Destiny In Your Life, The Universe And Everything

Author's note: for the sake of brevity, I intend to use the acronym for self-awareness or consciousness as SAC; for the overlapping concepts of destiny, fate, function, meaning, purpose or reason as DFMPR. That should save a bit of space!

A Few Ultimate Questions:

Is there a DFMPR to life, the universe and everything?

What is the DFMPR to life, the universe and everything?

What is my DFMPR within life, the universe and everything?

Does the universe have a SAC?

A SAC universe, well that's the only way it could assign you a, or influence your, DFMPR. But, looking up at the night sky, do you really think the universe gives a damn about your alleged DFMPR in life? That would indeed imply that the universe has some sort of SAC. But, IMHO, the universe did not assign you a DFMP at birth and does not acknowledge any DFMPR to your existence. You can contemplate the universe; the universe can not contemplate you. Alas, that's because the universe is not alive, it doesn't have a mind; it does not have any SAC. To argue otherwise is to invite trouble.

Some readers might recall the controversy of James Lovelock's Gaia theory which seemed to imply that Earth (Gaia) had a SAC and the planet could somehow intellectually manipulate the various geo-chemical cycles (feedback mechanisms) to optimise the environmental balance between extremes that could otherwise result without those mechanisms. Gaia's DFMPR was to produce and ensure an optimum Earth; a Goldilocks Earth, an Earth that's just right for life. Of course those feedback mechanisms were just the result of natural unconscious physical laws, and too many New Agers read too much into Lovelock's ideas. Planet Earth exhibits no SAC and neither does the universe.

By extension, there is no nebulous supernatural other within the universe that serves as a substitute for a SAC universe. As a jumping off premise, there is no such thing as either a SAC universe, or a supernatural realm that contains any deity or family of deities within that universe.

I guess I should mention astrology here if for no other reason than readers would expect to find it mentioned. OK, I've mentioned it, now it's time to move forward. Astrology is a 100% human invention and has no cosmic or personal significance in any shape, manner or form. Of course you are perfectly free to adopt astrology as your answer to your DFMPR, but that suggests you are happy to negate any free will others might think you have.

Let's start at the most elementary basics and work the way upwards, starting with the four forces and associated particles plus the elementary particles (electron and quarks).

There are four fundamental forces in the universe, with associated particles that form the entire bedrock for all of life, the universe and everything. They are gravity, the weak nuclear and strong nuclear forces, and electromagnetism. You know all about gravity; electromagnetism is also a pretty familiar concept from the light that you read by, to the compass that guides you from Point A to Point B. Now do you associate any intelligence or SAC with these four forces? - Probably not.

There are also a few fundamental particles that you have probably heard about, namely electrons and quarks. Quark combinations make up protons and neutrons, and they in turn, in association with electrons make up atoms. Are electrons and quarks SAC? Do they have intellect? Do they have free will? - Probably not.

Atoms combine to form molecules, and molecules can combine to form really complex molecules, and combinations of really complex molecules can form life within all those other non-life bits that comprise the rest of the universe and everything. But if the fundamental building blocks have no SAC, how can combinations of them have SAC? It's like building a house of red bricks only to have the finished house appear blue!

Still, somewhere along the line, un-SAC bricks can form a SAC house - you, for example. Therefore, the eternal question - the bits and pieces what makes me up has no SAC, yet I have, a SAC that is. Therefore, I'm more than the sum of my parts and I am somehow special (relative to the universe) and no doubt endowed therefore with some special DFMPR, if I can only figure out what.

Conversely, one could take the point of view and argue that gravity has a DFMPR to its existence, ditto a quark and therefore they have a SAC in order to carry out their DFMPR (like keeping Earth in its orbit, or making those neutrons) and therefore a rock has SAC (being made up of bits and pieces of SAC bits and pieces) and therefore you aren't unique in your SAC vis-à-vis the inanimate world. But you still have to figure it out - either way you have to figure it out what your special DFMPR is. However, I have a hard time thinking that most living things would accept that all non-living things have a SAC, so let's scratch that option.

Okay, the universe isn't SAC and has no DFMPR, it just is; you on the other hand are SAC and therefore assume you have a unique DFMPR, whatever. But is that by your choice and alterable (free will) or by the design of the universe and unalterable?

From the moment of the Big Bang, all the laws, principles and relationships of physics became hardwired into the fabric of the universe, fixed and forever unalterable. That implies total causality and that outcomes are fixed. Plug in the numbers into the equation, crunch the numbers, and out will come the answer, fixed and immovable. Everything that happens in the universe is predetermined even unto billions of years into the future, including you and your DFMPR. Your life may have DFMPR except you have no choice, no free will, in what that DFMPR is. Absolute cause-and-effect rules out free will. Let's move on from there.

Let's forge ahead instead with the standard model and see where that leads us. The standard model, scientific model, being that the universe has no SAC or DFMPR, causality is iffy (due to quantum physics); you have SAC so there's a transition between no SAC and SAC as complexity increases. There is no nebulous other (something supernatural) pulling your strings; you have free will.

You exist. You have not always existed and you will not always exist.

You did not create yourself. Is there a reason you exist apart from the sex act that created you and perhaps the wishes of your parents to have a child (you) - though that may be a good enough reason in itself.

A more interesting question though is, is there really a DFMPR to your existence, and by extension to all that came before you, leading up to you, since if you have a DFMPR your parents had at least one DFMPR - creating you - and so on back on down the line.

Working backwards, if there was a reason for you, therefore there was a reason for your parent's existence, your parent's parents, back to the rise of Homo sapiens, the primates, the mammals, life itself, stuff (planets, stars, and galaxies), the creation of matter/energy and the time and space to ultimately produce you. If you exist for a reason, then everything that went before had a reason to exist as well.

If something is created, and that something has a DFMPR for being created in the first place, that implies an act of intelligence, though that level of intelligence doesn't have to be very high. Ants create an anthill out of dirt or sand for a purpose (shelter); some birds will gather up pretty baubles and lay them out to be admired by a prospective mate, an artistic work that has a purpose (sex and reproduction); some primates fashion sticks out of leafy twigs to probe for termites, again for a purpose (food).

Back to you: were you created for a DFMPR - are you a tool as it were, designed with an ultimate DFMPR in mind, and if so who or what created that DFMPR? There are two possibilities, not mutually exclusive.

* You are your own tool. You create your own DFMPR.

* You are someone else's tool. Parents, teachers, other authority figures help give your life DFMPR, like do the dishes; mow the lawn; do your homework; voting is compulsory (this being written in the rather undemocratic country of Australia); pay your taxes; don't drink and drive; don't be late for work; spend, spend, spend; be fruitful and multiply; thou shall have no other gods before me, etc. Of course it doesn't have to be an authority figure. Maybe a close friend suggests your DFMPR lies in being a musician. Decades later, you're a rock & roll superstar!

Your mind is perfectly free to accept or reject the demands or your externally imposed DFMPR, like wash the dishes or practice, practice, practice your music, as long as you are willing to accept the consequences if you exert your free will in the negative. Ultimately, you, or your mind is in control and that's where the buck stops.

In the case of the anthill, the artistic pattern of the baubles, the termite gathering stick, these are someone else's tools (ants, birds, primates), obviously, since they didn't create themselves. They are creations from within the mind of their ant, bird, primate creators, but via a hardwired form of intelligence - instinct.

What humans tend to create is more a soft-wired flexible sort of intelligence; true intelligence as it was - creating outside of the instinct box. You don't fashion atomic bombs, or financial markets, or shoes, or a theory of evolution by hardwired instinct.

But the line between animal hardwired and human soft-wired 'intelligence/instinct' isn't all that neat and tidy. Apart from housing/shelter, many an animal 'society' has by definition a social structure, a political system (leaders), a division of labour, and has 'invented' agriculture and harvesting and animal husbandry, even slavery, warfare and genocide. I'm thinking primarily, but not exclusively, of the ant or bee/wasp kingdoms.

However, there is a bottom line here. Things with DFMPR, by instinct or by pure intelligent design, stem ultimately from the brain, mind, or wetware, whatever you wish to call it. There is no nebulous other factor behind an anthill or wasps nest; creating a new dance step or meal recipe.

The human mind does differ I suspect in at least one highly significant way - humans, via their minds, envelop themselves in a wider worldview, both in time and in space, vis-à-vis the animals, and ponder the meaning of 'why'.

Animals, my cats for example, have a sense of who (friend or foe; prey or predator); what (I know what that is, it's my chair); where (I know where my food dish or litter box or the door is); even when (their biological clocks are damn accurate, but their sense of when doesn't extend much past 'right now'), but lack the intellectual ability to ponder why or how. Animals live day-to-day, even moment-to-moment, without a sense of mystery (they have no concept of whodunits), which isn't to say they don't have a concept of the unknown - they do have curiosity and like to explore (is there food just over that hill), but DFMPR are foreign ideas to them. Things just are and don't need to be explained. There is no need to frame questions, far less seek answers.

Humans however have evolved the concepts of how or why. And the human mind can come to terms with concepts like DFMPR; good and evil; mystery and awe; yin and yang; a sense of yesterday and tomorrow; of death and immortality which are all foreign in the animal kingdoms.

Unfortunately, though how and why questions come easily to the human mind, answers do not and being an rather impatient sort of life form, well, what do we want, answers; when do we want them, now!

Any gaps in our minds ability to figure things out, the natural order of things (like life, the universe and everything), could be instantaneously filled in by one very simple invention - storytelling. If you have trouble explaining the natural via the natural, then invent explanatory stories of the supernatural, or mythology, or its synonym religion, since every mythology has both supernatural elements and deities. Easy! Every culture has done it. As author Karen Armstrong says "We created religions because we are meaning-seeking creatures". A local pastor of a friend of mine wrote that "religion is for making a disparate and confusing world coherent". Substitute the word 'science' for 'religion' and I'd agree. That's what science tries to do - make sense of life, the universe and everything. Later on down the track, people decided the best way to explain the natural was to investigate, experiment and get their hands dirty, and slowly but surely, supernatural or religious philosophies morphed into natural philosophy, or what we call today science, and science has indeed filled in many gaps where previously only deities feared to tread.

Not all mythology need be 100% tall tales invented from scratch out of whole cloth to explain life, the universe and everything. There could be, and probably are, natural events influencing the authors of these tall tales. One can easily substitute a natural, albeit extraterrestrial Captain Yahweh of the Starship Heaven for the supernatural Almighty for example.

Religion may have once covered that role but since the Age of Enlightenment religion has become irrelevant in that role. We created science to ultimately explain that who, what, where, when, why and how. Science answers the question 'what is my DFMPR in life' by pointing out there isn't any DFMPR (given to us by a nebulous other or religious deity), any more than what is the DFMPR of a rock's existence. It just is. There is nothing ultimately different between you and a rock, just the arrangement of the fundamental bits and pieces that make up both you and the rock.

But science hasn't yet come to terms with everything life, the universe and everything has thrown up. An obvious example is explaining that eternal question of what is my DFMPR in existing and being present and accounted for in the first place, apart from my asking "how high" when someone says "jump"! "How high" might be your DFMPR for being present and accounted for in the here and now.

But then you too could jump all on your own accord because you have decided that your DFMPR in life is to jump, or at least one of your DFMPR (there's probably no such thing as just a singular DFMPR to your life). Now that's not all that frivolous since there are athletes whose profession is the high jump or the broad jump or race track hurdles, or who ride and jump horses over obstacles - the steeplechase I think that's called.

So again we see that your DFMPR can be both influenced by others (say your drill sergeant) and by yourself - you volunteered to enlist in the army and serve your country thus giving you DFMPR to your otherwise miserable existence.

The Concept of the Nebulous Other:

Now a question arises, does any DFMPR stem also from a third party, from a sort of nebulous supernatural sort of other drill sergeant type? Only if you believe in the existence of such a deity or the various mythological texts that supposedly endorse such a being. However, I've already pointed out that these religious mythologies were the products of the human mind to give instant satisfaction to un-answered and unanswerable (at the time) questions. Therefore there is no competing nebulous supernatural other directing your life, even if you believe otherwise. Any nebulous supernatural other stems from your own mind.

There is one other last option. People who feel that they are being directed or otherwise have a sense of higher calling or DFMPR in their life might be virtual beings in a simulated universe. Software is the string; you (in fact all simulated life, the simulated universe and the simulated everything) is the puppet of some unknown nebulous, but not a supernatural nebulous other, is the puppeteer. In such a simulated universe you'd have a DFMPR, but no free will. In this case the puppeteer wouldn't be just a mental creation.

Conclusion: All DFMPR; good and evil; mystery and awe; yin and yang; a sense of yesterday and tomorrow; of death and immortality stems 100% from within your own mind, albeit influenced at times by others - like your drill sergeant - natural others, not nebulous supernatural others. If you feel you have an ultimate DFMPR to your existence then that ultimately stems from or is consolidated from within your own mind (brain chemistry rules the roost) even if influenced by the input of others. I have various self-assigned DFMPR, but they all stem from within my own mind - an example of free will? When my mind eventually goes, so too will go the DFMPR. Once you're brain dead any DFMPR you had can't be continued or added too, though that doesn't mean you can't still serve a DFMPR, like being an inspiration after-the-fact. Still, the bottom line is that all DFMPR ultimately comes from within, probably after much internal mulling things over, and ever evolving as you get older (and wiser). Apart from the simulated universe scenario, your mind is your own. You have, apparently, free will to pick and choose your own DFMPR.

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