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Free Will, Nature and Nuture


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10 hours ago, romansh said:

And how much do we trust our consciousness? Or is it the confirmation bias for our unconscious chemistry? When I examine my day … I am in autopilot for much of the day.

Perhaps the better way to put it is that most of us accept that we are conscious and indeed self-conscious beings. There is or are moments of autopilot in the day however it is the conscious person, reflecting on themselves (i.e. self conscious) that know this.

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10 hours ago, romansh said:

OK in what way is will, want, wish different from a desire? 

Wish is linked to want and desire and will is whether or not one decides to bring what is desired/wished for to fruition or into reality.

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17 hours ago, thormas said:

a more progressive take might be that rather than saying God always existed (which sounds like the existence of just another being, albeit it infinite existence - like all energy?) to say instead that "God" is the very possibility of existence, that anything is - at all. This goes to Paul's letter in which he writes that 'we have our being in God.'

I can understand this notion much better than the traditional. Over the past several years I have read, or listened to, a number of books on Islam. It is interesting that “In Islam, God is beyond all comprehension or equal and does not resemble any of his creations in any way.” In contrast, in Christianity we visualize God as the “old white guy”. In traditional Judaism God is the “the absolute one, indivisible, and incomparable being,” some modern interpretations of Judaism emphasize that God is a force or ideal. Personally, I prefer the Start Wars version "may the Force be with you."  😀

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13 hours ago, romansh said:

The interesting thing is that the belief in notions of g/God, free will and morality are actually unnecessary for us to function, although we may believe otherwise.

I certainly agree with this in regards to morality & ethics. While some may believe religion has a strong influence on personality, my experience over the decades has been the reverse; i.e. we express our existing personality through the belief organization and social causes that we join. 

As for g/God and free will, I would also agree, regardless of what we believe we go about lives, as everyone else does.

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13 hours ago, romansh said:

Perhaps accept that our consciousness is imaginary? I imagine I have a consciousness is a tautology is it not?

I can accept that consciousness exists only in the imagination and that it is a tautology. I can also accept “I think, therefore I am” which is also a tautology.

For some reason this made me think about Zhuang Zhou dreaming that he was a butterfly and forever wondering whether he dreamt the butterfly, or the butterfly dreamt him. Now that would be a confused state of consciousness. 😂

I just read this quote from him, which I like …. “To the most trivial actions, attach the devotion and mindfulness of a hundred monks. To matters of life and death, attach a sense of humor."

Edited by intuition
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1 hour ago, intuition said:

 

I can understand this notion much better than the traditional. Over the past several years I have read, or listened to, a number of books on Islam. It is interesting that “In Islam, God is beyond all comprehension or equal and does not resemble any of his creations in any way.” In contrast, in Christianity we visualize God as the “old white guy”. In traditional Judaism God is the “the absolute one, indivisible, and incomparable being,” some modern interpretations of Judaism emphasize that God is a force or ideal. Personally, I prefer the Start Wars version "may the Force be with you."  😀

The good thing is not always and not all Christians, in the history of Christianity, visualized God as the old white guy. However, I wonder if God does not resemble us (or vice versa) in the most important way. The  idea of God (ala Spong) as a verb (something to do...and something to become) and us doing what God is (LOVE) seemingly reveals that we (can) resemble God/Being/Love. 

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1 hour ago, intuition said:

I certainly agree with this in regards to morality & ethics. While some may believe religion has a strong influence on personality, my experience over the decades has been the reverse; i.e. we express our existing personality through the belief organization and social causes that we join. 

As for g/God and free will, I would also agree, regardless of what we believe we go about lives, as everyone else does.

Seemingly, morality and ethics, i.e. some sense of what is the Good, is necessary since all/most human societies establish laws (based on something) which seem absolutely necessary for them to function and their society to prosper.

As for God/religion, for some, it is what we believe that enables or guides us as we go about our lives. 

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53 minutes ago, intuition said:

I can accept that consciousness exists only in the imagination and that it is a tautology. I can also accept “I think, therefore I am” which is also a tautology.

For some reason this made me think about Zhuang Zhou dreaming that he was a butterfly and forever wondering whether he dreamt the butterfly, or the butterfly dreamt him. Now that would be a confused state of consciousness. 😂

I just read this quote from him, which I like …. “To the most trivial actions, attach the devotion and mindfulness of a hundred monks. To matters of life and death, attach a sense of humor."

Or, consciousness is (real) and the human being meets, acknowledges and names this reality.

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9 hours ago, intuition said:

I just read this quote from him, which I like …. “To the most trivial actions, attach the devotion and mindfulness of a hundred monks. To matters of life and death, attach a sense of humor."

Done and done.

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9 hours ago, intuition said:

I just read this quote from him, which I like …. “To the most trivial actions, attach the devotion and mindfulness of a hundred monks. To matters of life and death, attach a sense of humor."

Is death trivial? There are over six thousand an hour on average (Google is my friend). Yesterday twelve years ago my son died. Yes I can find humour in this, but it is mine not anyone else's. 

I can find humour in A Single Death is a Tragedy; a Million Deaths is a Statistic. I can even find a certain accuracy in this statement.

As to Zhou's butterfly solipsism … each to his own I suppose.

10 hours ago, intuition said:

As for g/God and free will, I would also agree, regardless of what we believe we go about lives, as everyone else does.

Yes regardless of what we do we are forced to play the game, even if it means tipping the board over.

So do you think we have free will and what do you mean by free will?

Edited by romansh
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14 hours ago, thormas said:

There is or are moments of autopilot in the day however it is the conscious person, reflecting on themselves (i.e. self conscious) that know this.

And yet when we do this it blends into the autopilot state.

 

14 hours ago, thormas said:

Wish is linked to want and desire and will is whether or not one decides to bring what is desired/wished for to fruition or into reality

Yes but it is more subtle than that. I might have decided to do something but not had the will to carry it out.

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10 hours ago, romansh said:

And yet when we do this it blends into the autopilot state.

Yes but it is more subtle than that. I might have decided to do something but not had the will to carry it out.

Some are simply not on autopilot most of the day, most of their life. It may blend at times but it is still the conscious self who reflects on it all.

At times, that is the case, but again I'm not denying the role of 'chemistry,' I just don't agree that such chemistry is the be all and end all of us.

 

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18 minutes ago, thormas said:

At times, that is the case, but again I'm not denying the role of 'chemistry,' I just don't agree that such chemistry is the be all and end all of us.

And yet when I ask you to point to this 'more' it appears to be written in 'chemistry'. And here I include 'physics'.

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15 minutes ago, romansh said:

And yet when I ask you to point to this 'more' it appears to be written in 'chemistry'. And here I include 'physics'.

Written in chemistry? Rather, it acknowledges chemistry but holds that chemistry is not all there is.

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4 minutes ago, thormas said:

Written in chemistry? Rather, it acknowledges chemistry but holds that chemistry is not all there is.

'Chemistry' is doing the writing also, if this is what you are driving at.

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13 hours ago, romansh said:

Is death trivial? There are over six thousand an hour on average (Google is my friend). Yesterday twelve years ago my son died. Yes I can find humour in this, but it is mine not anyone else's. 

My hunch is that Zhuang Zhou meant “To matters of my life and my death, attach a sense of humor." This is meaning I assumed when I quoted it. No doubt death of a loved one is not humous or trivial. Likewise, the death of the “six thousand an hour on average” is not humous or trivial.

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14 hours ago, romansh said:

As to Zhou's butterfly solipsism … each to his own I suppose.

Zhou meant the butterfly narrative as an analogy (Google is my friend too); “The butterfly dream, in my interpretation, is an analogy drawn from our own familiar inner life of what cognitive process is involved in the process of self-transformation. It serves as a key to understanding what the whole of the Chuang-tzu is about by providing an example of a mental transformation or awakening experience with which we are all highly familiar: the case of waking up from a dream .… just like we awaken from a dream, we can mentally awaken to a more real level of awareness. From p.81, Chuang-Tzu for Spiritual Transformation: An Analysis of the Inner Chapters, by Robert Elliott Allinson, 1989.

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2 hours ago, romansh said:

'Chemistry' is doing the writing also, if this is what you are driving at.

Again, no denying chemistry, just that it is all powerful. Unless I misunderstand you, you deny any and all free will (and consciousness) whereas I do not. If this is wrong, please advise.

I refer back to where I quoted Spong: ".....there is no explanation about how consciousness could emerge out of unconscious living things" and then I added, so too, I suspect, there is no explanation about how free will/choice can emerge out of heredity and environment. But is does just as consciousness has emerged in living things and risen to self-sciousness in human beings.

 
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16 hours ago, romansh said:

So do you think we have free will and what do you mean by free will?

In a word, “yes”. In a sentence, “there must be more than No-Free-Will”. Behavioural genetics causes me to think there are limitations on Free Will. Borderline personality disorders are a case in point, and drugs; whether illegal or prescribed, are known to cause changes to behaviour/personality. Similarly, I know that I have some tendencies that seem to be more impulsive; a reflex, like when the doctor uses a rubber hammer to tap firmly on a tendon. Perhaps this is what is being referred to in Romans 7:15; “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.”

I accept that my belief in Some-Free-Will is not a knowledge of the reality of Free Will. I do not know for certainty that there is even “some” Free Will; I believe there is.

What do I think Free Will is? I am comfortable with the Wikipedia definition “Free will is the ability to choose between different possible courses of action unimpeded.” Or, what I would simply call self-determination.

Having said all that, on a beautiful summer day, sitting in the backyard, on my third glass of wine, I think “that’s stupid, obviously I have Free Will, I make my own decisions every day!”

  • In vino veritas is a Latin phrase that means "in wine lies the truth."
  • In Chinese, 酒後吐真言 ("After wine blurts truthful speech").
  • In Russian, «Что у трезвого на уме, то у пьяного на языке» ("What a sober man has in his mind, the drunk one has on his tongue").
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17 minutes ago, intuition said:

In a word, “yes”. In a sentence, “there must be more than No-Free-Will”. Behavioural genetics causes me to think there are limitations on Free Will. Borderline personality disorders are a case in point, and drugs; whether illegal or prescribed, are known to cause changes to behaviour/personality. Similarly, I know that I have some tendencies that seem to be more impulsive; a reflex, like when the doctor uses a rubber hammer to tap firmly on a tendon. Perhaps this is what is being referred to in Romans 7:15; “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.”

I accept that my belief in Some-Free-Will is not a knowledge of the reality of Free Will. I do not know for certainty that there is even “some” Free Will; I believe there is.

What do I think Free Will is? I am comfortable with the Wikipedia definition “Free will is the ability to choose between different possible courses of action unimpeded.” Or, what I would simply call self-determination.

Having said all that, on a beautiful summer day, sitting in the backyard, on my third glass of wine, I think “that’s stupid, obviously I have Free Will, I make my own decisions every day!”

  • In vino veritas is a Latin phrase that means "in wine lies the truth."
  • In Chinese, 酒後吐真言 ("After wine blurts truthful speech").
  • In Russian, «Что у трезвого на уме, то у пьяного на языке» ("What a sober man has in his mind, the drunk one has on his tongue").

Nicely summarized Intuition!

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 4/26/2019 at 10:50 AM, intuition said:

“Free will is the ability to choose between different possible courses of action unimpeded.” Or, what I would simply call self-determination.

The problem with this or these definitions is that my computer meets the criteria for free will. 

The question is not whether we make decisions … the debate is over the underlying mechanisms of making of those decisions. And whether having a mechanism for free will is an oxymoron of sorts. It's a nice sunny day, and I have a need to mow the grass. 

To me it is an amazing view of how the universe ticks whilst it unfolds. 

 

Why must there be more than no free will? Do you have your own personal homunculus that is free? And does your homunculus 

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