Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists?

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
So my wife and I were discussing this and I thought I would pose it here to get a wider set of responses.

Imagine a world where everything was pre-destined (I happen to subscribe to this. Things have happened to me that led me to believe this.)

Every day, I have choices and make them. I believe that no matter what choice I end up making, it was pre-destined to be that way. So to me, I still retain free will.

My wife disagrees and says that they are mutually exclusive. Either you have free will, or things are pre-destined.

Does anyone have any opinions on this?
 

Midnite Zephyr

Platinum Member
Destiny can subvert freewill, but freewill can change one's destiny.

They are both neutral in and of themselves though.

That's just my 2 cents worth.
 

con struct

Platinum Member
Larry, this is treading in dangerous water. Look: if our lives are pre-destined, then the obvious question is: pre-destined by whom?

For what it's worth, I don't buy it. The pre-destined part, I mean.

Okay, I don't buy the "by whom" part either.
 

caddywumpus

Platinum Member
If you look to a certain "flavor of the month" brand of physics, you'll realize that every microsecond of the existence of our universe is happening simultaneously in as many dimensions over the top of each other. So, basically, the results/consequences of every "free will" choice you make have happened/are happening/will happen, all at the same time. "Free will" and "predestiny" are simply man-made terms used to describe abstract concepts from our own finite human perspective, much like the concepts of heat, color, and smell.

There is no such thing as free will or predestination, except for that which we have formulated in our own minds...
 

Red Menace

Platinum Member
http://www.informationphilosopher.com/freedom/problem/

Here, go nuts.

The "Problem of Free Will" has been an age old chestnut that philosophers have thought over since we started thinking. I remember it just blowing my mind when I first learned about it in one of my college Philosophy courses.

If you want to really get deep then ponder what purpose a petitionary prayer, that is a prayer that asks for something, will have on an all-knowing God. Good stuff.
 

sonnygrabber

Senior Member
By virtue of how the question has been phrased, no. There can be an 'illusion' of free will, but pre-determined existence necessitates that regardless of any semblance of choice, nothing can vary from the destined course.
 

LimpyLoo

Member
Neurology has plainly demonstrated that we are not the author of our thoughts and actions. Our inability to observe subconscious processes creates the illusion of free will.
 

MaryO

Platinum Member
Larry, this is treading in dangerous water. Look: if our lives are pre-destined, then the obvious question is: pre-destined by whom?

For what it's worth, I don't buy it. The pre-destined part, I mean.

Okay, I don't buy the "by whom" part either.
I'd say this but Con struct already did.
 

nightraider43

Senior Member
I like to think of it as the "snowball" effect. One action leads to another action. One thought leads to another thought. There is reason for action and a reason for thought however is it destiny that brings you to that first action or first thought? This is way to philosophical for me in the morning without my coffee. This in turn makes you want to think is there a higher power that controls all or does HE let you control your own choices. If HE lets you control your own path I would say it is your destiny. If HE controls everything then pre-destined. No one knows this answer so it is definitely a philosophical question that just scrambled my brain for the day. Thanks Larry!

Steve
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Larry, if I hadn't read your post, I'd be doing something else, that may or may not have consequences leading to other things. So no.
 

aydee

Platinum Member
'Nature uses only the longest threads to weave her patterns, so that each small piece of her fabric reveals the entire organization of her tapestry'.

Richard Feynman- kickass master scientist
 

Milt Hathaway

Senior Member
We live in a world where pre-destiny exists. We are all pre-destined to die.

Our path to that destiny is not pre-determined. That's where free will enters the equation.

I believe in chaos theory. I believe in entropic destiny. I understand the concept of the 'giant hand', and I do not believe that it is attached to an entity in any form, especially an anthropromorphised one.

What confuses most people is that, while we do have free will that is constrained by entropic destiny, so do those around us. The effects their choices have on us can appear to be evidence of our own destiny, but they are not.
 

wsabol

Gold Member
Absolute freewill and pre-destined futures are definitely mutually exclusive.

However, whether our lives are pre-destined or not, we certainly have the illusion of freewill. Not knowing the broad consequences of our actions make our choices and life experiences seem independent and serendipitous, but they very well could be part of some master plan. There is really know way to know.

It could be both. For a long time I believed we all had a finite set of possible paths and destinies predetermined by *insert omnipresent being of you choice*. Though an individual's choices and freewill, he/she would follow one of these paths to one of his/her possible destinies. EDIT: By "destiny", I mean the "place" in your life, the state of you person, that you settle into as life progresses... call it your socio-economic status, actualization, nirvana, or whatever. Obviously death is the last thing we will all experience, but that fact we are all going to die has nothing to do with the choices we make, let alone freewill, its just life.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
With my limited mind, this stuff is over my head, it seems to me that Milt is saying that they co-exist...."we do have free will that is constrained by entropic destiny"

This seems to make sense to me, but with my free will, I admit that I am very new to the subject.

Interesting answers. I see a few "no's". Do the people who answered no subscribe to pre-destiny?

I'd like to relate a story that led me to believe in pre-destiny.
When I was a small child, between 5 and 10 years old, I had a frequent recurring dream. This dream placed me in what I describe as a "red room". I was sitting on the floor, the carpet was red, next to me there was a red chair, someone was sitting in it and had it leaning up against the wall, and even the light was reddish.

Fast forward to age 14. I had tried an illegal herb twice before with no results. The 3rd time I tried this substance, it worked. Shortly afterwards, I found myself sitting on the floor in a basement that had a red carpet, I was next to a red chair, with someone sitting in it and leaning back on 2 legs against the wall, and the plastic lens on the fluorescent lights were spray painted red. Holy crap, THIS was the red room I had dreamed about years prior. Well, I had the mother of all Deja Vu's. I freaked out silently to myself. FREAKED OUT. THIS was the recurring dream I had. Wow. I was floored for life.

Now when I first had this dream, this house wasn't even built yet. To try and reconcile this with myself, I concocted a theory that I subscribe to. I think that while asleep, your mind has the ability to travel into the future, pick out events and dream about them. Then when you catch up to those events in real time, well, that's what Deja Vu is...according to me. So how can my mind wander into the future and select events to dream about, if the future is not pre-determined? This made perfect sense in my limited understanding of things.

OK it's not scientific at all, but it makes sense to me, so I adopted it. Can anyone explain my recurring dream about the red room when it did not even exist yet? The dream was spot on to what I experienced for real.
 

dmacc_2

Well-known member
This is a fascinating topic. My feeble brain can't wrap around it with any sort of clarity but this is what I sort of think.....

We live in a world where pre-destiny exists. We are all pre-destined to die.

Our path to that destiny is not pre-determined. That's where free will enters the equation.
...
 
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Stroman

Platinum Member
Interesting answers. I see a few "no's". Do the people who answered no subscribe to pre-destiny?
No, my original "no" was an answer to the question "Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists." My answer would remain no whether I believed in pre-destiny or not, simply because of the way the question was asked.
 

MaryO

Platinum Member
Can anyone explain my recurring dream about the red room when it did not even exist yet? The dream was spot on to what I experienced for real.
I guess my question is WHY must there be an explanation for everything? It could be called foreshadowing, premonition, coincidence, predestiny...whatever but humans seem to feel the need to label everything. Cool experience...nuff said sometimes, I think.

Personally, to live a life that is totally predestined would suck the life right out of me. How awful knowing that nothing you did, no choice you made, would matter. Why would anyone care?

And if life is predestined then I want to talk to the being who decided I was only allowed to be a mediocre drummer!!!!!
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
No, my original "no" was an answer to the question "Can there be free will in a world where pre-destiny exists." My answer would remain no whether I believed in pre-destiny or not, simply because of the way the question was asked.
Yes, I realize that a "no" answer doesn't automatically mean that pre-destiny is subscribed to. I am also curious if the majority subscribes to pre-destiny or free will. So I guess I am also looking to see where people stand on the issue, as well as if it is felt that they are, or are not, mutually exclusive.
 

8Mile

Platinum Member
One of my favorite subjects, and one I've had the good fortune to discuss with some very brilliant people in my lifetime. I don't have answers, but I can tell that a particularly brilliant friend pointed out the fallacy in my thinking that free will and destiny were mutually exclusive. He explained that they can co-exist. I'm still not sure I entirely get that now, but back when he talked me through it, it made sense.

One of my favorite things to contemplate is called Determinism.

http://www.informationphilosopher.com/freedom/determinism.html

I came up with a concept much like this in my own mind before I realized that such a thing had been discussed and given a name a long, long time ago. I'm not saying I subscribe to it, but it's fun to contemplate.

I think the bottom line is that a background in science, where a study of what is truly a random, unpredictable event at a sub-atomic level, is essential to really "getting" this stuff.

But it's fun for hacks like me to ponder, regardless.
 
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