Catching a Train That Leads Nowhere: The Psychology of the Inevitable

Since people have always wanted to know what their future is, they have been craving to look under the curtain that divides the present and the on-coming. The interest always kept high as a sky, it has been a wonder why it is always so intense. A philosopher of the past, the great David Hume, tried to explain the reason for people to be so curious, bringing an upsetting conclusion together with his wise explanations.

According to Hume, there is nothing so desirable and so unachievable as the future. the cause of events is something that people are constantly trying to evaluate and predict, but however hard they are trying, their efforts are doomed to failure. Could there be any explanation for such a sad state of affairs?

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Hume exercises the idea that the knowledge that we possess results from the previous experience and the situation that a man used to be in once. Hume considers such situations as the only way to cognize the world and its inner mechanism, as well as conduct the analysis of the present state of affairs. (Hume 47)

This makes his point explicit. Since these are only the life situations that people take their experience from, ands there is no other way to gain knowledge, because there is actually no other source that could help, people cannot know the results of their actions, because they have not modified the situation yet. It is only the aftertime when they finally understand the value of their deeds, but before they can only guess.

Hume asks his audience,

Of what nature is the future, then? To say it is experimental, is beginning the question. For all inferences from experience suppose, as their foundation, that the future will resemble the past, and that similar powers will be conjoined with similar sensible qualities. If there is any suspicion that course of nature any change, and that the past may be no rule for the future, all experience becomes useless, and that can give rise to no inference or conclusion. (Hume 26)

This point makes the essence of the theory of determinism, which dictates the law of the events bound with each other in the circle of life. This also presumes that, to cognize the result of the action that a man undertakes, he or she is bound to know every circumstance that is connected with their action; every single detail must not escape their attention. This is practically impossible, not only according to the determinism theory, but also according the common sense.

The philosophy of Hume also presupposes that, because of the fact that a man cannot know the result of his actions, he also cannot control the future, not for a single moment (Hume 79).

The incredible sense for a human’s psychology leads Hume to the fact that a man cannot operate with the knowledge of the future since it is something that lies beyond a man’s reach. It is not that he doubts that a man can work out a skill to foresee the events basing them on the previous experience that he or she has acquired after getting into the similar situation.

The idea that he is trying to convey is that a man cannot construct al, the possible theoretic models of the future course of events. the elements that a man is unaware about might influence the current state of affairs so much that the consequences they will drag will turn out opposing to what has been expected.

However, Hume still takes the role of experience into account – it is just that he makes it more insignificant than the other conceptions do:

Thus, Hume’s supposition concerning people’s being unable to predict the future is partially explained. However, it is important to note that most of Hume’s theories are based on the idea that a man’s previous experience is not to be taken into consideration. This fact drives to another important conclusion about Hume’s understanding of the role of experience and the basic concept of the world.

Tracing his thought, one can say that Hume exercised the theory of the events happening as something single that cannot be repeated anymore.

It also becomes clear that Hume supported the theory of skepticism that was earlier created and developed by John Locke. The doom plays the most important part in this play, and a man is left with a couple of replicas, if paraphrasing the theory in poetic words. The fatalism that Hume expressed in this topic is most explicit as the core idea of his theory of events is unwound.

However, not all scientists took Hume’s ideas with enthusiasm. Some found his theories full of contradictions.

It can be suggested that the great philosopher overestimated the role of fate in people’s lives, but still his idea is something that cannot be denied. A man is incapable to trace all the clues that lead to the solution of the situation, and that makes him or her unable to predict what will happen in the nearest two minutes, not to mention the nearest two years.

However sad this might sound. People will never be able to look into the crystal ball of their future. There are far too many things that determine it. But there is still hope that, instead of tracing our future, we will try to be responsible for the actions we take and the results they bring.

Works Cited

Hume, David. An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding. Newcastle: Forgotten Books Publishing. 2008. Print.


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