Destiny And The Power Of Free Will
Why is the sky blue? This is a question that we all have asked at least once in our lives. Now we wonder, can I make a destiny for myself, or is my destiny already made for me? If a person tells you that there is a man who wants to suck your blood, is that man wrong for having such an inhumane thought, or are you wrong for denying him? Just like any other person who goes for their goals, if that man strongly feels that it is his purpose on earth to suck your blood, how do you know if he is wrong or right? One might answer “We don’t know we only suggest things that are best of all people, and every action has a reaction. ” Another might say this is where the choice of “free will” comes in, or the power of acting without the constraint of necessity or fate; the ability to act at one’s own discretion. So this man could say “I didn’t have a choice, it just happened,” so how can he be held accountable for a decision he didn’t make. Just like we can’t fault a lion for eating an antelope when it is the natural predator for a lion.
Free will, physics, and a person’s moral principles are logical tools that humans use in understanding the world around them. But then you also have to think, if it is an individual’s freedom to control/shape his/her own destiny, how can we justify any laws for what’s wrong and what’s right. And if there are laws of what’s wrong and right, how can free will possibly exist? Sam Harris, a philosopher from California who’s written numerous books about free will, and Plato, an Athenian philosopher whose written multiple books about metaphysics, both share their personal beliefs of the world and how they see it and how it is/should be run. Sam Harris focuses more on what you can’t help, or the things that cannot be changed. He sees the world from the point of view from the third person aspect. Plato focuses more on the decisions you can make for yourself, the ones people do have a choice in. He sees more in the first person point of view.
Harris might start an argument with, how do you know something exists if no one on earth has ever seen it? And you most likely don’t know how to answer it. He might try to puzzle your brain into thinking about everything that you have already come into contact with but haven’t noticed. Like if we can’t see trees producing oxygen, how do we know if that’s the probable cause. Or if you don’t see the water being evaporated into the clouds, how do we know that’s where we get rain? Then he would ask how did he come up with the scenarios. Why out of all possible things he could have said, he thought those two scenarios? It’s because we are living in a world that is a mystery to us but is already decided by a prior state of the universe. That means that every single thing that going to happen in our lives has already been planned for us. Even though the First Amendment in the U. S. Constitution talks about our freedoms, we are not free.
Our parents and our genes were chosen for us because of our lack of freedom. Harris reveals that we do not have the freedom we think we do in our own bodies. And it is scary to understand why not because one of the most important things to a human is the gift of freedom. To be told that you arn’t in control of your own body is terrifying. “A puppet is free as long as it loves its strings. ” (Sam Harris) So everyone on earth is a huge marionette for some being we might never see. In one of Harris lectures, he has proven that we aren’t the thinker of the thoughts we think, but the witness of the already determined thoughts being used at the planned time. He explains that we don’t decide what our brain wants to think about. But we basically accept whatever comes to our mind and go with it because we have no control over our thoughts.
So while I was writing this essay, I wasn’t thinking of what to say. I was instructed by some pre program what to say and decided to type it out. “If can’t control your next thought, and you don’t know what it is until it arrives. Where is your freedom of will?” (Sam Harris) Then he further dives into the idea that if we aren’t the deciders of our actions, how can we be sinners of sins we didn’t choose to commit. We are actually victims of predestined actions. And if we are victims how can we be punished? We do not have free will because if we do then that would mean that murders would stop killing people, and homosexuals would live like heterosexuals because they would choose to live the “right” way. “How can you justify holding the cure for evil from an evil person?” (Sam Harris)
Plato might ask if you have never seen the bottom of the ocean how to you know it stops? And just like with Harris, you can’t defend your thoughts with a proven fact because you have never been to the no one has ever been to the bottom of the ocean. Maybe through the ocean is another entrance to a different dimension. Fun fact; 9/10s of the ocean floor is still undiscovered because it’s unreachable for humans. Plato teaches that man is made of a soul and a body. And both of them can be found in two different places. The body, according to Plato, dies because it belongs to the physical world, like earth. But because the soul is immortal and goes on living for the next available body that comes to pass. Plato believes while we are here on earth, we should try to live a life of fulfillment. And he had four big ideas of how to successfully conquer it. The first is to think more. Some people make their decisions on an impulse.
Like a person sees a spider, their first impulse is to scream but what do you gain from doing that. Nothing. Plato thinks that if people spent more time weighing their options, instead of picking the popular opinion, they will have a happier outcome. Secondly, Plato thinks that you should let your lover change you. Many people think that when you get into a relationship that both of you should have a lot of similarities. He says that when you search for your love, you should be looking for characteristics that you lack. That way when your relationship grows, you can also grow as an individual. If your not the greatest writer in your city. Find someone who really understands the flow of grammar. Next, he wants you to decode the message of beauty.
People find beauty things all around them like nature, art, music, and architecture. We find these things beautiful because they remind us of the qualities we but are missing in our life, like; gentleness, harmony, balance, peace, and strength. Lastly, Plato wants us to reform society by thinking of everyone as a whole, and not about every individual in a group. For example, instead of making a sign with every flavor of jelly on it, make a sign with the word “jelly” on it. It’s simple and to the point and nothing is left out or getting too much shine. Because if you left it the first way, all it does is leaves room for error and prejudice.
Even though Harris and Plato talked about completely different views of life, they did have some similarities. They both said that people can decide what to do with that thought that we are given. Harris said if when the thought is given to you, you can either run with it or change it. Like when you’re watching tv and you start to think about the leftovers in the fridge. It’s up to you if you want to continue to think about the food or force your focus back to the television.
Plato would tell you to pause the TV and really think about the pros and cons of you thinking about that food. Then make a decision after giving the thought a fair chance. They both believe that every reaction is caused by an action. If you decide to drink apple juice with your breakfast instead of orange, Harris believes that you have no idea why you pick what you picked, but that choice was yours to choose. Plato might say this is what brings out your personality, your morality. That in both cases, the decision process is yous to handle. Both Plato and Harris talk about how we are raised to believe that we live in a world of right and wrong.
Plato tells us that there is no such thing as right and wrong because our bodies go through the same thing. It’s born from the earth and then when it dies it gets put back in the earth the start the process over again. Like an apple. It starts off as a seed in the ground. Then it grows into this nice round fruit, and after a person eats the apple they put the seeds in the ground. And our souls were made correctly so there is no initial wrong in that. Like air. It is clean, clear and fresh. We are all created the same way, so no man should be different from another man. No man can feel jealous of like on oddball. Harris feels that we absolutely do not make any thoughts of our own so how can the thoughts we were given be wrong.
So how did Sam Harris, a philosopher from California who’s written numerous books about free will, and Plato, an Athenian philosopher whose written multiple books about metaphysics tear apart everything that you thought you knew. They thought the thoughts no one wanted to think. Free will, physics, and a person’s moral principles are logical tools that humans use in understanding the world around them. But then you also have to think, if it is an individual’s freedom to control/shape his/her own destiny, how can we justify any laws for what’s wrong and what’s right. And if there are laws of what’s wrong and right, how can free will possibly exist? This is the question everyone needs to ask themselves. “Who made my Destiny?” Both of these philosophers shared their personal beliefs of the world and how they see it and how it is/should be run. Now some might question did they think these thoughts on their own or were they meant to tell everyone how they work. And my answer is I don’t know.
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