Fate, determinism and freewill

Freewill is the extent of choice we have over our life and its outcomes.

There are three ways of looking at fate.

It is all determined

Some scientists say that it is all genetic, we have no freewill, which is to say we are like robots with preconditioned software, thus we have no choice over what we do.

Some religions offer the outlook that we are the play things of a “God” or gods, we exist for their amusement, we must worship them, obey them, and we get punished if we fail their needs in any manner.  The “God” or gods know all that is about to happen, and if we suffer as a result of events in life it is the “gods will” for which we should not question.

Thirdly, there are those who think that the movements of stars and planets determine our fate, so those that believe this consult astrological charts.

The Greek view

Though we are the play things of the gods we are free agents to decide if we wish to play along. Both gods and men are subject to fate, which is addressed in Homers Iliad about the Trojan war.  In the Iliad the war is in stalemate until Hector kills Patroclus, an action that activates fate for which even the gods dare not interfere, a chain reaction that will lead to the doom of Hector, Achilles and Troy. In the Greek view we are free agents until we make a choice, then fate kicks in which determines the outcome.

The Viking view

The Vikings call fate Wyrd.  Every object has three weavers known as the Norns who are weaving out the destiny of the object.  The Wyrd mixes free will with determinism. The Norns spin from the natural law of the Cosmos, which Heraclitus would call the Common, three threads as follows:

That which has happened

All our past moments determine our present and future moments.  Past cannot be changed once it has happened, but remains a force to determine our fate, thus it is 100% deterministic.

That which should happen

Our design, our nature, our DNA determines our fate.  Things like intelligence and sexual identity determines how we act in a given situation.  This thread is 100% deterministic.

That which is happening

This is impacted by a combination of strife (everything is moving according to its own agency collides with other objects causing strife), and choice (freewill to navigate the strife of life). This is 100% freewill, but with a Greek warning that our choices will determine in conjunction with the two other Wyrd threads our fate.

This is a thread where the doomed warrior with courage can defy the odds and survive.  An example could be the plane crash in Libya in 2010, everyone but one boy survived.  The plane and passengers were doomed by fate, and the boy should have been doomed, but against the odds his fate protected him.


11 responses to “Fate, determinism and freewill

  1. If there is a higher power that is arranging the threads, the humor of universe presents the thought that we are all a handful of pick-up-sticks and randomly released. I personally lean toward the Greek thought, but I do find some interesting points in the other theories. Nice post.

  2. Then there’s the Berkeley view, hahaha.

    • I am sure I have missed a few interpretations 🙂

      • Berkeley’s a wonderful read. The way it was taught to me had him saying something like we’re free to be who we’re programmed to be, heh heh. But as with most things, interpretations are merely that, and abundant… Great topic, free will is an awesome thing to discuss.

  3. Great post here, I know that feel a lot less free living in a westernised country! The media has a profound effect on the masses in the UK to the extent that I wonder how many people realise they are no longer truly free. Quite a worry. Thanks for firing up my mind this morning….Happy day, lee

    • Thanks for your comment. Many people are asleep, and the amount of liberty they have given away would shock them if they were awake enough to realise it.

  4. If god were to get mad at us shud we disobey him, then wouldn’t that make him a dictator?

    Freewill is something that drives us to face results of a situation, just like you mentioned. From those results we learn. What we learn we apply in other situations and face more different results that expose us to more ‘new’ knowledge which increases our experience. We use this experience to achieve what we desire and reach our goals. The kind of goals we set for ourselves determine the kind of human beings we are. The thought behind the goals determine our nature and the ability to stay on track defines our determination. All this characteristics constitute a person as a whole. So freewill does exist if we believe all the above characteristics exist. Otherwise we have no right to judge anyone for being what they are because they are destined to be that way!

    • You actually made me post this comment in the proposed theories section on my blog.

      Thanks for the help 😉

      • I jive with what you say. The brain is involved in the synthesis of patterns, so when an idea come along it will rip it apart and then glue it in to the existing patterns in memory. In this way no one person will treat a particular idea the same, for they look at the idea from different patterns in memory, and will integrate the idea into those existing patterns.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s