Archive for the ‘Free Will’ Tag

Parallel Universes   Leave a comment

I was recently reading a web fiction blog/novel called Mehpi. If you are a fan of HP Lovecraft, horror, Slenderman/ The Fear Mythos, Doctor Who, or just a good story in general, it is worth checking out. The author is currently editing it, and then they will take it down when they get a publishing deal. So there’s a time limit too. Check it out and come back here when you are done.

There was a part of the story that sparked a thought in my head, and so I wrote about it below. Spoiler free of course.

In the story, the main character is asked about parallel universes. For those who don’t know, the idea behind parallel universes is that for every decision a human makes, there are two or more possibilities. Lets use a fork in the road as an example. There is a left path and a right path, or two possibilities. At that moment, two universes are created. One where you decided to go left, and one where you went right instead.

According to the theory, that happens for every single decision made for every single person, in every part of the world, through all parts of time. Effectively there would be infinite universes, some only varying slightly from our universe here. Others completely different in every way. As any sci-fi nerd knows, it creates some fun thoughts.

So the main character is asked about them, and she starts to use a coin flip as an example. (One universe for heads, and one for tails.) She is interrupted, and the thing she is talking to tells her this (paraphrasing of course):

A coin flip is not an example of a breaking point in universes. A single coin flip is irrelevant. It is predetermined by the force applied to it, the spin imparted on it, the strength of the person flipping it, the wind in the room, etc. Nothing the coin has or does changes anything, and neither does the person. People are much more irrelevant to time than they’d like to pretend.

That got me thinking about free will again. As in, do we really have any? Removing the idea of a higher power, a soul ,or anything else like that, could things just be predetermined?

Our thoughts are electrical impulses. When those impulses fire, they stimulate different parts of our brains, and make us think and feel certain ways. We make decisions based on those thoughts and feelings, which affect others, and cause their electrical impulses to fire in specific ways. This chain goes on throughout human experience, until the end of time.

With that in mind, everything I did I was supposed to do, because my brain was shaped in the right way to make my impulses travel in the exact way they needed to in order to make me react that way. Hitler would have always been Hitler. Lincoln would have always been president, and was destined to always die by John Wilkes Booth. Our descendent’s lives are predetermined before they are even conceived.

The really creepy thing is that parallel universe theory still works, but in a much darker way. Electrons still follow the uncertainty principle, and as the character in the story points out, an electron could take a different path, and then the sun would never come to existence. In a more personal sense, the electrons causing my impulses could spark along a different path, causing me to act in a different way. Same amount of universes, but without any control on my part, or any real way to stop it. We are all predestined to choose the left path, yell at that person, steal that gum, etc. But at the same time, we are just one electron away from not existing, or becoming an axe murder.

Really makes you think, doesn’t it?

-Shaman

I’ll Let Me Guide Me   Leave a comment

I don’t know what I want to do with my life. I’m not sure where I am supposed to go. I just know at the moment I’m not happy with it. I look back and see all the missteps I’ve taken; the time wasted. It makes me angry at myself. Makes me depressed. Makes me feel like I have no purpose. Makes me… really understand Linkin Park better.

I know I’m just going through a bit of an existential crisis, and have been for a while. Its the reason I’ve decided to start blogging. But I’m not going to use this post to dig through the depths of my despair and discoveries stemming from them. I’m sure there will be enough of those posts with out me really trying.

Instead, I’m going to talk about something that I hear all the time from people trying to give me advice to get past this crisis. They are usually coworkers, but I hear it all the time. People me well when they say it, but it always kind of bothers me. What they always tell me is this:

“Just open yourself to god, and he will guide you.”

It’s either that or something very similar. Now, that annoys me for a couple of reasons. Firstly and more personally, people are making assumptions that I believe in a god, most likely the same one they believe in. Or, if they are my coworkers, they know I’m an atheiest-leaning agnostic (5 on the “Dawkins Scale“), and they feel a conversion coming on. If they say stuff like, “Calm down and focus, and the answer will come to you,” I’m not bothered at all by that. But many people feel grounded by their faith, and feel it works for everyone. However, assuming I haven’t prayed enough or the solution is just god is insulting to me and to you. Sadly, for every person who is kind in their advice, there is another who does that exact thing.

That ties into my second point. Whether your intentions are selfless or not, I have a problem with the idea itself. The problem is you are giving someone else the power and responsibility to make you happy. As I stated in my writing on free will vs destiny, I believe we are in control of our own destiny, for ill and for good. It’s not even a matter of God, it’s a matter of free will. Giving in to god feels like giving up the very thing that allows me to think about my life. Sure, it’s giving up the part of me that brings me down. But it’s also losing the part that allows me to be better in the end. At some level, I feel like asking god to guide me is giving up on myself.

I’m the one who should fix my problems. I’m the only one who can. Therefore I’ll be the one who guides me.

Posted 03/31/2014 by Shaman in Personal Thoughts

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What Ever Will Be Will Be (If We Will It To Be)   14 comments

Normally I don’t really do the daily prompts offered by WordPress, but this one actually caught my attention, so I here’s what I think.

Do you believe in fate or do you believe you can control your own destiny?

I’d like to believe in fate, I really would. The idea of being predestined to do something great, to find your one true love, to know that some day somehow you will achieve your life’s meaning, is comforting and warm. That is, until you really think about it.

Not everyone is destined to be an Einstein or a Mozart. If you look back at the billions of people who have lived and died on this planet, how many achieved anything more than just taking up space. Working themselves to the bone, to maybe achieve their own personal happiness, and the happiness of those around them. I’d think that would be a good life, but is that what you would want to be destined for? For happy mediocrity?

Plus, who’s to say you’d only be destined for good things? Just as you could be the next Gandhi, you could also be the next Saddam, or Stalin, or Hitler? Plus, if small good things can be predestined, who’s to say that your destiny isn’t to steal, cheat, gamble and rob? Having your life predestined, if you truly believed it, would rid you of all real resposibiltiy. You do anything wrong, its not your fault. It was just your destiny.

Scary thought, right?

I believe we choose our own fate. We are in charge of our own destiny. Our mistakes are ours to own, but so are all our accomplishments. Nobody controls you. Nothing can stop you from trying to acheive what you want. Nothing stands in the way of your happiness except you. Now, the circumstances you are born into, the twists and turns you take through out life can and will limit your choices. You aren’t completely in control, but you are in control of what you do about it.

I like to view life, destiny, fate, all of this, as a river. Everyone has a direction they are flowing towards. That is determined by where you were born, genetics, environment, and all the other things that you don’t really have any control over in the beginning. But even though you flow in a general direction, you get to choose the ebb and flow, where it branches and where it bends.. With enough gradual changes, you can even choose a whole new direction to flow towards. Then, when you reach the end, your “river” becomes a new starting point for others.

So in a sense you may have somewhat of a predestined path. But it was predestined by the ones who came before you, not some mystical power. You can challenge your path, and change it. All it takes is wanting and work.

But, everything could totally be predestined. I could just be predestined to disagree with the notion. Just like you could be predestined to agree/disagree with me. 🙂