Talons Philosophy

An Open Online Highschool Philosophy Course

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Three Hours of Doing Hoodrat Stuff – Lyle H

It was Sunday night at around 9 PM, and I didn’t know what to day for my Phil’s Day Off, which was due tomorrow. I decided to take a walk. I have given some thought to how destiny can be affected by something as simple as your outfit. I dressed in all black, and put a hat on, and went out into the night. What was initially going to be a brief Sunday night stroll wound up being a 3 hour adventure through the labyrinth of Westwood Plateau.

I wanted to answer a few questions: Do I have a destiny? Are my choices predetermined or are they my own? Was I destined to take the route I take?

My plan was to have no plan. I took an undetermined walk around my neighbourhood, with the only details being I would record my route, and note anything I saw on the way. Here’s the route I took:

 

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The first point is my house. From there, I went to my old elementary school at Point A. On the way there, I saw an enormous owl in a tree beside the trail I was walking on. Owls kind of scare me because of the whole 360 degree head turning thing, and their eyes strike me as very lucid when I shine a light on one that’s staring at me. At my elementary school, I walked around until I heard a weird noise coming out of the external PA speakers. This is something I never noticed before. I walked up the next part of the trail from there, but it was very dark and I was scared of going up the forested trail, so I went up a staircase from the trail to a cul-de-sac at point B. I walked up the street and saw a second owl that scared the poop out of me when it flapped up to a nearby tree. This one was very clearly interested in me, and I quickly moved on. I walked around to the top of the crunch, where the spooky trail would have taken me anyway, quickly detouring to a pump station surrounded by a barbed wire fence. I walked around the perimeter, accomplishing nothing but getting my shoes extremely muddy. At the top of the crunch was a car parked to the side of the road with the headlights on. The dome light kept coming on for a few seconds at a time, and then fading away so I couldn’t see anyone inside. In the brief moments of light, I saw two people sharing one front seat. I choose to assume they were exchanging platonic massages, and nothing more.

I accidentally scared some guy walking down the trail, despite my best efforts. From here, I cut through a forested path. This was easily the scariest part of my trip. I constantly felt like I was being watched as I walked through, and was checking behind me, seeing things in the trees. I was happy to break through into another cul-de-sac. I decided to push on, and found myself at the Westwood Plateau golf club. I sneaked into the parking lot and for a few minutes pretended I was a diamond thief or a serial killer – watching the few closing workers shut down the restaurant for the night. I seriously considered jumping over the fence onto the actual golf green, but decided against it. From here, I called up my cousin, Brock, because it was getting a little lonely. We met up at his house, and walked towards Eagle Mountain Park. We didn’t do much, just walked and talked. I took a good minute at the Meridian Substation, which is a huge enclosure of electrical towers and conduits the power the neighbourhood. It has a weird vibe, kind of like the power station in Stranger Things. We found an open gate onto the golf course, just a few minutes later, so naturally we headed in. There wasn’t much to see, so we carried on up to a little playground called Tanglewood Park, which is about as North as one can get in this area and still be in suburbia.

From there, I walked home. I arrived at my house around 12:30am, and it seemed my parents didn’t even realize I left. I slipped inside and kicked off my muddy shoes, and went to bed.

So what was the point of all of that?

I wanted to see if there was anything drawing me to where I ended up. I was open to any kind of manifestation of destiny presenting itself, and used every sense to decide which way to go – left or right. If I had come across a car accident or some other event I would be able to help or participate in, I would be more convinced of a pre-planned destiny. The only pull I felt was motivated by instinct and emotion. Detours like the pump station and substation were motivated by curiosity. Getting out of the forest and into the cul-de-sac was motivated by anxiety and fear. This still leaves the question of whether I was always bound to do what I did that evening. And really, how could I know? I do know however, that if my trip was pre-planned, it clearly did not have much in store for me. It wasn’t dull, but it wasn’t that exciting. I tried to keep destiny on it’s toes, making choices that I wouldn’t make normally.

I have concluded that I am in full control of my choices. I have no way to know for certain, but I am pretty confident that my life is a series of yes or no questions, quite simply. If I were to make a physical representation of this model, I would add the third dimension to show things that can influence your choices, shown by peaks in valleys of the line of ‘destiny’ in the key. This probably isn’t clear without an image, but I don’t have one, so allow me to make it more convoluted with my wordy explanations.

Suburban Hell, breeding ground for teenagers like this guy. Courtesy of abcdunlimited.com

I don’t believe an omnipresent force like destiny controls our actions or decisions. I think they are influenced however, by external factors in the more tangible world. I was motivated to turn right instead of left because I was scared of being in the dark forest by myself. So fear motivated that decision. These influences can be things like the actions of others, the invisible forces in someone’s head, or any number of things. I believe the only things controlling our decisions are: tangible influence, and statistics.

Phil’s day off ended with muddy feet and tired legs, but I refined my opinion on destiny, all while spitting in it’s face. It’s good to be a skeptic.

 

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