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Are people where they are because of their own choices?

  • Yes, every action has a reaction.

    Votes: 38 79.2%
  • No, luck and/or fate are stronger than our choices.

    Votes: 10 20.8%
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Discussion Starter #1
I am a very strong believer that as individuals, we are in life where we are based entirely off of our own choices and actions in life. 99.9% of the time. A few examples of what I am talking about:

  • Fights, breakups, divorce
  • Write ups, demotions, terminations
  • Raises, bonuses, high salaries
  • Low income, poverty, homelessness

There is almost nothing that bothers me more than hearing of people's sob stories when, from my perspective, they are in a given situation due to their own choices. Is this an INTJ perspective?
 

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Sometimes you can make the right choice and still end up in a negative situation, which can prompt another choice, which can bring about a positive situation ... like my own choice to not suck up to my boss, which cost me a raise (only 10 cents/hour, but still) and made my work life pretty crappy for a while, but when I stuck by that (same) choice, I proved my worth to them.


Low income is the big one for me ... my family does not have a lot of money at all, and I can see some of the choices that led to this, though not all, I'm sure. But now I'm facing some of the same choices myself, and don't want to make the same decisions ... and this is a bit of a point of stress for me.

As for fights, breakups, divorce, this is 100% the choice of those involved. You choose how to react to the other person, even if you're an INTJ and never know how to react to anybody ... ;) ...

Every time I have written someone up at work it is the result of a direct choice they made. I don't (and can't) write someone up because of a defective personality ... even though I wish I could! :wink: But seriously, there's no such thing as a defective personality, it's just the way you choose to deal. No matter your tendencies or whatever.
 

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The world is not bipolar; it is rarely, if ever black and white. So I cannot answer your question by selecting one of two answers. It's more complicated than that. We are surely here partly because of our choices. But do our choices always shape our environment? Not at all. Are we helpless in the hands of fate/luck? Of course not. If I earn a promotion after working hard at the job, I earned the promotion. Fate/luck didn't give it to me. Likewise if I were to die by a freak car accident where a drunk driver were to swerve into my lane, my choices didn't cause my own demise. It was the drunk driver who is at fault. Still, to try to provide you with some sort of answer (as the 'J' in me simply cannot leave a question unanswered) I would argue that for the most part our circumstances in life are a combination of our choices, the choices of those around us, and what you call fate/luck.
 

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Likewise if I were to die by a freak car accident where a drunk driver were to swerve into my lane, my choices didn't cause my own demise. It was the drunk driver who is at fault.
Legally, ethically, morally, etc, it is certainly the drunk driver's fault. His choice to drink and drive caused your death, yes.

But ...

If you had chosen to leave 5 minutes earlier, 5 minutes later, taken a different turn, or so on, this is still a choice and you would not have died. Just because you didn't know you should have made a different choice ... does that make it fate/luck?

Related: My dad often tells me that "random" is subjective. What my computer generates as a "random" pattern seems random to me because I do not know the algorithm used to create it. Apply this to everything perceived as random. It's a lack of knowledge. So is luck or fate "random happenings?" Or do we just not know that we could have made a different choice ...

I dunno ... I am just arguing for the sake of arguing. This is a really interesting topic.
 
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sometimes shit happens, like floods and droughts and nepotism

but if you're a high value person who is dedicated and disciplined, you will be recognized, sooner or later
 

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sometimes shit happens, like floods and droughts and nepotism

but if you're a high value person who is dedicated and disciplined, you will be recognized, sooner or later
I like how you throw nepotism in there.:laughing:
 

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Legally, ethically, morally, etc, it is certainly the drunk driver's fault. His choice to drink and drive caused your death, yes.

But ...

If you had chosen to leave 5 minutes earlier, 5 minutes later, taken a different turn, or so on, this is still a choice and you would not have died. Just because you didn't know you should have made a different choice ... does that make it fate/luck?

Related: My dad often tells me that "random" is subjective. What my computer generates as a "random" pattern seems random to me because I do not know the algorithm used to create it. Apply this to everything perceived as random. It's a lack of knowledge. So is luck or fate "random happenings?" Or do we just not know that we could have made a different choice ...

I dunno ... I am just arguing for the sake of arguing. This is a really interesting topic.
This is really interesting. It's been the focus of a of my rumination of late. My latest novel features an omniscient character. Trying to imagine the universe from that POV has been challenging and incredibly thought provoking. I've gotten to the point now where I'm thinking concepts like probability and free will are subjective constructs based on the human inability to see all things simultaneously. The universe is governed by physical laws, forces, and energies, each abiding by a set of rules, so if a being was able to see/somehow sense all energy and material in the universe, theoretically it would be able to know the past, present, and future because of the laws of physics and because of the predictability of the sequences of consequences based on physical laws that are unchanging. Therefore any action a person takes, any thought they have, and choice they make, is just the fulfillment of a series of sequences that are beyond our control, so self-control is an illusion. From the biggest choice, to the smallest, it's all just the way your brain chemistry is reacting with itself, the way electrical signals are firing through the ol' grey matter at that particular moment. Are people still responsible for their actions? Sure. It kind of kicks the pedestals out from under either of the nature vs. nurture camps, because with enough knowledge and distance they appear to blur into the same thing.
 

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We consciously make decisions which create our fate for us because, after a while, our future becomes quite predictable based on our past paths in life. Do we or does anyone find changes of course easy?
 

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This is really interesting. It's been the focus of a of my rumination of late. My latest novel features an omniscient character.
...
... Kewl ...

That's a very interesting idea.

I will now think much about the concept of free will and self-control ... very interesting. I'm not sure I agree with your assessment, but it requires further thought. Very intriguing ...

Very. :tongue:
 

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I don't believe in luck or fate. Everything that occurs is all because of our own or someone else's actions.
 

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I had to decline a response due to my opinon being absent from the possibilities.
The poll would have been more interesting had there been a "They both play their part" option.

IMHO..
 

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This topic still interests me. I want to throw some more interest into the mix.

I'm going to bring up some scenarios, I want to know to what degree others agree. Blame it on my curiosity and strange desire to cement my thoughts into writing.



Are these things the result of someone's choice, are they avoidable by your choice, or are they unavoidable by choices?
My opinion on the right.​

* Natural disasters. Hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, earthquakes, blizzards, floods.
Unavoidable. We have not invented weather-modification systems.
Disasters that come with warning (hurricanes, some blizzards, some floods)
may be personally avoided by leaving the affected area before it strikes.​

* Personal natural disasters. Lightning strikes, drowning, hypothermia, etc.
For the most part, what are you doing outside during a thunderstorm?​

* Freak accidents. Getting hit by a drunk driver, being hit by a stray bullet, being impaled or crushed by random things flying out from faulty equipment.
I discussed "randomness" earlier. These type are almost always the result
of the choice of another person. They may be avoided yourself by making a
different choice (driving home a different route, walking into a different room,
planning to do things on a different day, not working on a certain project, etc.)
but you are never given the information necessary to tell you it's a good idea
to make a different choice.​

* Mental illness.
This brings up the never-ending nature/nurture argument. I lean to
the nurture side of middle. I believe the majority of mental illness is caused by
someone's choices, whether the individual's own or someone else.
I also believe genetics plays some role, giving some susceptibility to
mental illness but not causing it in most cases. This again is an uninformed
choice - you probably don't know that you and the person you marry will
give your child susceptibility to X.
There are also "random" genetic mutations. We don't always know what
triggers them, though it may very well be another uninformed choice.
Who knows.​

* Physical illness. Everything from allergies to the flu to ebola to menstrual cramps to infertility to acne to skin cancer to tension headaches to epilepsy to restless leg syndrome to ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) and on and on.
This is a touchy topic, just like mental illness.
I tend to think of most of this as that aforementioned uninformed choice.
There's no way of knowing that the guy who fathered your child happens
to have some gene that increases the chance for this strange disease,
and you just happen to be a carrier too ... but if you had chosen a
different guy or your mother had chosen a different guy, your child
(if they even exist) would not have the disease. That doesn't mean
anyone shouldn't have made the choices they did, because they had
no way of knowing.
Then there are some diseases that are direct results of choices where
the outcome was known. Fetal alcohol syndrome. Cervical cancer
caused by HPV caused by reckless sex. Skin cancer caused by
going tanning as a teenager. And so on.​

* Crime. Murder, robbery, rape, kidnapping, assault ...
This is obviously the result of the perpetrator's choices.
Whatever his motivation behind committing the crime, the
choice is still his. The victim in some cases may avoid it as a result
of an informed choice, in most cases it is another uninformed choice.
Crime as a result of mental illness has the same reasoning as given
for mental illness in general above.​

* Fill in the blank. :happy: Anybody have a scenario to throw out?





And now a story which shows how choices you may not know about (uninformed choices) affect the outcome of your life.

When she was in high school, my mom wanted to work in the medical field, I think she wanted to be a doctor. From what I know happened, she got diabetes and missed out on a lot of school or something and was not able to/decided not to pursue this. I'm going to assume this affected her choice of college, as she went to a liberal arts school. She met my dad there. They got married. I'm going to call that choice #1 and 2.

Because of difficult/impossible to control diabetes, she had more than one miscarriage (I think two). This is choice #3 ... why? Because every time they had sex, there was the possibility of pregnancy. Every pregnancy had the possibility of miscarriage. Doesn't mean they could have ever known what would happen. Uninformed choice.

After I was born, I was breastfed. Choice #4. (More info later.)

After I stopped breastfeeding, problems began in one of her breasts. In 1996, she had a mammogram and was told this was not due to cancer. Choice #5 was to believe these results. (Also semi-uninformed, because seriously, if you had a test done because you thought you might have cancer, and it said you didn't ... most people would probably believe it.)

In 1998, she was diagnosed with stage 4 (?) breast cancer which had spread extensively, especially to her spine and other bones. By this point, there was not much that could be done realistically, but they sure as hell tried. She died in November of 1999.

Now, explanation and analysis:
A lot of, if not most miscarriages in early pregnancy are due to low hormone levels, whatever reason causes them. Breast changes in pregnancy are caused by hormones. Before pregnancy, breast tissue is ... I guess you could call it "immature." It goes through changes during pregnancy that change the tissue ...
Women who have never been pregnant have a higher risk of developing breast cancer than those who have completed a pregnancy. Women who have had a miscarriage don't appear to have more risk, because of the hormone level thing discussed above. Breastfeeding gives some protection against breast cancer.
Now, my mom's miscarriages were not caused by (pregnancy) hormone problems. They were because of blood sugar problems. This means that changes in the breast tissue were started but not finished ... leading to much more risk of cancer.

Anyways ...
Choice #1 and 2 - If she had not gone to the college she did, she wouldn't have met my dad. She may have then remained single, meaning she never would have gotten pregnant, meaning she might not have gotten cancer.
Choice #3 - Obviously, if she never had sex she wouldn't have gotten pregnant. Duhrrrrr ...
Choice #4 - If she hadn't breastfed me, the cancer might have progressed quicker. This could have either led to earlier detection (which could have made her live longer) or could have led to quicker death.
Choice #5 - If the cancer had been detected earlier, it could have made treatment more successful.

Summarizing ... :confused:
Each of these choices were uninformed choices. There was no way of knowing the final outcome (her death) but nevertheless they did all play into what transpired. In hindsight, it is easy to say "she should have ..." but in reality there is no way to know.




Why do I make such long posts?????

TL;DR?
 

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I'd say 60% choice, 40% fate.

What if you're just born with low intelligence yet you want to be a doctor? (And NO stupid doctor jokes!)

You're kind of doomed, and it's not your fault.

Also, attractive people have it much easier in life. Beauty is genetic.
 

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In the Jungian approach, it is believed that a person's choices are as much, or more so, influenced by the Unconscious, which has aims of it's own, than by an active free will. And that kind of makes sense to me, because really, what is it that we base our decisions on? Like CaronRose says, there is no way we can foresee the implications of every decision we have to make in the moment; so again, what are they based on? An intuition? A "feeling"? an inherent predisposition? a set of morals from our upbringing?

It is an interesting exercise to examine our true motivations for the decisions we've made. I've heard it described as an "invisible thread" that, when looking back over the decisions of a lifetime, show a definite pattern, or movement in a particular direction. Doesn't that blow your mind?

I believe we still have to choose as best we can in the moment - no excuses. But having to consider all those other factors does have a way of changing the equation, for me at least. I apologize in advance if I have added to anyone's stress level that was already agonizing over making an important decision! But remember what the Rock band "Rush" said: "If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice."
 

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I don't subscribe to the just world idea of everything being down to choice Good things happen to pricks sometimes and bad things happen to great people sometimes. There are some things which happen outside of choice.

I don't subscribe to the idea of fate either because that isn't rational....We can't all wander the world aimlessly waiting for something supernatural to happen to guide decisions.

I don't think I really need to question it aby further than that. I just accept that I cannot contingency plan for absolutely everything although being able to plan for 99% of what you can foresee is a good thing.
 
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