Friday, February 5, 2021

Microstory 1555: Fate: The Causal Saga

Some people think that they have free will, while others believe in fate, but the truth is that it’s impossible to ever be sure one way or another, so why ask the question?

The answer is, for me, something that should be applied to the whole question of what we believe and why we believe it. What we believe to be true and what is true are relative terms. The thing is, free will is based on what we can control. Even when we say we’re playing the random number generator, the results are as predictable as any calculation. It’s not that we can’t be lucky, but even chance is ultimately determined. I suspect that we will only really start to understand the mystery of free will when we realize that there’s nothing we can do, that there’s no one for us to blame, and therefore no one to control. That’s when we’ll understand what true freedom is. About a week ago, I finished a book that has kept me away from blogging and reading for a while. I first heard about it a while back, when it was on the list for a discussion I was having with someone, and was intrigued by the idea. It’s the story of a family living in northern Alberta, and how that environment changes the lives of those involved. The wife is pregnant and has gone into labor, and leaves her husband to go to hospital, with her young son and her mother in tow. As she’s being wheeled away...

...a man rushes in, and claims to be the father. It’s not the husband, though, and you probably have a pretty good idea where this is going. So what does this have to do with fate and free will? Well, all the characters in the story had the opportunity to make whatever choices they felt necessary. They might have regretted it afterwards, or not. It doesn’t matter, it can’t be changed. Furthermore, each character is beholden to whatever choices the other characters made, as well as other people who aren’t characters. They’re also influenced by the weather, the geography, the time in which they were born. Now, when you add this all up together, a lot of people think this spells fate, but that’s not the case. Just because you don’t have control over everything, doesn’t mean you have control over nothing. If you could control all of reality, that would be omnipotence, and that is neither the opposite of, nor answer to, fate. So what’s the answer to this? Does fate exist? Or just free will. I say neither, really. We’re all just trying to make the best choices we can with the cards we’ve been dealt. It’s all about causality, which started with the big bang, and will end with the heat death. Trying to figure out any more details is futile, unnecessarily taxing, and unproductive. Just live your life, and be as happy as you can, while helping as many others as you can, as much as you can. Or don’t, who am I to judge?

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