An old friend of mine whom I haven't had substantial contact with in--a couple years--is on a Godlike streak of quality LJ entries, and I arrogantly think my response to this entry is worth sharing.
As beings, we are mostly a pretty straightforward combination of three elements: Our Memories/Experiences, Our Natural Personality, and our logical, reasoning mind. These three components, how much of a priority we put on each, how well they're developed, and how they interact with each other are what make us who we are as individuals. The more you know about a person in each of these three areas, the more accurately you can almost mathematically predict how they will act/react/feel when encountered with almost any situation. With enough practice and experience, you will be able to take shortcuts to making these predictions. There are some, though, who cannot be so easily be defined. These people change anyone who they encounter, sometimes with only a look, because when you know one of them, you know that they are what/who they are.
I find this Orson Scott Card quote (I believe from Xenocide) very intruiging and applicable.
"Free will doesn�t exist. Only the illusion of free will, because the causes of our behavior are so complex that we can�t trace them back. If you�ve got one line of dominoes knocking each other down one by one, then you can always say, Look, this domino fell because that one pushed it. But when you have an infinite number of directions, you can never find where the casual chain begins. So you think, That domino fell because it wanted to."
"Even if there is no such thing as free will, we have to treat each other as if there were free will in order to live together in society. Because otherwise, every time somebody does something terrible, you can�t punish him, because he can�t help it, because his genes or his environment or God made him do it, and every time somebody does something good, you can�t honor him, because he was a puppet, too. If you think that everybody around you is a puppet, why bother talking to them at all? Why even try to plan anything or create anything, since everything you plan or create or desire or dream of is just acting out the script your puppeteer built into you.
So we conceive of ourselves and everyone around us as volitional beings. We treat everyone as if they did things with a purpose in mind, instead of because they�re being pushed from behind. We punish criminals. We reward altruists. We plan things and build things together. We make promises and expect each other to keep them. It�s all a made-up story, but when everybody believes that everybody�s actions are the result of free choice, and takes and gives responsibility accordingly, the result is civilization."
I could talk on this subject for hours, so if you have any questions or know someone who might be interested in a conversation, or just like to spam, comments are encouraged :)
Several excerpts from a conversation this evening: Everything kept anonymous. I am unusually open due to the previously mentioned post-survey syndrome. Enjoy it while you get it, because these moments are rare :P
Person: Like these quizes..? :-)
Han628: I guess. It's about the only viable way for me to share any information about myself with people. But they never ask enough
Han628: They're always very material and short on substance
Han628: I want a massive one I can do once, and then just update
Person: And now I will be extremely paranoid around you from now on
Han628: lol why?
Person: Because, from now on I will always feel like I'm talking too much and not giving you enough room to speak about yourself. ^_^
Han628: Bah, I never speak about myself :-P
Han628: And I mean never :-P
Han628: Unless answering questions
Han628: Which I enjoy doing
Person: I noticed.
Han628: If someone can gain something from my insights/experiences, I'd love to help
Person: I'm just afraid that I'm bothering you half the time.
Person: But you are all about being helpful it seems. Someone else mentioned that about you.
Han628: But my mind just doesn't access information in a way that is convenient for volunteering information without being asked a question first. I can't just answer a question like: "What is something funny that has happened to you lately?" It's not that I don't want to answer, but I simply draw a complete blank. Like I hit a brick wall. I always just blame it on a piss-poor memory, but i think it's something bigger. This deserves more thought.
Han628: Oh they did? Pardon me curiosity, but I'd love to know anything anywone has ever said about me ^_^;;;;; I'm hugely curious of others' opinions of me, because nobody ever shares them
Person: They said that they didn't know you as well as someone else
Han628: I would imagine every one of them would answer with "didn't know you as well as someone else" Everyone thinks I'm extremely close friends with others from the outside, but I have a habit of developing very shallow, entertainment-based relationships :-)
Han628: My stupid conscience gains in power by the day :-(
Person: You say that like it's a bad thing.
Han628: There was a time when I'd enjoy things :-(
Han628: I don't get to have any fun anymore :-P
Han628: Which is I guess what I wanted
Han628: And I still do
Person: Okay, now I gotta ask..
Person: What did it change to then..? What do you want now..?
Han628: But I need more control. There are times when I want the ability to drink or look at boobies or something else self-indulgent, but now I've got this big wall blocking me from having any fun
Han628: And it's made me a much better person, of course, but it's tough :-\
Han628: heh ... I said boobies :D
Person: And by the way, just for the record, boobs are overrated.
Han628: You only say that because you've got the maintenance to go with them :-P
Person: Heh. ^_^
Han628: I really don't have any experience to go on. I just know that since I can remember, I've liked boobies. Must be from birth
Han628: Nature, I guess
Person: Must be.
Person: You lost your first pair I guess you could say.. and now you want another..?
Person: Oh darn, I know I just did not say that.
Person: Okay, now I've officially embarrassed myself for the night, but I had to say it.
Han628: Could be
Han628: That's too Freudian for me, I don't like to think about it
I've got more conversations I'd like to reference, but it's 4 AM and I REALLY need to get to sleep .... after my pants are done in the wash :/