Celebrities of various sorts could learn a thing or two from the self-limiting world-view Patriots coach Bill Belichick expressed the other day in answer to a question about the chances that departed wide receiver Randy Moss might be waived by 31 other teams and return to New England.
Said Belichick: "Whatever rules the league changes or whatever moves other teams make, that is their team. I can't really worry about that. I can barely coach the team that I'm in charge of, so I can't worry about anybody else's team or solve the rest of the world's problems. That's not my job. There are a lot of other people who can do that.''
It runs narrow but deep, the coach's working philosophy. It is consonant with the monomaniacal focus of assorted research scientists, poets, painters, and composers. It rejects utterly the well-meaning but often fatuous proposition that the well-rounded individual should be good at what he or she does but also do good in the world.
No doubt, this is a blinkered outlook. It reflects the simplistic three-word motto on the Pats' locker room wall: "DO YOUR JOB." But how many Western intellectuals of the last century who fell in step behind a Josef Stalin, an Adolph Hitler or a Mao Zedong could have avoided great grief by adhering to the coach's stubborn credo of doing the one thing he does best?