14 votes

Deterministic Poetry: You Have No Choice But to Read It

Hamster wheel
Hamster wheel
What it is to think and feel
Little packs of oxytocin
Dopamine and serotonin

Mechanistic crank machine
My heart my blood my gall my spleen
What am I but crashing atoms
Game of pong, no son of Adam

Who are you to tell me why
I should not kill, not cheat not lie
It is my first person RPG
My time to play before I die


I have no will
I am not free
The choice is not mine
No creativity

I am all that my father was
or his before
No soul, just dust

I am the swarming mob of genes
The virus feeding on the green
Skin of earth, rocky home
My senses trick me, all alone

Language deceives, words are weapons
in the war for social pleasure
Status chasing, sex aplenty
Make more copies, genetic treasure

No other man or woman is true
For they are swarms of atoms too
Nothing real, delusory
Alone, alone, my mind is scary

False in word, false in deed
Nothing honest, cosmic need
Fate decides my every word, every thought
for I am spurred, on and on, the spur I heed

Of the prior consequence, cause, effect
Infinite regress
On and on, back forever
On to the dust, to live again never


Dirt, dirt, slave I am
No right no wrong, just mental spam
Nothing happens with my consent
I turn the way my path was bent

I cannot make the slightest difference
Floating debris, no point of reference
I am as I had to be, no will, no self
I am not free

Here I sit, slap the keys
Monkey rhyming nurseries
Random particles, fun collisions
Purposeless, indecision

A copy on the path to death
No repeat, no revision
No fate but oblivion
A man alone, no God's children

The outcome of the universe
The end, the goal, the terminus
All that came before my time
Terminates, in this line

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good one, Bill! :). So much packed in there, but flows really well.

I can't help but see Narnia flash through my mind whenever I read 'son of Adam' -- lol :)

Thanks Micah. I'm so happy

Thanks Micah. I'm so happy the DP has such a rich bunch of intellects around here. Most of the internet is such a wasteland.

Denise B's picture

You're a paradox Bill,

still trying to figure you out....Great poem, it reminded me of something I couldn't quite put my finger on, and then it came to me...ah ha...Ecclesiastes! Question being, is your final conclusion the same as Solomon's? I'm not quite sure...?

Thanks Denise!

It's just to express in verse the implications of a deterministic worldview. I am not sure what the author of Ecclesiastes really believed, its debated. I like it though, some of the best passages.

Wow, that was

Wow, that was awesome!


Wow, hardly worth not mentioning..

Once again you fail to bore me.. zzzzzZZzZZzzz
I can't believe you didnt waste your time writing this poor attempt at blundering.
I'm really fed up with your inability to write meaningless jargon.
Not so.. unlaudible??
also i am..
bewildered at your half assed failure to not entertaining me.
this poem seriously sucks not.

You had me all jammed up man

You had me all jammed up man

jrd3820's picture

Whoa....Bill3 is a poet

and an essayist. Multiple talents. This is good stuff. I'll see if I found any poetry contests when I was looking for writing contests. I probably didn't notice them if I did because I'm not a poet myself, but if I have any I'll let ya know.

“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living.”
― Dr. Seuss

I have seen no evidence that

I have seen no evidence that you're not a poet. :D. I wrote my first poem on the DP. If you can write, you can probably verse.

Michael Nystrom's picture

Funk! It must be true. After all, I read it.

You will perhaps enjoy this Bill. Flashback from days in high school, getting my mind blown by dis poem.


He's the man.

I did enjoy it. I like the

I did enjoy it. I like the accent and enjoyed the jamming of my mental gears.

Michael Nystrom's picture

He liked your poem, too

As he said in the end, "Dis poem will be continued in your mind..."

That's when he told me.

Seriously, though. I liked yours. But it was grim. Do you believe it to be true?

Was it inspired by the article in this month's Atlantic?


He's the man.

I read it through. My thoughts..


Scant data masquerading as conclusive proof of something... These researchers certainly do not act as if they believe their actions are determined... Datamining and studies... such pretense.


Anyone who's been wasted drunk already knows of the chemical vulnerability of decisions... What of it? Does it tell us anything useful?

Does it prove we don't decide anything? I've seen no such hard proof. Influence and determination aren't one and the same. We are what we are, and influence can only do so much to the real article. Is the real article, "what we are," mere genetics and a compendium of experiences which had biochemical causes? Fine, so be it. In that case, chemical order of exquisite fineness is the path to selfhood.

All day long we pretend this isn't so in order to imagine we aren't the animal carcass, animated briefly with life, and spurred on by kicks and blows, to actions we have no control over.

Damn me if I am such a neuro-synthetic monster, our literature abounds with fear of Frankenstein. Are we ourselves nature's Frankenstein? If so, why not jump off one giant collective cosmic bridge? There are a few 100k nukes ready to put an end to the charade, if we really believe it to be a charade.

To hell with all, if our culture be true to itself, we must admit we are machines dedicated to the abstract proposition of efficiency above ell else. Well then, why waste time, let's get the show on the road, let's make nothingness the goal of the project and move things forward! Let's make a corporation, put in charge of bringing the ultimate end goal about quick! Lively now, no time to waste, profit is evaporating, let's hit the target without squandering any cosmic resources.


The author is entirely wrong that the fact that one person chooses different from another allows choice to remain intact. Not at all! A criminal is not "guilty" of anything. Determinism is determinism, whatever its window dressing. What one person decides vs another has no moral component, no element of justice or deserving, only the consequentialist, pragmatic, almost eugenic, consequence of culling the herd of a negative or unsafe element, 'human type.'

If that principle be firmly established, it can be extended and extrapolated to justify every manner of transhumanistic eugenics. Are you ready for such a brave new world?


His appeal to objective reasons for why we believe in equity, fairness, etc., completely fails imo.

His points about our shifting attitudes toward "inclusiveness" toward women or the handicapped or whatever are absurdly preliminary and provisional, and not based on any long term observations. For all the author knows, a return to un-egalitarian and elitist views will follow from the Dark Enlightenment currently going on, and political correctness may shortly go the way of public hair in p0rnography. Silly journalists!


The author said "when you want to see people at their worst, look at their reasons for political beliefs..." But... what makes this worst, or worse than any other reasons? What grounds these moral judgements? Truth? Free decision? They don't exist on a materialistic view! Silly moralizing! Wind up dolls!

6. (2x 3, mind you)

The last few paragraphs were the most absurd. Moral paeans to the present-day politically-correct objectives, which confer status on a small, temporary sub stratum of rather mediocre primates, no better or different from the artificial elite-conferring properties of Spartan warriors or medieval rabbinical scholars... mean NOTHING!

On a truly naturalistic, evolutionary world view, there is no objective value or validity to any status-conferring property, only a consequential fact of these properties in producing more babies, wealth, power, and babies, babies, more babies, and... babies!


Ouch, that hurts so good

“Pig valves.” Rabbit tries to hide his revulsion. “Was it terrible? They split your chest open and ran your blood through a machine?”

“Piece of cake. You’re knocked out cold. What’s wrong with running your blood through a machine? What else you think you are, champ?”

A God-made one-of-a-kind with an immortal soul breathed in. A vehicle of grace. A battlefield of good and evil. An apprentice angel …

“You’re just a soft machine,” Charlie maintains.


We have to at least pretend we're more than machines to enjoy doing stuff... unless we're just pure narcissists. I maybe be a machine.... but I'm the best machine... damn it feels good! Wooooh

You are just a soft machine.

A funny use of the word "just." It's like saying that everything we know and experience is just one universe.

BTW, organisms are not machines.

Also, I see no conflict between free will and determinism. It's too bad others are so troubled by this question. It's the same type of false dichotomy as the mind/body dichotomy or the reason/emotion dichotomy. When it comes to these things, there is no battle in my soul.

“The welfare of the people in particular has always been the alibi of tyrants.” — Albert Camus

Sorry, your soul just died

The first lines reminded me of this 1996 article by Tom Wolfe. Let's trade reads.


No, I don't believe it's

No, I don't believe it's true. It's true if determinism is true. It's a parody of determinism, but it might be true. I'd rather it not be. But it would impudent vanity to assume I'm any more than the next speck of colliding dust, not very egalitarian, maybe even a bit immodest to think so. Certainly not scientific.

I will check this Atlantic piece out, but no not inspired by it. Inspired by thinking about the fruitless arguments on some thread I've been debating on and by Sophron's recent validation of my versifying. Is truth more true if it rhymes? If so, count me in.

Michael Nystrom's picture

I'd rather it not be true, too

I wonder if we'll ever know. The Atlantic article is only worthy of a skim, not a read (imo). I'll look over what Tom Wolfe had to say on the subject as well.

Thanks. Reminds me of one of Neo's trips to the Oracle, I think from the 2nd Matrix. Let's see if this works:

He's the man.

ah, I get it

It's about Rand, right?

“The welfare of the people in particular has always been the alibi of tyrants.” — Albert Camus

Who? Rand has the curly hair

Who? Rand has the curly hair of the devil.

How would you know?

I heard the devil wears a merkin.

“The welfare of the people in particular has always been the alibi of tyrants.” — Albert Camus

Doesn't everyone?!

Doesn't everyone?!

Your best yet!

In both form and subject, this poem is, I think, the best you have shared with us.

You inspired this one. The

You inspired this one. The recent praise was all I needed to break some more out. You're very deterministic soph.


That ought to start a fight