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Are Free Will and Romanticism incompatible?

Ser Scot A Ellison

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doesn't that sort of qualification go without saying? of course everyone's commentary everywhere on everything is limited by their respective ideological horizon, unless we allow for anti-empiricist, irrationalist epistemologies, such as transhistorical intuition, theophanic revelation, or heavens forfend supernatural divination. i am however not willing to allow for them.  if that makes me irredeemably narrow, i welcome the consequent cancellation and concomitant disappearance of asinine from my ideological horizon.

i suspect nevertheless that romanticism would appreciate irrationalism such as intuitive and emotive epistemology.  any time someone knows something in the 'gut' or 'heart,' that's the marker of romanticism, at least at the level of rhetoric.

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1 hour ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

I’m speaking of my experience which is profoundly western culturally.  As such your point is well made.


For me, though so is my own experience generally, this question of putting these two specific terms at opposite poles, is also fundamentally meaningless.  :) 

But I do know even through my own general 'western' experience, that ways of viewing such terms and experiences are also different, depending on era, location, language, gender and religion. Neither free will nor Romantic thought, knowing one's chances of dying in childbirth are at least 50-50, has a place in one's own decisions -- or even lack of capacity for making a decision oneself.  Right now, in places like Texas and Missouri, most women would probably laugh in your face if asked that question.  Those terms apply to (white, rich) men only.  For women there's only God.  I guess.


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but ananke afflicts everyone? am starting to think of these gender, race, and other identity markers as depersonalized and varying officium rather than some fixed physis or acquired individual trait such as dignitas. even persona doesn't work well, insofar as it affixes the designations to the individual, however tenuously, as opposed to emphasizing the extrapersonal roles and correlative duties engendered thereby. maybe that's one way to salvage them from their otherwise irredeemably rightwing origin.

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On 3/14/2022 at 3:32 PM, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

I believe in free will.  I believe that our choices and the sum of our choices direct our path through life.  I believe we always have the ability to chose a different path if we discover our path is wrong for us or is damaging the people we love.

I’ve also always had a romantic streak.  The idea that destiny plays a hand and that one day greatness or love or something will land upon an individual and providing them with the opportunity for greatness.  I have always found that idea terribly appealing.

It has occured to me that these two ideas are fundamental incompatible and that their dual places in my heart and soul are a source of misery because of the inherent conflict they represent.  If I believe in free will then I shouldn’t find romanticism appealing.  I should reject grant romantic notions of destiny and mysterious coincidence.  It should be choices and purpose that drive our lives.  Not “destiny”.

This disjunction is awful.  



Well picking Free Will puts you in one of the better philosophical positions compared to Compatibilism (worthless nonsense), Determinism (QM suggests this is false, plus indistinguishable from long running streaks of "ordered" randomness), and Randomness (violates Principle of Sufficient Reason).

Romantic Destiny, OTOH, seems nonsensical and actually awful. This idea that you can love someone the moment you meet them seems like slavery of a different sort. You can lust after someone, or project expectations via infatuation, but love seems impossible unless you loved them in a past life or something.

However these two aren't completely irreconcilable - think of the destined meeting of love as a destination. How you get there need not be completely determined.

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