10 Oct Cool visual illusion: why random events happen to us
Randomness and Free Will Part of the Plan?
Many of us assume that if we can manage some form of illusory control over the events in our lives, we can limit or even avoid random events and feel safe and secure in this reality. But random events still happen.
A storm or fire may destroy our property, our partners decide to pack up and leave and some of us even win the lottery and get promotions, despite our best intentions and/or our beliefs otherwise.
The study of random events isn’t limited to statistical or scientific research but has permeated all facets of our society from our relationship to God or Spirit and Nature to the foundations of democracy.
Is randomness a basic part of natural law (if we take the scientific route) or part of the Divine plan (if we take the spiritual route)?
It’s interesting to note that Athenian Democracy, based on the premise of “isotomia” which means the “equality of value or rights” used allotment (sortition or the drawing of lots) and special machines called Kleroterions to choose their governing committee members; randomness being the final determining factor.
The Hebrew Bible (in the Books of Jonah, Samuel and Joshua) has references to the casting of lots to determine the final will of God and has references to the mysterious use of the Urim and Thummim to access God’s Mind.
Other belief systems try to explain randomness away. Buddhism attributes random events to karma and most Christians to everything being God’s will or that we don’t know enough about reality yet, either scientifically or spiritually, to be sure enough that what appears as randomness might just be a higher empirical order or divine law.
Though all these fields, religions and political systems apply contrasting meanings to randomness, it appears to be an important determining factor and a major part of our reality whether we want to admit it, deny it or avoid it in our daily lives.
Down here on Earth, we mortals pretty much find randomness disruptive when difficult situations enter our lives and consider it luck when wonderful things happen. We like to believe we have free will to choose our jobs and partners and what we want for breakfast but we are very willing to give up the existence of free will at a moment’s notice when a tornado rips through our town and resort to blaming it on God, karma or our country.
But what if free will and/or randomness were built into the design? As C. S. Lewis has said:
“God gave [humans] free will. He gave them free will because a world of mere automata could never love…”
What if, as Paul Grobstein states in Evolution/Science: Inverting the Relationship Between Randomness and Meaning, the accidental and random:
“create opportunities that weren’t there before and provide the grist for meaning that had yet to occur to us?”
What if, our free will (on whatever level it exists) and randomness create this incredible life and experience we have here on Earth. Maybe we shouldn’t be so worried about an ultimate truth or final meaning to our lives. We just may be creating and making up meaning as we go along.
A cool visual illusion that indicates free will to some extent:
“In most people’s minds, “free will” has two relatively distinct properties. The first is the idea that what one does is in some sense “free” that is “not determined by something else”. The second is the idea that one can oneself control what one does”
Notice that the image can sometimes be seen as consisting of green arrows pointing to the right, and at other times as yellow arrows pointing to the left, but is infrequently or never seen as both (unless one tries very hard).
Click here for further instructions and complete the test (an explanation follows on how this test may infer we have free will. That split-second moment we decide which way the arrows are pointing; we have excercised our free will to some extent )
In New York City visit: The Seeing the Light exhibit at The New York Hall of Science With over 80 exhibits, Seeing the Light allows visitors to discover how the eye works, explore optical illusions and learn how we perceive the world around us.
Evolution/Science: Inverting the Relationship Between Randomness and Meaning Paul Grobstein
Visual Illusions Gallery
The Free Will Problem
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons Justin Hobson
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