Uncertainty in Accepting Determinism

Hi all,

sorry it’s been a really long time, like a week or even longer. The bio reading has been going well, but not fast enough. I’ve covered 500+ pages of a 1250 page book, but I only have 9 days left to review, which is less than half the time to review more than half the book.

Today, I want to do the short follow up not really on the defense of free will that I said I would do after discussing determinism, but more of a denial of blind acceptance of determinism. I’ll try to formulate some arguments from reading and thinking as to why free will is a plausible idea, but right now I need to catch up on some sleep.

 

This is a moderate viewpoint in support of free will, meaning that it accounts for choice when not under duress, and that although affected by our surroundings, that we as people are free to make each choice.

In order for the world to be governed by determinism, this would mean that every action that has ever occurred has been caused by the circumstances before it. If a single choice was made of something’s own accord in the duration of our universe, then free will exists. Furthermore, free will can be an educated choice based on assessment of one’s surroundings. If we were to strip observation away and call it solely a deterministic trait, then free will could not be proved to exist, and we would be forced to accept determinism as the law of the universe?

This seems unreasonable, to assume that something is incontrovertibly true simply because a differing viewpoint is wrong. We as thinking humans are able to make the conscious choice to reject such a notion and use reason to find the flaw in such an argument. To say that everything can only be viewed from a deterministic or free-will-ian perspective would be like saying everything is white or black. Simply because two things are opposite does not mean that they encompass the entirety of the real world. This means that even if free will isn’t real, we cannot simply accept an alternative.

 

I’ll try to stay active, but as of now I’ve postponed many aspects of my life such as working out, reading other literature, most youtubing as well…

Thanks for reading,

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Determinism and Choice (or lack thereof)

Hi all,

I’m really not nailing these posting dates. Sometimes it feels like too much to write days back to back. Then again, I guess that’s the consequence for falling behind.

Today I want to think about how the future plays out. In retrospect, everything appears a lot clearer than it did in the moment. I would like to explore the idea of determinism, the philosophy that all choices are determined by the course of past events. What this means is that each action is simply a ripple of the action before it, and that nothing in the present can occur out of choice––each action is already pre-decided by the past.

When following this thought train further, this implies that free will, the ability to make conscious choices out of many possibilities, cannot exist because every “conscious” choice was already pre-determined.

So…does that imply the future is already decided based on the present? Yes, and no. If you were able to input every single factor that affected a situation into a computer and process the result, assuming you accurately modeled the situation, the expected result would occur in real life as well. For example, if in the future I was to write a philosophical discussion, we could simulate this by accounting for my surroundings, the computer and its keys, music playing in the background, time of day, how I was feeling emotionally that day etc. Even for such as simple case, the possibilities are already countless.

As this example illustrates, even the very near future is challenging to properly assess. As these near futures are combined with other near futures to try to predict a further future, the possible worlds ascend off into infinity. What this means is that even with unlimited computing power, it would only be possible to eliminate failed realities as we got closer and closer to the desired event. Eventually, the computer would be left with only one choice as the event happened in real time.

I’m not sure what this concept is called exactly, but the reasoning implies that predicting the distant future would not only take immense computing power, but also only be capable of producing probabilities rather than certainties.

Continuing onward, since each future is determined by an earlier future, eventually this timeline hits the present. Going further backwards, the present is determined by the past.

Image result for past present future

Eventually, this regression through time leads us back to our births as individuals. From our very first breaths, do we have choice? We aren’t capable of preventing ourselves from breathing, as this instinctual process is automatic. Each moment onward, our surroundings (parents/guardians, household, relationships) end up shaping our decisions. So, from the moment we are born till the moment we die, the idea of choice remains illusory rather than grounded in reality.

Although some may argue that in each moment we are capable of making a choice to change the future, we must consider if this is really a choice? Based on the conditions surrounding the person, their decision has already been made. Whether it’s through assessing all of the traits that impact the result, relying on gut feelings, or simply flipping a coin, all of these results can be determined in the moment of the present leading to the future. The factors leading up to the choice have already occurred/been reasoned out, hence why there is no ambiguity in this regard. Similarly, how the person feels in the moment is determined by all the interactions they have had with the world in the past few moments as well as their entire life. If the coin lands heads and the decider makes a choice, as the coin shakes to a stop, the side which is up has already been determined. Nothing is unpredictable in the immediate future as long as we are willing to assess every factor leading up to it.

 

That’s my case for determinism and the idea that free will does not exist. I think I’ll cover a case for free will existing in the next post.

 

Thanks for reading, and have a great day.

Running In Reverse

Hey all, sorry for being late, again. Today (Friday but 2 days late) is poetry day.

I have a weekly reminder on my phone, but the past 2 days have been pretty rough.

There was some inexplicably disastrous friendship drama, and a few of my close friends had a falling out, me included. It really stung, because some fundamental differences in values were revealed. I realized that some people were what I wished they weren’t, and some were surprisingly who they were.

Personally, my belief is that a core value of wanting, and needing to improve after mistakes and pain is necessary to be happy whilst achieving what you desire and more. Attempting to pretend a problem doesn’t exist is not only unacceptable, but grounds for distancing a relationship. This is alright in your own life, even if I disagree with you, but when the problem affects others it must be addressed with honesty and cooperation.

For me, this is because small underlying differences if not discussed bubble up later in larger issues, and with time become explosive eruptions. Rather than pretending the ground isn’t surging beneath our feet, it’s simply better to acknowledge and agree to disagree, or acknowledge and agree to analyze, work together, and grow as people. Agreeing to disagree, however, does not mean that this same issue will be disagreed upon repeatedly in the future…it should be thought about privately, and only confronted when there is insightful discussion to be had.

When I realized that some of these friends simply wished to pretend that everything was alright and normal. Everything was not normal, so I made a choice. This choice was not to be cold and burn ties, but simply to refrain from extending a deeper friendship with these individuals. The choice to bury problems engenders the discussion of honesty…because if we cannot be honest about our values, there is no way we can have honesty on issues constructed upon these values.

Right now, I wish to share a poem on the events of the past few days, just about how I feel based on these experiences.

 

Running in Reverse

Just a crack in the dirt, they said

Nothing to worry, press onward

Let’s build on this foundation

a friendship.

 

 

Just a line in the sand, not in rock

The wind blows, and changes yes?

Protect the weak sprout yet not

the sapling?

 

Just once, a compromise of value

We all have differences, you know

They said we could laugh and play

in harmony.

 

But it’s not just a crack in the dirt

Nor simply a line in the sand

Not a singular loss of values

but untruth.

 

Can we be frank with each other

If we don’t perceive the divide

Constantly bury our principles

for this?

This is toxic––running in reverse

 

All of these views expressed are not intended to be laid down as fact, in a dogmatic manner, but simply as my world view for building deeper relationships.

Apologies again, for the late post and somber tone.

 

Thanks for reading,

Take care, and have a great day

Rushing By

Hello all,

First day back, second semester junior year. I’ve been thinking a lot about where I’m headed, what I’ve achieved leading up to now. Sometimes my feelings are challenging to comprehend––jubilation, fear, passionate, pained––fluctuating as the tide.

Some of these milestones are approaching so fast, like the earth rushing up to meet a skydiver (although really, the skydiver is meeting the ground).

 

In 2 months, I take the March SAT, hopefully for the first and last time as part of the college process.

In 2.5 months, I will assess my results in building relationships and ask a girl to prom. Praying I have the guts to do it, and the friendship to get a yes.

In 3 months, I take the first heavy round of AP tests, with the potential to realize my french est entièrement poubelle among other subjects.

In 5 months, school ends and college apps begin. My future rests on decisions to travel to far away places (not Stanford), and whether a school is willing to accept me.

 

and before I know it, the first phase of my life will be over. In a blink of an eye, life will change again. It’s times like these that cause us to pause for a moment and realize the indifferent simplicity of reality. The world doesn’t pause or consider the gravity of our personal situations. Time continues to flow, pressing onwards with its insurmountable force. Although we can seize the moment, endeavor to hold it close and swim against time, in the end there is no possibility of gaining ground.

Because of this, perhaps it’s better just to embrace the present. Maybe I should look around, take everything in and live the moment. Even when looking to the future, our only choices are to live in the present, or become lost looking out to the world around us. Yes, we can attempt to observe, predict what comes––and through this process we may navigate to where we wish to be in a future present––but this does not detract from the simple appreciation of the present for what it is.

Tomorrow, I head back to another day of life, pursuing small goals with meaning only to me, working towards larger ones that may hold weight in the eyes of others. But even with how rapidly the moment departs to be replaced by another, I hope to cherish each one, for better or worse.

 

Thank you for taking part of this contemplation with me,

and have a great day.

A Walk in the Park: thoughts on life

I had just finished a track workout today, and I jog-walked through the park next to my school to warm down.

As I was walking along the path, for some reason I began contemplating my existence, and how one day undoubtably, I would die.

Yeah, alright…perhaps I was being too morbid. I’m afraid of death, I guess most people are. The weird thing is, this afternoon while walking in the park, I felt calm, and asked myself why worry about something that is inevitable? Why worry about what you can delay but not solve, when we have only so much time on this earth? I don’t really believe in spirits at this point in time, so for all I know, we only do live once, and then we’re gone. A speck of sand in a desert, a drop of water in the ocean, is really all the time we have. But it’s wonderful that it exists…that we can make so much out of what little we have.

As I was walking in the park, I realized that life is indeed like a marathon. It’s a long race, a difficult one, and it’s against yourself. You meet lots of people along that trail, some you run and talk with, others you’d rather not see again. Regardless, at some point we stop running. Whether you finish or not, the race comes to an end, either from completing the race, or not being able to.

You may come to the end, and celebrate that you’ve completed your marathon. You might laugh about it, talk about it with the friends you made on your run. And then, it’s over.

Sure, you can go for a record, beat everyone else. You can also walk the whole thing, although that may take a lot of time. It’s the same thing as being the change you want to see, acting on vindication and unerring motivation, or simply enjoying the small things, and appreciating the world and yourself for what they are.

No matter what one chooses to do on this long run, the most important thing is to enjoy it, and make that journey worth everything you gave for it.

With this, I’ll leave you all with a short poem:

 

Life

Life, what does it mean?

A long path of hope, despair

Blink, and it departs

 

Thanks for reading, and as always have a great day

No

The day when I can stand tall and say ‘No’

Is the moment when I know I’ve grown wise

I’ll need nothing by my strength to glow

Have no more anguish and pain to despise

 

The day when I’m braver and act with my heart

I won’t let anything quell my hopes and dreams

I have all the resources, the willpower to start

No reason not to start right now, no rationale it seems

 

So why not say no to those who hold us back

They are of no consequence, make your dreams come true

Don’t care about them, don’t let them give you flack

Open your eyes, and act in line with the values you look to

 

 

Hey. So I wrote this piece a little for myself actually. I need to say no a lot more forcefully. I set boundaries with my own morals, with my time, with myself, but sometimes I let others act against this because they aren’t me. However, this can be really unhealthy towards me…and I’m feeling it. I’ve let this unwillingness to stand firm to others be a weakness in myself.

Because of this, I am writing this post at 11:47 instead of 1 hour earlier, or perhaps even earlier. I’ve given my time away on a busy day, because I didn’t say no strongly enough.

For those of you who may struggle with a similar issue, please think about it. Ask yourself what you value, what comes first. Say no if anything comes between what matters to you most, because it’s in the way whether it’s an activity or event, or someone else who “needs” your help. Chance will have it that they asked a dozen other people, and you could spend your time better than stabbing yourself to help them.

Now, perhaps you might consider me overly cynical in this last regard. However, keep in mind I’m not saying be a jerk and ignore everyone who needs your help. Sometimes people are genuine, more often than not, actually. Just…be careful, and value yourself.

 

As always, feedback and discussion is appreciated.

Thanks for reading, and have a great day.

Forgetting to Live

(Quick note: Hey, so I know my posting has been sporadic to be generous. I’m going to get back into it, I owe myself this to get better, and I owe you guys as my audience this because you follow and read my content. I’ve found a small pillar of motivation I guess, and I won’t let it fall.)

I think I’ll be trying something different. Normally I write a poem, or write some thought piece. I think occasionally if I can pair them, I’ll just do both.

 

One day you’ll be gone, and they may never know

Your character, your sprit, your soul, your glow

Although someday, your name they may forget

A heart like yours will never sink with regret

 

The muddled words and fleeting thoughts

Mystifying memories that get tied in knots

The tests and exams that we studied for

The joy and pain we remember no more

 

Sometimes you wonder, what for and why

Just a light for a moment, before the goodbye

But there’s so much more, no time to misgive

Open your mind and smile, there’s a life to live

 

 

Hey all, hope you enjoyed this piece. My motivation for this piece came when my dad asked me some questions about biology, and I realized that although I learned it but a year ago, I had already forgotten much of it. It was a bit of sadness, a bit of embarrassment. So afterwards, I went to study a bit, and this theme of forgetting got implanted in my mind…. and okay, this is getting bland, moving on.

Most people when they die are remembered only by family and friends, maybe by students or admirers. But within just a few decades are gone forever. I think it’s a little sad, but then, does it matter? Who knows, were we born with a purpose to accomplish in the world? Regardless, I think it’s more important to live with a bright look, and know that whatever happens, we have an incredible gift, which is life. Sht gets bad, sometimes beyond depressing. Sometimes we lose close ones, work towards a life goal then watch it get taken away. Whatever it is, we suffer and ache. But that’s only one part of the story. The other is of existing, of living by what you believe in, and of finding beauty in the world and in yourself.

It’s beautiful to be alive. I know things are going to get more difficult, that I’m going to hurt, to fail, to break. I know I’m probably more fortunate than most, and I have no right to force my life philosophy upon anyone…but when things get tough and times are hard…remember that you’re alive, and no matter what things can change; you can change them.

Live

 

Thank you for reading, I really do appreciate getting to share my work. Um if you want to, feel free to leave feedback in the comments as to what you prefer to see, how I can improve etc.

Have a wonderful day,