Thursday, January 12, 2006


Laws of classical physics describe how things will work in a mostly mechanical, deterministic way, absent of any unpredictability. Later theories of quantum physics make uncertainty a central aspect and concept in the physical reality they attempt to describe. For most people, the common sense is that the non-living behaves in more or less predictable fashion (like a rock falling), unless the system gets complicated (like weather). However, when living beings are in discussion (like humans), things become unpredictable again, especially with the behaviors of people.

However, macroeconomics and psychology have been attempting to draw theories/predications, even laws, on the human behaviors when they're considered collectively. The idea is that, while individual behaviors are difficult to predict, certain properties (or emergent properties) would arise when enough people are being considered. The same might also be said for the predications for physical matters (that is, while it's difficult to predict the movements of an atom, it is much more easier to predict the movement of rocks or planets, which are atoms collected in much larger quantity).

These are all well-known knowledge and views of modern day intellectuals (esp. scientists).

However, today I was pondering at the unpredictability of human behavior, and its association with free will. The issue at heart is: while individual behavior is hard to predict, I've also heard the seemingly reasonable observation that if something is technically feasible and doable, then it will eventually be made/created by man. In other words, as long as something is physically valid to do (not violating any physical laws), and there's a demand/incentive/wish by some people to do it, then it will happen, eventually. Eventuality is a key word here, indicating that certain wild ideas might not be realizable within the feasible timespan of an individual's life. However, that also means, in the long run, certain creations, if their occurrences will bring benefits to some individuals, then they will happen, no matter how difficult, how absurd, or how scary.

Some case in examples include the cloning of human beings, Star Trek-like teleporting of people to remote places (by first decomposing a person into bits of atoms), basement/garage labs capable of producing biological or nuclear weapons, or perhaps self-replicating intelligent machines that may one day replace humanity.

If, this view is true, that all things can be created, will be created eventually, then what does that mean for humanity, in the long run?

Or, perhaps due to the forces of free will, social and moral dynamics, humans will choose certain paths instead of others, will restrain themselves from doing certain destructive behaviors as opposed to performing them. Thus, in the long run, we will still be survivable.

This brings out the ultimate question that, is our future eventually fixed? Or maybe there are still different/alternative endings to the humanity story? If our ends are still open, what are the forces that will shape their directions? Or perhaps, despite all the illusions of free will and unpredictability, collective human behaviors are actually fairly predictable in the sense that we're on the path to more productions, consumptions, advanced technologies, and complexities, until perhaps one day, the entire race finally meets its end, as the Oracle in The Matrix once said: “everything that has a beginning, has an end?”

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