On Life’s Determinism

This bit of writing will not be overly philosophical – don’t worry. But, a recent conversation I had with a friend made me think about determinism, the idea that all of our choices are pre-determined.

I personally can’t fathom a way to prove that determinism exists conclusively. And if determinism does exist, and it’s in the books that we prove it – then we will. That’s just kinda how that works and so I don’t worry about it.

What I do worry about, is life’s determinism. I do believe that their are certain things in life, like lost love, like a lack of education or an early pregnancy, that do determine things for a person.

You may think, no shit, a baby kinda decides some things for you in life. And well, ok sure. But a baby’s a baby for a few years and then, just like that, it can feed itself, go to the bathroom all on its own and even walk.

We live in a fast-paced, exciting world and yet people still resign themselves to a set of experiences because of some specific part of their past. Perhaps, this has to do with identity, because I think identity makes people comfortable in themselves.

To say you are a fireman or gay or Canadian is to say something more than your work, sexual preference or your nationality. Now, these links that I describe are usually not good because they proscribe thoughts and ideas into peoples heads that they may not actually have.

Being gay only determines your choice of bedfellow. I feel silly spelling that out, but some would argue otherwise.

Many think that the identities life throws at us are who we are. I say fireman, and I venture to bet that many of you got a specific picture in your head.

Of a specific man, with a specific look – a roughness that’s empathetic to the extreme. A tenderness lacking in say a policeman. Despite these being just labels – do they not feel in opposition?

What do this opposition mean though for someone who is a policeman? Like, will they reflexively behave in a way that people expect them too?

A young police officer may change significantly in the time it takes them to become an old police officer. They may become more typical – but why?

I wonder if life determines what you will be like when old based on the things you do when you are young. I find this extremely scary as a young person just starting to blaze a trail in life.

Will I eventually bend like a tree near the seaside to find comfort in my position despite all odds? Will I even know when this happens?


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