They don’t make futures like they used to…

Posted: January 22, 2015 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

I do not believe in the Oracle at Delphi.  The ancients claimed that if you traveled to the temple at Delphi in ancient Greece, a wise woman would grant you obscure and cryptic messages that would contain advice and hints about the future.  The only problem is that I believe the future is unknowable.  God himself gets a pass on that- being omniscient and omnipotent mean He knows the future by definition- but mostly because I choose to table the conflict between free will and predestination as something I simply accept on faith.  Between free will and chaos theory (which allows small actions and choices to steamroller into large effects and consequences) there is no way anyone who falls short of omniscience and omnipotence can know the future.

Faerie under Glass?

Faerie under Glass?

Nevertheless, I do occasionally find Delphic messages about my future on the computer I use to interface with my First Life game, particularly when I dig into the internet history to find what Firsty and Mrs. Firsty are looking up when they think no one is watching.  For example, I learned that Firsty has been researching folklore about faeries, particularly about scary fairies and fairy magic; that Firsty Jr. has been suffering from thrush which I hope will not create a transmission vector to Piper; that Mrs. Firsty is fascinated by red carpet looks for the Golden Globes and Oscars, so I’m likely to head shopping for some red carpet looks myself.  Also somebody there has been looking into the porn industry in the midwest.  There is more than you might imagine, although it is kind of like minor league sports- the porn ‘big leagues’ are fairly concentrated in California, Florida, and to a lesser extent, Vegas.  My pictures for this post were inspired by the information about fairies, and my original working title for this post was ‘I do Believe in Fairies, I do!’ until I became distracted by thoughts about history, the future, and narrative theory.

As I said above, I believe the future is not just unknown but actually unknowable.  The reasoning behind this is a big, tangled ball of thoughts about religion and philosophy and science fiction and narrative theory, and I’m a little unsure about whether I can distill it into something brief and linear and easy to follow, but it starts with the fact that I have an axiomatic belief in my own free will.  I use the word axiomatic not just in the conventional definition that my free will is established or self-evidently true, but in the mathematical sense that ‘I have free will’ is one of the foundation statements from which the rest of my moral, philosophical, and religious beliefs derive.

In addition to free will, I also axiomatically have great fashion sense...

In addition to free will, I also axiomatically have great fashion sense…

For instance, my belief in your free will isn’t automatic.  Computer games and role-playing games provide viable examples of worlds in which only one or some people (the ‘players’) have free will, and the other individuals in the world are merely programmed to react with varying levels of complexity.  I know I have free will because I experience it, but I can only guess for other people.  Even if you tell me that you have free will, I still have to decide whether I believe you or whether you merely claim to have free will because that is how your programming dictates you behave.  I do believe in your free will, by the way, but only because I have another axiomatic belief that the world doesn’t revolve around me, and therefore, as a corollary, my free will is a powerful inductive argument that other people also have free will.

Another reasoned belief is that I don’t believe in predestination.  Free will states I choose, that every choice I make, up until the point where I commit, and sometimes even afterwards, could go another way.  Predestination states that my decisions were known before I made them, that I do not ‘choose’ so much as follow a predetermined script. If I don’t have options, is there really a choice?  If you shove me off the roof of a skyscraper, because of gravity I’m going to plummet downward until I lose an unfortunate argument with the sidewalk.  You cannot say I choose to fall unless I also have the option of not falling.  Personally, predestination denies choice.

So maybe falling from rooftops is a choice sometimes….

So maybe falling from rooftops is a choice sometimes….

So how does the future unfold?  Is time a metaphorical river, flowing constantly from the past into the future?  And what does it mean when certain future points are known and fixed, whether by divine predestination, time traveling fore-knowledge, or reliable prophecy?  Historians argue over whether history is the result of Great Men, individuals who have disproportionate power and influence on the events around them, or whether history, instead, is shaped by societal forces and considerations, with ‘great men’ merely being a product of the position they find themselves in.  Chaos theory provides a third possibility, that social forces may generally hold but that small changes introduced by individual choices occasionally propagate into big changes.

Then there is narrative theory.  Narrative theory is broadly defined as the study of stories, specifically how people make sense of stories and how people use stories to make sense of the world around them.  The world is an incredibly complex place, often more complex than any individual, well, any individual who lacks omniscience and omnipotence, can reasonably grasp all the factors.  Molding events into a narrative, which generally involves ignoring certain details as irrelevant and emphasizing causation, simplifies things and provides a structure.  You can argue that this is a weakness of human thought because it loses part of the picture or that it is a strength of human thought because, despite the risk of getting the story wrong, it enables us to grasp a greater portion of a complex world.  I’ve come to believe that God sees the world in terms of stories, and that the very human tendency to try to force things into a story, even when it is inappropriate or misleading to do so, is part of being made in God’s image but limited by our lack of omni-traits.  (Also, I happen to believe the ‘God’s image’ of Genesis is not the image of a physical body- after all, that would imply God has a belly button, nose hair, genitals, an ass-crack, and sundry other parts that God has no use or need for, not to mention putting a severe damper upon his omnipresence- but instead is a spiritual image, containing such things as the love of story, the ability to create, appreciation of beauty, the notion of fairness, desire for relationships, etc.)  Because of narrative theory, and my belief that God touches the world through stories, I believe that my vague foreshadows and forebodings of the future hint at the story that awaits me.

All this pondering of the future is making my head hurt...

All this pondering of the future is making my head hurt…

I just wish I had a clearer vision of what sort of story it will be.  If I get a vote, I definitely would like to cast it in favor of a comedy or a romance and not a tragedy…

Speaking of tragedy, it would be tragic if I didn’t make sure I included these details of my outfit today: The white dress and wings are part of a free gift from Simply Fae.  The shape is one of many from Alady Island, this modeled after Racquel Welsh.  The Sunday hair (in the shade of ‘autumn’) is branded from Lazy Whores.  To help me look more inhuman and fae, the skin is Pinkie Pie from Niekra’s Dreams.

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