Wow My second blog in less than 24 hours! It's always like this. I go through a dry spell where I don't write anything for months on end, and then Boom Boom Boom all these thoughts explode in my head, begging for online expression.
Just watched the movie I.Q. online on Netflix.An extremely sweet and funny Romcom. I wont spoil it for you, so the only thing I will say is how much I loved watching Walter Mathau play Albert Einstein. His dialogue frequently includes Einstein's famous quote "God does not play dice with the universe"
So of course once the movie was over I was obsessed with googling Einstein and getting to know all about him. Although of the Jewish faith, Einstein frequently proclaimed that he only believed in Spinoza's God. A search for this, brought up information about the Dutch philosopher Spinoza. And herein lies the point of this post. Spinoza believed that God and Nature were one and the same. Worshiping God was akin to worshiping Nature. But he also believed that there was no such thing as free will. Everything is predecided.
I dont want to spend time explaining his theory since a quick Google search will bring up all the information there is. But what caught my attention, was Spinoza's assertion that all cause and effect is supposed to occur in a certain way, and the only free will we have is how much we accept this. Whoa! Wayydaminnit now!
So if Iam to understand this correctly, all environmental disasters, climate change, species going extinct by the minute, population explosion is all preordained and there isnt one darn thing we can do about it? This sounds to me like the mother of all Twinkie defences.
Of course in Spinoza's defence, he lived in a time where kings had absolute power over the individual and life or death depended on how much ( or how little ) the king/emperor/ sultan liked you. So while it may have seemed like the power of the individual mattered naught, that is a far cry from the world we live in today. If a middle class, mixed race boy, from Hawaii can go on to win a Grammy, the Nobel Peace Prize and become the first African American President of the United States, I'm thinking free will had a little something to do with it. But that's just me. Or is it?
From childhood on arent we taught to think about the choices we make. A child can choose to not do his homework and play late. But there are consequences to that decision. As adults we can max out our credit buying things we do not need. But there are consequences to that as well.
An unknown Native American elder was quoted as saying: "Inside of me there are two dogs. One of the dogs is mean and evil. The other dog is good. The mean dog fights the good dog all the time." When asked which dog wins, he reflected for a moment and replied, "The one I feed the most."
We are each born with an enormous capacity for good and evil. It is individual choices that determine the lofty heights we scale or the depths of depravity we sink to.
At no other time in history has so much control of one 's life been in the hands of the individual. At no other time in history have we had the power to do as much good as we can now. And that really is all that it boils down to.
Maybe there is a God, maybe there isn't one. I don't know. All I do know is that the only way to exercise our free will is to have the courage to be kind and feed the good dog within each of us.