has shown himself unworthy of the game which values moral and ethical behavior. The Rules of Golf are not just a list of crimes and punishment, but assume an internal moral compass that guides player. Players who abide by these Rules elevate themselves in the process. This includes players who call penalties on themselves on trangressions witnessed only by them. This valuing of honesty and ethical behavior is unique to golf where players have famously penalized themselves out of championships or, tragically, tour cards.

If Tiger behaved this way off the course, who knows what guided his behavior on the course in relation to golf. You can obey the law out of fear of punishment or out of internal ethics and morality. Tiger is no golfist, but revealed to be the golfing equivalent of Deep Blue, the chess playing supercomputer, a soul-less automaton. The events of the past several weeks shows that Tiger has no moral compass, and excels at this great game for entirely banal reasons of conditioning and training from childhood. By this measure, the average golfer who takes stroke and distance for going out of bounds even when playing by himself is a greater custodion of the sport than Tiger.

The Lying Chimp

chimpIt is a known fact that chimps, like people, lie. Featured in a New York Times Science article (link), the propensity to lie is proportionate to the amount of neocortex, brain matter. Then it is no surprise that we tell lies with with leisurely ease. On the most simple level, a lie is a method for obtaining a tangible goal -usually food. A two year old will learn that telling his mommy, “I’m hungry” can cause the large primate to be at his beck and call. The texture and complexities of the lies increase exponentially, so by the time the child is five, the lies are sublime in their manifest self awareness and contextual rigor. 

But our beliefs are riddled with fables and legends, unprovable tests of faith. Isn’t this the most evolved feature of humanity -the great ability to lie to ourselves?

Merry Christmas!