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Causality of Death

October 15, 2011

HUMANS CAN DIE in any number of ways. The ways are infinite!

However, adopting the deterministic view, I say: I’m only going to die once. While it may seem there are a million different ways I could bite it, there is, truthfully, only one that is going to ultimately do me in. So, everything I do or that happens to me impels me toward that specific end.

It seems weird that human memory is so much more reliable than foresight if this is the case.

Memory recalls how I got here. ‘Here’ being like the death that dictates every “choice” and circumstance that leads up to it. The here that I experience–me, sitting, typing these words–is the only possible result of what came before, that which I remember. For instance, if I hadn’t read Timothy Morton’s post on causality last evening, I would almost certainly be working right now, as I should be! (I’m going to pay for this later.)

I have to admit, though, determinism isn’t very satisfying. I would rather know that choice is real. That, if there are instead an infinite number of parallel universes with unique time-lines of events, that somehow, through my choices, I might blunder onto the one where I die peacefully, at a reasonably advanced age, having not outlived my offspring, who will be there holding my hand.

Perhaps the unknowable possibility is enough impetus, to more than simply persevere, to strive to live well.

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