Are We Just Pinballs?

If a bullet is fired from a gun, all the factors sending it in a particular direction and affecting its journey add up to its trajectory and eventual impact–is that impact the bullet’s destiny? (Or, if you like, “destiny”).

If I am playing pinball and I fire off a little silvery ball with my spring driven striker, given where it was with respect to the hammer that strikes it, and the plane it’s on, the obstacles placed in its way, is its eventual final impact its destiny? Was the bouncing trip there its destiny playing out? I’ve seen myself in a pinball, before, my face looking back like something from Escher, staring from its polished surface right before I send it banging through the glass box. Do I have a gun, or a spring loaded striker sending me to my destiny, birth to death? Could there be another factor affecting my trajectory, my eventual destiny, that isn’t found in a pinball? If I’m paying enough attention to add some english to the ball, using some indefinable x factor to shift it slightly this way or that, can I change my destiny?…

But I do not suppose I really know where the pinball would go. Good players can guess and do pretty well (that The Who song now dutifully plays in my mind) but they don’t know, we don’t know, for certain…And yet if you were able to add up all the factors like the impact strength and angle, the unseen as well as the seen, the little crease we can’t see in the pinball plane, the truck passing vibration going through it, etc etc, with precision, you would narrow it and come up with a high probability of its “fate”.

Destiny is of course, in real life,probability, not some predetermined path–but a likelihood.

So going with likelihood–can I then put “english”, some conscious spin on my own propelled life, and alter its *probability*?

Some lives seem so *probably* headed in a certain direction it adds up to something that is, for us, reasonably indistinguishable from inevitability; a predestined course…Some will cite quantum theory, and chaos–but it’s only splitting hairs to say it’s not predictable in every respect. Predictable for us, or now, our probable life outcome is generally predetermined…unless, perhaps, we become conscious enough to redirect it, at key moments.

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