The Myth of Impossibility

Written on: March 1, 2024

Article by: Thayer Salisbury

About seven years ago we bought one of those “bladeless” fans. For the first couple years it worked very well. But eventually my wife said, “I don’t think that fan moves air as well as it used to.” I tested it and found that she was right. The fan barely did anything even on the highest setting.

The owner’s manual says, “Do not open the fan. There are no user serviceable parts inside.” I opened it up.

Do you believe in Santa or the Easter bunny? No? Then do not believe in a bladeless fan either. It has blades. They were just well hidden. They were also incredibly caked with dust and debris. A little cleaning and the thing worked like new. That was almost three years ago. This morning, I opened it up again and gave it another cleaning.

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It can be done. I did not say it is easy. The process of opening the fan was made needlessly complex. The manufacturer evidently did not want the secret of the hidden blades made public. So, they encourage the myth of impossibility, when actually user servicing of this fan is good for the environment – in more ways than one.

The myth of impossibility

It angers me that the manufacturers are lying to people about these fans. It is damaging to the environment to have usable fans being thrown in landfills because the claim has been made that they cannot be fixed. In reality, all they need, in many cases, is a cleaning. But that is minor compared to the harm being done by other myths of impossibility. We hear many of them.

Clarence Darrow was one the popularizer of this “they cannot help it” idiocy. He told the prisoners in Cook County jail,

“There is no such thing as a crime as the word is generally understood. I do not believe there is any sort of distinction between the real moral condition of the people in and out of jail. One is just as good as the other. The people here can no more help being here than the people outside can avoid being outside. I do not believe that people are in jail because they deserve to be. They are in jail simply because they cannot avoid it on account of circumstances which are entirely beyond their control and for which they are in no way responsible.

“In one sense everybody is equally good and equally bad. We all do the best we can under the circumstances. But as to the exact things for which you are sent here, some of you are guilty and did the particular act because you needed the money. Some of you did it because you are in the habit of doing it, and some of you because you are born to it, and it comes to be as natural as it does, for instance, for me to be good.”

That perverted philosophy has received almost universal acclaim in Western post-civilization. Alcoholics can’t help it. Homosexuals can’t help it. Rapists can’t help it. One thing you can be sure of, if someone were to take violent action against those making these “can’t help it” claims that would be labelled a hate crime. Why? There is no such thing as a crime, according to Mr. Darrow. We cannot help being what we are.

Very likely some are more tempted by alcoholism than others. But that does not mean they cannot help it. Many have overcome their heredity and environment to kick the habit. Very likely the same could be said of other ill behaviours. Some may be more tempted toward sexual deviancy than others. Some may be more tempted to theft than others. Some may be more tempted to murder than others. But being tempted and giving in to the temptation are two different things. Finding it difficult to clean up your life and claiming that it is impossible are two different things.

The manufacturer of our hidden-bladed-fan said I could not service it. But I have serviced it more than once.

The manufacturer of human beings says that we can service our lives and clean them up (James 4:8; Ezek 18:31), and even that he will help us to do so (Ezek 36:21). Don’t listen to those who say it cannot be done. That claim is from the Devil (via people like Clarence Darrow). Our lives can be changed. Our heart can be cleansed. The myth of impossibility is a lie.