“Determinism and Language”
By John Diamond, M.D.
Consider the sentence “I believe in Determinism.” There’s a mistake in what I just wrote. And I know there’s a similar mistake in the second sentence – and in this third one. The mistake in all three is the active verb: “I believe,” “I … wrote”, “I know”. For, according to Determinism, I did not perform these activities, rather they were performed through me.
But look how cumbersome these sentences become if written in the passive voice which is the very hallmark of Determinism: I am led to believe, or I am caused to believe, or I am gotten to believe, I am made to believe – and so on. You can see how very awkward it becomes.
Now let’s consider that last sentence. Really it should be “You are caused to see the awkwardness, the cumbersomeness, the unwieldiness.” And there are two other similar mistakes in what has been written through me: “Consider” in the first paragraph and “look” in the second. I can’t get you to consider, or to look, for I am not the Determiner. You will consider and look as Determined. What has been written through me will have the expressed effect on you, or not. As Determined.
The point I am making … No. The point that it has been Determined will be made through me is that the English language does not lend itself (is not caused to lend itself) to passive statements that would manifest Determinism (through which Determinism would be manifested). This is, I believe (I am caused to believe), a serious impediment. And I am led to believe it comes about (is caused to come about) because of our society’s embracing of (being caused to embrace) self-power rather than Other Power.
When our society is gotten to accept Other Power instead of self-power, our language, similarly, will be made to change. And this will come to pass, or not, as Determined. Until then, I am led to believe that, for the sake of our language, we should speak in the active mode – but think in the passive.