So, you know how, whenever we have these discussions, we get to a point where I tell you that you’re misrepresenting what I’m saying?
You’re misrepresenting what I’m saying. You’re implying, with what you just said, that I’m engaging in blanket denials of the possibility that the universe is deterministic. You reference my willingness to entertain the possibility that the universe is deterministic. You then specifically point out that you’re talking about me entertaining the possibility that the universe is deterministic. Then you invoke ‘blanket denials’ without any further qualifiers or descriptors. So hopefully, you see where my takeaway there is that you’re saying I’m issuing blanket denials of the possibility that the universe is deterministic.
Now, maybe that’s not what you meant. I’m sure you’ll insist, despite me telling you otherwise, ‘you know what I meant’, but if it’s not? Then no, I really don’t.
So, if you are trying to say that I’m issuing blanket denials of the possibility that the universe is deterministic… you’re misrepresenting what I’ve said. After all:
None of my statements have said the universe isn’t deterministic. I’ve said the examples you’ve provided don’t show any determinism—instead, they show consistent intention to invoke or influence choice. Your examples being flawed doesn’t mean the universe isn’t deterministic. It just means your examples are flawed.
Your examples fit a society that has decided, within the current generation or two, to treat the universe as deterministic. They still show the need to persuade, to “encourage”—your word, originally. You’ll never get a society to truly believe a thing, uniformly and universally, without doubt, in that kind of time-frame.
They won’t have the centuries of philosophy that shape and guide the society along that path, either. When you start to look at a truly deterministic society, you have to look beyond questions like ‘do they have a concept of morality’? Because of course they don’t. But they’ll also lose concepts like persuasion, or punishment, because they’re dependent on choice. Why would such a society see any use in encouragement? Why would they think in terms of encouragement? If there’s no true choice to be made, there’s no encouraging.
Language and entire modes of thought change, with that kind of belief. Why think about what might have been, when nothing was ever possible except exactly what is? They’d lose concepts like pejoratives, too. There’s no ‘lazy’ because being lazy requires choosing not to apply yourself, just as being industrious means you’ve chosen to apply yourself. Without choice, an idle individual is just idle. An active, productive individual is just productive. There’s no value judgment involved, because a value judgment is based on ‘it could have been different’.
Desires, wants, these would, of course, remain, because emotional reactions don’t obey rational belief structures. But would attempts to modulate them remain? After all, if someone is going to modulate their anger, or their lust, or their hunger, or their jealousy, then they’ll do that. If someone else is going to provide the stimulus needed to modulate the emotional response, they’ll do it. But why would they? In a purely deterministic worldview, is ‘why’ even a relevant question? It happens because it happens, and understanding the mechanisms will only happen if it will happen.
Now, does any of that mean determinism’s impossible? Not at all. It’s completely possible. But, again based purely on an awareness of emotional responses and their lack of willingness to conform to rational belief, true acceptance of a deterministic reality may not be. To truly accept determinism at more than a conscious level—which, as we’ve both described, is itself a shallow, illusory, superficial level in the first place—it seems like it would mean losing the fight/flight, anger/fear response.
But, again, none of that means the universe being deterministic is impossible. I’ve issued no blanket denials of that, because after all, not only do I not know, I probably can’t know. And ‘denial’ is just an assertion of active belief in the negation, which is not a position I’m anywhere near taking on the fundamental nature of reality.