Monday, 9 March 2009

I've been very remiss, haven't posted for quite a while. When I returned, I couldn't log on! Major panic, but I finally worked out (techological genius at work) that I was using the wrong email address, having changed my log on details on a random whim. It made me think about how often our lives can be affected by the whims of others. We talk about the cross roads in our lives, "the road not taken" the regrets and triumphs that make up our lives as a result of our casual choices. "If only I'd caught that train" or "if only I'd thought before sending that email" - even "if only I hadn't overslept" - I could go on endlessly. Poems, films, novels, plays, real lives played out along a certain track because of one chance choice.

But what about the random whims of others that so often dictate the direction of our lives? Someone likes the look of you and you're offered a job - or the converse.

Some complete stranger at the other end of a letter likes what you've written and offers to publish . . .

If you take into account other people's whims and chance choices about you, as well as your own, the chances of being who you are, where you are in life become almost impossibly random.

Does anything make any sense? (I'm not just referring to my ramblings here - this is a wider philosophical question!)

21 comments:

Debs said...

It all makes sense to me and is something that I think about quite a lot.

Leigh Russell said...

Thanks, Debs, that's reassuring. It's a strange world, isn't it?

Charles Gramlich said...

I think about random whims in the sense of people on the road with me each morning, and how their stupid decisions could kill me. their whim becomes the death knell for someone else who just happened to be sharing the road with them.

Can you tell I got cut off in traffic several times this morning?

Leigh Russell said...

Yes, Charles. Behind the wheel, one random whim, or just one instant's inattention, culd be fatal. Scary! Your frustration at being 'cut off' by another driver could lead you to one rash move when driving which might become someone else's 'death knell' - no, doesn't bear thinking about . . .

Leigh Russell said...

woops - for culd read could...

Aggie said...

Well, we generally don't mind whims in our favour ... it's the other sort we don't like. Ones like those nasty near misses on the Rds for example.

Leigh Russell said...

Yes, let's have more whims in our favour! You've got to be lucky in this life. That's all there is to it.

Barbara Martin said...

Life is not made up of random choices. To most it appears to be random. I am a firm believer that everyone has a purpose in their life, and when we get off track a message is sent to correct our direction. Some people resist these messages.

Every choice has consequences, even my comment, when another visitor decides I'm being too philosophical in dabbling with qauntum physics.

Leigh Russell said...

I agree, Barbara, every choice has consequences, often unintended ones! As for the purpose - I don't know. But I do think although we have a need to understand (life, the universe, everything) our understanding is limited to the tip of a vast iceberg. There is so much we don't understand. I wonder if prehistoric men thought the same as they looked at stonehenge and wondered what it was all about.

Eryl Shields said...

I think we make sense, or try to, of a world that isn't ordered by logic, which is after all a human construct, by using logic. Even the simplest life-forms are much more complex than logic can understand, so the world we live in, made up as it is of all these varied life-forms, is incomprehensible to us. We try to simplify everything and end up in a muddle.

Not everyone, of course: some simplify to a degree that keeps them happy, others embrace the magnitude of the complexity and are happy to admit they know bugger all. But I think most of us hover between the two: we gain a bit of understanding here, we lose a bit there; sometimes we think we have it, sometimes we feel we are at the mercy of chance, and so on.

Mostly I try to be flexible enough to take whatever serendipity throws at me, though sometimes I'm floored, but so far I've always been able to pick myself up again. Perhaps that's my purpose: to be a kind of living weeble.

Leigh Russell said...

Hi there, living weeble, aka Eryl - I'm an "admit I know bugger all" - sometimes happy, sometimes not, sometimes for an identifiable reason . . . it's all a mystery to me. Am I happy to admit that? Maybe I am, maybe I'm not . . .
off to google weeble

Leigh Russell said...

:0
OK, Eryl, I get it! "weebles wobble but they never fall down"
:)

BernardL said...

On a strictly philosophical issue I believe our moral foundation guides how random our lives become. If we live life flitting from one pleasure to the next our lives travel a tempest tossed path guided by whim and chance. The more structured our basic belief system, the less chance and whimsy play a part in how we live, and the more our goal-oriented pursuits evolve.

Leigh Russell said...

Makes sense, Bernard. I think the absence of a belief system is causing a lot of problems in society. Then again, belief systems don't always help . . .

Bill Clark said...

Welcome back, Leigh!

In my novel that came out late last year the "General Prologue" begins thus:

"Have you ever wondered, dear reader, how and why it is that we are born to our particular parents, have to put up with our peculiar siblings, and grow up in our own local neighbo[u]rhoods? I have, often, and I still don't have a clue as to why things happen as they do. We may delude ourselves that we have some measure, some reasonable amount of free will in determining what happens to us, but..." -- and it goes on from there.

My fond wish is that you will someday find time to read my novel, and tell me what you think of it...being honest, but kind, one hopes.

And in exchange I promise to buy and read yours, of course. And even to tell you what I think, if you like. :)

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