Free Will vs. Predestination

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Bound by fate
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Total votes : 60

Free Will vs. Predestination

Unread postby Cao Oda » Fri Jan 30, 2004 6:49 am

One thing always roled through my head is that are we all bond to a predestined fate and free will and illiusion or not what are your thoughts?

some people always tell me everything happens for a reason :?
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Unread postby Ranbir » Fri Jan 30, 2004 10:34 am

Free will man, everything is a result of our actions right? Saying it was "meant" to be, or something...seems like you're not taking responsibilities(sp?) for your own actions.
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Unread postby Cao Oda » Fri Jan 30, 2004 10:41 am

Well I go with free will as well but maybe other people have other ideas or this can be completly one sided subject and this subject gets lost with the other millions of lost topics who never made it big :!:
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Unread postby hikarinoyami3 » Fri Jan 30, 2004 12:35 pm

I think people are bonded by fate and even though people think they have their own will, they are actually locked by fate.

Did you ever have an insight that seemed normal and when the event happened, it looked like deja vu? I guess that would be fate.
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Unread postby Jiang Xun » Fri Jan 30, 2004 2:20 pm

In theory, time travel, which is endorsed by Hawking and Einstein and other great minds of the past 100 years, prove that there is no free will.

If in twenty years your working in an office building, there is little you can do to change that, b/c no matter how you fight it, it comes out the same way. You could fight it tooth and nail, but b/c you fought it tooth and nail, is the reason you work in that office building.

Free will is an idea which lets people hope that they have control over their lives, which we do, but it always ends a certain way.
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Unread postby Ranbir » Fri Jan 30, 2004 5:12 pm

I'm not sure I understand that last post...

If in twenty years I end up working in an office building...surely I can leave that job??

And I believe the theory on timetravel is, yes, one future will remain, but because there are numerous crossroads (you come to a decision, option A or option B) those futures will split, causing parallel universes...I'll actually look for the article on it.
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Unread postby Emily » Fri Jan 30, 2004 6:27 pm

HiddenRanbir wrote:I'm not sure I understand that last post...

Look at it this way. Imagine that it was possible to see into the future, and you saw that 20 years from now you'd be working a boring desk job. You don't think that fits your personality, so you decide to try and change that.

You decide that you're going to avoid the business world and become a concert pianist, hoping that this will enable you to avoid the boring future that you saw. You spend the next five years studying with masters and practicing five hours a day. You're good, and offers begin to pour in.

One day, you get an offer from a recording company that would like to make an album of your music, and you set up an appointment to negotiate with them. On the way to the meeting, you get into an automobile accident. You get out alive, but your left hand is crushed and has sustained permanent nerve damage. Because a pianist is so reliant on both of his hands, your career is over.

A good friend of yours feels sorry for you, and in an attempt to help he gets his father to offer you a position in his company. You start off small, but eventually work your way up the corporate ladder.

And so, despite your best efforts, you find yourself in the same boring desk job that you sought to avoid in the first place.

Does that help?


Actually, the real question is: Would you still have been stuck in the boring desk job had you not seen the future and tried to change it? If the future is shaped by the actions of the past and present, could things have been different had this one action- traveling to the future- not occured? Had it never happened, it therefore would have never set off the chain of events that led you to drastically altering your life to become a pianist. So, would the future have been different?

On second thought, it's probably better if you try not to think about that. I wouldn't want anyone to get a migraine. :P


Basically, the idea is that there is a sense of inevitability in time travel. This makes things really complicated, but it's rather fun to try and puzzle it out. Another example is the Grandfather Paradox. According to this, it is impossible for you to go into the past to kill your grandfather and prevent your birth. If you did such a thing, then you would never have been born in the first place. And, since you never existed, you would have therefore been unable to go back into the past and kill your grandfather.

Complicated, isn't it? :P

However, I think that this has little to do with the issue of free will and predestination. Think of it this way. Imagine that you were to able to take a peek in the future, say the year 2025. While you were in the year 2025, the years 2004- 2024 would have been in the past.

One theory is that time is linear. It's not possible for us right now to go back in time and change what we did in the year 1999, is it? No, of course not. If you imagine time as a straight line, then it might help you to understand what I'm saying a bit better. You can move forward and backwards along the line, but the line still remains one single, unbroken, straight line.

So, according to this, it would not be possible for you to change your future. It's not predestination though. Predestination makes it sound as though the whole thing is being guided by some unseen presence or force, and I don't believe that is so. Rather, it's an issue of past, present, and the linearity of time.



As for predestination versus free will, I'd like to believe in free will, and that I alone govern my actions and can decide what becomes of my future. Predestination is just another part of 'pocket providence'. When bad things happen- like unnecessary or untimely deaths- it's far easier to say "Well, that's God's (or whoever's) way" or "That's part of God's plan" than actually trying to figure out why these things happen. Besides, I think it makes people feel important and better about themselves. People can claim that life is sacred and that some unseen force has a master plan to guide us all, and it make us feel special and separates us from other animals.

So, I like to believe that I decide what happens in my life. For instance, right now I can finish this post, or I can go and put a gun in my mouth and kill myself. I'm free to do either, but my decision is to finish this post.

Then again, it's arguable that I was predestined to finish this post instead of killing myself.

It's a vicious cycle.
"The person who knows how to laugh at himself will never cease to be amused." --Shirley Maclaine
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Unread postby Seven at One Stroke » Fri Jan 30, 2004 10:29 pm

Just yesterday I was reading a pretty boring paper for my neurobiology class. It was boring because it had little to do with NPB, and because it was only an introduction to a problem I've grappled with hundreds of times before - the distinction between a brain and the mind, the body and the self. But there was a very interesting idea the paper presented me, and that was the idea that minds are the brain's model for people.

(Those interested can check out the article:
Barlow, H.B. (1990) The Mechanical Mind. Ann. Rev. Neurosci. 13: 15-24)

What I've got from the article was that, the mind is a creation of the brain. Through interactions with other people and the surroundings, the brain builds a database of experiences from which it constructs the self-awareness. And in interactions with other people, the brain builds up the minds of other people to predict their reactions.

The brain is ultimately a biological system that obeys the laws of chemistry and physics, and the mind is the creation of the brain in order to enhance the probability of the organism's survival (or at least initially). Since every process that goes on in the brain is the consequence of physics, then it can be said that, ultimately, life is predestined.

However, the conclusion is entirely pointless, because of two reasons: 1. we cannot predict the precise motion of objects because of the Heisenberg's uncertainty principle. 2. the mind is the creation of the brain.

From 2, the mind has no control of itself, that is to say, the mind itself is limited to and directed by its physical counterpart - the brain. Every time that we perceive that we make a conscious choice, the decision is truly determined by the brain. It is only memorized and put into context by the mind.

Although this seems to extricate responsibility from all our action, it is actually not so. Because of the mind's limitations and the impossibility of predicting the future, the only instrument through which we can comprehend the world and ourselves - the mind - perceives a free will. Even though we live entirely in the past (or more precisely, in the fraction of a second that is now), we perceive a linear movement in time. Without the mind, the universe doesn't exist, because there's nothing left to perceive it. Therefore, perception is essentially reality.

From the mind's perspective, we have free will.
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Unread postby Kong Wen » Sat Jan 31, 2004 10:03 pm

I believe in free will. Both ideas are fraught with difficulties and complexities, but I am of the opinion that predestination comes with the worst of them (freedom from responsibility, etc.).
"We spread the time as we can, but in the end the world takes it all back."
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Unread postby Ranbir » Sun Feb 01, 2004 11:00 am

I was just thinking, if there is predestination, your fate already decided...what decides it? Surely to believe in an idea where a path has been chosen for you...must result in you believing someone, or something predetermining that path for you.
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