Fate, Chance and Choice

What defines a person? If we think about our individual place in the world, what exactly is it that we can hold onto; what can we use to understand that even after our life passes, some part of us will still exist? Is immortality what we’re all ultimately after? If you’re having trouble swallowing eternal sunshine of the blessed mind versus cruelty objectified as an eternal agonizing reality, alternative choices must be made. Reincarnation, a rebirth as a new soul versus unending stillness. Look at this. Look at how appetizing the popular choice is. Sure the reincarnation isn’t too bad as a way to continue existence for all time, but when faced with ‘the unending bliss of heaven’ there’s really no choice. How could you say no to christianity?

What if Christianity was based on false beliefs? There are a lot of things right with christianity, don’t get me wrong. The whole love thy neighbour thing, well that’s brilliant. The seven sins thing, well that also scores marks in my books. Trouble is, no Christians seem to be all that interested in the basics these days. I guess the present day crusades are a lot more righteous then pious living. I don’t know though, I’m not a christian. Sure I was baptized, but if you don’t believe then it doesn’t really count, does it?
I read the DaVinci Code a couple months ago and it really got me thinking. A lot of the ideas presented in this book are very provactive to a lot of people. I think that a lot of Christians read the book and felt that this was a more plausible scenario then that presented to us by the Church. To anyone who hasn’t read the book, I’ll summarize the major points that I took from the book: (Warning, spoilers)

  • The Christian religion is based on the dieification of Jesus, a philosopher. Some time in the eight the century, the then current roman emperor and the papal beginnings of the christian faith decided that in order to control the masses, it would become necessary to dieify Jesus, to turn him into the son of God, some kind of greater person.
  • Mary Magdalene wasn’t in fact the whore of Babylon; in fact she was the wife of Jesus, Disguised as John in Leonardo Da Vinci’s ‘Last Supper’, and bore Jesus children.
  • The bloodline of Christ is the Holy Grail.

I just taped a show on the History Channel that examined the Da Vinci Code. I caught the tail end of it the other day but missed all the arguments. The conculsion was fairly straightforward – the Da Vinci code is a whole lot of bullshit. I’m curious though to see how in depth their case is because the main tenets of the story are very plausible to me. I am first and foremost a man of Science. For me, stories of unexplainable miracles are not science. It’s fairy tale. I live in a world of science. You live in a world of science. You wouldn’t be sitting here reading this post on your computer if the science of reality didn’t exist as predicted. To believe that science is pick and choose is ludicrous. I was watching something on the cbc about the battle between evolution and intelligent design in Kansas. One of the speakers they showed in favour of evolution said something to the effect of “science is not a popularity contest”. To believe in the words of the writers of the bible as law, when major precepts of that book – mainly evolution and the age of the earth are so clearly wrong, is pure tomfoolery. When the roots are fragile, just how strong do you think the tree really is? These invalid beliefs cast a shadow of doubt on every word in that holy tome.
The falsehoods of Christianity extend beyond these two examples. What about the myth of Heaven and Hell? Is it not just a desperate grasp at immortality? Is this false promise just our way of comforting ourselves against the great black? The inky depths of non-existence? It’s a scary thought, for sure. How can we think about that as an alternative? Is it an alternative? If not Heaven or Hell, then what?
I’ve spent a retarded amount of time thinking about this. See, I don’t buy Heaven. It’s not Hell that I find hard to believe, it’s the thought of Heaven. As much as it would be wonderful to exist in a state where everything is harmonious, all questions are answered and love is the universal characteristic, I have to wonder how much of that creature occupying that particular state of consciousness would in fact be me? What defines a person? Is it your personality? If all of humanity is flawed, and flaws are not present in heaven, then how can any of us enter heaven and still be human?
So I don’t buy it, no sir, not a bit. I think it’s a sham, a magic show, a flash of the hand to hide the real show. So if Heaven doesn’t exist, neither does Hell, and that leaves altenatives. Can I deal with the dark certainty of non-existence? Is it easier to think of reincarnation?
I’ve talked about reincarnation before, but I don’t think I’ve come to any definitive conculsion on that. I said before about reincarnation:

So basically our identities (you could say souls) reside in a complex pattern of interconnected neurons. This structure is what defines who we are, and each structure is unique in this world. However we live in an infintely sized universe, probably one of an infinite number of universes. Infinity squared! 😛 With the infinite nature of existence there is an infinite number of possibilities for nature to create life in some form or another, and herein lies what I believe is the truism of reincarnation – that complex pattern of connections is bound to manifest itself in some form another again and again for all ‘time’. Be it amidst interconnected roots of some alien rainforest to the complex interactions of noble gases on a Jovian type planet, the pattern of complexity that defines who you are will manifest itself repeatedly. In essence, your individuality is nothing but a pattern, but a pattern that has always existed and will always exist.

I figure that reincarnation is still a possibility, although now I believe that the Universe is finite in size but cycles through an infinite amount of permutations through infinite time.
So what options do we have here? Heaven and Hell, some form of Reincarnation or nothing? Nihlism? Is that really an option? For me, it’s hard to accept the fact of non-existence. I love being alive. I love the sensations that feed my perception of the world. I love being aware, I love interacting with people, I love existing. The thought of non-existence sends chills down my spine. My only defense against these terrible thoughts is that reincarnation as I see it is entirely probably, so why worry? If you’re not going to exist anymore then you won’t be aware of your non-existence at the time you cease to be. In the meantime, believing that I may in fact manifest in other forms for all time is comforting.
Is that what religion signifies at it’s roots? Self-delusion? I don’t think of any of us here on earth are capable of definitively answering that question. I guess we will always be left to wonder. Perhaps that’s the defining quality of human existence – always wondering.
Well I’ve meandered a bit in this piece haven’t I? Back to the point. The main thing that bothers me about adherents to the christian faith is their devotion to the principle of fate. The absolution that comes with passing the buck to the big guy, the head honcho in charge of all. Oh it was fated. God’s will. Can’t be helped, no personal responsibility here. That cast off of accountability for ones own actions is what kills me. What makes us us if we don’t accept our own culpability?
Then there’s chance. As my friends and I say, same same different. If you choose to say that every action in the Universe is random then you are in effect absolving yourself of responsibility for all the outcomes in your life, good or ill. Fate and chance are different perceptions of the same thing – exoneration from accountability. freeing oneself from accepting responsibility for ones own actions.
That’s why I’m a firm believer in choice. You see, when you accept that the Universe is malleable and responsive to the decisions that you as an individual make, then you start to view those decisions with a little more weight, with a little more concern as to their ramifications. I think that we all have it in ourselves to ‘do the right thing’, I suppose all we as a society have to do is come up with our definition of ‘the right thing to do’. Life is tough, it keeps presenting us with tough choices. Take the Terri Schiavo thing. Whats the right thing to do? Who has the right to determine her life? Who makes the choice?
You see, that’s a concrete example of how choices can affect the Universe. On one hand, she could have her feeding tube inserted again and live in a persistent vegetative state for many more years, eventually causing her husband and her family to file for bankruptcy. Or, some miracle technology could come along and restore her to a state of relative normalcy. On the other hand, her tube could stay out and she will eventually die. For either path of possibilities, a choice has to be made. This choice is what makes a person a person. Maybe it’s some kind of bizarre sculpting of the morphogenic field that surrounds us, or perhaps it’s a reverberation of our soul’s unique pattern, but in any case I believe that the choices we make define who we are. Otherwise, how can there be any kind of personal responsibility? We might as well say fuck it and do whatever the hell we want if there’s no responsibility for ones actions. Neither fate and chance permit accountability to happen. How then can one live their life with this perception?

* * *

So on a personal note, I am now unemployed. I guess the closest thing I can say is that I too am blogging full time, although with considerably less planning and far less readership. 🙂 My current plans include an extended vacation in Europe within the next couple of weeks. The length of that stay will be determined by the choice of a girl. Sure it’s cheesy but sometimes you have to follow your heart no matter where it takes you. Sometimes the choice isn’t made by you and that’s just a part of the human phenomenon. Determining which choices are yours to make and which are not is probably a good definition for wisdom.

2 thoughts on “Fate, Chance and Choice”

  1. I think its in our nature to systemize everything into some kind of order to predict the outcome in a world where no two things are alike and the only constant is change. And the choices people make are always based on fear of the unknown. And whats wrong with not knowing and pondering the possibilities. Science has no foundation next week they will find evidence of something new that will completely change a theory. If life is by choice then how come I didn’t get to choose when I was born , my parents, my education etc. Everything that I am right now I could have been yesterday or tomorrow but I am right now. The only one absolute truth that I know is right now this very exact moment THATS IT. The answer is in embracing the human experience what it is to be human and who I is how I feel at this very exact moment. If I gage who I am by some external factor rather than looking within myself I will never be free.

  2. Thanks for the blog… I have just a quick comment…
    Have you honestly researched your conclusions regarding Christianity? I would suggest reading some intellectuals who believe so as to receive a real understanding of the facts. For example A.E. Wilder Smith’s He Who Thinks Has To Believe (The Word For Today, 1981). Sometimes we read something we want to believe (DiVinci Code) and we embrace it’s message without spending time with the facts. I can not prove Jesus came out of the grave (i.e. Miracles) but there is plenty of evidence that Christianity started with the 12 Apostles and the early church (countless Martyrs and writtings of the early church fathers and other non-Christian historians). So before you embrace a book like DiVinci Code you might think about why you reject plain truth for a modern day fictional book.
    Just my two-cents…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *