The Illusion of Free Will?

For all other chat which isn't directly related to lucid dreaming and the world of sleep and dreams.

Do you think we have free will?

No
14
50%
Yes
12
43%
Don't know
2
7%
 
Total votes: 28

User avatar
Summerlander
Posts: 3641
Joined: 22 Sep 2011 19:52

Re: The Illusion of Free Will?

Postby Summerlander » 29 Jul 2014 21:51

How do you figure that? (In the face of experiments like Libet's and extended versions where scientists can practically predict what their subjects will decide to do seconds before they become aware of decision.)

How can one decide upon a brain state that takes place prior to becoming aware of the decision that is begotten by it in the first place. And what is the mechanism behind deciding upon favourable brain states if I grant you such fallacious scenario?

You see how free will makes no sense? Are you going to tell me now that a soul hides behind the cerebral controls and is impervious to influence like in some Cartesian theatre?

What I'm saying is, what evidence do you bring to back your postulation other than a subjective sense of a certain degree of freedom?

[ Post made via Android ] Image
"Empty cognizance of one taste, suffused with knowing, is your unmistaken nature, the uncontrived original state. when not altering what is, allow it to be as it is, and the awakened state is right now spontaneously present."

- Padmasambhava

User avatar
Karin
Posts: 146
Joined: 13 May 2014 22:59

Re: The Illusion of Free Will?

Postby Karin » 29 Jul 2014 22:13

At first I did not know what to reply here. I still don't have anything scientific or evidence-based to say, but this thought just crossed my mind as I was waiting in line at the grocery store:

I believe that we have the free will to chose to believe that we do not have free will, and if we so choose, we will have the experience of not having free will, and everything we see will seem to support these views.

Just my two cents. ;)

User avatar
Summerlander
Posts: 3641
Joined: 22 Sep 2011 19:52

Re: The Illusion of Free Will?

Postby Summerlander » 30 Jul 2014 22:02

I give up. As Christopher Hitchens once quipped: "I believe we have free will because we don't have a choice." :-D

EDIT:

Spinoza had already noted in the 17th century that people think they have free will because they are aware of their urges attracting them to what they presume is necessary while at the same time not really understanding why they feel the way they do. According to Spinoza's determinism, we seldom question why we want the things we want and why we do what we do. The illusion of free will, Spinoza reasoned, is reinforced by an indifference to natural prior causes. This is what I see happening in this debate on the side of those who argue for the existence of free will. Just look at this quote:

"Men are conscious of their desire and unaware of the causes by which their desires are determined."
- Benedict de Spinoza

And in his famous "Ethics" he writes:

"The infant believes that it is by free will that it seeks the breast; the angry boy believes that by free will he wishes vengeance; the timid man thinks it is with free will he seeks flight; the drunkard believes that by free command of his mind he speaks the things which when sober he wishes he had left unsaid. All believe that they speak by free command of the mind, whilst, in truth, they have no power to restrain the impulse which they have to speak."

@karin:

I couldn't resist replying to you... :mrgreen:

Karin wrote:I believe that we have the free will to chose to believe that we do not have free will, and if we so choose, we will have the experience of not having free will, and everything we see will seem to support these views.


It doesn't work like that. Even belief is subject to prior causes, i.e environmental exposure and physiological mechanisms. Also, you cannot just choose to believe in something. This is a fallacy. You either believe in something because the evidence is compelling to you, or you don't because you don't see any reason to. This is why Pascal's wager is for those pious people who don't truly believe, because, in order to subscribe to it, you must start from an agnostic point of view (or a "just in case" stance). ;)
"Empty cognizance of one taste, suffused with knowing, is your unmistaken nature, the uncontrived original state. when not altering what is, allow it to be as it is, and the awakened state is right now spontaneously present."

- Padmasambhava

User avatar
Karin
Posts: 146
Joined: 13 May 2014 22:59

Re: The Illusion of Free Will?

Postby Karin » 30 Jul 2014 23:06

Summerlander,

Thanks for your reply. I really appreciate this forum for being so open to different points of views, where we can all express our opinions in a respectful way. That's rare, and that's great! :)

Believe me (no pun intended), I understand your perspective. I have seen first hand for instance how things going on in the body (problems with the immune system, even just the GI tract flora) can heavily influence the brain, the mind, and states of consciousness. I KNOW it works this way. It does indeed make one think about free will. Even just think of all the people locked up in mental institutions, or the criminals in jail, are they really responsible? What if one day science will have progress enough that we can cure all mental illnesses and criminal behaviors? A part of me does see that.

On the other hand, I have chosen to look at things from a different perspective now, while I still see it from the other perspective AT THE SAME TIME. I know it does not make much sense, but I don't really know how to say it differently. As I said in another thread, I am aware that I might just have gone crazy, but it feels crazy good! Maybe I lost a marble and some of my logical reasoning got disabled! :D

I am still exploring though, looking at reality from different perspectives. Maybe I'll change my mind again.

I did not answer the poll because I could see reasons to answer YES, NO and I DON'T KNOW all at the same time.

User avatar
Summerlander
Posts: 3641
Joined: 22 Sep 2011 19:52

Re: The Illusion of Free Will?

Postby Summerlander » 31 Jul 2014 00:42

That seems to me like a carefree, congenial way of looking at the subject without troubling yourself with scientific and philosophical implications. But you can only pick one option because each differ. You must do your homework as I did in order to get to the bottom of it. You are either a determinist (or necessitarian), a compatibilist, or a libertarian. You can't be all of them. And you should also voice your reasons. If you can't be bothered with homework, at least tell us which one seems more appealling to you... Please? :-D

[ Post made via Android ] Image
"Empty cognizance of one taste, suffused with knowing, is your unmistaken nature, the uncontrived original state. when not altering what is, allow it to be as it is, and the awakened state is right now spontaneously present."

- Padmasambhava

User avatar
Karin
Posts: 146
Joined: 13 May 2014 22:59

Re: The Illusion of Free Will?

Postby Karin » 31 Jul 2014 00:59

OK, because you used the magic word, the answer I prefer is YES. :)

User avatar
Summerlander
Posts: 3641
Joined: 22 Sep 2011 19:52

Re: The Illusion of Free Will?

Postby Summerlander » 31 Jul 2014 01:40

Thanks. Vote "yes," then, to make things more interesting. I don't want people to be biased by the winning option so far. Let them all think for themselves. ;-)

[ Post made via Android ] Image
"Empty cognizance of one taste, suffused with knowing, is your unmistaken nature, the uncontrived original state. when not altering what is, allow it to be as it is, and the awakened state is right now spontaneously present."

- Padmasambhava

User avatar
nesgirl
Posts: 1278
Joined: 25 May 2014 23:10

Re: The Illusion of Free Will?

Postby nesgirl » 31 Jul 2014 04:00

...
Last edited by nesgirl on 21 May 2015 05:59, edited 1 time in total.
Goodbye forever...
I dare you Summer and Deschain, to find where I am hiding, and try to attack.

User avatar
HAGART
Posts: 3179
Joined: 05 Jan 2012 21:09
Location: CANADA

Re: The Illusion of Free Will?

Postby HAGART » 31 Jul 2014 08:36

"I don't know" is certainly an option.

I debated with myself how to word this and what to say, and whether I should or not, but hey, I have no fee will anyway so let's let it rip!

I voted, YES, and was just going to leave it be without replying, letting Summerlander, who I know has no free will and is very interested in this subject, who can't control the urge to talk about it, to do the talking for me, as well as provide many examples from great thinkers such as Scott Adams. We are indeed "moist robots" as he said.

It seems like we have free will and choice, but that's why it's called an illusion. We also think that time exists, and perhaps it does mathematically, but not subjectively. Our past are memories and our future is imagination, and the present is never experienced. And in fact, we imagine our memories don't we? (Unless you have a photographic one that is).

I believe even my self-identity is an illusion, created by my organic machine, the moist robot that "I" reside in. Why am I me and not you? Your automaton could say the same about me. So what is "I" but just an idea in our heads?

This sort of thing can blow your mind, and even make some depressed. I know. I had a hard time trying to swallow the truth pill, but it makes you stronger and wiser when you overcome it. I don't live everyday thinking this and learned to stop questioning and simply enjoy life. But it was a tough road. You can know a lot, but still dismiss it and enjoy things. It's called denial, and evolution has made us good at it.

The next time you eat ice cream, don't question it. Just enjoy it! :D
If we all lucid dreamed this world would be a better place.

User avatar
Summerlander
Posts: 3641
Joined: 22 Sep 2011 19:52

Re: The Illusion of Free Will?

Postby Summerlander » 31 Jul 2014 10:17

Good reply, Hagart. And the truth pill certainly makes you stronger and wiser. I wouldn't want to live under the veil of illusion and wishful thinking. I want the truth however cold-hearted it is, because, it is the truth, at the end of the day, that will help us get somewhere. Lying to oneself is never good.

Facing up to the fact that there is no free will will help us to get closer to real justice as we are forced to deal with human infractions another way. Instead of punishing the truly blameless psychopath (who cannot help but be afflicted with "evil") in order to give the innocent a sense of retribution, we can simply strive for a future where a greater understanding of the human genome has been attained and tinkering with the embryonic stage might mean the extinction of serial killers.

As long as we fatuously subscribe to this free will nonsense, many of our problems will remain. I also think that many people mistake determinism for fatalism and that is why they find the truth cheerless. (I am yet to check out nesgirl's link.)

[ Post made via Android ] Image
"Empty cognizance of one taste, suffused with knowing, is your unmistaken nature, the uncontrived original state. when not altering what is, allow it to be as it is, and the awakened state is right now spontaneously present."

- Padmasambhava


Return to “Off-Topic”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 1 guest