Thursday, December 06, 2007

Ave, Charles!

My buddy Charles writes:

I didn’t really have a good idea of where all this was going when I started writing. It is not a scholarly piece on randomness, or determinism, or the Bible, or any of the other subjects I may have touched on in the course of the entry. It’s just a flow of thought from one point to another.

Charles is modest here, but his "Random Thoughts" is an excellent, thought-provoking essay that is well worth your time.

One of the most important questions is what the nature of freedom is. Freedom entails the availability of options, which would seem to make it a close cousin of randomness-- a person with choices has the ability to take one of several paths, and an observer can't know for certain which path he'll choose. But freedom is also about the formulation of decisions and the making of plans, which makes it a close cousin of the determinism to which Charles also refers.

So what, exactly, is freedom? Not quite chaos, not quite order, yet something-- a subtle something, perhaps-- that exists on a knife's edge.

I might get into this question upon my return from Europe. In the meantime, go read Charles's essay.


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