To adapt and innovate is to survive and evolve
DEEPAK RANADE29 December 2009, 12:00am ISTText Size:|Topics:speaking tree
Belief in prefixed programmes or destiny provides us with back-end logic to arbitrarily occurring events. It absolves us of our contribution to To adapt and inovate is to survive and evolve
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failure or with having to deal with ‘effort to outcome’ incongruence.
Our evolution as humans has transported us from the jungles to the moon. It bears testimony to the human ability to analyse, strategise, adapt and progress. A belief in the preordained would be a discredit to evolution. It would discount phenomenal human endeavour which has always shone through the darkest clouds of despondence.
Has free will given us the power of adaptation? Adaptation is a dynamic process that delves into the deepest recesses of creativity. Overcoming adversity is what stimulates growth and development.
Failure lures the weak mind to succumb to fatalism and so one finds it convenient to give in to passive submission. Free will, if exercised, can empower. It provides us with the freedom to spread our wings; to endeavour to soar in the vast skies of achievement. To experience, to grow, to create. The indomitability of the human spirit has nurtured evolution and helped us overcome our limitations.
Facing situations squarely requires a realistic appraisal of the problem and assessing the entire spectrum of available options diligently. Assigning cosmic design or any form of inevitability to events would be defeatist. Evolution of the human brain has provided us with the power of intelligence and discrimination.
We can prevail over our hormones, instincts and beliefs. Free will is also a double-edged weapon that can breed fear and doubt. The flower never needed anyone to predict its ability to blossom. The hatchling is oblivious to any speculation of its taking flight.
The deterministic nature of a system does not make it predictable. This is what the chaos theory propounds. The `butterfly effect’ -- a very small variation in the initial starting conditions having a tremendous impact on the final outcome – makes any predictive pattern far less reliable. The butterfly effect makes a triviality such as which side one got off the bed cascade incomprehensibly to events far beyond the scope of any predictive system.
All predictive models are based on statistical analysis, and at best can quantify the probability of an event occurring. The quantum theory also predicts that any conceivable outcome, even of walking through a wall, has a probability of occurring. Till that event actually happens, the wave function of every conceivable event abounds. In the medical profession, too, statistics are at best deterministic. They give a general trend and are ineffective from a predictive standpoint in an individual case.
The desire to know and enforce specific outcomes stems from the ego. It assumes the ability to control the environment. Free will gives the freedom to alter and manipulate inputs. It does not empower us with any control over the outcomes. Having no knowledge of or control over the outcome is a pre-condition to expression of free will.
A prefixed scheme or destiny would render free will meaningless. All actions would be mere formality that has to precede the inevitable and foregone outcome. An act becomes meaningless only in retrospect once the outcome is known. Prospectively all action is meaningful.
Certainty shackles and stifles spontaneity. Uncertainty truly liberates. A limitless potential to unfold in limitless ways. It conceives the improbable. Achievements are preceded by dreams which thrive only in the realm of improbability and uncertainty.
The inability to control or predict outcomes makes free will thrive. Unpredictability emphasises the importance of action. It underlines the beauty of the journey rather than obsession about the destination.
The writer is a consultant neurosurgeon. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.