Sign in to follow this  
Ex Nihilo

The Fault In Our Stars?

Recommended Posts

Once upon a time in Bill Shakespeare's imagination, Cassius told his friend Brutus that the fault was not in their stars but in their selves that they were underlings.

Is that true?

Do we create our reality/destiny or are we trudging the path laid out for us by fate. There's comfort in both beliefs in hard times. One allows us to think that we dug ourselves into whatever hole we're currently in and therefore we are free to dig ourselves out. In the alternative, it's a solace knowing that even in bad times god is in control....well I guess that depends on how you view god...or is it somewhere in the cooperative middle? Sort of a bowing to the universe and universe bowing back scenario.

Any thoughts?

Edited by RevRattlesnake

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Do we create our reality/destiny or are we trudging the path laid out for us by fate.

I think it's that cooperative middle. We're bound by causality, but through the ego we wrap ourselves in cloaks of free will. Modern studies in neuroscience show that what we perceive as conscious activity actually arises after the impulse is generated. You don't choose to pick up a cup of coffee, you pick up the coffee and then your brain claims the credit. Some say fate guides us, some say we are free, but in a way we exist in both realms simultaneously. If you believe in the gods and live is if there were gods, does it matter if there really are gods? We think the universe runs on simple and certain rules, but reality is pretty freaky.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree...but then when I take a step back, I wonder if we are destined to think we are free.

I read somewhere that Steven Hawking said that all things are predestined but that the roadmap is so complicated that we should just continue to act as if we have freewill. I guess it all washes out in the end.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Determinism has been eliminated by quantum physics and there is no bringing it back without a complete rewrite of physics.

All that these studies prove is that we are unaware of the unconscious activity which precedes both our conscious activity and any measurable impulse.

I am opposed to the theory of determinism on purely moral grounds. Determinism not only discounts free will it also discounts freedom and allows the institutionalization of all manner of horrors because that is just the way things are meant to be.

The different between what is alive and what is not alive is creative free will.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Modern studies in neuroscience show that what we perceive as conscious activity actually arises after the impulse is generated. You don't choose to pick up a cup of coffee, you pick up the coffee and then your brain claims the credit.

That's not quite how I read it. There is an internal monitor, which is how we are aware of our thought processes, which naturally operates after the fact. That does not mean that the decision was not made by your brain.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's not quite how I read it. There is an internal monitor, which is how we are aware of our thought processes, which naturally operates after the fact. That does not mean that the decision was not made by your brain.

I didn't mean to suggest that the impulses don't also arise in the brain, just the concept of free will isn't as supreme as we like to think it is. It seems we confuse awareness with conscious control. When we make a decision we're not so much influencing the outcome as becoming aware of the sensory input and neuronal activity whose sum is attracting or repelling us in a certain direction. I can become aware of my coffee consumption, but mostly it just winds up in my belly without having made any choice to drink it at all.

I am opposed to the theory of determinism on purely moral grounds. Determinism not only discounts free will it also discounts freedom and allows the institutionalization of all manner of horrors because that is just the way things are meant to be.

Determinism is a horrifying thought, if we assume that there is only a material component to our existence. Our comfortable physical reality only accounts for 4% of the universe. It's possible that what we call spirit is really a sense of, and ethereal connection to, the dark matter/energy which constitutes the rest of it, or it could be something independent of both, but either way it seems to behave according to a different set of laws (or at least a different perspective of the ones we understand.) I think it is that component which lies partially detached from the chain of causality.

We don't want to believe that we have no control, so our ego creates an illusion and we behave as if those were the actual operating conditions. As a result, our external world begins to reflect that path more and the original state less. It becomes the new reality, we manifest our own destiny. We're not so much changing the course of the railroad as creating an entirely new set of tracks, and somehow the train jumps from one set to another, like an electron jumping from one shell to another without ever existing at any point between them. So, we are bound by our fate... but fate is also bound by our free will. In one sense we are liberated, and in another we are just hitch-hikers in our own bodies.

Not to get too Christian-specific about this, but it reminds me of the Pope's infallibility. What he declares ex cathedra, God will make so. The covenant between us and God means not only that we are all swept up in His plan, but also that we have the power to change the plan (if not completely unencumbered then at least within certain parameters) and He will honor our choices. We have cooperative free will, but we do not have any free will alone. We are co-creators of our own existence. A comforting and awe-inspiring thought, yet frightful in its responsibility. If it is a horror to ponder things that are meant to be, it is more terrifying to ponder what fates might be brought into a realm of infinite possibilities.

The different between what is alive and what is not alive is creative free will.

Is it? When I think of the senses I do not possess, both those of animals and the technology which imitates and/or surpasses them, and when I consider all the things that never touch my awareness, I wonder sometimes if I was ever truly alive. Perhaps my condition of death has merely been disguised by an ego which cannot accept reality. And if I am alive, are the stones any less alive simply because they do not possess the same awareness which I have discovered within myself? Do they then also have spirits and free will which simply eludes my ability to comprehend? What sins lie within my arrogant refusal to acknowledge their rights to exist as they are, as I smash them apart to serve my own ends? Do they, and everything else in the universe, not also deserve the same respect I give to trees and birds and men?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I probably should have said, "The difference between what is living and what is inorganic is creative free will." to be more clear.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I probably should have said, "The difference between what is living and what is inorganic is creative free will." to be more clear.

I get what you're saying, I'm merely postulating that perhaps the "living" distinction between animate/organic and inanimate/inorganic isn't as clear as we like to think it is either.

At the quantum level, what's the difference between the living and the inorganic? How does one quantify creative free will quantumly?

I believe that the entire universe is alive, and that it's spirit is that which we call God. I also believe that everything in it also has it's own spirit, both individual and interconnected, though we may not be able to relate to them in any meaningful sense. Even the smallest particle is animate, constantly vibrating. What guides them? Do they have any choice in which way they dart hither and yon? I really can't say. I don't know if I can quantify free will, and I'm not certain that the free will of an electron directly correlates to the understanding we apply to our own lives. I think creativity is more like a continuous field, an infinite source of energy which can be tapped by those in contact with it. I know there's life out there among the stars, I'm just not sure there's life that we would recognize in the traditional sense of the word.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Living (organic) things tend to create order out of the chaos of inorganic things.

I prefer the tumult of liberty to the quiet of servitude. Mmm, free radicals... ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At the quantum level, what's the difference between the living and the inorganic? How does one quantify creative free will quantumly?

At the quantum level, all things are the same, all things are the source, all things are God. I am God, you are God, collectively we are all God as well as all the things around us and thru out the universe.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The covenant between us and God means not only that we are all swept up in His plan, but also that we have the power to change the plan (if not completely unencumbered then at least within certain parameters) and He will honor our choices.

This is also my understanding of our relationship with God and am thankful for the limitless opportunities to share in His creation. Edited by Songster

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But is god(dess?) bigger than the universe?

If by "bigger" you mean transcendent, I would say yes, even an in infinite multiverse. I believe the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Whether I take a scientific or metaphysical point of view, whether consciousness is an emergent phenomenon or a fundamental property of the universe, it doesn't seem to make a difference in the result to me.

This is also my understanding of our relationship with God and am thankful for the limitless opportunities to share in His creation.

Aye, my gratitude waxes and wanes, but even when the moon is new, so to speak, it is always there. Life is a constant vibration, a magnificent engine, a never-ending journey of growth. Sometimes folks say that the concept of heaven is a crutch for those who are afraid of reality, but I think atheism can also be a crutch. There are no guarantees that the afterlife will be pure and joyous, and it's rather terrifying to consider that it may go on without a God to console us. It is very comforting to contemplate utter oblivion in that scenario. I see that deep shadow of unrelieved and empty agony (I have found a certain truth in pain, that nothing is ever so bad that it can't get worse)... but that likewise is encouraging to me, for even if there is no purpose it still suggests that the only meaning to life is that which I provide... and I can choose to create the bliss that was lacking in it simply by accentuating the positive and embracing that I AM. The deepest pains make room for the greatest joys, for I have also observed the truth that everything is transient. Heaven may not be real, but if there is anything at all, it will be, at least some of the time... and if there is not, the void will take me and I will not care. I cannot foresee any fate that leaves me forever in despair (though it may seem like that at times, hope does spring eternal,) and that speaks to me of a divine nature in all that is. Nothingness no longer seems to have a foothold in the universe. Symmetry has been broken, the scales are unbalanced... and I thank God for that. At least until the old rheumatiz flares up again. Sometimes I wish His creation wasn't quite so limitless. ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But is god(dess?) bigger than the universe?

No.

Bigger is a measurement of space. Space is limited to the universe. There is nothing bigger than the universe. The multiverse may only be potential universes that have statistical influence on this universe. Our universe may be the only one that exists because it is the one we are in.

Whatever god is, bigger than the universe is not one of their qualities since size is a quality of the interior of the universe.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you accept that the definition of big which refers to physical space is the only admissible one then you are technically correct. On the other hand, the old phrase "that was big of you" was not generally intended to imply a vast bulk.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, the future can affect the past. The best way to look at the universe in time is that it all happens at once everything causes everything else, throughout space, throughout time. The idea that this thing causes that thing later is just appearance.

In a way determinism still exists it is just open ended now. Outcomes can be unexpected from all past causes.

It also reopens the intellectual space, in the searching for cause and affect, for things to direct themselves.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very cool kingfisher, thanks for sharing the link.

Notwithstanding your link. Here is Hawking's take on the issue (from his book The Grand Design):

Do people have free will? If we have free will, where in the evolutionary tree did it develop? Do blue-green algae or bacteria have free will, or is their behavior automatic and within the realm of scientific law? Is it only multicelled organisms that have free will, or only mammals? We might think that a chimpanzee is exercising free will when it chooses to chomp on a banana, or a cat when it rips up your sofa, but what about the roundworm called Caenorhabditis elegansa simple creature made of only 959 cells? It probably never thinks, That was damn tasty bacteria I got to dine on back there, yet it too has a definite preference in food and will either settle for an unattractive meal or go foraging for something better, depending on recent experience. Is that the exercise of free will?

Though we feel that we can choose what we do, our understanding of the molecular basis of biology shows that biological processes are governed by the laws of physics and chemistry and therefore are as determined as the orbits of the planets. Recent experiments in neuroscience support the view that it is our physical brain, following the known laws of science, that determines our actions, and not some agency that exists outside those laws. For example, a study of patients undergoing awake brain surgery found that by electrically stimulating the appropriate regions of the brain, one could create in the patient the desire to move the hand, arm, or foot, or to move the lips and talk. It is hard to imagine how free will can operate if our behavior is determined by physical law, so it seems that we are no more than biological machines and that frew will is just an illusion."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
Sign in to follow this