yes Gods are crazy


with 9 comments

Sometimes we think. And in some of those times, our thoughts meander over oft-repeated legends, making connections that were meant to be made while remembering those legends. Sometimes it is mythologies, as in the present case. Either way, occasionally we make connections. If we think.

Meandering around my favorite topic of the futility of everything in general, and work in particular, on a Friday morning, I ended up pondering over the, very often passive and occasionally active, choices that we make. And the momentary paranoia that accompanies those occasions of active choice. And I realized that, one can, with a little thought, imagine the reasoning behind the big deal that is Prometheus. It has to be about the desire for that which is beyond our grasp. And the fear of the consequences of having it in our grasp. Our fear of ourselves. Our inability to trust our own selves. And our fear of having to face our true selves. Our desire for freedom versus our fear of responsibility. Of making choices, and paying for the consequences. All this, we go through only rarely. Most often though, we make choices without even a thought. Carefully avoiding to see that we do have a choice, we drift along choices that no man of reason should make. Choices that a man will need to go to infinite lengths to rationalize if forced to explain. Choices that, we swear, were forced upon us. In extreme cases, some like Hanna Schmitz enquire desperately, “What would you have done?” Most, though, fail to see that there was a choice.

It all comes to down to Robert Frost I think, about forks and choices. And it is not just once that we face it. May be this is the only description of life: a series of choices among a host of options. Some itinerary drawn on some map.

Written by kowsik

February 6, 2009 at 13:21

Posted in life

9 Responses

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  1. Well said Kowsik.

    Life, per me, is like a complex algebraic equation. There are lots of first-order variables you can modify through the choices we make, many second-order variables you can partly modify- those, whose options are limited based on your choice of the first order variable and some others you have absolutely no control on, constants. May I also add, that like all other equations, the right-hand-side is still only a zero!

    I think a life well lived (sic), if ever there were such a thing, is to not ever regret having to have made the choices we have.
    …..Or, not making the choices we have on offer – Quibble, Crib. Dont we know a certain ‘Guru’ in that respect?


    February 6, 2009 at 15:34

  2. Sorry but forgot to emphasize as below:
    I think a life well lived (sic), if ever there were such a thing, is to not ever regret having to have made the choices we have.


    February 6, 2009 at 15:35

  3. K, I think your definition isn’t far from that of Feynman. Apparently he believed that life can be described by some nonlinear equation.

    Now, a life well lived is not an issue that I could think of to the level of having some thing to say about it. I always get distracted once that topic comes up, may be my being religious limits my thought about this topic. Your definition looks far more consistent than anything that I could think up so far. And it seems to be independent of religiousness.

    By the way, that was some kourageous move on your part K, inviting ‘The Wrath of the Guru!’


    February 6, 2009 at 16:47

  4. Dude, independent of religiousness? And all the while, I thought I was a Hindu!

    I was under the impression that Guru may not frequent your blogs. And even if he did, he wouldn’t bother countering the claims of mere mortals, a la me and you 😉


    February 6, 2009 at 20:59

  5. Hindu alright, but you do claim being an atheist often, don’t you? Your definition works whether a person is religious in the conventional sense, or not. That was my point, not that you are citizen of the world, or anything of that sort.

    One can never be sure though, God and the Guru have the habit of moving in mysterious ways 😉


    February 7, 2009 at 06:34

  6. “a series of choices among a host of options”

    Do you assume we actually make the choices, or was I asleep when the freewill versus hard determinism debate ended. Who won?


    February 9, 2009 at 12:38

  7. I am not interested in the ‘determinism’ debate, I find it silly.

    By the way, does the result of a debate ever matter?


    February 9, 2009 at 13:31

  8. Until such a time that the nature of free will has been understood, there will always be a place for determinism, irrespective of whether or not it is considered “silly”. It seems fairly plausible that neural activity is to *whatever-extent* deterministic, if one could have a grasp of the initial conditions and the general environment. Perhaps a model that is complex to the point of being utterly useless, yet something that contains strong deterministic parameters.

    There is of course some research to date that demonstrates major weaknesses in our understanding of freewill. For instances, brain scans have been shown to predict a persons future choices (simple choices) a few fractions of a second before the person is consciously aware of him choice.
    One could pull up the paper, mentioned in the article, for the details

    Even your own view, could be viewed as soft determinism. The host of options being the environment, and the choice that a person makes as being the result of a sequence of completely non-random biochemical reactions. K’s (or Feynman’s?) equation almost certainly exists. It is the nature of the equation that the question is about. It is nearly certain that the equation contains parameters that incorporate probability (and therefore the scope for a semblance of freewill). It is also nearly certain that the same equation contains deterministic parameters. What is not known is the relative strengths of these factors and if we can fairly ignore any of these parameters?

    Just as I finished writing the last line, I realized I was mumbling something that might only be tangentially related to what you meant to say. If I completely missed the point – like I am more often these days – ignore me.


    February 9, 2009 at 14:52

  9. I agree with much of what you say, so I won’t bother looking up that paper.

    The reason I find that debate silly is that this determinism, since it is at the neuron level, is dependent on the quantum level interactions and hence should be looked at in the statistical sense. But the idea behind such a debate is of action at the individual level… You have already covered the gist of my stance in your comment, so I don’t have much left to say.

    It does make one wonder though, are we really a part of that design by “Deep Thought”?


    February 9, 2009 at 18:17

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