Friday, 26 September 2008

Random Post

For those of you who didn't already know it, Sigmund Freud was a nutcase who was in love with his mother. It's kinda embarrassing that he's the father figure of psychology. He wasn't even a scientist!

Anyways, here's something my dad and I were discussing recently: is there such a thing as true randomness? Does such a thing as "luck" exist? I've always linked randomness to the free will vs. predestination debate, but never really come to an opinion on it. But oh, the implications this topic has on theology and God's role in human life....

If there is nothing random, then everything is predestined, and I'm not responsible for what I do. If there is randomness, then "it was fated to be" or "it was meant to happen" doesn't make sense, because one random thing could completely throw everything else off.

Perhaps there is only one goal, and whatever randomness happens will eventually lead towards it... but then it's not random. Maybe there are say, three possibilities, and one of the three will be randomly chosen. Does that still count as random? If there is any causality at all, does that negate its randomness? AHHHH!

Maybe this is only confusing because I'm thinking of time as linear. Perhaps, when viewed outside the cage of time, and everything is happening in one eternal moment, it makes more sense. I suppose "fate" wouldn't mean much then, because there's nothing to travel towards, and randomness wouldn't really exist, either, because there'd be no point at which it could start being random.

I don't even know if this is coherent at all. Oh, well. I think I was fated to get confused.

Either that, or it was just my luck.

From Signs:
"People break down into two groups when they experience something lucky. Group number one sees it as more than luck, more than coincidence. They see it as a sign,evidence, that there is someone up there, watching out for them. Group number two sees it as just pure luck. Just a happy turn of chance. I'm sure the people in Group number two are looking at those fourteen lights in a very suspicious way. For them, the situation isn't fifty-fifty. Could be bad, could be good. But deep down, they feel that whatever happens, they're on their own. And that fills them with fear. Yeah, there are those people. But there's a whole lot of people in the Group number one. When they see those fourteen lights, they're looking at a miracle. And deep down, they feel that whatever's going to happen, there will be someone there to help them. And that fills them with hope. See what you have to ask yourself is what kind of person are you? Are you the kind that sees signs, sees miracles? Or do you believe that people just get lucky? Or, look at the question this way: Is it possible that there are no coincidences?"


Anonymous said...

"I think, therefore I am...confused." Descartes?

CavDawg said...

I don't believe anything is random in the sense that nothing is outside of God's control. There are certainly trivial things that I'm willing to bet aren't of utmost importance to Him, like whether you roll a 5 or an 11 in the next round of Monopoly, but even in those cases God obviously has the last word.

I think I'll say I sort of believe in Fate, in that there's something that will happen at any given point in time, but I don't believe in Fate because I am well aware of my ability to affect what happens in the immediate future. Add into the mix the belief that God knows the end from the beginning, and it starts to get a little confusing.

This is an active (albeit somewhat pointless) debate among many members of the Mormon church, and it wouldn't surprise me to find out that most other Christians, or even Jews and Muslims wrestle with this idea, too. I guess the important principles are that:

1. God really does know everything and is in the perfect position to act/react for your benefit
2. You really are responsible for your actions. Sorry.

There's my non-answer for you :)

art said...

Do you know how computers get random numbers? Can you create a true random number from a program/algorithm? (I know the answer but just curious what you think.) Then the next question: does the human brain operate like a computer?

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