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  • "Knowing"

    Recently, I saw a movie called "Knowing." Without giving too much away in term of the plot or story-line, I will paraphrase one line delivered by Nicholas Cage: Why are we given a prophecy about events that are yet to happen if there is nothing we can do to alter the outcome?

    That line reminded me of my own argument regarding this business of life (seemingly, and I'm just saying...) being a mix of fate and free will. In other words: if the Divine Power knows the outcome regardless of what we do to alter its course, then where does this business of "free will" fit into the equation?

    Something tells me that there seems to be a limit to how much free will we have — similarly to how fast we (in our present state) can travel: which could never be faster than the speed of light. In the case the latter, the fact that we have this cap on how fast we can travel means that "time" is not absolute. In other words, the mere fact that two people are traveling at different speeds, and despite the imperceptible differences, distorts time: for one person, time is running slower than for the other. Sure, when each person compares their clock to a fixed frame of reference existing within their system, everything would seem normal. Yet, if they look outside and use the other person's frame of reference, things begin to look weird. Basically, energy gives us information about time. Our own atoms (made of energy) give us information about time. As we accelerate and decelerate, we thus affect our own "clock." But unless we compare it to an "external" frame of reference, we would never know the difference... that sort of thing. Anyway, my point being is that, while on the "inside" it might seem as if we are moving fast and are active and so and so forth... to someone else, living at a different energy level, we might appear at a standstill... akin to chess game pieces.

    Now, the above analogy does not resolve the paradox because regardless of the differences in the awareness of time, the decisions me make (particularly those that seal one's fate... such is often the case in a game of chess) always, and regardless of the (apparent/relative) speed at which the events transpire, are IRREVERSIBLE. Oh, sure, throw "reincarnation" in my face, why don't you... No, seriously, though, let's stick with one lifetime at a time. And by the way, since I am on a roll here, let's assume that the chess game pieces represent one's Spiritual Fluids and the hand that moves them as the Soul.

    OK, so far, all I've done is raise the issue of the paradox that exists between the notion of free will and fate, then threw in the notion of cosmic limit to how fast we can travel and how that affects our sensation of time (assuming was can actually sense the discrepancy), introduced the metaphor of a game of chess and use it to create an analogy about Spiritual Fluids (but not before being redundant, since — really — a metaphor and an analogy are technically the same thing.)

    Welcome to my Hell...

    So, why are we given a prophecy about events that are yet to happen if there is nothing we can do about it? (Don't believe me? Go read John's Revelation.)

    Hell if I know...

    But I'll say this much: don't trust what happens on the chessboard.

    Case in point: the year was 1975 and I was losing badly during a chess game. So badly, in fact, that I was practically left with just the King. My opponent, 17 years my senior, was sure to win... until he committed the grave mistake of placing his pieces in such a way that — now — my King had nowhere to go. In other words, the spot (square) where my King stood was safe, and all others were not. Therefore, because my spot was not "in check" (or made unsafe due to an offensive move by the opponent) and because it was my turn to move and there was no place for me to go, the game was (legally) a DRAW.

    How fortunate was I, huh?

    So I declared the game a draw. The opponent disagreed. I mean, let's face it, I'm lucky he didn't try to rearrange my face. No wait, he did: suddenly, and apparently my unwillingness to concede defeat merited it, and in a fit of rage, he swung and slapped me with all his might with his huge hand that my glasses shattered and my nose was bloodied. I won't mention the ringing in my ear, and, oh yeah, the pain. And in case anyone is wondering: it was the "left cheek."

    Perhaps whatever took place on the chess board had meaning that transcended whatever was taking place at that time and place. And for all I knew, that game would be replayed in different forms, under different circumstances.

    I think it's all about the process — "the means" — more than it is about "the end."

    And if I am right, then all that matters is how we change (on the inside) and behave (on the outside) regardless of the inevitable.
    "Fail, to succeed."

  • #2
    Limits of Free Will

    I couldn't agree more that there are limits to what a person can change. Rather than use the word premonition, let's assume that an individual was so fortunate or maybe unfortunate depending upon your perspective, as to be able to anticipate a tragic event. One needs to be able make judgment regarding what they can change. If Jupiter were going to collide with Earth, obviously there is little we would be able to do to prevent the impending collision. Prayer, meditation and preparation for death may be the only reasonable course of action. But suppose that space travel were a possibility. Then possibly, some of the inhabitants of earth could escape.

    The same concepts apply to many things in our life. The recognition of the onset of terminal illness, allows us to prepare for the inevitable. The recognition of the potential loss of a friendship could allow for an effort to avoid the loss. There is an old prayer:

    God grant me the serenity
    to accept the things I cannot change;
    courage to change the things I can;
    and wisdom to know the difference.

    The prayer continues:

    Living one day at a time;
    Enjoying one moment at a time;
    Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
    Taking, as He did, this sinful world
    as it is, not as I would have it;
    Trusting that He will make all things right
    if I surrender to His Will;
    That I may be reasonably happy in this life
    and supremely happy with Him
    Forever in the next.

    According to "Yahoo Answer" this is a revised version of the original prayer which was:

    God, give us grace to accept with serenity
    the things that cannot be changed,
    Courage to change the things
    which should be changed,
    and the Wisdom to distinguish
    the one from the other.

    Living one day at a time,
    Enjoying one moment at a time,
    Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
    Taking, as Jesus did,
    This sinful world as it is,
    Not as I would have it,
    Trusting that You will make all things right,
    If I surrender to Your will,
    So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
    And supremely happy with You, forever in the next.


    Again according to "Yahoo Answers" the claimed author was Reinhold Niebuhr's and it was his "Serenity Prayer". In a way, it provides affirmation that "free will" does not mean you can control everything. And that last line gives me hope about reincarnation.