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Destiny, Free Will, Order And Chaos


Yvonne
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This thread is actually a follow-up on thread about a “supernatural” God in which Pete & Joseph brought up some interesting points about divine order and chaos.

 

My questions to all of you are these:

 

What do we mean by chaos? Is chaos complete randomness, turmoil, or something else? What is meant by divine order? Is it natural law or something else? If there is divine order, do each of us have a destiny? Does “free will” have any impact on divine order, or do we indeed have free well? If there is divine order, does that mean God has a specific “will for my life”? If there is no divine order, what would that say (or not) about God?

 

My spiritual partner, “G”, and I were talking about this last night (I share the gist of some of our forum posts with him, as he does not own a computer – go figure.) When I explained my take on all these things, “G” asked me did I then believe in destiny. My first response was “no, of course not”, and then “well, maybe I do.”

 

See, I maintain that we are only free in so far as our environment and genetics allow us to be. I think that for someone to be truly free in making choices a lot of things have to come together just right. I do think we can choose how to respond to situations to some degree; but again, we are limited in our choices based on our knowledge, our circumstances, and our experience.

 

I do think there is order, but I also think there is randomness – not chaos. I think randomness is what causes healthy genes to become diseased, chaos would allow birds to suddenly morph into frogs. :o

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Hi Yvonne,

 

Thanks for the great question. And happy birthday to you. :)

 

I think "chaos" in its true sense -- the type that might allow birds to morph into frogs -- probably does not exist. But then again, who knows what might have brought the universe into being (or what keeps it going in a process of becoming)? Truthfully I'm not clear on what order and chaos might really mean on the level of "ultimate" reality, as I'm not sure how one would determine whether reality is characterized either by chaos or order ultimately. They seem to be complementary -- and relative -- concepts. And if it is, in principle, indeterminable whether reality is "order" or "chaos", then it seems neither category would ultimately apply. If the Divine is ultimate, then to what is it being compared when it is defined as orderly or chaotic?

 

One possible problem with "physical law" is that it's circular: does the universe obey law, or does law emerge from the universe? I tend to try to bypass problems like these by not thinking of reality as merely a bunch of externalized objects. One possible way of approaching this question is through process philosophy. For instance, at the level of quantum reality, particles appear to behave genuinely random. Yet they are not utterly lawless, because their statistical behavior is predictable. There simply seems to be nothing objectively there which causes individual particles to do what they do. But could there be something subjectively there? In other words, are particles just "little objects", or are they little bits of mind, little pieces of subjectivity, or even emotion? It gives one pause to wonder. If this is true, then we are all internally related as minds, as subjects, rather than externally related as objects like billiard balls clanking around on a pool table. You can call this view that all entities are subjects an organic model of the universe. The "laws of physics" would then be better thought of as "habits", as Charles Hartshorne called them, because the reality of psyche runs deeper than, and undergirds, that of physics. What might outwardly appear to be chaos, would actually be a spontaneous display of inward creativity. Perhaps that's a good definition of free will.

 

Within the purview of such ideas about the nature of the universe, perhaps there being a purpose to our lives is not such an implausible thing. Perhaps there is a purpose that we as participants in a vast field of creativity are working to realize. Perhaps this "field" is the vast and formless deep out of which God formed the heaven and earth.

 

There are other possibilities aside from process philosophy, something Vedantic or Neo-Platonic, which sees all of reality as emanating from an ultimate "One." God can be seen as entering into endless self-relation, self-definition, and the material world, an "objectified" world of passive entities, is one of the "lowest" of such emanations. This would be a very "ordered" existence I suppose, yet it would seem to be a very mysterious kind of order, reaching into the vast immaterial depths of subjectivity. The purpose of life would be to get to know who and what you truly are, to make the ascent to the summit of the true Self.

 

A few ideas to consider. I'm not sure they were helpful though.

 

Peace,

Mike

Edited by Mike
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Wow, big questions.

 

Freewill: I do not rule out any measure of freewill. But, clearly there are genetic, social and experiential constraints. Each person is 'free' to choose within a very limited set of alternatives. The question I have is, 'how limited?'

 

Destiny: This may be related to freewill. Our destiny is strongly influenced by the same constraints. I was never destined to become king of Saudi Arabia. I was never destined to become an NFL lineman an opera singer, etc. So, the set of genetic, social and experiential constraints we have results in a limited set of outcomes. Is this the product of some divine plan? I don't know.

 

Order & Chaos: I suspect that there is cosmic order and chaos is only the perception from a limited observational position. There is, I think, randomness. But, it is part of a grander order that depends on some degree of randomness. As an example, biological evolution is based on random genetic variation. But, this randomness is necessarily part of the system. So, I would propose that randomness at one level is a design feature of order at a higher level.

 

George

Edited by GeorgeW
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I would tend to agree with what George has written on all three counts.

 

As far as something deeper goes, my personal experience is more described by Mike as

sees all of reality as emanating from an ultimate "One." God can be seen as entering into endless self-relation, self-definition, and the material world, an "objectified" world of passive entities, is one of the "lowest" of such emanations. This would be a very "ordered" existence I suppose, yet it would seem to be a very mysterious kind of order, reaching into the vast immaterial depths of subjectivity. The purpose of life would be to get to know who and what you truly are, to make the ascent to the summit of the true Self.

 

Also as Yvonne says....

 

See, I maintain that we are only free in so far as our environment and genetics allow us to be. I think that for someone to be truly free in making choices a lot of things have to come together just right. I do think we can choose how to respond to situations to some degree; but again, we are limited in our choices based on our knowledge, our circumstances, and our experience.

 

I do think we as humans are as free as our individual and group evolution has taken us to at this moment and we will only be truly free when we are able to reside in our true Self in which case, it seems to me, the word "free", as does all perceived opposites, loses its meaning.

 

Joseph

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Our freedom to choose is limited not only by material, physical, circumstantial and situational constraints, but by what one does and doesn't know, have awareness of, as well. A little girl raised in a traditional patriarchal society, and kept isolated from the larger world, whether in a middle-eastern hut, or a traditional 1950's small community in the U.S. would not be "free to choose" alternative options for women that she doesn't even know exist AS options for her. Other limitations in options for choice beyond our direct control could be simply stated as "opportunity". Despite some holding the idea that everybody else had the same opportunity to do, to choose, whatever, as I or some other did, is very out of touch with reality, and the working application of "choice".

 

Jenell

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What do we mean by chaos? Is chaos complete randomness, turmoil, or something else?

 

Chaos to me is pure consciousness without any quality.

 

What is meant by divine order? Is it natural law or something else? If there is divine order, do each of us have a destiny? Does “free will” have any impact on divine order, or do we indeed have free well? If there is divine order, does that mean God has a specific “will for my life”? If there is no divine order, what would that say (or not) about God?

 

Divine order for me are the laws of nature in pure consciousness manifested into matter.

 

I feel God is in both in pure consciousness and in pure consciousness with qualities.

 

Is God directing us or guiding us? I feel we are already in God so we are already there. No need or anywhere to go. One God encompassing and penetrating everything doesn't say a thing. We are minute parts of God in Christian terms children of God in Jesus terms one with God.

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All wonderful thoughts and all will certainly give my brain much to exercise it! You can be sure I will revisit this in a day or two.

 

And happy birthday to you.

 

I think "chaos" in its true sense -- the type that might allow birds to morph into frogs -- probably does not exist.

 

Thanks! I was being (kind of) silly - so far as I know the whole bird-to-frog thing won't happen. I think there is a difference between randomness which still allows for a divine order and chaos that allows order, and the jump to there's evil and suffering so therefore God can't exist. I'm looking for the balance and your thoughtful replies will be coming with me into my next journal session.

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  • 5 weeks later...

I don't believe in free will. I can't after experiencing the world as maya, as illusion for three days during my religious conversion experience that changed me from atheism to lasting belief in God and spiritual reality behind our material world perceptions. We are all more or less unconsciously acting out our lives in roles in a Scripted Play, a very grand one for sure with amazing technical effects, good enough to fool the most ardent believer in a random chance universe, but in the end still a Creation, something organized from beginning to end. This viewpoint isn't the most popular one around I've discovered but it is mine that came about from my personal experience of Gnosis of reality that came with my three day walk with God. Coupled to this concept is the discovery of one's destiny, one's role in the Play, each one differently placed in the ongoing Drama of our souls education through life and death worldly experience. I discovered my role and act it out as my "Script" is revealed to me bit by bit through the years of periodic spiritual revelation. I guess what I'm saying in essence is I don't experience chaos in my adjustment to the way the world works in seemingly pointless confusion because there is a destination for all of us and we are traveling on our differing ways to it, the World to Come. I discovered I've been put on point duty for this journey. :ph34r:

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Thanks for sharing your view waterbear,

I think from reading other posts you will find there are some others here including myself who also believe as you say that there is a "spiritual reality behind our material world perceptions". Also that some here also believe there is a divine order.

Joseph

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