Trope-a-Day: You Can’t Fight Fate

You Can’t Fight Fate: According to everything known about temporal mechanics, the universe is a block universe – which is to say, while local causality violations are possible (effects can, sometimes, precede causes), global causality violations are not (effects, nonetheless, always have causes).  Or to put it another way, while predestination paradoxes are permitted – and enforced – grandfather paradoxes are not.  The probability of any event-chain that might lead to a global causality violation is always zero, and anything which happened in the past, even if it involves the future of your personal timeline, will necessarily happen.

You can sometimes fiddle fate, because what you think you know about the past is not always what actually happened in the past; but you can’t fight it head on.  Free will may be stronger than destiny, but it’s not stronger than causality.

The CPU of Fate

To primitive peoples, the world is a place of telos.  Created for a purpose; moving towards a purpose; ending with that purpose.

Of course, as they develop the scientific method and practice it assiduously, they rapidly come to learn that there is essentially no teleology to be found in the universe, and the closest thing to destiny one may find in operation is the inexorable unfolding of acyclic causal graphs along time’s arrow.  (Later discoveries add a smidgeon of chaotic indeterminacy at the smallest scales to power the whole thing along, and should they happen upon the rare conditions necessary to travel along time-like curves, the causal graphs in question turn out to be potentially cyclic, after all; but none of this changes the overall picture.)

Even the discovery of the fascinatingly nondeterministic algorithms which power what we presume to be volition, while they may introduce free will into the universe, do not give it purpose.  And they are themselves, indeed, merely another product of the inexorable unfolding of causality’s chains from a chaotic beginning.  We are; that is true, but we are not for.

At this, the weak and simple often retreat into nihilism – void of purpose given to them, they deny all purpose – or merely engage in grand denial of the question.  Stronger and more mature civilizations conclude that the lack of aboriginal purpose does not necessarily mean a lack of all purpose, and proceed to draw one from their current position in the universe, or forge one for themselves as an act of will.

Of course, very few conclude that the optimal solution for a world lacking telos is the construction of an instrumentality capable of imposing it on top of causality’s mechanical meaninglessness, and of those, only one has carried it through to implementation.

And if you’re inside the Transcendent light-cone, here’s how it works.

– Introduction to Moiric Architecture and Implementation, Cala Cendriane-ith-Cendriane

Trope-a-Day: The Chosen One

The Chosen One: Again per Because Destiny Says So, the people whose timelines are meddled in by the local weakly godlike superintelligences on the grounds that their existence, or something they will do during their existence, is necessary to their designed Optimal Future.

Somewhat subverted inasmuch as what the Chosen One eventually does may be something whose significance is completely incomprehensible to anyone without the acausal-logic-enabled quasi-omniscient viewpoint of a weakly godlike superintelligence, and may even be little more than happening to be the right butterfly in a chaos cascade.

Trope-a-Day: The Chooser of the One

The Chooser of the One: Per Because Destiny Says So, any of the transcendent seed AIs who feel a need to meddle with the future and have the sort of view of the world to enable them to do so reliably.  Generally does not come with Super Empowering, for reasons which lesser intelligences suspect to amount to “Both inelegant and inefficient”.

Trope-a-Day: Because Destiny Says So

Because Destiny Says So: In some cases, played straight due to the tendency of the Transcend (and other potential acausal-logic using seed AIs) to whisper in their own ears from the future; however, while they do apparently intervene in people’s timelines for the sake of their Optimal Futures, a combination of the even-if-you-could-formulate-the-right-question-you-couldn’t-understand-the-answer effect and the nature of predestination paradoxes means… well, good luck getting anything out of them on the topic beyond “Further information is not available at this when-where,” Chosen One or not.

(Averted in mythology.  Laryssan, eikone of fate and destiny, is portrayed as asleep – and voluntarily so, in order to spare the universe the chains of absolute predestination that would result if she was actually awake and thus aware of all the possible links of cause to consequence throughout time.  How much influence the dreams of Laryssan had was something of a matter of theological debate back in the day.)