Thursday, August 6, 2009

The coiner

I have been attempting to wrap my head around this idea of the coiner on 231-241. Mostly, though, this passage confuses me, because of it's contradictory nature. The philosophical idea that our lives are in the hands of someone who is just randomly (and somewhat blindly) choosing what will happen to us is a frightening thought. It takes away all ideas of self-determination, and it seems to me that this idea also contradicts one of the previous statements leading up to this coiner metaphor on page 230.
"My father had a great sense of the connectedness of things. I'm not sure I share it. He claimed that the responsibility for a decision could never be abandoned to a blind agency but could only be relegated to human decisions more and more remote from their consequences."
This then goes into the story of the coins, but it is hard for me to see how they relate. If one says that life is a random selection that cannot be determined by man (as stated in the coin metaphor) then how do any of the decisions that are made by each individual have any impact on anyone or anything else? Then, and this is the whole mind-blowing butterfly effect thing to me, how is it possible that every little thing we do will have an effect that reaches further and further out like ripples on a pond?

1 comment:

  1. I think that the contradiction may have been the whole point. Most of the novel seems to be based on this theme of duality. The coiner may represent God in this passage, but yet both sides of the coin are equal in weight and the coin has no real value unless both sides exist. This reminds me a little of A Clockwork Orange and the whole argument of whether the imposition of goodness can make a man truly good. We may be predestined to be good, but we are left with the freedom of choice to express that goodness or not. Likewise, all other people that experience the ripples are predestined to be good or evil, but they each have the choice as to what trait is expressed as well. If only predestination existed, we would either be all good or all evil. If only free will existed, we would likely choose one extreme or the other. If both exist, the black and white extremes become this nice shade of gray that we know as life.