[lit-ideas] Re: The Final Finger of Fate

  • From: "Mike Geary" <atlas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 16 Sep 2006 13:21:40 -0500


There is another possibility, Mike.

Yes, there are many possibilities. Determinism just seems more likely to me at this point, even though I don't like it.

It has been *determined* by the ranch owner that this herd gets to his ranch.

I assume you used and emphasized the word 'determined' to mean 'decided' or 'resolved'. Was that rancher's decision freely made *by the rancher* or was it the inevitable product of the history and circumstances of the rancher?

But the cattle aren't going to get their on their own; so a trail boss is required. He knows how to do it. He hires a few helpers and they drive the herd to Montana.<<

Were the trail boss and the helpers any less driven by their personal circumstances and histories than the cattle? Were they less driven or just much more complicatedly driven?

In other words, who says that the universe needs to be utterly chaotic or utterly ordered?

I don't. I say that I don't know. Certainly the variables in our lives are practically infinite, so maybe it's meaningless to talk of determinism since we can never know how we might be determined. But then we don't have sayings such as "Like father, like son" or "Chip off the old block" or "Birds of a feather" for no reason.

Your Catholic school teachers might agree with this.

By the 4th or 5th grade Catholic students start having doubts about the explanations their teachers give them. They start by asking how God, who knows everything, could create someone knowing that they're going to end up spending eternity in hell tortured beyond our ability to imagine? When the teacher tells them that God didn't send them to hell, they sent themselves to hell, the students retort with "But God knew that they would before he made them. Why did he make them then?" None dared suggest to the teachers that God would have to be evil to do that, that would have brought the Pope down upon them, but that elephant never would go away. But yes, Catholicism is in many ways a surprisingly tolerant religion. It has no problem with evolution, it does not take Scripture literally. Why it clings to the literal interpretation of "This is my body," I don't know. Probably has to do with the whole sacerdotal power thing -- I mean take away the Eucharist and what do you have? -- Presbyterianism, for Christ's sake! But Catholicism is a very diverse religion. I know Catholics who not only don't believe in the Church, they don't believe that Christ is divine. They don't even believe there is a God. I'm one of them. I'm still a Catholic, don't get me wrong. I don't believe a word of it, and don't go to Church. But I'm steeped in it. There's no way I can be anything but Catholic.

Mike Geary

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