Predetermination

As someone who grew up with video games, and who has advanced through a career of almost pure science before turning to the arts, I am very attached to systems. The basic thesis in my head is that everything that happens can be explained by a set of preceding factors.

As a result, I’m frustrated when I can’t identify the root cause of a problem. Not for the sake of pride; not because I suffer from the defeat of my capacity for reasoning – but because without identifying the cause, I feel that the problem is bound to repeat in the future.

The problem with this thesis is that it is not computable by the human brain. Causal factors are sufficiently distributed in time and space that I have no chance of including them in the calculation. Not to mention the inherent chaos in the randomness that a quantum conception of the universe implies.

In other words, if I were omnipotent, I would be able to know exactly what led to the present state; but since I am only human, there are a multitude of factors that I do not have access to, and an infinite number of factors that are impossible to predict before they occur.

And that is why there is no alternative to the practice of acceptance. Not in a passive sense, of not reacting to what happens – just the opposite: our response to events is the only thing we can control; the events themselves are often unpredictable, and therefore unavoidable.

There was nothing you could have done to prevent what happened. But you have the power to take the next step.

Painting: “Aeneas on the Bank of the River Styx” by Pietro Testa