Causality, morality, and certainty
The following is a completely possible series of events.
You decide to walk somewhere, and just before you take your first step, you decide to pick which foot to start out on.
You choose your left foot.
You take your first step, and unbeknownst to you, your foot kills several extremely small dust mites that are living on your floor.
One of these mites is crawling in a direction that would have taken it towards a small spider which is almost dying from starvation.
The mite would have given it enough nourishment to live another week.
The spider will die and will never get a chance to build a web in the corner of your room where a week from now a mosquito is “scheduled” to be captured by the spider.
That mosquito is going to be carrying a deadly virus, and two weeks from now that mosquito, because it will not be eaten by the spider, will infect nine people with this virus.
Ask yourself,What would I say to one of the infected persons if by some happenstance it was completely proven to both of us that I could have prevented it from ever happening?
How do I feel about causing something quite negative to happen that is completely beyond ordinary human ability to foresee?
What amount of vigilance must I maintain to feel free from any moral responsibility from being the start of a series of events that ends up negatively? How far do I have to see into the future?
Do I take risks that are more easily foreseen that I would ordinarily not take if I thought a bit about it?
If I were ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN that every time I took a long walk, something negative would occur after a very long chain of events (weeks later and dozens of events removed), would I still walk?
What is negative? How do I decide if the persons that were infected did or did not “deserve” having the virus?
How do I know when to intervene with the destiny and fate of another person?
I could be of some help to almost everyone I know, but I do not do so because there would not be any time left to do anything else; what is my criteria for overcoming this impasse? How do things get to my “front burner”?
Why do I feel responsible for my actions when they are almost entirely created and carried out by automatic processes? When I accidentally break something of someone, why do I say, “I’m sorry.”? Why do I feel “ownership” of my actions and their consequences in the short term but do not do so for the “longer” term?