A few days ago, I watched an old Doctor Who story from 1965 called The Space Museum.
In a strange parallel with my blogs, it started really well before going rapidly downhill, but the basic premise of this particular adventure was that the Doctor and his three companions arrived on a planet and saw a vision of their future selves encased as exhibits in this museum.
They realised that unless they changed the course of history, they were destined to end up in glass cases, to be gawped at for the rest of eternity. And therein lay the paradox; if you are faced with a choice and make what you believe is the decision that will ultimately change your fate; do you unintentionally, yet simply continue further down the path towards unavoidable destiny?
I'm not great expert in philosophy, but I understand that the doctrine of causality implies that every event is a consequence of a previous event (ie the "cause"). This principle of cause and effect is central to determinism which suggests that the world - or even the universe - exists as a chain of events where outcomes are essentially unavoidable given the set of circumstances that led to a decision being made, or an event taking place.
I believe in "fate"; that life is pre-determined and therefore that "everything happens for a reason" - and yes, I was always destined to write this blog... I also still consider there is "free will" (as opposed to the film about the killer whale) although there would appear to be a fundamental issue between free will and a pre-determined outcome... but for me, the concept of free will demands choices and an ability to choose. I understand (although I had to look it up), that this makes me a "compatibilist"... which is nice to know.
But if the outcome and therefore the consequent effect of any event is pre-determined, then how can "free" will play a part in that process? For the two to co-exist (viz. determinism and free will) it is the possibility of acting in a way that is viewed as unexpected by someone else that is the defining factor (according to Daniel Dennett b.1942). Interestingly based on number of books, Dennett has been described as one of the "Four Horsemen of New Atheism"... another one of whom is Richard Dawkins, who is married to Lalla Ward, who played Romana in Doctor Who...
And somewhat unexpectedly we appear to have come full circle...
Of course, back on the planet Xeros, the Doctor and his friends manage to avoid their fate... shredding my beliefs into tatters in the process, so it's back to the philosophical drawing board for me... but not until I've watched another Doctor Who DVD...
All my own work... almost.