Sunday, November 13, 2005

A question for the ages

Where do you fall on the question of free will? Up until quite recently, I was firmly entrenched in the camp of choice. I subscribed to the idea that on any given day choices appear before us and we, the individuals, have the opportunity to select an option of that choice and see where it takes us. There was no higher plan, the route was not mapped, no intelligent design had been arranged for our lives. But today I find myself reconsidering. Not that I have any more belief in a god or omnipotent being pulling the strings, but that we can not escape a certain form of destiny that has be laid out for us in the nurturing of our youth. We are all the sons and daughters of our parents, and I wonder how much of our choices, our ways of processing our options really comes from the design and traits of our guardians. The human condition has been laid out in literature for centuries and there are certain themes that all human interaction can be categorized into, everything boiled down into some motif, some pastiche that's been experienced and written about before. Can destiny be defined by the repetition of successes and mistakes that have all been made in the past by someone else somewhere in the world? I suppose the easy answer is to say that our decisions are acts of free will shaded by the information given to us as children. People rise above and fall below everyday, we can not lay blame on the intentions of a god or on the failings of our parents. But if choice defines who we are and all choice is influenced by an understanding of our education, is our will really just a reflection of the past?