~ 5 Minute Read.
One of my foundational beliefs in life that influence my view of the world is determinism.
As a human being I understand cause-effect relationship: if I throw my plate on the ground, and it breaks, it will be broken, because I decided to throw it. In the same spirit, there is a reason for my decision to throw the plate. It may be because I was angry, or wanted to make a point or whatever — let’s not dwell on that for too long.
There is a reason for everything, anything can be traced back to an nearly infinitely long chain of nearly infinite other events. 1 Everything is “chance”.
I had a couple of conversations in German that debated whether everything is “random” or “determined”. In German, the word “Zufall” is ambiguous and can mean randomness or chance, sometimes not distinguishable by context. Randomness as I see it is the “pure randomness” that you would expect from looking at a particle in superposition 2, something that happens without (not just apparent, but truly) reason. Chance is when you roll a dice and it “coincidentally”/”by chance” lands to show a certain number. The later may surprise you — but the dice fell in a certain way because of the temperature in the room, the way you threw it, a gust of wind from someone opening the door…
How do I know that this is true? I don’t, but I find it makes sense to build your world view on a fundamental idea that is true. Additionally this world view comes with a useful couple of resulting mental states:
If everything is determined that means that what I decide is already fixed by a basically infinite amount of influnces from my past. 3 So do I even have “choice” in a sense that it matters what I do? Yes.
Since a decision at present is influenced by your past, you can decide to be a part of those influences for a future self. What a convoluted sentence:
You can not influence your past — it’s… past? —, and the present is already happening, you can merely experience that. You can, however, influence the future, which is the present and past each of a future you. If you make the decision now (e.g. because of reading this blog post) to be part of the influences of some “now” that is yet to happen, that is the key to breaking out of the circle of having “life happen to you” and not just being pushed around by determinism.
More resulting mental states will follow in upcoming blog posts. That’s determined by my determinism to do so.
- Virtually infinite, many more than particles in the Universe, but probably countable ;P Had a discussion about this once.
- So, yes, there is randomness also, but not that much on a “makro” level…? Had a discussion about this once.
- An idea I probably got from neural networks in machine learning: a way to train a set of “neurons” so that behave a certain way for a certain input set… Your brain is trained by every microsecond of your life and therefore determined by your past.
Written in 40 minutes, edited in 10 minutes.