There are as many questions as answers here. It is also a little light in substance but i just wanted to get the subject started.


FREE WILL - the illusion


Firstly I do not state my opinion is true, i just offer it for challenge. Mine like all other opinions are based solely on the limited information i have to hand and the conclusions i have drawn from that information. As information for an argument can never be finite, can we ever have all the facts, i don't offer my opinion to state that it is true but to offer it up to be challenged. This way, i have the opportunity to expand my limited information and temper my opinion accordingly.

What this all really means i am not sure. I just think it is important that we recognise the fact of what we are. As Clint Eastword (Dirty Harry) famously said "a man has to know his limitations"

So onto freewill the illusion:

Freewill the ability to rise above instinctive emotional forces and choose another path. To rise above desire and fear and to follow the correct path.

I believe FREE WILL is an ILLUSION because all decisions are made based on our emotions. And we do not control our emotions!

So why we do things:

- desire
- love
- food/shelter
- recognition
- covet of status

- fear
- towing the line (fear of consequences if we don't)
- guilt ( fear of outcomes)

- Intellectual argument
- duty
- obligation
- morally right - (*self gratification)

Why we don't do things:
- lack of desire (boredom)
- fear
- intellectual argument

*self gratification - the desire to feel good about oneself?

The moral intellectual argument:

The concept of right or wrong, where the illusion of freewill arises at its strongest. Choosing and doing what is morally right or morally wrong. Again solely based on an emotional argument.

We choose to do the right thing
- because it is self gratifying or we fear the consequences if we don't do it.

We choose not to do the right thing
- because it is self gratifying and we don't fear the consequences

We choose not to do the wrong thing
- because it is self gratifying or we fear the consequences.

We choose to do the wrong thing
- because it is still self gratifying and we don't fear the consequences.

It's the intellectual argument which we believe raises the human animal above all other species of animal. Intellectual arguments in a vacuum of emotions set the morals and the standards. Yet when faced with the raw power of emotion the intellectual argument often will crumble.

Now what is most important to do here, is to separate the freewill of thinking of an argument and the freewill of following that argument to its conclusion. They involve completely separate processes. This is where the conflict is, this is the 'human condition'.

The freewill of following and argument:

Ultimately it is an emotion which dictates which course we follow. We can choose to rise above a particular emotion but it is only successful if our will power, at the time, is stronger than the emotion we are facing. If will power is stronger than the prevailing desire or fear we are able to steer a different course.

The fact that mankind and individuals tend to follow the same cycles. War and conflicts for example, seem to indicate that we more often than not fail to steer a new course. Fail to over come our emotional instinctive reactions.

So what is will power?

- is it just another emotion? another desire maybe?
- is it constant for all of us or indeed within us?
- does strong will power indicate an innate ability or strength of mind or does it just indicate there is less fear to overcome?

Will power and freewill:

Because we follow a course of action, a path, we re-enforce the belief it is our free will that maintains us on that course. What actually makes the difference is that we remember the path from one day to the next, it is persistent within our memory. Yet each minute, each day and each time that we face the challenges of following that path our emotional state at the time chooses what action we will take. How big or small a step we will take down that path. Now we can slowly over time edge along that path each time that we face it. If we did not maintain a memory of the path. The decision would be made only when we were faced with it, and our whole life would be far more random. Probably more peaceful and harmonious too.

So why are some paths we face more persistent in our minds than others? Maybe the perceived emotional reward keeps them there or prevailing fears keep them there.

Because we have awareness we can see the range of choices available. Because we have memory we are aware of the choices we didn't make. Hence we believe our choice was due to freewill. But the action of making that choice was an emotional decision. Given the same set of choices in a different emotional state we will make a different decision. Will power can be strong one day and weak the next. Hence the decision made will be different. If willpower was a constant then we could possibly say we had free will because then our emotions could not dictate our choice and we would always choose the logical intellectual decision. But we don't and because our emotions do dictate our choice and our emotions are not within our control, how can we say, we truly have free will in the choices we make?


So maybe all this means is that we have to recognise that we are at prey to our emotions in all we think and do. Not just individuals but world leaders etc. Now on the face of it, we all know this. but i believe the problem arises as we all try to convince ourselves that it is not true. That we as individuals and a society are above our emotions, that we have the willpower and freewill to make our own choice. Hence all the pain and conflict we cause ourselves and all the pain and conflict we cause others.

We need to understand our limitations. We need to communicate with each other with these limitations firmly in our minds. We need to be fully aware and honest with the prevailing emotion which cast our decision. Then we maybe able to understand each other fully and display more compasion to each other when emotions steer us from the so called correct path.

More thoughts of a whimsical mind. Any comments or critiques or corrections in smelling pisstakes are more than welcome.





Diary by Rik The PoetBay support member heart!
Read 714 times
Written on 2006-05-13 at 22:47

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