Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Do we have Free Will?

I watched the film “Knowing” last night, and actually the night before as well. Although I do not feel it was a good movie, it has got me thinking. While mostly I am just trying to figure it out (the pieces do not seem to fit together), the smarter side of me is letting go of the specific nonsensical parts of the movie, and consider the bigger question presented: determinism vs. randomness. Is there a purpose to our lives and events, or is it all a convergence of a random set of accidental occurrences? And, if one believes in determinism, then who or what is making that determination?
This movie certainly muddles the answer to that question – or, opens us up to wider possibilities. This movie seems to suggest that it is not God! “Knowing” begins with the protagonist depressed over the idea that there is no purpose to our lives, yet in the end is reassured that aliens have whispered frightening catastrophic events to a disturb a child for her entire life, so that that child can warn someone in the future… so that they can do nothing about it? Roger Ebert, film critic for the Chicago Sun Times wrote a blog entry in which he explored these theories much more deeply. He also included You Tube clips of several philosophers discussing determinism and free will. They seem to find a convergence. Certainly, some sort of combination of these opposite theories is the only palatable choice for us. Either determinism or randomness in its absolute leaves me depressed and unsatisfied. Their absolutes leave no purpose for our lives, and that is not the way I want to live. The other reasons I chose to watch the movie again on consecutive nights were not so high minded. First, the little girl in the movie looks EXACTLY like my granddaughter! I was riveted, and missed my little grandbaby badly. Second, it was pay per view and I was still within the 24 hour window of viewing time! So life comes right down to the little things, doesn't it. And, that may be all the purpose I need.


  1. I just watched this movie this past weekend. I too found a lot lacking, but also the whole concept intriguing. The idea that we can create our own destiny -- that if we believe something we can manifest it (ie The Secret) I battle with. Is it or is it not? I guess everything comes down to belief or faith in whatever you chose to invest your spritual life in. It's kind of like trying to grasp gravity -- sometimes it's just easier to ignore it and trust that it exists :-)

  2. i just have to watch the movie to get into this conversation.

  3. Do we need to know? Isn't thinking we have free will enough to create our own reality? And isn't the belief that we have free will and an enormous impact on the direction of our lives more palatable than believing that we're mere puppets, jerked around interminably by some giant puppet maker in a dance of his making?

  4. Hello Jennifer!

    Interesting post and intriguing topic. I haven't seen the film yet, but my son told me about it, and it does sound interesting. I'll have to make a point of watching it.

    When you have a moment, I have an award waiting for you on my blog.


  5. I like very much your blog !!!

    and, I liked your post !!!

    well, I hope you come to visit me,

    a hug,

    Fede Hammelinn

    from Montevideo-Uruguay

    my blog:

    Hammelinn - Poesía, Arte y Música...


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