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Determinism?

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posted on Mar, 28 2010 @ 10:26 AM
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From the beginning of the universe to the formation of our galaxy and our solar system. Was it random chance that we are here, or did everything happen by design?

What are the odds that our planet formed where it did, the perfect distance from a star, with the perfect composition of minerals, gasses and liquid water to form life, and evolve to the point where YOU are now reading this?

If everything happens for a reason, then perhaps the future is also already determined?

There have been cases where some people have accurately predicted future events, and in order for that to happen then it must be true.

The thing is, that means that all of the choices and decisions I have made in my life were an illusion, that I could have done nothing different, nor ended up anywhere else doing anything else other than what I am right now. That also means that I am not truly in control of my destiny.

If I choose suicide, then it wasn't really a choice.

If I choose to live, then it was meant to be.

What is the difference?

If I take a revolver and put one round in, close, spin, place it to my head and pull the trigger, there is a one in six chance that I will blow my brains out.... But it is really not chance at play... Is it?

What if there are six rounds in the revolver?

No matter what the scenario, no matter what you choose to do or not, you will ultimately do exactly what has always been planned.

Should I believe that I am actually in control of my own life?

As much as I'd like to believe I am, I am still where I am, doing what I am, and faced with a bad situation that I am powerless to escape.

If there is really no other way out, then I suppose I really have no choice.

Or do I?




posted on Mar, 28 2010 @ 11:13 AM
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You will receive many varied opinions on this question. Some believe in absolute free-will, while others believe in absolute predestination, where "everything happens for a reason". Then, you will see those who have managed to conclude there is an in between, and perhaps they make the best points.

Nothing predicts the future like the present, and in many ways things do happen for a reason.

If you drive; are involved in a crash and go through the windshield, the reason is you chose not to wear a seatbelt.

If you smoke cigarettes for decades, you might very well develop lung disease.

If you manage your finances in a careless way, you will likely always be broke.

I absolutely believe in free will. If everything is already determined, then why have any choices at all. Our choices begin when we open our eyes in the morning. Will we rise? If I rise it's not because there is a big script somewhere requiring that I do. It is because I choose to.

When we find ourselves in poor circumstances we must not accept that it was predetermined and consequently resign ourselves to them. We must ask for what reason we are in those circumstances and how our actions and decisions led to them, and why we are permitting them to continue.

Then we must examine what actions are needed to extricate ourselves from the undesirable situation, set goals which lead to a positive change, and set about at once accomplishing them one by one until the desired change is made.

To say "it was meant to be" is a cop out, and the most depressing resolution I can imagine. When we talk about freedom, it is self-determination we are talking about.



posted on Mar, 28 2010 @ 11:25 AM
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There are no answers, you realise that of course

Whose claims or advice would you really trust anyway ?

Sure, it's fine to open such topics to discussion, but that's all it can be, right ? - just discussion, opinions, theories, etc

You mentioned precognitive dreams. I've had several and they were accurate, plus I'd detailed them to others before they 'came true'. So I'm convinced the future's decided before we live it, in at least some instances

Like you, I've questioned -- who/what does the deciding, etc., and what's the point of living if it consists simply acting out a script already written by someone/something

Some theories appeal to me more than others but I realise now that there is no 'answer' sitting in an old book somewhere, just waiting for me to discover it. No-one has the answer. Although some claim they do

I used to believe I'd find out after death. But there's no guarantee there's anything after death. There are mysteries and we just have to accept that

My grandfather was an undertaker. And, a few years ago, I worked in offices above a morgue. Combined, they convinced me there's nothing glamorous about physical death. Dead bodies are similar to discarded, unwashed items of clothing. No one wants them but someone has to deal with them

It's been my experience that Life holds brief moments of bliss, quite a lot of humdrum and it's a lucky-dip as to who is apportioned lesser or greater grief, misery, depression, poverty, mental and physical suffering, etc. It's all 'Life', all experience. And then it's over

Sometimes we believe Life isn't worth living. But then, with what can we compare it ?

It's all very well to say (and even to believe) that everything in life has been preordained. But, would we stand in front of a speeding truck in order to test our theory ? I wouldn't



posted on Mar, 28 2010 @ 11:31 AM
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edit wrong thread

[edit on 28-3-2010 by woodwardjnr]



posted on Mar, 28 2010 @ 11:31 AM
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reply to post by ladyinwaiting
 


Great post, thank you.

I'd like to believe in free will, but everything I've experienced in my life so far has led me to the conclusion that choices we make are in fact already determined, the outcome predestined.

We can't cheat death, nor can we really decide when it happens. Choice is an illusion.

We can't alter the future any more than we can go back and change the past.

I do believe that at times we can see the future, and some are better at it than others.

Ever had a bad feeling but found yourself unable to make connections until after something bad happened?

I'm not psychic, nor do I have any abilities to see or predict the future, but recently I became aware of something bad that was going to happen to someone I did know, there wasn't anything I could do to warn that person, or to stop it even though there was time to do so... And that really bothers me.

I also know what is going to happen to myself, and there isn't anything I can do about that either, though I am still trying.

That is why I badly want to believe in free will.



posted on Mar, 28 2010 @ 11:39 AM
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Originally posted by Dock9
would we stand in front of a speeding truck in order to test our theory ? I wouldn't



If that is what is meant to happen, then you would find yourself in front of that speeding truck either willfully, or accidentally.

No tests required.



posted on Mar, 28 2010 @ 11:49 AM
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reply to post by Fractured.Facade
 


Nah. Sounds cool, but it's just not so. And remember, I've had a number of very accurate precognitive dreams, etc. and tend to the belief that some things ... often seemingly unimportant things ... are preordained

People try to make sense of their lives, so they put them into black/white categories. That's fine, if it works for them. A few years or experiences down the line and it might not work for them, which is when they adopt other methods of making sense of everything

It's a riddle, a mystery. And there are no short-cuts, no neat answers. Life is something we cannot control or bend to our will. And that disturbes the ego

For example, you commenced your OP by claiming to believe that everything's predetermined. And you conclude by stating you want to believe in free will

So what, within all that, separates you from the other 7 billion on the planet ?

Guess it's becoming obvious that I'm growing very tired of people posting to imply they're on the verge of suicide

Or perhaps they're simply seeking attention ?

or seeking sympathy ?


This is a conspiracy site, not a suicide hot-line



posted on Mar, 28 2010 @ 11:59 AM
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Originally posted by Dock9

It's a riddle, a mystery. And there are no short-cuts, no neat answers. Life is something we cannot control or bend to our will. And that disturbes the ego


That is what I am trying to explore here. And I have to agree.


For example, you commenced your OP by claiming to believe that everything's predetermined. And you conclude by stating you want to believe in free will


Exactly!



So what, within all that, separates you from the other 7 billion on the planet ?


Nothing.



Guess it's becoming obvious that I'm growing very tired of people posting to imply they're on the verge of suicide


Where did you get that from?

Let me make it clear, suicide was simply an example I used, not an objective of mine.



or seeking sympathy ?


No, only opinions, and thoughts. Thank you for yours.



posted on Mar, 28 2010 @ 12:00 PM
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reply to post by Fractured.Facade
 


FF, I think it's safe to believe in free will. People have circumstances such as being born with pervasive developmental disorders, or are confined to wheelchairs, or develop cancer and mental illnesses.
The script?

These are born from biology --- DNA, Gene pools. When there are two perfectly good people exposed continually to a toxin, for example. One gets terminally sick, and one doesn't. Why is that? The "script" at play? Or is it based on other factors?

Sometimes I think the preconceived notions can come into play. For example, a couple who loses the baby a few months after it's born. Who's to say the baby didn't come having agreed beforehand to die a few months later in order to help it's parents, it's "kindred spirits", it's "soul-mates" to experience a painful life lesson? It's possible.

When something like that happens, I tell myself it was meant to be. Maybe not so much because I believe it, but to comfort myself, and others.

But the 60 year old who died from liver disease because he chose to drink too much and swallow too many pills? That's nothing but choice. It wasn't in the "script" that he do this. He chose to numb out his life, shut out his life, essentially, and in doing so he chose his future. Premature death.

As another poster said, this is the territory of the unknown. You see here people have given thought to it, and are trying to form beliefs, and figure it all out.

Now it's your turn. I hope you will receive some interesting responses here on this thread, that will help you in determining what is acceptable to you, and what your beliefs are.

I can tell you this.....I've had circumstances in my life that made me unhappy and threatened my well being. Had I sat and accepted it as my lot in life...rather than taking actions to change my situation, I would still be there.......you know?

I don't know how much you wish to disclose on this thread about your circumstances. It's hard to address without knowing what is so "carved in stone" that you can't even consider the possibility of change.

I accept that some things cannot be changed, but these are usually severe medical conditions. imo.


~A woman once wrote a thread on ATS stating that her dog had died because someone in the household dropped a pill -- their prescribed medication-- on the floor, and the dog swallowed it. She said it was meant to be that her dog died.

???? Was the reason the dog died because it was meant to be? Or was the reason because someone was not attentive enough to what they were doing to realize they had dropped a pill, or either didn't look for it diligently enought, or was too lazy to find it and pick it up?

What is your opinion in this case?

If we are only to experience emotions, then why do we have reasoning and critical thinking?

[edit on 3/28/2010 by ladyinwaiting]



posted on Mar, 28 2010 @ 12:24 PM
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Originally posted by ladyinwaiting
~A woman once wrote a thread on ATS stating that her dog had died because someone in the household dropped a pill -- their prescribed medication-- on the floor, and the dog swallowed it. She said it was meant to be that her dog died.

???? Was the reason the dog died because it was meant to be? Or was the reason because someone was not attentive enough to what they were doing to realize they had dropped a pill, or either didn't look for it diligently enought, or was too lazy to find it and pick it up?

What is your opinion in this case?


Based on my own conclusions, I would have to say it happened exactly the way it was meant to.

After the fact we can always see what could have been done to prevent such things, even the most simple actions can prevent accidents, yet they always happen.

Surrounding any tragedy you can always find a seemingly random chain of events leading up to it, in many cases the slightest changes in that chain could have prevented the tragedy, but it still happens.


If we are only to experience emotions, then why do we have reasoning and critical thinking?


I really can only wish that I could have an answer to that question.

Thank you for another thought provoking post.



posted on Mar, 28 2010 @ 12:29 PM
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reply to post by Fractured.Facade
 


Ah, then. I see you have already reasoned out your beliefs concerning this subject. (Or have your beliefs already been determined for you also?).


Good luck with your situation, FF, whatever it may be, now and in the future. And if you get down in the dumps, remember you can always go "seize the day".


....My best,
liw

[edit on 3/28/2010 by ladyinwaiting]



posted on Mar, 28 2010 @ 12:32 PM
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Use an experiment to rationalise your beliefs.

A. Go to work as normal, behave as you normally do, and then at the end of the day, write your actions on that day and then summarize it.

Now, take one day off for experimentation:- It may cost you perhaps a day's wage, but it will answer to your confusion.

B. Wake up as late as you want. Do whatever you like on this day (expcept directly harming others ). Then take down notes.

Compare those 2 days' notes.

You will realize that on (A), you are following your normal path. (B) you are on a FREE choice of your own, not to allow your daily routine to hinder you.

Question:- Did (B) in any way end up as a similar day to (A)?
Rationale will tell you it didn't. This test is to prove you that free will DOES exist. Only the consequences differ. And consequences are your responsibility, which in truth, is the price you will have to pay for free will.

You can choose (A), for it may seem to be fixed, an unchangeable routine, its consequences determined. But for (B), it is not. You are only acting on your own needs, the determination to do so is there, but the consequences only known at the end of the day, or in a period of time.

My point is - free will exists, but it comes at a price called self responsibility for consequences. And in truth, no man escapes from free will choices, regardless in A or B, for every second in life, choices are presented to you and you have to make a choice, which its ultimate results called consequences are unknown at present and known only in a later time.

Cheers!:-)



posted on Mar, 28 2010 @ 12:39 PM
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Originally posted by ladyinwaiting
reply to post by Fractured.Facade
 


Ah, then. I see you have already reasoned out your beliefs concerning this subject. (Or have your beliefs already been determined for you also?).


That is the conundrum isn't it?

I suppose I can only find out if it is possible to break an anticipated chain of events soon enough.

But, then maybe that is exactly what I am meant to do?

Thanks again for the posts.



posted on Apr, 4 2010 @ 03:53 AM
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reply to post by Fractured.Facade
 


I noticed a very well presented and perfectly punctuated thread. The sign of a well educated man.


In my opinion, the future is predetermined in the essence that, 'if it can, it will' or
"Anything that can go wrong will go wrong".


Did i choose to reply to this thread? Yes i did. Was it chance that I stumbled across it? No it wasn't!



posted on Apr, 4 2010 @ 03:53 AM
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oops... double post!

but while I'm here, is your motivation for the question at hand religiously derived or just a general ponder?


[edit on 4/4/10 by spearhead]



posted on Apr, 4 2010 @ 04:16 AM
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reply to post by Dock9
 


Maybe the spirit world could help you with some of the clarity you feel you might need.



posted on Apr, 4 2010 @ 04:19 AM
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You're pretty much a slave to your genetics and upbringing.

But that isn't exactly the same thing as "determinism."

If determinism is real, it's too vaguely expressed in complex organisms such as ourselves. So I wouldn't worry about it too much, as you are complex enough to at least create the illusion of pseudo-free-will. But on some philosophical, technical level, you probably don't have any actual free will.



posted on Apr, 4 2010 @ 09:49 AM
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A very interesting thread discussing a topic that has been debated for thousands of years. Unfortunately none of us have the irrefutable evidence whether or our will is our own or predetermined. Many people think they know and give plausible reasons why they have arrived at these conclusions. In many respects, the idea of Determinism being true is a paradox of sorts.

Just wanted to add a different perspective that hopefully some might find worthy of examination (these views are inspired by researching the ideas of others):

1) Maybe we are Super Human's that accepted this small role in this game we cal "Life" and will only come to the external realisation once we have completed the task we set ourselves up for.

2) Maybe we do have Free Will, but we have used our Higher Self to restrict our ability to understand this in the current world.

3) If Free Will is an illusion and everything functions through a "cause-and-effect" method, how does one explain the many anomalies that exist in this world. Isn't the existence of a single anomaly evidence that events are not pre-determined?

4) If I decide to kill a spider that I have spotted on the wall in my room, was that spider created for the purpose that I would end its existence? If not, why was it created?

5) Why do we have a conscience? Could it be argued that a conscience is redundant in a world where everything has been pre-determined?

[edit on 4/4/2010 by Dark Ghost]



posted on Apr, 4 2010 @ 11:04 AM
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I think ladyinwaiting makes a good point.

If I am given a crummy situation in life, it's simple. You have two choices:

A) Am I going to accept and give into this situation?

B) Or am I going to rise above it and continue to push forth towards something that makes me happy?

For example: A crappy job, we've all been there or are there right now. You dread going to it everyday and makes your life miserable.

If I choose choice (A) I could work that job until I retire. I'd whine and complain about it every morning, but that doesn't get you anywhere. All in all you're not happy, and you live a crummy life.

If I choose choice (B) I say hey, yeah this job sucks, but I've got something I want to work towards and this is only a bump in the road.

Whether or not that crummy job you landed was predetermined or not I don't know. But the choice you make to DO about the situation is entirely yours.

So it really comes down to your attitude. In grade school and high school we all see the posters "Attitude is a small thing that makes a big difference." Boy how true that is. Fix your attitude and you fix the situation.

You can choose to have the victim attitude or the warrior, winner, kick some a$$ attitude. That my friend, is the choice. If you choose the latter, the path less traveled: it will require sacrifice, it will require your perseverance, and it will test you physically and mentally. But it will leave you with feelings of pride, accomplishment, and will be the utmost rewarding experience that you can ask for.

So, which choice do you choose is the question.



posted on Apr, 4 2010 @ 05:07 PM
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reply to post by Fractured.Facade
 


Hey OP,

Free Will is interesting stuff. Even though everyone feels free deep down, and almost cannot help but feel that way, I don't think there is any completely satisfactory account of Free Will.

There are three broad camps on this issue among philosophers.

  • Libertarian Free Will - As the name implies, LFW entails that we have true liberty. Often summed up as, "The ability to do otherwise." Given a choice between A and B, let's say I choose B. The adherent of LFW will say that, at least in some cases, maybe all, I really could have chosen A. The adherent of LFW simply denies that we are determined.
  • Soft Determinism - The soft determinist says that we are determined, but gives an account of freedom such that it it compatible with determinism. (For this reason they are also called compatibilists, though strictly speaking one does not have to be a soft determinist to be a compatibilist.) For example, the soft determinist might say that being free just means that you are free from external constraint, "Nobody else made you do it. Sure, it was determined, but the determination came from within you."
  • Hard Determinism - The hard determinist bites the bullet, and denies free will. "Yep, you're determined, and nope, you're not free."
Of course appeal to popularity is a fallacy, but knowing what most people who think about this stuff on a regular and serious basis may be interesting. A recent poll of top academic philosophers showed that among these three views, soft determinism was the most popular. Most philosophers feel that the scientific evidence for determinism is too strong, and that they must accept that they are determined, but they also feel such a strong intuition that they are free that they must defend freedom as well.

Each view has problems, however.

Libertarian Free Will just seems like magic. Sure, the physical world around us is governed by laws, but every once in a while a little miracle happens where my brain gets to break out of the chain of cause and effect.

Soft Determinism doesn't seem like free will. Fine, I'm at the coffee shop, choosing what drink to order. I choose iced tea. Granted, nobody twisted my arm, nobody drugged me, my brain is working fine, doing just what it is supposed to do. But still, if the universe is determined, including me, and this determination goes all the way back to the beginning, then my action was determined before I was ever born. Even though it was immediately caused by my own brain, my own brain is only the way it is because of things that happened before my existence. It's out of my control.

Hard Determinism seems sad, but may be true. It seems the most level headed view; it says, "Hey, the evidence says we are not free, so even though I feel so free, I must not be." One big problem with this for most philosophers is that it seems to jettison moral responsibility. Most philosophers would say that if you were not free, then you didn't really make a choice, so you are not morally blameworthy for any action you commit. Maybe we should still lock you up out of prudential concern when you hurt others, but it's not because you did something wrong because you simply cannot act freely, so cannot do something wrong (or right!).

Also, a note on quantum physics. People often respond and say, "Well, we know some things in the universe are not determined, so that could help us be free!" This has a couple of problems. One, even if physicists are right about the level of subatomic physics having probabilistic laws, that doesn't mean that this indeterminacy works its way up to things as big as us. Even if I can't predict the location of an electron, I can predict the location of a baseball with no problem. Two, let's say we really are probabilistic. Isn't that even worse, to be controlled at random?

[edit on 4-4-2010 by FrostyPhilosopher]



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