Philosophical questions about religious/irreligious belief in fate.

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    Oct 08, 2014 11:02 PM GMT
    I ask this since there appears to be a great number of both religious and irreligious people here on realjock for a two-sided opinion of what your view is on the idea of fate?

    So fate is the notion that all events both future and past are/were predetermined which gives us some comfort in the thought that all things that happen to us both good and bad have meaning, but after a peaceful discussion with my aunt she brought up a lot of interesting points of when you think too in depth about the belief in fate.

    To have all events that have existed/will exist be already predetermined means that people don't really have what we call free will, everything we have done, are doing and will do is all going according to a set plan. It also means that all struggle and effort would be meaningless since they were all meant to happen and you would reach the conclusion you must reach regardless if you desire it or not.
    This also brings up the problem for those who believe in a holy omnipotent power (god) that if all is fated then the free will that god gave us doesn't really exist since we simply live according to the plan that he wrote. This notion also brings up the problem of evil because if all is going to his pre-established plan then all things bad were also predetermined which according to the fall from grace of lucifer can't be so because it was out of god's hands for him to become evil or if it were then god is an omnipotent power but that will not exercise influence on any of the existence he created but then that defeats any meaning any action that happens in our lives and that everything is but a series of random events without any meaning which is kind of depressing.
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    Oct 09, 2014 5:07 AM GMT
    I find the parallel universe theory more plausible, where everything that can happen has either happened already, or will happen eventually. That gives some credibility to fate while allowing wiggle room for free will as well.
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    Oct 09, 2014 6:17 AM GMT
    Monochromer said...To have all events that have existed/will exist be already predetermined means that people don't really have what we call free will, everything we have done, are doing and will do is all going according to a set plan...


    Be careful not to confuse the concept fate with the idea of free will, whether arguing either side of those.

    Whether you'd be naturally inclined, for instance, to avoid a car accident or to crash into another car, even if that decision wasn't really yours to make by free will--ie if you'd make that decision or have those reactions regardless because of preprogramming or genes or whatever--the outside circumstances which created that situation (rain, bad roads, poor signage, a distracted driver, whatever "events") had nothing to do with free will or no free will because you could have the random or predetermined situations of the event and then act upon that with or without free will.

    So even if fate exists, that alone would not necessarily deny free will which might be denied nonetheless, depending on strength of argument. I hope that helps.
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    Oct 09, 2014 8:09 AM GMT
    theantijock said
    Monochromer said...To have all events that have existed/will exist be already predetermined means that people don't really have what we call free will, everything we have done, are doing and will do is all going according to a set plan...


    Be careful not to confuse the concept fate with the idea of free will, whether arguing either side of those.

    I understand that but things like me choosing who to take on a date, and end up liking each other, and end up marrying, like that people would consider free will, you chose who you'd be with but if that's all according to plan then you didn't really choose, everything was set up for that moment to happen and you to "choose" to go on that date, it was never up to your whim, that's what i meant.

    Also i feel like you think i'm having an existential crisis, don't worry i'm not i'm just a very curious person icon_smile.gif
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    Oct 09, 2014 4:34 PM GMT
    Curiosity killed the cat; but satisfaction brought it back.~~saying

    You say you understand the difference but your example still confuses free will with fate. You are saying that the outcome of a situation which is often a matter not so much of decisions we make but of circumstances we find ourselves in determines whether or not free will exists. But that those things might intermingle doesn't mean they don't function independently.

    It is one thing whether or not we have free will, for example, to eat properly. That aspect of the problem can be argued either way. Either we have free will to eat this and not that, or, by our genetic make up, by our predispositions, by our preprogramming, we could only have made the choices to eat what we ate.

    But regardless of whether or not we have the free will to eat this and not that as I just described, we might develop a medical condition which we might have tried avoiding by not eating that. Genetic factors (not involved in decision making but in other bodily functions) or environmental factors (drinking polluted water or eating animal fats) might have had the greater effect and those are not matters of free will but of environment.

    I had an aunt who smoked through her 60s, about when her husband who never smoked died of lung cancer. She lived well into her 90s.

    Just because something doesn't go your way--or even if it does--doesn't deny free will, though it might add frustration. Certainly, denying free will neither frees you from responsibility for your thoughts, decisions, words and actions, nor does denying free will absolve life's tragedies, even if there is fate.
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    Oct 10, 2014 3:05 AM GMT
    I don't like fate. Nor do I like to find 'meaning' in fate. What's set is set, but I don't think that directly correlates to meaning. Nor can I understand or conceive my future as being planned already when I've yet to experience. Maybe our idea from Fate comes from an inability to undo the past. I like to say that 'Well, that's how that all happened' vs 'It's fate that I will have pizza for dinner.'. If you prescribe to fate, then you're dodging the line of Nihilism ever so gingerly. If you keep your prospects of a future open, you can learn from the 'That's how that happened' past and plan/deal with with something coming up. Yeah, I'd say Fate is a toll of regret and not wanting to try.
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    Oct 10, 2014 3:29 AM GMT
    Man is neither infinitely free not infinitely bound to something. He's in-between.

    If he's infinitely free he would have done and did whatever he would love to do despite what happens out. but he changes according to the environment he lives in.

    If he's infinitely bound to something, he cannot influence the environment he lives in and lives like a puppet that's controlled by its master. But that's not the case.

    For ex: If I wish to construct a house, I have the free will to choose the type of home I wish to build, but that free will is limited by or bounded to the resources I have.

    So, fate is a bit of what you make it and a bit of what's inevitable. In other words, it's a fascinating mystery.
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    Oct 10, 2014 7:10 AM GMT
    Monochromer saidI ask this since there appears to be a great number of both religious and irreligious people here on realjock for a two-sided opinion of what your view is on the idea of fate?

    So fate is the notion that all events both future and past are/were predetermined which gives us some comfort in the thought that all things that happen to us both good and bad have meaning, but after a peaceful discussion with my aunt she brought up a lot of interesting points of when you think too in depth about the belief in fate.

    To have all events that have existed/will exist be already predetermined means that people don't really have what we call free will, everything we have done, are doing and will do is all going according to a set plan. It also means that all struggle and effort would be meaningless since they were all meant to happen and you would reach the conclusion you must reach regardless if you desire it or not.
    This also brings up the problem for those who believe in a holy omnipotent power (god) that if all is fated then the free will that god gave us doesn't really exist since we simply live according to the plan that he wrote. This notion also brings up the problem of evil because if all is going to his pre-established plan then all things bad were also predetermined which according to the fall from grace of lucifer can't be so because it was out of god's hands for him to become evil or if it were then god is an omnipotent power but that will not exercise influence on any of the existence he created but then that defeats any meaning any action that happens in our lives and that everything is but a series of random events without any meaning which is kind of depressing.


    There are no laws which history must obey. All is fluid, even fate.
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    Oct 10, 2014 11:59 PM GMT
    Jerrsei saidI don't like fate. Nor do I like to find 'meaning' in fate. What's set is set, but I don't think that directly correlates to meaning. Nor can I understand or conceive my future as being planned already when I've yet to experience. Maybe our idea from Fate comes from an inability to undo the past. I like to say that 'Well, that's how that all happened' vs 'It's fate that I will have pizza for dinner.'. If you prescribe to fate, then you're dodging the line of Nihilism ever so gingerly. If you keep your prospects of a future open, you can learn from the 'That's how that happened' past and plan/deal with with something coming up. Yeah, I'd say Fate is a toll of regret and not wanting to try.


    You better hope the feeling isn't mutual. haha.

    But I think you are correct in thinking of fate as reflective rather than as predictive. If there is fate, then it exists in past tense looking back, not in the future tense looking forward. Even something that turned out to have been fated might have always been fated (might always have looked that way whenever looking back), but likely was never fating (might never have looked that way when looking ahead).

    Which doesn't deny certain fates, thus the use by date on purchases of dairy products.

    I think you're correct also on mechanisms endowing experience with meaning though I think you could give that some leeway, unless your fate is to be an automaton. Meaning seems intrinsic to human experience, easy to arrive at wrong meaning, it sometimes seems, but rarely if ever easily divorced from any meaning. The level of importance we place on meaning might be more to the point.

    While fate can be an excuse, it can just as easily be an explanation. It can glorify or humble even success (I am unworthy vs oh look, God picked me). So I think you need to put more thought into your notion of paying for the luxury of regret with whatever a lack of ambition buys.

    And if you would, expand on what you think you mean by your saying: "If you prescribe to fate, then you're dodging the line of Nihilism ever so gingerly."
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    Oct 11, 2014 3:24 AM GMT
    The answer, or lack there of, to your question is not the problem. The question is the problem. Questions which cannot be answered are bad questions.

    The only thing interesting about the absence of free will is that it can be embraced by those who are purely scientific (everything is caused by something else according to the laws of matter) and the religious (God has pre-determined the fate of all things).

    In the end it really makes no difference. You must act according to your best judgement.

    Best not to let pointless musings clutter your decisions. There are far more worthy philosophical topics that are vastly more challenging and important: Ethics, for example.
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    Oct 11, 2014 8:21 AM GMT
    There are words in our languages and cultures which express concepts of finite utility, and such words really do not withstand rigorous intellectualizing very well. Such words may be employed as words of comfort in times of stress, words of humor in random circumstances, and the like, but while useful in those circumstances, nevertheless do not represent a concept which is in fact true scientifically. Poetry versus literalness.

    The concept of Santa Claus is an excellent example: This dude we all thought for several years in our early childhood existed, who flew around the world in a sleigh bringing presents delivered through a chimney. Santa Claus as a concept is a fiction of finite utility, and when it is pushed beyond its intended uses, it is clearly not "believable." (Although Francis Pharcellus Church most famously clearly did give the best defense in Santa's believability!!! "Yes, Virginia....")

    The concepts of fate and of free will are of similar ilk. They are concepts of finite utility. They also unfortunately have become mired in the rhetorics of theology causing some people to ponder unduly about their scheme in the whole religious systems of belief. Looked at in the cold light of day, the idea that some little old man with a grey beard, or three lovely damsels, has been attending to each and every detail of everything happening in the world, is patently ridiculously absurd, and incorporating such a belief into one's core beliefs begs some questions about one's mental gifts. However, poetically blaming God or the three Fates for determining some particular result can be a propitious ameliorative social artifice to make an unpleasant event more palatable or a pleasant one more joyful.

    However, pushing such concepts beyond their useful linguistic lives should not be encouraged.
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    Oct 11, 2014 6:46 PM GMT
    "My first act of free will shall be to believe in free will."~~William James

    "Design, free-will, the absolute mind, spirit instead of matter, have for their sole meaning a better promise as to this world's outcome. Be they false or be they true, the meaning of them is this meliorism."~~William James

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    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZlW6FBEuKiE
    The fates are vicious and they're cruel~~Hedwig