abril 08, 2010


"[...] my disbelief in determinism must be contained in the set of factors which determine my behavior; one of the conditions for fulfilling the prearranged pattern is that I should not believe it is prearranged.. Destiny can only have its way by forcing me to disbelieve in it. Thus the very concept of determinism implies a split between thinking and doing; it condemns man to live in a world where the rules of conduct are based on As-Ifs and the rules of logic on Becauses. This paradox is not confined to scientific determinism; the Moslem, living in a world of religious determinism, displays the same mental split. Though he believes, in the words of the Koran, that «every man's destiny is fastened on his neck», yet he curses his enemy, and himself when he blunders, as if all were masters of their choice. [...] Destiny versus freedom (or explanation vs volition) is an eternal duality in man's mental structure. Both concepts are derived from fundamental instincts, though in different periods they are expressed in different forms.

The idea of destiny responds to the need to find some organizing principle, a universal order behind the threatening chaos of the natural world. Its instinctual root is probably the feeling of insecurity, a cosmic anxiety, which craves for reassurance by «explanation», that is, the reduction of the strange and threatening to the familiar. In primitive religion this is achieved by explaining the forces of nature through animism and personification. [...] About 1600 the character of destiny underwent a change. A new method of explanation arose in the measurements of the quantitative aspects of things and the formulation of their rules of interaction. Many phenomena which had appeared different in kind proved to be explainable in differences of degree. The success of this method meant that the organizing principle of the universe could now be more satisfactorily explained in therm of these quantities and relations. Deity, whose human passions had gradually decreased with increasing wisdom, now became entirely de-personalized. The idea of enforced order, «fastened around man's neck» remained untouched, but the seat of the organizing power had been shifted. The gods had been supermen, extrapolations of an ascending scale; atoms and electrons were subhuman, extrapolation of a descending scale. Destiny which had operated from above now operated from below." Arthur Koestler, The Yogi & The Commissar II.

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