Pre-destine or Free will
By: Violeta Ansalon of Dark Ages
Are We Free to Make Our Own Choices? Pre-destination can often bring up the question as to whether we as aislings control our own actions. Are we free to make our own choices, or is everything we do pre-determined by a supernatural being of some sort? Is it safe to say that we are responsible for our own choices? Do we own a free will that allows us to choose our life path, or are our actions pre-determined, making our exertions useless? In a society that believes in Gods who are in control of our lives, this is a difficult question and problem to discuss. But through a series of questions, arguments, and examinations I hope to influence you that we do have a free will and are quite able to make our own choices.
To begin to answer the questions stated in my introduction, we must first cut the fat off the widely used definition of choice. Defining choice in this situation can be a difficult task. One must be careful in using this word. A popular definition of choice could be a mental process through which an individual weighs the consequences of their actions to create an ideal image of their preference to the outcome of their actions. But, when you look at this definition you see that it suggests that someone who fails to carefully analyze their actions doesnít actually make choices. Can we assume by this definition that choices are free? I believe we can say yes because according to this definition if we do carefully analyze our actions we create the outcome that we choose. On the other hand, some aislings may disagree. They may say that if we do not reflect carefully on our actions, we are not taking responsibility for them, leaving the cause of the action to some other force. So, in essence, I believe that answering yes to the definition above is validÖbut wait a minute. When looking at the word responsibility in the "no" side of the argument, one may still draw up a few questions that need to be explained and answered. If we are ignorant of our own responsibility in taking a course of action, how are we to know that we are not reflecting carefully on our actions?
What are the standards of responsibility when reflecting on our actions? What if we do something wrong that we do not know is wrong? To answer these criticisms I believe that ignorance of our actions is natural and cannot affect our ability to rationalize to the best of our ability. In a given situation where it is impossible to know what is best, we have the ability to do what we think is best in that given situation. Assuming that an individual has the power to think about and carefully consider choices, I can theorize that they do have a free will within them that they can bring out in any situation, even if the person has no knowledge of what to do in that certain situation. Some people may not be ready to believe my conclusion as stated above. Is this a reasonable response to believe? Let me elaborate.
I believe it is safe to say that most aislings around here, and even across the Temuair, were brought up to believe in omnipotent, omniscient Gods. I also believe that most people around here believe they have a free will. Does this make sense? Can we put these two things together? I donít think anyone can really meet halfway in this situation. But it seems that a lot of people choose to do this anyway. It seems that the aislings that "sit the fence" tend to think that they have total power and control in making small, insignificant choices and that Gods have total control of large, meaningful choices. They may say that they chose to eat cherries and wine for breakfast this morning, but then they praise the Gods that they guide them on their journeys. Now, if Gods were omnipotent and omniscient, they would have made both of those choices, right? If Gods choose to pre-determine only certain events in our lives, we must have some power as individuals to choose our own paths in life.
Now, as confusing as this is, how does one go about choosing between the idea that Gods pre-determines all choices and the popular belief that they only seems to be involved with the significant ones? Is this a battle of free will? I think so. Now, in arguing for my belief that we do have a free will, I can accept the possibility that Gods determines only certain events in our life, but I must shoot down the idea that they actually do pre-determine everything we do. Plus, I must touch on the perspective that we may be in total control of everything that we choose to do.
Well, here goes nothing. Consider these situations. Wouldnít it be silly to assume that Gods choose which we eat for breakfast in the morning? Wouldnít it be hard to imagine that Gods would choose if we would wear peasant clothes or armor from ones path on a given day? Donít you think that it would be easier if Gods gave us some sort of a free will so we would be able to determine these things on our own? One may argue that Gods can pull this sort of feat off. They can make every choice in our lives, but one must consider this. If you think of how many choices you make in a day, there is no way to even count them. I must have already made hundreds of thousands of choices just writing this parchment! Now, when you multiply these choices a single person makes in a single day by the number of aislings in all of Temuair, you come up with just about an infinite number. In a humorous manner, this even seems like too big a task for the Gods! In all reality, one must consider the fact that this feat could be likely for Gods. I mean, hey, they're Gods that can do anything. But in this philosophical argument, one must also consider that this takes on a more improbable case.
Is the above case a good enough argument to assume that we do have our own free will? Is the argument above stable enough to assume that we can throw pre-determination out the window? Probably not. I believe that we must go one step deeper into the issue. Here is a well thought out argument that may come up when arguing about free will. If one accepts the idea that we do make some of our own choices in life, one may state that God knows the outcome of our lives. They may argue that, they do not need to make the choices in our lives because they already know how things are going to turn out.
We may have a free will, but we can also ask the Gods for help on issues, having one take control of our lives. So what this argument is saying is that Gods can be omnipotent and omniscient without making our everyday choices for us, unless we choose them to by asking. This argument states that Gods may have valued our freedom enough to discard the need to pre-determine everything for us on Temuair. They may have just decided to have everything end up the way he wanted things to end. There is one major question though. If God knows how everything will end, doesnít he know about everything that happens on the way to the end, therefore pre-determining the choices that we make? My response to that question would be that with our gift of free will from Gods, we have the choice to choose which God. If we do not choose one, then we donít get to the end with a god, and then they would not know us, or what choices we made on Temuair. Is this parchment of arguments good enough to satisfy a critical thinker on the issue of a free will?
Letís re-cap my main points. If we do carefully analyze our actions we create the outcome that we choose, therefore supporting the idea of a free will. We do have a free will within us that we can bring out in any situation, even if we have no knowledge of what to do in a certain situation, because our ignorance can be classified as natural. It would be improbable to say Gods control every action we take because the sheer mathematics of the fact is mind boggling. A free will seems possible to understand because Gods may value our freedom and free will enough to let us choose whether or not we want them in our lives or not. Even though they know what will happen in the end, they let us choose when we can ask us for help, if any time at all. We can choose them and live until the end that they know or we can not choose them and live to no end at all. It seems though there are still questions to be answered, but in the case of free will, no one could ever know the right answers to all of the possible questions on this topic. The ideas I stated above are ones I thought would answer the question as to whether we are free to make our own choices. So, do we have a pre-determined plan in life, or do we have the power and free will to chose are own? That my friends, is up to you.