9/11/17 - The Disadvantage of Determinism
When it comes to the human mind’s understanding of how things happen in the world, there is an ax cleaved down the middle of two fundamental approaches. On one side we have determinism, which goes on to say that all outcomes are caused by uncontrollable external forces. It says our fate is in the stars, so to speak. In that way, the phrase “everything happens for a reason” is deterministic. The other side of how the mind makes sense of how outcomes manifest is through free will, or indeterminism. This perspective stereotypically believes “the world is your oyster.”
What’s tricky about the debate between the two, which, by the way, hasn’t been solved for thousands of years, and likely won’t be resolved in the next three paragraphs, is that determinism feels good and resonates with human psychology. Deterministic world views help us explain the world around us. After all, there must be some reason for everything that happens to us, right? Stories make sense and put the human mind at east, while chaos and disorder has the opposite affect. Determinism brings clarity to the cluttered mind.
Embracing free will and rejecting determinism can feel good, too. After all, life seems to matter more when you believe that you have the power to create your own destiny. Free will is painful, though, because most of the time that we try to enact our free will on the world the reviews are mixed. We fail. It gets messy, and every now and then it might seem more comfortable to explain the confusing failures of our free will with a deterministic story, like saying “everything happens for a reason.”
Do you ever notice that people never say, “everything happens for a reason” when you earn the job, win the game, or get the girl?
Since, we won’t resolve the debate of whether determinism rules the world we live in or not, let’s focus on what is actionable right here and now instead. Considering the implications of both belief structures, there is a distinct advantage to displacing deterministic beliefs. If you reject determinism, you inherently believe that you’re responsible for your own destiny. What’s more important is that you’ll be more likely to act accordingly. As you can imagine, someone that believes they are the a result of the uncontrollable world around them will be less compelled to pursue their best self. After all, with that worldview such a pursuit is likely just a wasted effort.
There is a distinct advantage to rejecting determinism. The advantage looks like motivated self-development and willingness to explore the fringes of your ability. Rejecting determinism increases personal responsibility, magnifies virtuous qualities, and hunts best practices.
The worst case scenario in heeding this perspective is becoming a higher caliber individual that will earn the same fate that her deterministic, lower caliber self had coming all along. What’s the best case scenario? The best case scenario is that you’re correct in your assumption that our lives are what we make them, and you’ve been busy making it great.
Complete 5 rounds of the following for calories:
:40 Plank Hold (on Rings)
20 Lateral Plyo Skier Hops (1-ct)
Max Cal Row