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View Full Version : What If I... [destiny, future]



karateman
2009-Jun-23, 10:11 PM
I have always wondered what the possible outcome might be if I didn't do something I was meant to do, and how it might affect the future universe. Say for instance I was supposed to catch a bus into town, but I went by taxi instead. How might that one small decision change the future or my future maybe.
I realise that one answer would be fate determined "I was supposed to catch the taxi and was never going to catch the bus anyway", but suppose hypothetically it could happen, would the world be a different place in the future because of the decision or would we not see any noticeable difference.
What got me pondering was I once read a fictional short story when I was a boy (40years ago) called the sound of thunder by Ray Bradbury. The story is set in 2055. A hunter simply known as “Eckels” goes on the adventure of a lifetime: travelling back into the past on a prehistoric safari to kill a Tyrannosaurus Rex. To keep from having any effect on the past, the hunters must stay on a path to avoid disrupting the environment and only kill animals who were going to naturally die at the same time. Eckels loses his nerve at the sight of the T Rex. The guides tells him he can't leave, but Eckels panics and veers off the path. The two guides kill the dinosaur, and shortly afterward, the tree that would have killed the dinosaur in the absence of human intervention falls on the corpse. The guides elation quickly changes to fury when they find Eckels and see his muddy boots, which prove he went off the path. Upon returning to the present, Eckels notices subtle changes. English words are now spelled strangely, people and buildings are different. Looking through the mud on his boots, Eckels finds a crushed butterfly, whose death was apparently the cause of the changes.

Maybe its a silly question..... but what do you think?

Phil

slang
2009-Jun-23, 10:44 PM
I have always wondered what the possible outcome might be if I didn't do something I was meant to do

You say this as if it's a fact that people are "meant" to do things. I think that's highly contentious, and bait for a religion discussion.

I also think you should edit your post and put a spoiler marker in, and some separation between that and your description of A Sound Of Thunder. There are still people that haven't read it yet!

Salty
2009-Jun-24, 12:45 AM
Using your example of taking a taxi to a destination instead of riding the bus to the same destination, I'd say it might not make that big a difference.

However, if taking the taxi put you at the same destination at a different time than taking the bus would have, it might make a difference.

That's the thing about tossing around these philosophical tidbits. The variations are so numerous.

Phamph
2009-Jun-24, 12:59 AM
Maybe its a silly question..... but what do you think?

I think theres no such thing as a 'future universe'. The future doesnt exist, neither does the past. From the human perspective theres only the present moment.

Middenrat
2009-Jun-24, 01:01 AM
In the case of alternate modes of transport or choices of that ilk you would have to apprehend the variables in order to weigh up outcomes, but these options are presented to us daily by the myriad and cannot be so easily controlled. Also given some control conditions can hardly be conducive to the 'hand of fate' having a say. The new field of Experimental Philosophy may find this grist to the mill.
I'm reminded of the fellow (whose name and those of his work eludes me) who novellised his experinces of a year spent rolling a dice to dictate his daily actions in the range of one to six - one being mundane and six being extraordinary. Any takers?

pzkpfw
2009-Jun-24, 01:09 AM
You say this as if it's a fact that people are "meant" to do things. I think that's highly contentious, and bait for a religion discussion.

The OP has been discussed, and moderator concensus is that it need not be seen as "highly contentious" nor "bait for a religion discussion".

If nobody (else) goes there, it's fine.


My take:

1. There's no such thing as destiny or "I was meant to".

2. Once you have time travel - everything goes upside down and inside out anyway. Stay on the path? What happens to the air that was "meant" to be in the place where you are walking? Or the butterfly that was "meant" to fly through that space?


Wasn't there a movie about this idea, about 5 years ago?

Salty
2009-Jun-24, 01:16 AM
I guess that some people say, "It was meant to be" and other people say, "It wasn't meant to be", to console themselves after some event.

Considering the quantum dictum that observing causes changes to that which is observed; then the city planners and other such people do make a future when they make plans for the future. Just my two cents worth.

kleindoofy
2009-Jun-24, 01:27 AM
... The future doesnt exist, neither does the past. ...
Exactly.

There's also no "what if." Either you do something or you don't do it.

Everything that happens happens. There are no "things in a big plan" that you're supposed to do. You do what you do and that's it.

Let's test this on an inanimate object that doesn't make decisions:

If a huge comet were to wipe out all life on Earth tomorrow, does that mean that we were not meant to be as of tomorrow? Or will the comet have screwed up the plan by doing something it shouldn't have done?

Bad commet! :evil:

WayneFrancis
2009-Jun-24, 03:17 AM
Man thinking about this make my head hurt. What if I got that woman's number? What would life be like then. Does it matter beyond what you will do next time?

There have been a few movies like this. It is a popular tool of the story tellers. Sliding doors, Family man, Butterfly Effect, the list goes on.

By the way I didn't get that woman's number and I'm doing all I can to get a friend of a friend to make a subtle comment to instigate another meeting so I can fix my mistake :)

Ara Pacis
2009-Jun-24, 04:43 AM
It was made into a movie in 2005. I remember watching it when I was in the hospital a few weeks ago.

I think I've had some odd things happen that make me not want to dismiss the OP. It's kinda like those car ads that show an accident happen, then it disappears as the real car drives through the intersection and the truck is stopped and out of the way. I don't know if it's more like a deja vu or a vuja de, but it's like experiencing the multiverse without a timeline bias.

mugaliens
2009-Jun-24, 08:12 AM
I have always wondered what the possible outcome might be if I didn't do something I was meant to do, and how it might affect the future universe. Say for instance I was supposed to catch a bus into town, but I went by taxi instead. How might that one small decision change the future or my future maybe.

...

Maybe its a silly question..... but what do you think?

Phil

All interactions may be chaotic, but they revolve aournd locii. Give something a little nudge, it'll tend to return to the same valley. Give it a bigger nudge, and it might jump a ridge into the next valley. But while that's happening, there's usually someone giving something similar a bigger nudge in the next valley, and that similar something winds up in our valley.

Take your taxi vs bus. Seriously different vehicles, but they're both vehicles both use energy, and both got you there. So what's the real difference? Little nudge.

On the other hand, if you took a taxi which then killed a pedestrian destined to be president who solved many US problems, that would be a bigger nudge.

But life nudges back - another person (from the next valley) is elected president and does similar good things.

It's like the butterfly effect, and can mean the difference between a thunderstorm on Aug 3 instead of sunshine, but it won't mean a snowstorm in Florida, nor will it mean any serious departure from a mean high of 88 for the month, as variations tend to smooth out due to the attracting locii.

closetgeek
2009-Jun-24, 02:09 PM
I was watching Forensic Files last night, and the woman kept saying, "It was meant to be." Three kids got together and plotted to kill a woman. One went to her door and pretended to be a diabetic in need of food. She let him in and he was basically staking out the place. By a sheer stroke of luck, the woman, upon him leaving the house, went into her bathroom. In the reflection of her mirror, she saw three boys in her back yard, one of them being the boy that was just at her door, with baseball bats. She warned them that she called the police and they left, only to attack and I believe kill two other boys.

She spoke as if it were a miracle, not that I wouldn't be thankful of those circumstances, but I wouldn't call it anything but a sheer stroke of luck, unless the mirror had magically moved. As it stands, I would assume that she had always had a view of her back yard from that mirror, she was just lucky enough to have her impending attackers standing in the right spot.
By the same respect, is she also suggesting while she was meant to live, those two boys were meant to die?
Things happen, sometimes they work to our benefit and something we don't appreciate the outcome. I believe it is what it is.

Salty
2009-Jun-24, 10:54 PM
All this skeptic preaching gives me a headache. Whatever happened to polite philosophical discussions?

Philosophy handles secular considerations. I resent my posts being deleted.

HenrikOlsen
2009-Jun-25, 02:51 AM
All this skeptic preaching gives me a headache. Whatever happened to polite philosophical discussions?

Philosophy handles secular considerations. I resent my posts being deleted.
So don't post religion.

karateman
2009-Jun-26, 08:30 PM
How did religion suddenly enter the topic:confused: :confused::confused::confused:

Phil

Larry Jacks
2009-Jun-26, 08:55 PM
We commonly make many decisions every day. The number of decisions varies but it can easily be in the hundreds. Most of them are of no consequence, such as what to have for breakfast or what to wear today.

A few years ago, I read of a study that stated for every two miles someone drives, they average making 20 observations, 10 decisions, and 1 mistake. Most of the time, even the mistakes are of no consequence.

If taking a taxi instead of a bus caused you to arrive somewhere earlier, only to be involved in an accident, then the decision had consequences. Or, if the bus wrecked but your decision to take a taxi kept you off of it, then that too was a consequence of the decision. Just about every time there's an airline crash involving fatalities, you'll hear stories about the people who missed the flight or changed their mind. After the recent Air France crash, there was a story about a woman who missed that flight only to die days later in another accident. Make of that what you will.

Sometimes, even seemingly ordinary decisions can end up having major consequences in the end but we seldom realize that for some time. My wife and I grew up almost half a world apart. Had it not been for a series of seemingly small decisions, we would never have met. I know of many other couples who can say the same thing. Make of that what you will.

Whirlpool
2009-Jun-26, 08:59 PM
I have always wondered what the possible outcome might be if I didn't do something I was meant to do, and how it might affect the future universe. Say for instance I was supposed to catch a bus into town, but I went by taxi instead. How might that one small decision change the future or my future maybe.
I realise that one answer would be fate determined "I was supposed to catch the taxi and was never going to catch the bus anyway", but suppose hypothetically it could happen, would the world be a different place in the future because of the decision or would we not see any noticeable difference.

Maybe its a silly question..... but what do you think?

Phil

There are no " what IF's " ,it is your own decision that brought you into that situation. It will change your future or it will not .
If you ride a taxi instead of a bus , I don't see a difference between that 2 vehicles as long as it helps you get to the place you are going the same time . One small thing though that I see is the " Fare" . It will cost you a bit more if your ride the taxi than riding a bus; BUT if you ride the bus , you can save money and you can meet a lady which can possibly change your future . :p


WayneFrancis - Man thinking about this make my head hurt. What if I got that woman's number? What would life be like then. Does it matter beyond what you will do next time?

There have been a few movies like this. It is a popular tool of the story tellers. Sliding doors, Family man, Butterfly Effect, the list goes on.

By the way I didn't get that woman's number and I'm doing all I can to get a friend of a friend to make a subtle comment to instigate another meeting so I can fix my mistake

You're right. :D

aastrotech
2009-Jun-27, 08:32 AM
In weather simulations the smallest variation in initial conditions results in an entirely different weather pattern after a remarkably short time. The mathematics say that changing the position of even one atom in the entire solar system 65 million years ago, let alone stepping off the path and crushing a butterfly, will produce so many variations that it is very unlikely that the one that actually occurs will even have human beings.

With your cab example; if you took the cab a person who could otherwise have taken the cab and robbed and killed the driver could have prevented the birth of his future child who becomes the discverer of warp drive. Sombody may eventually discover warp drive but maybe too late to help the Orions in their war against the slithering slime creatures. Because you took that cab and saved that cabbie's life you have in a round about way maybe saved an entire planet.

You did take the cab...right?

Then again, the slithering slime creatures are frequent winners at the Intergalactic Olympics (shot put you know). And the Orions have really bad body odor (sorry for the ad hom, Humor you know).