Sign in to follow this  
Guest

Agency, Faith, & Trials

Recommended Posts

Guest

SAITH EINSTIEN:

Choice doesn’t really exist.  It is just a figment of our imagination.  We are all part of the most complex clock in the world.  What we think of as choice is merely the forces of physics & chemistry combining at the right time in our brains to bring about a predestined course of events predictable since the big bang based on precise interactions of the forces of nature.

 

SAITH MICHIO  KAKU (I believe it was him.  It’s been a while):

Einstein was wrong.  What about the uncertainty principle?  That accounts for things that cannot be predicted.  Thus choice is real.

 

SAITH CARBORENDUM

I believe both are correct.  I also believe them to be incomplete because they lack the gospel.

 

Suppose

We have an infinitely sharp razor upon which we can perfectly balance as measured by an infinitely low-energy, infinitely high-frequency wave.  I believe that this is what happens when we are placed in the refiner’s fire. 

 

All temporal forces are perfectly balanced and are predictable while providing us the illusion of choice. Satan will always add that extra photon to his side.  At that point, only faith (defined as the motivating force of action) can push the balance to the other side and back to the Lord.  It is faith that is our gateway to the power from another plane.  Those who choose to use this power to do evil will find their agency reduced in a small way each time.  Those who choose good will have their agency increased in a small way each time.

 

Trials are not difficult to see how strong we are.  Trials are what is required to make us exercise faith in such a way to make us grow.  And the harder the trial, the more faith is required to push us to the Lord's side and the more we grow as a result of it.

 

This is how faith and agency are intertwined.

 

I do not believe this is so far above our understanding as one might suppose.  If we have a choice to learn to speak Spanish, and I come across someone who only speaks Spanish, then I have the added choice of being able to communicate with him in his tongue or I can choose not to.  If I decided not to learn, then that choice simply isn’t available to me.

 

Also note that in this case, it did not decrease my agency from before I made that decision.  It simply did not increase my choices at a later time.  Some decisions (as is obvious with many forms of addiction) will decrease our ability to choose over time.

 

All the commandments that are given to us are not simply hoops to jump through.  They are there to increase our agency as we progress.  Exaltation is nothing more than the continual pattern of making more choices that will continue to increase agency throughout Eternity.  And those in lesser kingdoms eventually find increase in agency is halted (damnation).

Edited by Guest

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest

So, is it the essence of your post that choices yield consequences which may in turn lead to greater or smaller numbers of choices? 

 

 

 

All temporal forces are perfectly balanced and are predictable while providing us the illusion of choice.

But are you saying that our choices are illusions?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have stated before that I agree with Einstein - that if we view this life as an opportunity for choice we are delusional.  But my opinion in the gospel seems to be in opposition to many LDS thinkers.  I believe that all the important paths we walk and decisions we make in this life are not just already known by G-d but predetermined.  But I believe that in order for the principle of agency to be real that we have to make choices to have agency - I believe we made choices in the pre-existence - where if you will; we selected and choose our experiences and that what happens in this life - that it is the result of what was from chosen from the beginning - meaning the pre-existence.   (see Doctrine and Covenants 93:31)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If choice doesn't exist then our moral agency doesn't exist.  Our choices are a result of being enticed by one source in contrast to another source.  This doesn't need to be an opposite, per se; although it does require being enticed.  If Einstein indeed specified "choice doesn't exist" he is wrong.

 

Faith and our moral agency are indeed intertwined with each other, in short, President Monson might say faith and our moral agency determine our destiny.  He appears to like to quote the Cheshire Cat as requested by Alice to please tell her which way she should go, and his great response to the tune of, that highly depends on where you want get.

Edited by Anddenex

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest

So, is it the essence of your post that choices yield consequences which may in turn lead to greater or smaller numbers of choices? 

 

That was one of my two points.  The second has to do with your second question.

 

But are you saying that our choices are illusions?

 

Not exactly.  I believe that for our choices are not predetermined.  A true TRIAL will have our souls so perfectly balanced that one cannot accurately predict which direction our choice will go.  But it is the nature of faith being on another plane that transcends forces of predestination and provides us the supernatural power of choice.

 

There is something we do not quite understand as mortals about choice.  I do believe it to be real, but only because of our access to faith.  I believe it is only accessed through some aspect of our raw intelligence that is not predictable.  It can only be accessed through actual trial.

Edited by Guest

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What is a choice?  Are there unchangeable consequences to choices?  If we make a choice - was it really a choice if later we chose something different - if so, was the first choice really just a practice or pretend not quite the real choice?  And once we make a choice is that the end of that particular choosing?  If it is not the end - did we really make a choice?

 

It is my understanding that there is no choice of this life that is binding and cannot be reversed - or shall I say rethought and remade for something not just different but in complete opposition.  We call this repentance.  It is also LDS doctrine associated with choice and agency that includes repentance in the spirit world.

 

My last thought on this - does G-d know the final outcome or not?  I believe he does.  If he actually knows - why would he not allow us to know and determine not just that outcome but even the process to achieve that outcome for ourselves?  I have concluded that the reason G-d knows the final outcome as well as the process is because we have already made the most important choices and already established trends that define who we are and what we will become.  We are in the process of completing what we have spent billions of years planning choosing and becoming.  In this life we are living by faith - faith in a plan that did not exclude us from the making of any detail. 

 

What I submit for thought to this forum - if we were excluded from any detail of the plan of this existence that has any eternal consequence - how can we believe we have agency?  How could it be that we would face any trial (especially if that trial is different in some way than that of others) that we did not accept and say that we have agency?

 

Not only do we live out this life with faith in G-d but also by faith in ourselves and our agency.

Edited by Traveler

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest

I believe choice is essentially spiritual diet and exercise.

 

My sister once caught me on a semantic conundrum.  She lied telling someone that she could play the flute.  I corrected her, "No, you can't."

 

"Yes, I can.  I just need to learn."  I was only 6 at the time, so I thought she had won that one.  Yes, this is what it was like in my family.  That's why I'm fairly good at seeing people twisting words.

 

But the fact is that until you actually go through the steps, you cannot.  It is only AFTER the trial of your faith that you gain ability and knowledge.

 

Abraham was tested with Isaac.  But the fact was that until he flexed his spiritual muscles in obeying God through this trial, he was NOT yet a perfect man.  But after the trial God declared, "...now I know that thou fearest God".

 

Did the Lord have foreknowledge.  Of course.  But why that statement by the Lord?  The point is that before that trial, that choice, that exercise, Abraham was not the perfect man that the Lord knew he COULD be.  After that trial was passed, he became that man through the trial.

Edited by Guest

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
... A true TRIAL will have our souls so perfectly balanced that one cannot accurately predict which direction our choice will go.  But it is the nature of faith being on another plane that transcends forces of predestination and provides us the supernatural power of choice.

 

There is something we do not quite understand as mortals about choice.  I do believe it to be real, but only because of our access to faith.  I believe it is only accessed through some aspect of our raw intelligence that is not predictable.  It can only be accessed through actual trial.

I am pondering the phrase [true trial]. Should I compare it to a false trial? And I'm unclear about one's soul (do you mean one's spiritual self, or so do you mean something else) being perfectly balanced that one cannot accurately predict the consquences of one's choice(s). Do you agree that the consequences of one's choices are not just predictable but known to our omniscient Heavenly Father?

 

And I am not sure whether to agree with you that the nature of faith provides me with a supernatural power of choice. So, let's continue to talk about it. Would it be useful to try again to examine it in the context of some additional specific examples of choices so that I can consider what it really looks and feels like?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest

What I mean by "true trial" is those trials that really push us to the limits.  Anything else is preparatory.  Yes, some will make the argument that any trial is a true trial.  But I'm talking specifically about those that have us at that balance point where the outcome may not be so easily predictable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest

...But I'm talking specifically about those that have us at that balance point where the outcome may not be so easily predictable.

Predictable by you and by me at least, right?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest

I'm trying to distinguish the difference between the temporal means (even if we're talking about 10,000 years into the future technology) vs. what we can call supernatural means.

 

We cannot determine based on temporal means because it is perfectly balanced by all temporal means.  It is then the supernatural is what determines the actual choice -- faith, intelligence, etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest

I'm trying to distinguish the difference between the temporal means (even if we're talking about 10,000 years into the future technology) vs. what we can call supernatural means.

 

We cannot determine based on temporal means because it is perfectly balanced by all temporal means.  It is then the supernatural is what determines the actual choice -- faith, intelligence, etc.

I feel like this is going in circles. What do you say we take your reasoning and plug-in the components to another (more intense than learning Spanish) thought experiment? Let's say my child is life-threateningly ill with an apparently incurable malady. I am *choosing* fasting and praying, seeking Priesthood Blessings, struggling to maintain in every respect but I feel myself sinking. This is the (true) trial you alluded to. What are, as you call them, the temporal forces that are perfectly balanced and providing me the illusion of choice? And explain, please, about the increased agency all of this will provide. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest

We're talking in circles because I think you crisscrossed some of my ideas.  The nature of choice itself is one point.  The consequences in terms of agency was another.

 

The Spanish analogy was to present the idea of NOT being able to even choose something.

 

The "balanced state" is about the nature of choice itself, not the consequences of said choice.

 

"What are... the temporal forces that are perfectly balanced...?"

 

I'm not sure what is puzzling you about the term "temporal forces".  I can start with the four fundamental forces of nature.  Then consider higher level forces such as electron negativity and electron affinity.  Then discuss the chemical interactions of elements and how metals and nonmetals create ionic compounds.  I could talk about relativity and how that influences the motion of the atmosphere, the solar system, the stars and distant planets.  Many hours later I would get into psychology and discuss the body and brain and how your parents treated you or if you were bullied in school.  Then we'd go into the social sciences and determine how you were taught or what political climate and TV has informed you on what "truth" is.  Then there are the immediate things like the fact your child is about to die or what you had for breakfast or how much sleep you got, or how many people yelled at you that day which all affect your emotions.

 

BTW, there was no sarcasm in the above paragraph.  Temporal forces mean temporal forces.  I'm not sure how to define it except going on for several hours or spend several hours giving examples.  Temporal forces.
 

We don't have mathematical measurements for many of these forces (such as emotion and what we've been taught) because we have no way to quantify them.  But the Lord does.  And our trials place us at a point where we are perfectly balanced to choose liberty and eternal life or captivity and death.

 

Your example puts another dimension that I had not addressed nor did I intend to.  I've spoken about a single action with a single choice and a single consequence.  You're giving a more real life example of something which requires multiple actions with multiple choices with multiple consequences that may interact as well and will then affect other people...

 

Forgive me.  But the OP was a simple one with a simple concept to counter the simple idea that all our choices are predetermined based on the forces of nature.  Now you're asking me to expand my argument into the universe of situations and people and decisions to be made in all of our lives.  That is out of the scope of my intended hypothesis.  

 

If you can accept and understand this limited scope, I still believe my original premise holds.  And if fleshed out enough with added inspiration from above, could become something that would address your proposed scenario as well.

 

Compare your scenario with the story recounted by Elder Holland about a mother who had lost each of her children along the trail of tears, burying each of them one right after the other.  Nearly anyone would have come out of that experience severely damaged.  And indeed she had almost lost all hope and faith.  But in the very moment she was about to fall into despair, she called to God and was blessed with a witness of the Spirit that was able to counteract ALL the suffering she had experienced.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest

We're talking in circles because I think you crisscrossed some of my ideas.  ...

 

BTW, there was no sarcasm in the above paragraph.  Temporal forces mean temporal forces.  I'm not sure how to define it except going on for several hours or spend several hours giving examples.  Temporal forces.

Likewise, I did not mean it if my remarks came across as sarcastic either. And if I crisscrossed some of your ideas, then I must apologize. I only sought application of your post to real-life circumstances as I perceive agency, faith, and trials are part of life--which I thought was the point. I was having trouble finding the intersection. Best wishes.  :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest

Additional note.  I've been trying to find the talk by Elder Holland and have been unable to.  I thought it was from general conference because I can remember seeing him cry as he told the story.  My wife says it wasn't a pioneer but a Russian Immigrant on a completely separate trip.  But the story was the same.  I just can't find it.  I wish the website brought back the old search engine that allowed for multiple search terms and types of inputs like the name of the speaker.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest

Ok. It wasn't Holland.  It was Pres. Monson in this talk just past halfway down the page.  Look for "In about March 1946".  I can't read that story without crying.

 

And UT, don't worry.  You didn't offend me.  I was just having trouble seeing what you were getting at.

Edited by Guest

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

SAITH EINSTIEN:

Choice doesn’t really exist.  It is just a figment of our imagination.  We are all part of the most complex clock in the world.  What we think of as choice is merely the forces of physics & chemistry combining at the right time in our brains to bring about a predestined course of events predictable since the big bang based on precise interactions of the forces of nature.

 

SAITH MICHIO  KAKU (I believe it was him.  It’s been a while):

Einstein was wrong.  What about the uncertainty principle?  That accounts for things that cannot be predicted.  Thus choice is real.

 

SAITH CARBORENDUM

I believe both are correct.  I also believe them to be incomplete because they lack the gospel.

 

Suppose

We have an infinitely sharp razor upon which we can perfectly balance as measured by an infinitely low-energy, infinitely high-frequency wave.  I believe that this is what happens when we are placed in the refiner’s fire. 

 

All temporal forces are perfectly balanced and are predictable while providing us the illusion of choice. Satan will always add that extra photon to his side.  At that point, only faith (defined as the motivating force of action) can push the balance to the other side and back to the Lord.  It is faith that is our gateway to the power from another plane.  Those who choose to use this power to do evil will find their agency reduced in a small way each time.  Those who choose good will have their agency increased in a small way each time.

 

Trials are not difficult to see how strong we are.  Trials are what is required to make us exercise faith in such a way to make us grow.  And the harder the trial, the more faith is required to push us to the Lord's side and the more we grow as a result of it.

 

This is how faith and agency are intertwined.

 

I do not believe this is so far above our understanding as one might suppose.  If we have a choice to learn to speak Spanish, and I come across someone who only speaks Spanish, then I have the added choice of being able to communicate with him in his tongue or I can choose not to.  If I decided not to learn, then that choice simply isn’t available to me.

 

Also note that in this case, it did not decrease my agency from before I made that decision.  It simply did not increase my choices at a later time.  Some decisions (as is obvious with many forms of addiction) will decrease our ability to choose over time.

 

All the commandments that are given to us are not simply hoops to jump through.  They are there to increase our agency as we progress.  Exaltation is nothing more than the continual pattern of making more choices that will continue to increase agency throughout Eternity.  And those in lesser kingdoms eventually find increase in agency is halted (damnation).

If we truly don't have any choice, then we cannot be justly judged for our actions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest

I realize it was a long OP.  I do believe we have choice.

 

The point is this:

 

1) I believe that with earthly knowledge and mortal abilities alone choice is an illusion.

2) But we are blessed free agency as a gift from God.

Edited by Guest

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If we truly don't have any choice, then we cannot be justly judged for our actions.

 

Exactly - unless we have opportunity to repent.  But then the problem with justice is - who then is responsible and must pay for those actions that are repented of?  Ding Ding Ding Ding   :)  

Edited by Traveler

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I realize it was a long OP.  I do believe we have choice.

 

The point is this:

 

1) I believe that with earthly knowledge and mortal abilities alone choice is an illusion.

2) But we are blessed free agency as a gift from God.

I find 1 to be interesting... still thinking through this

and 2 covers a lot.

to me, there are a few parts to "choice";

3) The paths that are before an individual

2) out of those paths, the paths that that individual can see (or think they see)

1) the process that causes an individual to take a path.

In general most forms of what choice is said to be tend to boil down how each of those play out, usually with an emphasis on one of them

I tend to be a focuser on #1 (and the one i think is the most important out of the 3) - in this case, it is the process to be able to choose is internal and requires some form which allows for both reasoning and desire. This primarily comes from how we are made (both body and spirit).

I generally put knowledge at around #2, and environment/situation/outside at #3

Probably not the most accurate view of the word, but I generally like to remember agency as who or what you represent, or the ability to do so.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this