Author Krista Tibbs

Archive for the ‘Spirit’ Category

Being the Hand of Destiny

In Commentary, Science, Spirit on March 24, 2009 at 3:45 am
 

 

Leading to the election last November, there was a lot of talk about Barack Obama being destined for the presidency this year. If such a thing were being said in retrospect, one could find a number of indications that it was true. But when such things are said in the middle of an election, if it sways people to vote for a candidate because they think he is destined to win, then is it really destiny? Doesn’t that just make it a self-fulfilling prophecy?

 

I don’t mean for this to be a political post today, so for a less charged case study, let’s take David Cook who won American Idol last year. I’m a fan of his music, so I sneak over to the David Cook Official forum every now and again, and there is usually a thread or two about the fortuitous occurrences that led him to the show, the state of his particular talent and experiences at just the right times, and the momentous fan experiences, all touted as evidence that he was destined to win because he’s meant to do great things in the world. Now, I’m not questioning that David Cook is a decent guy who’d like to do great things in the world, but the interesting thing happening now is that a large number of fans who want him to fulfill their visions are donating to causes that he cares about and volunteering in his honor, which is allowing him to have an influence in a way that he wouldn’t have had if he were not the winner of American Idol. It’s a good outcome, but it’s circular reasoning; it may now be his fate because the voters have made it so, not because it was inevitable.

 

One might argue that there’s no real distinction between a prophecy that comes true and a prophecy that is made true. But in one case, we are passive participants along for a ride, and in the other, we have an active impact. In the former, people are not responsible for the consequences; in the latter, knowledge matters. My previous posts this week have reached the conclusion that inevitability is rare; information can sway the outcome even in — or especially in — critical moments. (So don’t even get me started on the evils of announcing the winning candidates to the nation before voting is over everywhere, or revealing the identity of an “alleged” criminal while the jury has yet to be chosen…)

 

I’ll have a post later this week about premonitions and prophecies, but the reality is that most of us don’t know the future. So the best anyone can do is to make sure people who are making the decisions are armed with understanding. I think the best shared understanding comes from outcome models that are based on combined knowledge and history, and I’ll post about that later this week as well. For today, the bottom line is just that we all have a piece of information that could change someone else’s understanding– senators and presidents and fellow citizens alike — because our perspective on the future is based on our own unique set of experiences. So how do you make yours known?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When does the future become inevitable?

In Commentary, Science, Spirit on March 21, 2009 at 3:20 pm

 

The future is only inevitable when every combination of actions that we choose will lead to the same outcome or when everyone who could have influence for better or for worse chooses to take no action. So the more impactful the particular future is, the less likely it is to be inevitable, because it takes a monumental confluence of decisions to reach it. You could react to this idea by thinking that either a) one person has too little influence to matter or b) one person could change everything.

 

So, at what point is an individual’s choice inevitable? One of my characters tells another that she shouldn’t second-guess her decision because everything in her life prior to that point led her to it. But even as she said the words, something about them nagged me, the implication that she had no other option. History includes the very last second prior to the present second. If someone had stepped in just then and painted one possible outcome she didn’t foresee, then her choice might have been different. But one could make the argument that every previous second led that someone to decide not to step in. And so on and so on back to Adam and Eve. So does this mean that Calvin was right, and all of humanity is predestined?

 

It comes down to a scientific question: is the experiment replicable? The past and future could be viewed as one closed loop, and even if you travelled back in time, just your presence in the past would lead to the future that made you travel back in the past (e.g. the movie 12 Monkeys and its analyses).  In that case, history is replicable, time is linear, and the future is essentially predetermined. But maybe that’s only the view if you’re looking at what has already happened. Maybe at certain critical moments, there are a million possible futures.

 

So when are those moments, and what happens in them? Is it religious or is it scientific; are these mutually exclusive? I have my ideas, which I’ll post a little later, but I’m curious about what you think…

 

Whispers on Kittens

In Announcements, Being Human, Commentary, Integrity & Freedom, Light Menu, Original Fiction, Science, Spirit on January 10, 2009 at 4:30 pm

 

When my niece, Keara, was born four years ago, I started a journal for her of all the things I want her to know as she grows up. (Of course, she’s teaching me a few things, too, such as cats have whispers on their noses to help them sneak up on you.)  Her journal is a place to hold my dear feelings  together with hopes and ideas about life, a place where she will be encouraged to think and know that the tears that stained the pages were happy ones, filled with optimism for her future.

 

This blog is a little like Keara’s book, but for the world I know. Because I am optimistic that people are capable of fulfillment, and it is within their own power, even in the tough times – or maybe because of them. I believe we each have a unique contribution and that these gifts aren’t all cultivated by higher education nor do they all look like art – although some do. Some are gritty and servile while others are celebrated and idolized, and some bring wealth while others are revealed through poverty, and there are a thousand shades and magnitudes in between. The saddest statement I ever read was by Emerson, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” So the theme of this post is a desire to reshape our infrastructure to recognize, appreciate, trust, and set free all the personal capabilities in our beautifully complex society and economy.

 

But the theme of the blog is that everything is related, so what I write tomorrow might appear to have nothing to do with this note today! On the first page of Keara’s book I told her that if she ever reads it, she must understand that I’m winging it – but with the best of intentions. The same goes here.

 

A few other things I told Keara that might apply here:

        I don’t want you to take everything I say at face value; think it through for yourself.

        You might as well know right now, there isn’t always going to be a point. =)

        Being respectful of different opinions doesn’t mean staying quiet. We can have a thoughtful discussion, and even if we still disagree, we’ve connected.

        God whispers to people in different ways. (Sometimes even through the whispers on kittens.)

 

Thanks for listening,

Krista

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