Free will or Destiny?

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Landkiller, Jun 26, 2001.


Do we have free will, or is it all destiny?

Free will 0 vote(s) 0.0%
Destiny 12 vote(s) 80.0%
Yes 3 vote(s) 20.0%
  1. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

    Rando: So if I understand you correctly, then you DO equate "destiny" with "autopilot/no choices"?

    Hmm... I consider the possibility of "smoke screens"... that what you think may be "choices" and "branches" are actually "dotted lines" on the flowchart... they exist, but it has been already decided on the course of action that you will ultimately take. In other words: it's an illusion.

    I don't think fate "offers one path"; it IS one path but can give you a glimpse of other paths. Again, I don't see it as "must be this way automatically with no chance to see other choices".
  2. Rando Freaky Bear

    It would seem to be me vs. the rest of you.

    Is there no one else that agrees?

    The very definition of destiny dictates that you have no choice in the outcome of your life.

    Don't you find the idea of not being able to determine your own life dehumanizing?

    I ask you fate people this...

    Why would such a thing as fate exist?
    To what ends would it serve?
    If what we do in life is predetermined, then what is the point to life at all?
  3. Apollo Bird Boy

    I have no idea, really. But, like Rando, I choose to believe that I have free will, because otherwise it sorta sucks.

    I guess I can't put it any better than that.:)
  4. DÛke Memento Mori


    To all those that believe in destiny, don’t you find it a bit odd having your life predetermined - and predetermined by whom or what - exactly?

    I believe that life is to be lived, not played. The idea of destiny makes it as if humans are just playing a game that someone or something has already planned out. You mean to tell me that someone actually PLANNED some of us to be sinners - that some of the pains inflicted upon others are preset? What kinda demonic entity would set such malicious goals – God?

    The idea of destiny makes for a diabolic “God”…and if you don’t believe in God, than the idea of destiny is nonexistent, simply because it would have to be created by someone, and if it’s not God, than who – Selenia? Urza?
  5. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

    Remember, I also said I believed in free will. I was merely arguing because no one else was at the time.

    However, to answer Rando's questions (and kind of DUke's):

    Why would having your life predetermined be dehumanizing? If you like how your life is, it doesn't really matter, does it? If you DON'T like currently like it... that poses more problems.

    These questions can similiar be asked of God or any higher being and there's really no definite answer. How the heck can "mere mortals" know those answers? I could say "Why wouldn't a thing like fate exist, there's really no definitive proof for or against". What is the point of life indeed... another tough question.

    Regarding DUke's second paragraph, "sinner" is subjective in itself. You could ask why God allows the Satan to exist if God is all-powerful as claimed... and you could go back to the question that possibly "good" cannot exist without "evil" as a comparison. Humans just don't know these answers yet, if they ever will...
  6. DÛke Memento Mori

    ...who is this major power that planned our lives? You can't believe in destiny without answering this question.
  7. Ura Feline Lord of the Pit

    hmm, so many replies.

    The thing that many people misconcieve about destiny is that they think its a grand layed out plan of twists and turns, all done for them. Its not, destiny is a simple undetailed solution. Destiny doesn't make us who we are or makes the decisions in our lives for us, but it does give a vague answer for what will happen to us in the end. The entire idea of destiny is far to "faith" based to ever be truely defined with regulations and identifying descriptions.

    Why would such a thing exist? Why wouldn't it? Why does life exist, because of some primordial chemical "accident", because of a "god" being making us and putting us here? How you look at such things is largely determined by what you put more value in, the religious/faith based answers, or the scientific/fact ones.

    Sometimes things serve no ends and are simply the result or certain combinations of force and stimuli. To have to give it a definable end to serve is to in fact give it a destiny of its own, which pretty much erases the need for the entire question.

    What we do in life isn't predetermined, thats where our free choice and will comes into play. Our destiny, basically our end is determined to an extent, but even then can be influenced by our choices.
    By your example much earlier of dying in a plane crash for instance. Destiny doesn't say, "You will die in a plane crash on this date, blah, blah, blah." It will say something more like this "You will die from a fall." This leaves any amount of possibilities as it could be the plane crash, or tripping over your own two feet and cracking you skull on a sidewalk edge. Or perhaps you're a search and rescue member and your rescuing some hikers from a crevas when your support line breaks on your way back up and you die from, well, falling.
    All three situations have you dying from a fall, but visibly different as one is just tragic, the second kinda stupid, and the third heroic. It our free will and choices that dictated how we got there and what we were doing when we did get there, but we still fell.

    I for one do think life is a game, it more fun to go through that way at least. It just has some very serious consquences. My ideas on destiny are described above of corse and while by no means correct are what I believe, thats all.
    Though I will say that destiny from a religious perspective doesn't have to be created, it could just be, just like many beliefs around god or god like figures.

    As for god being somewhat diabolic, yes, he/she/it is. Its a christian/catholic belief that god is all good and perfect purity. But the simple fact that if god created the universe and all things in it, then he must have created the evil as well because such a force couldn't exist without him creating it. In order to create it he would have to know and understand it, which means that a part of him is it, which means that god is actually the ultimate bad ass of the universe and probably argues with himself alot. ;) j/k, its just a theory, a rather goofy one at that.
  8. Rando Freaky Bear

    des·ti·ny (dst-n)
    n. pl. des·ti·nies
    1 The inevitable or necessary fate to which a particular person or thing is destined; one's lot.
    2 A predetermined course of events considered as something beyond human power or control: “Marriage and hanging go by destiny” (Robert Burton).
    3 The power or agency thought to predetermine events: Destiny brought them together.

    Yes, destiny offers no choices and is out of our control. If destiny is the way of the universe, we all may as well be puppets.
  9. Lotus Mox New Member

    But destiny has chosen us to not be some puppets ;)
  10. Ura Feline Lord of the Pit

    Sorry, but technical representations from a dictionary or encyclopedia do little to truely define something that is based on what you believe spiritually.
    It human desire to classify and define everything that gives us definitions such as the one provided by Rando.
    However in that definition as well there are different meaning between the three lines. While 2 and 3 are similar, #1 is more of what I speak about in that destiny provides you with an unseen goal or ending that you will reach while not setting the course to get there.
    #2 is more to the meaning that Rando and others have been using as their view point for their side of the disscussion.
    Depending on which you believe to be more accurate is how you're going to decide your views on the subject. So depending on what you believe there can be no choices and we're all puppets as Rando puts it, or, we're all free to do as we please in life and how we live it and the choices we make are what makes our final destiny a good one or a bad one. Destiny won't change, but the way we go to get there is up to us.

    Think of it this way. A man is destined to become president of the USA. Depending on the choices he makes along the way he could do very well and get elected into office by the adoring public, or, he could just be another presidents, vise. Then one day a JFK situation happens where the elected president dies whether by dirty deed or natural causes and the vise is now the man in charge, hence he is president. They were two different distinct paths, but one is greatly more preferable to the other.
  11. Jake74 King of Worthless Trivia

    As the resident Devil's Advocate I must respond...

    There are two possibilities; free will and destiny.
    Free will is simply the idea that the future isn't set and Destiny is the idea that the future can not change.
    Although I do find it hard to believe that my thoughts and actions have no effect on my future, it is still a possibilty. After all, each and every thought could be a result of my predetermined path- which means that nothing that I think matters. If this is true it means that some higher power has set the future already. But if the future is set, why do we even think? Why don't we just do- eat, sleep, survive... This is why "I Think, therefore I am"

    As you can see, I plainly believe that our actions do affect our future, although one action on my part may be nullified by someone else's action. It may seem like we have no power over our lives sometimes, but we have the ability to change the future simply because we realize that we have a future.

    The idea of predetermined destiny can not be true. If it were, we would either be animals or there would be no need for us to think about our actions. Therefore, the future can change and we can all change our lives...
  12. Chaos Turtle Demiurgic CPA Member, Admin Assistant

    Free will gives us the opportunity to delay or even avoid our destiny. That of course means that destiny is not "set in stone," so to speak. There are certain things which we are supposed to do in life, which unfortunately were not included in our "Things To Do" list upon birth, so we must rely upon our intuition to guide us.

    That's the little "voice" we hear sometimes. Listen to it, and it can lead you toward your destiny. Ignore it, and it may or may not cause you to miss your destiny altogether. Free will.

    By the way, by destiny I think I must mean "potential destiny," if that makes any sense.

    What happens if you die without fulfilling it? I wish I knew. I like to think that you get another shot, but I just don't know. I do know that I'm nowhere close to fulfilling mine. At least, I'm pretty sure of it.

    Ah well, enough babbling from me for now.
  13. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

    Exactly, and I believe I asked this question a few posts before you.

    Rando: As Ura said, I don't believe you can really apply a human definition to such an abstract idea. But I like how Ura presented it: destiny doesn't have to have things mapped out for you down to the millisecond, it could be the overall objective for you in life and how you reach it is up to you - thus your decisions and choices (same thing for Jake74).
  14. Rando Freaky Bear

    Why is everyone against me? :(

    I'm running out of steam here, but I'll continue to chug along.

    Please take the time to read the essay located here:

    The following is an excerpt...

    Common sense also insists that Free Will exists. Who would deny that we have Free Will when we put one foot in front of the other and decide, of our own volition, of our own free will, to go for a walk or not go for a walk? Was is decreed at the time of the Big Bang if I can choose to go for a walk this afternoon or not? Such an assertion appears rather ludicrous even to the most arduous defenders of the "No Free Will School". To pretend otherwise is the domain of philosophers --- also known as professional nit-pickers. They go around and around in endless circle and do philosophical somersaults in the stratosphere by reverting to their favorite philosophical platitude: Ultimately nothing is knowable, because we do not know the ultimate nature of the universe.

    These philosophical hairsplitters then proceed to inform us that, since we can not be sure of anything we cannot answer the question if there is "Free Will" or not. However, this approach ignores the axiom that, for the very reason that we do not know ultimate truth, we have to accept some basic empirical and rational statements as the cornerstones of our scientific knowledge. We do not know "Ultimate Truth" but mankind and the scientific, rational mind, has an incomparable and incredibly wider and deeper knowledge base today as compared to only 500 years ago, not to mention 5,000 years ago. To avoid this spurious philosophical argument, we merely need to postulate the axiom: The universe exists and human beings exist because they manifest themselves to humans. Something can only be said to exist for purposes of human existence, if it manifests itself to human beings.

    ***I'll be back. I've presented my own argument of, "I think, therefore I have free-will", but I'm now going to gather other people's ideas as an aide.**
  15. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

    And though I don't profess to understand all of it, the author seems to be making the same assumption you are: that destiny controls every action, down to the "most miniscule", where Ura has postulated that destiny could be your overall "fate" in life and not get bogged down in details.

    The author also seems to stress that humankind's knowledge is so much greater now that it was in the past, so we can "safely" apply such laws to disprove the idea of "destiny". I would point out that humankind's knowledge has grown so much greater in the past 100 years; who knows what we'll know in another hundred? And really, considering the amount of time humans have spent on earth, 5,000 years is a drop in the bucket.

    As for his points:

    A. I'm not sure I understand it, but he seems to argue that because there are millions of investors in the stock market, you can't predict it. I would agree you can;t predict it to an absolute certainty, but you generally can predict which way it will go because of other factors that the investors look at (company reports, economy report, the Fed's decisions, etc). It's like that theory of Asimov in his Robot books (which I read a long time ago so I can't remember the name): the greater the number of people, the more certain you can predict their mass behavior.

    Not sure how B applies or if I understand it.

    C. Not sure I understand this also, but if the gambler continues to quit when he's ahead, he'll always win over the long run. If he continues to play until his money runs out, yes, he will lose in the long run.

    D. Huh? :)

    I also get lost in the discussion of axioms and postulates, especially his ending one. But I don't understand the argument of why we HAVE to accept some "basic cornerstones and empirical statements" in an attempt to answer the question. If we know that much already, we should realize that giving conclusions to insufficient data is a mistake, at best. It's like a crime lab trying to make the crime fit the facts, rather than letting the facts give an answer to the crime.

    Oh, BTW, not everyone's against you, Rando. There were some who argue for free will also. You just happen to be one at the same time as the others who argue against :)
  16. Rando Freaky Bear

    I think that it all boils down to this...

    If destiny is really the way it goes, if there is one fate that your life is pre-determined to become, then how can there exist any choice?

    If from birth there is one inevitable outcome of your life, then yes, it is a rigid, set path.

    If fate is just the END result, then I could technicaly do ANYTHING I wanted and still end up where fate dictated I should be when born.

    Let us say this. I am destined to become president. If the "Fate is not in the details" school is real, then I can be a maniac, drug-frenzied sadist, burning down houses and killing babies and still become president by some quirk of fate. How much sense does that make?

    If fate is a rigid path, and I am to become president, then I will not be a murdering, destructive fiend because murdering destructive fiends do not become president.

    By that line of thought, then yes, fate is one set path for your life that you can not change, because regardless of what destiny may want, there are certain things you simply can not do and still have some destinies fulfilled.

    Another example...

    I am destined to be Pope. There fore I can not decide to not become a priest, and then get married and then divorced and then denounce God and get excomunicated, because I would never become Pope that way. There is a path my life MUST follow for me to be pontif.
  17. Landkiller CPA Menace

    Ok. The author's initial argument seems to be that Free Will exists because we want Free Will.

    The author's arguments A-D do not disprove anything, merely they point out difficulties in applying prediction methods to events. These difficulties shroud destiny, but do not deny it.

    Now, the physical sciences the author speaks of hold hope of proving that Free Will is possible. But, I don't really know what they are. The Chaos principle, as stated by the author, is irrelevant bs. The principle of uncertainty, however, has a real effect on the possibility of free will, and is the only persuasive argument the author offers.

    Interestingly enough, it is impossible for one to know his own destiny. You can know the future, in a sense, but the timeline has already shifted and furthermore, was destined to shift.
  18. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

    Rando: Well, I'm not sure if this is a roundabout argument, but if you were destined to become the president or Pope, would you be a murderer/rapist/Bad Guy in the first place? It seems to me that if you're one of those things, then you're probably NOT destined to be a Great Person (although it may happen, you never know until It's All Over).

    Look at Clinton. Who would have thought a draft-dodger to become president? I betcha anyone back in the 60's wouldn't have thought so... Or Reagan, a former movie star?

    A more realistic example would be one like Ura's (I think): if you were to become president or Pope, would you be an "ethical" politician and keep your promises, or a "shady" one who wheels and deals and accepts bribes in the back room?

    And history has shown that not all Popes were truly "Men of God" anyways...
  19. Ura Feline Lord of the Pit

    Well, I read it as well, and while the author is obviously of the extreme side of the "free will" believers and puts up some interesting arguments to support his side, he at the same time fails to disprove the idea of destiny.
    His example of putting one foot in front of the other is easily reversable by the "destiny" side extremists simply by stating that destiny is making you do this for its own ends and just makes you believe you have free will when in fact you don't.

    Remember though, I never said free will doesn't exist, I have stated that I believe that the two forces if you wish to call them that work in an odd partnership. I think Spidey understands my theory.
    I'm not against you Rando btw, sorry to use your name so much in my previous post, but you just happen to add more to the disscussion is all. :)

    In your examples, how do you know you won't become president? There are many more ways to become a president then getting elected. Perhaps after your insane spree of carnage and destruction they catch and lock you in a mental institution where after some years to calm down you become president of the looney bin bridge club or some other corny thing like that.

    As for becoming pope, well a pope is the religious leader in the catholic faith. Yet there are branchs of the catholic faith that have their own Pope and don't accept the one in the Vatican. Maybe you'll become an odd cult leader from a catholic offshoot which would make you title officially Pope to your followers. Everyone else would pretty much think your crazy.

    Its also important to note that in some sects of religious faith if you do not meet your final or total destiny in life you get reincarnated to keep going which is like a bunch of little destiny check points before the big goal. Eventually you will get to where destiny wants you, it just takes a little longer. But since thats an entirely larger and even more abstract train of thought I'll leave it alone at that.

    The largest problem with a topic like this is that its based on abstract ideas that can't be proven or disproven outside of the realm of theoretical debate. Thus it simply boils down to what you believe.
  20. Rando Freaky Bear

    My point exactly.

    If you are destined to be a certain thing, then there is a certain path your life MUST follow for you to get there.

    That is a rigid, unchanging line, as discussed earlier in the flow-chart debate.

    (I'm trying to do this as traditionally philosophical as possible. The first thing I've got to do is prove that Fate/Destiny is a constant that is set from birth and does not change. This is fun!)

    Example flow-chart for someone destined to become Pope of the Catholic Church...

    Birth-> School...---> Priesthood...---> Pope
    ********Work.....---> Marraige...---> Retire

    Now, the path of life is 0, 1, 2, 3.
    Obviously, the man destined to be Pope can not go Birth, Drop-out, Marraige, Pope. Neither can he go the path of Birth, Work, Junkie, Pope. He must live it out as Birth, School, Priesthood, Pope.

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