Sunday, August 30, 2009

Fatalism and Simpl-exity Conundrum

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Friar William of Ockham seemed like an interesting fellow. 600 years after his less than earth shattering comments, along the lines that, simplicity is invariably the answer to all manner of puzzle, quandary and bafflement, philosophers still debate vigorously the merits of this belief system.
The more grounded and less sophisticated ponderers of life's big questions might wonder what all the fuss is about, over someone who stated the 'bleedin' obvious' yet whose tenet 'Ockham's Razor' has slipped so comfortably into the modern lexicon.

This scribbler however does question this assertion that the simple answer is invariably the best. The inspiration for this brief ramble was a chance conversation recently with a chap who informed me with no hint of winking kiddology that he expected to depart his mortal coil at aged 62. He wasn't specific though regarding the exact time and date. His fatalism was borne out of nothing more than the observation that many of his predecents died at around this age. His thinking might have been applauded by Friar Ockham.

In a universe that is unfathomly diverse and debateably, immeasurable, is such fatalism justified? In a world where bad things happen to good people, is it useful to live as though free will is an illusion? We've all been inculcated by the passed down aphorisms of long passed cultural sages such as; 'what will be will be'.

The old wise Greeks coined a term; Moira for that unseen power that rules over human destiny. If cosmic determinism really scripts our life novel, then are we then deluding ourselves with the belief that life has any meaning or purpose? Nihilism-the belief that nothing has meaning, lays the seeds of indifference. This pervasive attitude manifests in feelings of pessimism, hopelessness and despair.

Some religions counter this bleak prospect with the idea of Providence. Christianity would refer to as Divine Providence. In the absence of certainty we are offered solace in hope. The problem of course, is that a life lived with the guiding light of hope as its engine is generally rendered impotent. Self determinism or self actualisation therefore is the domain of the non believers.

This is not an article on philosophy or religion, but rather the questioning of whether it is useful to choose beliefs that are empowering, motivational, inspirational energising and uplifting rather than dreary self defeating indifference that pervades that of fatalism.

Perhaps the whole concept of our existence is not within the scope of of our grey matter to ever comprehend. Given the choice of choosing positive simple beliefs that are positively charged, whilst not conclusively verifiable may lead to a more fun journey.

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