Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday to Free Will

So we're entering the third year of The Gypsy Prophecy.
What, you thought, being a reasonable and rational person, I would have forgotten about that? Nah man, if I think of it enough to write an entry about it, I never forget about it.

I did move, and drastically redecorate. If keeping every single article of clothing I own on the bedroom floor at all times can be considered redecorating, which I think it can.

I did not meet my soulmate - unless Lou from Pittsburgh is my soulmate, and in that case, we probably both want a recount.

I did have a drastic change in my career I guess, as in I had a career and no longer do. It did not bring lots of money, and I think success is a bit further away than one short year, but hey, I'm working on it as fast I can. Turns out I am hardworking, who the fuck knew?

A guy at work and I were discussing consciousness, and he asked me what I thought about Free Will, and it may have been my tiredness, or the pain in my broken toe, or just the general ennui that has settled on me in the past month as the adrenalin from The Move wears off, but I realized I didn't have an opinion about that. So I tried to formulate one, and it made me think about the Gypsy trip.

How much of my journey to the east side Slavic ghetto to have someone tell me what is going to happen in my future was totally predictable based on the sum of my past parts? Lots of fairy tales. A mother who bought the little rolled up horoscopes at the grocery checkout line. An innate sense of where the roughest spots of Cleveland are, from my dad. A desire to belong to somebody, thanks to the inevitable emotional fuckups of third generation immigrants.

I think Free Will is a gift, a spreading growing algae bloom bestowed on us by Culture. If our entire Self is defined by the choices we make, Culture and Education give us exponentially more choices, and more forks in the road to make contrasting decisions with, and therefore more Self. The more we know, the more possibilities we see, the more "Free Will" we have - it becomes a network of tree roots, capillaries, neurons - a cloud of tiny little footpaths leading off from the main roads, until it is indistinguishable from Random. Free Will is a Choose Your Own Adventure book with an infinite number of pages. Though each scenario can be traces back through preceding factors, who the fuck cares anymore, it's practically the same thing as Chaos.

Unfortunately, my liberal white girl upbringing has a lot to do with the entire preceding paragraph, so you would be perfectly justified in writing it all off. Free Will is Retrospective Justification, after all.

When we were primitives, and had to think about survival all the time, we didn't have the luxury of an opinion. It didn't occur to us to have opinions, instead we had only emotions - tired, hungry, scared, happy, horny, sad. But then there were more of us, and the people who wanted power invented blood religion in order to control the numbers. And there got to be even more of us, because civilization gave us food and safety, so we just kept fucking and breeding. Religion discovered that just saying "you're going to hell" wasn't having the same effect, it needed more guilt and personal investment, so it invented Free Will. Opinion. What's more powerful - having a blind follower, or a follower who believes he came to your side by coming to the same conclusions as you? And when he does something because he Wants to instead of Should, he feels terrible about reverting to his base nature? So it went from Blood Religion to Thinking Man's Morality.

And how could Hell even exist without Free Will these days? Oh, you're going to burn this person just because he has something we want, or she made us angry and hurt our feelings? That doesn't really fly with the Thinking Man's Morality. Much better to say "This was her choice, or his choice, we told them what was going to happen and they didn't listen to us, and you did, so you should feel pretty good about yourself."
You need fallibility of man, to justify the infallibility of god.

Free Will is a tool, used by Oppressors and Ideologues, to convince some men they are better than others. Fox News is what comes of Free Will.
But so am I.

However, the philosophy of Evolution and Statistics is also cold and unkind. It's so lacking in magic. Free Will is a tightrope spell. In my little hands at least. I guess for other's it's a giant stone falling from the sky. Statistics are a monotone sleeping chant though. They are warm and secure and lulling.

Can't there be some kind of warmth in between? One where I don't have to be predictable to everyone but myself?


1 comment:

Who wants to fuck the Editors?