Predestination

Did you ever think that on going back to a choice made in the past and choosing the opposite, the results to your life would have been different ? Somewhere in your life can you pinpoint an event which defined you and your destiny depending on which path you chose to follow ?

Or in spite of said choice, do you think things would have turned out pretty much exactly the same now and that where you are and who you are were pretty much calculated as an extrapolation of probabilites with any choice you made merely being an uncertainty factor with little relevence in the overall outcome ?

That is too say, you would have made another choice later on which would enact the same type of event leading to who and where you are now anyway ? Bear in mind your 'fate' as it were is so intertwined with others that any choice you made, to have any lasting effect, would need to have the appropriate choices made by a whole host of others to change an event.
 

swears

preppy-kei
The person you are defines the choices you make, and choices you make define the person you are. :D It's a feedback loop, I've always found.
 
yeah, but if you could go back and make some different choices do you think it would have made any differnece to who you are now ???

I don't, which is why i have no regrets. Things are exactly as they were meant to be and nothing i could have done on my own could have changed that. I am who i was meant to be, in the place i was meant to be, doing what i am meant to be doing.

Of course in alternate universi, the choices i could have made at the the time, i did make with the resultant consequneces being things there are probably vastly different as those divergent choices accumulate to such an extent that 'the many times removed' alternate you is not even you, doesnt think like you or act like you

or do they ???

Is there a connected stream of consciousness which resoantes through all alternate yous ???

An absolute you in an ultimate reality ???
 
N

nomadologist

Guest
There are some decisions you can make that are so bad that there's no way to justify them with the old "but they made me who I am now" idea. Trust me.

Of course, they'll probably find the gene or protein that was epigenetically switched on by whatever mitochondrial remnants ruined my glial cell formation to explain everything I've done wrong someday. Can't wait :)
 
N

nomadologist

Guest
That said, I also think excessive guilt is a very unhealthy thing.
 

Guybrush

Dittohead
There are some decisions you can make that are so bad that there's no way to justify them with the old "but they made me who I am now" idea.
I agree, this phrase bugs the hell out of me.

I think it's the unspectacular habitual everyday actions that forms you rather than the major ones (exceptions aplenty, of course), so unless you change your routines your life is going to be more or less predestined (then again, there are exceptions). Actually, Swears' summary was far better:
The person you are defines the choices you make, and choices you make define the person you are.
Hmm, I get back to this one.
 

viktorvaughn

Well-known member
If your consciousness is like a pinball machine with an existing structure of values, opinions, pre-conceptions and biases/ramps, tilts, channels and pits then how can any stimuli/ball leave the machine in any way except that dictated by that structure?
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Staff member
If your consciousness is like a pinball machine with an existing structure of values, opinions, pre-conceptions and biases/ramps, tilts, channels and pits then how can any stimuli/ball leave the machine in any way except that dictated by that structure?
By changing the structure of the 'pinball machine' as it passed through - like a neural net?
 

viktorvaughn

Well-known member
By changing the structure of the 'pinball machine' as it passed through - like a neural net?
But isn't it then just modifying the set-up so that the next ball has no choice in where it comes out?

Of course watching Citizen Kane when ages 16 and 60 is going to get two very different reactions, but when you watch that movie aged 16 there is only one possible reaction - that which you have.

i don't really like thinking like this cos it makes us sound like automatons, but i don't know how to get around the logic?
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Staff member
My feeling on this is that free will is, in essence, an illusion - but it's such a strong one, to the point of being impossible to overcome, that for all practical purposes we might as well behave as if it weren't the case.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
I wouldn't let Louise hear you say that.

"My feeling on this is that free will is, in essence, an illusion - but it's such a strong one, to the point of being impossible to overcome, that for all practical purposes we might as well behave as if it weren't the case."
That's a self-defeating statement isn't it? I mean, what's this "might as well"? Surely, if you don't have free will you have no option in what to believe and how you behave.
 

viktorvaughn

Well-known member
My feeling on this is that free will is, in essence, an illusion - but it's such a strong one, to the point of being impossible to overcome, that for all practical purposes we might as well behave as if it weren't the case.
Yeah that's what i was getting at i think (not very well!).

It's like logic tells me free will is absent

but

my pleasure it 'choosing' to listen to grime, dancehall and tekno over Bryan Adams, my determination to make choices that do not inflict harm on others etc. make me act as if it were present. And i like it better that way, even if i am kidding myself on some level!
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Staff member
I wouldn't let Louise hear you say that.


That's a self-defeating statement isn't it? I mean, what's this "might as well"? Surely, if you don't have free will you have no option in what to believe and how you behave.
No, I meant more as far as how we treat other people goes: if you take the phrase "free will is an illusion" at face value, then you would never punish someone for doing committing a crime, or reward them for doing something apparently selfless, because they "couldn't help doing it". If someone commits a murder and we accept that they had no *real* choice about it, then it makes no sense to jail them - unless you accept that the jury has 'no choice' but to find him guilty, the judge has 'no choice' but to pass sentence, and society has 'no choice' but to demand some form of retribution. In which case, we're simply acting *as if* every person involved had free will.

Edit: oh, hang on, I think I see what you mean. Well, I certainly believe I have free will in moral terms, even if that 'free will' is actually determined by physico-chemical brain processes going on 'behind the scenes'. So the very fact that some people might agree with my statement while a great many others undoubtably wouldn't demonstrates that we have 'free will' as to whether we think this or not.
 
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