Free will and alternatives:

I’d like to make another post about free-will.
I think that the common use of the word is flawed.

answers.com/topic/free
We live in a highly interdependant system of influences.
We are not entirely independant.
Does that mean we are not entirely free?

Free-will is basically, Will which is not being controlled by other people.
We can make choices. We can do some things independantly, on our own.
If that is free-will, then I’m fine with that, it’s just a definition of a process
and a perspective on that process.

I don’t really feel free in my life, though.
I feel like i can’t suddenly be someone else or something else.
I’m forced to be determined by me and all the influences which compose my existence.
I don’t want to be in this realm or of this species.

What are your thoughts on free-will?

I think tacking on the prefix “free” is a bit redundant, but perhaps that’s because I don’t really understand “Will” in the first place. He likes to wear handcuffs.

That’s it, and that’s all it should be.

Free will is a concept based on arcane notions of man’s position in nature, or above nature. It’s purpose has always been to make men guilty. It’s a guilt mechanism. It’s been historically important not because it’s an observable fact in nature, but because without it our morally saturated models of the universe don’t make sense. It’s what must be the case, but isn’t observed to be the case. As you’ve redefined it, it implies or supports nothing of significance. It’s pointless, and kind of funny, like how old Gods become watered down metaphors.

And what would be the reason of singling out people, in the sense that you’re free if it’s other people that don’t influence your decision to any great degree? Why not…dogs, for example? Cats? You have free will only in those instances where your action isn’t influenced by your dog? What’s so special about the influence of other people as opposed to the influence of dogs or cats that makes one’s actions free when it’s lacking?

xzc, i believe you are describing these kinds of free-will:
Religious christendom free-will.
Political free-will. Political “freedom” in general.
And an angry man’s use of the word free-will.

I was trying to express maybe a mixture of the dictionary’s free-will,
combined with my own reduction and recitification of the meaning of free-will.

Yesterday i was feeling upset about the way that the free-will concept is misused.
I believe that what you describe and maybe argue about, is all points which
I have basically thought about before and didn’t like. We are probably able
to agree entirely if we understand eachother, that the things you just listed
are BS to a high degree.

Agreed.

I’m describing free will as it is commonly understood and used by philosophers.

Words aren’t defined in stone. You don’t discover the definitions of terms in nature. We make them up. Free will is a term whose meaning (and function) is already made up. You’re proposing to keep the arrangement of letters [f-r-e-e w-i-l-l] but change the meaning and completely remove the function (to make men guilty). Question is why…? What’s so great about that arrangement of letters that you, and to be quite honest, everybody else seems to want to keep by defining and redefining it? Is it an aesthetically pleasing phrase?

I personally prefer: “We’re fill.” Don’t ask me where I got the apostrophe. Or why the period is inside the quotation marks. I much prefer it outside, myself. But feel bound by the compulsions of grammar. And yet, the emptiness abides… :confusion-waiting:

Hah, you silly person.

Thanks Dan! Freeness in sillidom!!!

Ok, did I make a mistake?
Maybe it’s the antidepressants. I tried to post the best most accurate deffinition of free-will,
instead of the fallacy and hypocracy of total nonsense, as it is most hideously used.

Ok I will consider this:

What makes men guilty? What is guilt? We can feel bad about something. We think it’s bad and we did it therefor we are bad,
because we are supposed as the source of our own doings. It’s like saying piss coming out of a water tap, makes the tap bad.
Doing isn’t the same as being. Am I right so-far?
So, we’re guilty, because we were free, and that makes it our fault, because it was us and not something else to blame,
therefor we should be punished if we misbehave. That’s justice as you know it.
Justice is about only punishing you once you’ve done something wrong.
Justice doesn’t punish potential wrong, or try to punish the complex network of influences which ultimately create behavior.
Who should we punish for our genes?

As far as I know, the Somaras teach that punishment is a form of revenge, a primative being attacking the aparitions of danger.
What do we want? Do we want to destroy bad people, or do we want to make bad people into good people?
The Somaras teach that if it’s possible to teach a bad person to be good, then you don’t need to punish him, you
just need to help him change. Somaras don’t think guilt is ultimately absolutely always good or universally right.
What is good is the Will to become good.

How do we instil a sense of a Will to become Good?
Love and apprecation.
When we do not give these things to people, people become bad.
Then we punish them, instead of healing the source of the defect.
Imagine if you attacked your body every time it made a mistake?
What if you tried to improve your body every time it couldn’t do something right?
Well, that’s what I’d call progressivism. Take things and try to expand on them,
in order to “fix” them, instead of attacking them.

We are angry, angry apes, and we just never learn.

Was that wrong too, or was i right?

Somaras say that Healing is higher than Punishment.

I would think so - not entirely free.

We do make choices, but the questions we answer with choice are often perceived as more of a multiple-choice construct, rather than, say, short answer. In all reality, I suppose we do have a wealth of information out in the world to aid our decision making, but in absence of that aid, or ignorance of it, our choices seem very particular to an individual’s past and present state of circumstances.

This seems pretty accurate to me, though it is hard to differentiate influence from involvement much of the time.

I think we do have some free will, as you define it, but I also think that our wills are influenced from the beginning. So, in a way, the people that teach us and bring us up are planting seeds of influence, or setting limitations, in our conceptual framework. Some of that sticks with us, but not enough that our paths are predetermined per say (in most cases) – rather, just narrowed.

We can choose when to act, or which of our options to select, but the playing field and rules have been largely set for us.

I suppose this is more or less what i am getting at. There is more to a person’s state of being than just a physical/mental health. All of these outside influences really seem to contribute to that sate of being by narrowing one’s perception of possibilities.

For instance, say you have a job you hate and you know pursuing Philosophy would make you much happier. Of course you would have to consider things like changing profession, places for furthering your education, where to maintain income, outside opinions & preferences, opportunities for employment in your new direction, etc. All things considered, it may be far less practical to pursue what you really love because of the circumstances in your life which may hinder you – essentially assessing the risk involved. So, in my opinion, these influences include that which constitutes the life you’ve built for yourself. So not only do you have your current circumstances hindering your ability to be someone/something else, but you have all of your past choices, which contribute to who/what you are now, attached to you - influencing what choices are available for you and the work/risk involved in pursuing them.

This reminds me of Spinoza a bit.

I think that, as we grow and understand, we can become the adequate cause of our effects. However, I think our perception of the nature of ourselves as ‘cause’, and purpose of our effects, is largely a concept built of past influences. So, in short, your ability to determine yourself, and your options in doing so, have already been determined to some degree.

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

What is sillidom?

statiktech.
I think we are agreeing on allot. That shows we’ve both spotted eachother,
in the clear view that results from us both finally climbing our own mountains.

You inspired a thought:
Our parents and society is highly responsible for the influences which we use in order to be ourself.
Originally a “Self” is nothing. Forms are accumulated and transmuted into the core, but we’re really just
a focal point of our environements.

Therefor God is making a mistake when creation does bad things.
Therefor God makes mistakes, He sins, and he should forgive both himself
and us as he learns how to make less mistakes, seeking to heal himself
and everyone around him instead of attacking everybody in rage.
Luckily, Jesus taught extreme forgiveness, patience, love, acceptance, etc.
Jesus never killed anybody, not one person. He healed the guys that
were capturing him and going to kill him.
Jesus said he who has seen me has seen the father also.
Therefor, maybe, “God is Love”, and somewhere behind it all,
he’s like us, “Man is created in the image of God”, we both “sin”,
but we need to be forgiven, things need to be sacrificed,
and ultimately we need eachother.

I learned something.

What isn’t? It’s all a metathesis, mating thises and thats. The relation of meaning is insecure, insofar as there is freedom, ergo silliness. This might equate with the radical notion of free will, where choice is purely arbitrary, and yet arising from the predetermined. Absolute randomness, and yet bound unto reality. Sureality, uncertainly!

Hmmm. Random Will. That’s not impossible.
Ultimately we are made of colliding spheres.
The infinitely random number of pi relates to the nature of spheres.
Our basis is a totality of random forces? But those forces have much similarity.
There’s possible assurable patterns that can reoccur in chaos.

I don’t disbelieve in Random Will.
If we use the word “Random” a certain way, we can posit a random universe.

Let’s say everything is random, then what?
Is that bad, good, neutral, or all of the above?

The random keeps us running, and running, they say, is good, if you’re in shape, or don’t have to over-exert yourself to get there. Rundom. It’s bad if you’re Jim Fixx. Even though running was very, very good to him. So, neutral. The value is indeterminate, except as felt. The kids quip, “That’s so random!” these days. I think they feel it more coherently than me. Whatever! :laughing:

Dan,

Always a pleasure man. You are one hell of a deep cat, in my opinion, which makes you an excellent conversationalist.

I’ve actually presented a similar argument in one of the past threads concerning the existence of God.

Perhaps we are essentially byproducts of God – that is, we are products of that which is a direct product of God (Nature). If God truly is indifferent and unadulterated free-will were the case, the absurdity of reality would seem likely. However, if God is benevolent and omniscient/omnipresent, what of those that become victim to circumstance?

Most answer with some variation of “that’s why he gave us free will, the greatest gift!”. However, I’m not talking about will, or choice, but effects caused by sources outside of a person’s control. Is it an infant’s fault if he is born addicted to crack? He can’t very well be held accountable for the faults of his mother. Similarly, generations continue to inherit all kinds of problems posed or caused by generations past (environmental issues, wars, corruption, etc.). So I see it one of two ways–

  1. Free will does exist, but God is indifferent and therefore does not need to intervene or be understood in order for us to persist.
  2. Free will does not exist, and our lives are determined to some degree (probably through a cause-effect type relationship).

The second possibility raises a question for me: If our lives are determined, and God is benevolent, why do victims of circumstance exist? Why would it not be more “just” that every human being start on a level playing field, or that the rules be the same for every player?

In my consideration of this, I’ve come to a conclusion that God is either malevolent (which I don’t personally believe), indifferent (which I lean toward), or he errs. I would lean more toward the latter, as you seem to, but this would make things like the complexities in the design and order of nature, or the cosmos, almost frighteningly unpredictable. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t the lack of predictability that dissuades me but the concept of an omniscient creator making mistakes in that which he cares for most (or so we believe), and being unwilling to correct them. If God does err, he leaves nature to take its course – which only strengthens my view that nature is God, and is indifferent as nature seems to be.

Thanks, and here comes a reply:
By the way, i was thinking on trying to post all day at ILP for a few days, just to see what happens.
I’d like to try that.

[b]Hmmm.

One of the Jehovah’s Witnesses answers to that problem would be like:
Satan is currenly ruling the earth. God wanted to rule the earth, but adam and eve, and humanity in general, decided to do their own thing, instead of have God as king, so God said “Ok, you want it like that? I’ll respect that, but I know it’s not the best thing for you.” God kindof left the earth, and let people rule themselves. Also eating from that forbidden tree in eden caused the energy and matter of the fabric and basis of adam and eve, to become “imperfect”. Originally humans didn’t have things like sickness and disease, and by the example of Jesus calming dangerous storms on the ocean, we are taught that God can calm the elements of the earth and prevent things like natural disasters. He could also talk to us and see the future helping us avoid unforseen accidents. But all of that was rejected when Adam and Eve decided to “sin” and do their own thing. This would take some time to explain. God still influences the earth, but he doesn’t rule it. So there’s some divine presence and good things, they teach All Good comes from God, but at the same time, Satan and all his demon dudes got banished to living on the earth. The earth has got allot of bad guys on it, and they are allowed to do their own thing, for a long time until it is undoubtable that they can’t exist without God’s rulership. Then eventually God will re-establish his rulership. But presently we exist in a sort of abscence of God, and it is taught that without God nature is incomplete, therefor imperfect. Maybe an angel also told me that creation and the universe is not complete yet, it’s still constantly being worked on and changed by the Creator(s). But that last part would be iffy maybe not agreed upon by Jehovah’s Witnesses.

I’ve just tried to show you something that you might not have known about.
I was raised a JW for around 20 years. They try to teach you every detail about the bible.

God can give us options while we still make the choices for ourselves. In this way he can be other than indifferent but we can still have Free Will, sortof?

At ILO i told Old_Gobbo that free-will and determinism are the same things. If things couldn’t be determined, then we couldn’t determine anything, therefor we would have no real influence, no choice.

Also, as regards cause and effect:
Imagine reality as a bubble. Nothing can escape, everything is there.
All the parts interact. Which parts are cause, and which parts are effect?
I think that if we want to be wholistic and more precise with the terms that we are using,
we can say that cause, effect and things in between that are all connected.
The Buddha taught that there is no difference between the east and the west sky,
man creates the difference then believes that there is a difference. Buddha may have
said that all is one, and empty of itself. I don’t fully understand Buddha, but tried.
I think he was right sometimes.

Just because our choices could be predicted, doesn’t mean they aren’t choices…?

What if God was also a victim of things that he could not fully control?
In polytheism, gods can trick eachother, gods can make mistakes, gods can kill eachother.

If reality is a creation of pure love, it would be totally different.
That’s why I entertain the thought of an ultimately atheistic orign of nature.
Nature seems to be neutral and automatic, whereas in monastic Creationism,
we are faced with the issue that everything is an expression of God’s original plans,
and therefor is an expression of God’s personality. Therefor God is cold or cruel,
because bad things happen to good people who are innocent.
This issue can go into finer details; most can.

I told mike that if God was really powerful and malevolent, he would kill everybody and there would be nothing left.
I think that if God had no intentions and was totally indifferent, he would be equal to nothingness because he would exert zero influence.
But power and Will are (maybe) One and the same. A big powerful force has a nature, it has an influence. “Power” is an abstract
concept that we associate with highly influencial forces. More energy means more work, in physics. Therefor a higher power is
a more influential process in reality. For example, the sun heats us and we rotate around it. If it was not powerful, it would not
have an influence, it would not seem to Will or be anything at all. I think that also applies to theories on the nature of God.

I think that if a man builds a car and it breaks down and fails, then that man errs.
So I can entertain the idea of an imperfect God.

If God is dead, then he can’t hurt us. What a relief.

If difference is merely an illusion created by the confines of finite perception, then we are God.
We’re just at different levels of the big picture. That would be pantheism.

If God is finite, then he can care, but then he can’t help everyone because he’s limited.

I don’t know who came up with the idea that God is superior to reality and created it.
To me the idea doesn’t entirely make sense.

As far as I have observed, forms operate like this:
Forms start off as tiny components, they accumulate, then they become greater forms.
Things always start small then get bigger.

Somaras teach that reality is dieing.
When the singularity broke down into seprate forms, there was a decline in reality.
As atoms decay and the universe expands, things are basically becoming allot more balanced.
Entropy means things move to perfect balance, but that also means things become neutral.
Maybe God is not dead, but God is dieing?

We can view reality many ways.
We can see it as a decent, where things break down,
or we can view it as a progression, where things are being built up,
Or maybe change is an illusion created by linear forces in time and splace.
Reality could be a loop in which we are somehow stuck on side 1 but everything
is moving in the opposite direction on side 2. That’s very possible now that I think about it,
because underneith the universe time could be moving backwards and the whole thing is a loop.
If energy is invincible, if eternity is necissary for being, if nature always recycles itself…
I don’t know.
Maybe that is something that Neitszche considered when he proposted eternal recurrance.
I still have yet to understand Neitszche’s eternal recurrance.
I think Neitszche was one of the few godless prophets.
He was a prophet of pure flesh and a prophet of the earth.

God could be stuck in a loop, too.
If change is merely an illusion, than no matter what God does, he just keeps on expressing his own nature.

Lots to think about.[/b]

Awesome. I really enjoy getting insight into different religious …ontology(?). Anyway, I just recently got a rundown on the fundamentals, and origins, of Mormon belief, which blew my mind. Your info above isn’t quite so absurd, but I still see many problems with it.

For one, I would have to ask if JWs believed us all to be victim of circumstance. This curiosity is two fold – Why would God rest the nature of his relationship with the whole of humanity on the shoulders of two obviously imperfect people? Also, what is the justice in punishing, and robbing, the innocence of his creations based on an innocent mistake made by two obviously imperfect people?

Second, why does God not rule the Earth? Inability or lack of desire? Even if it were the latter, what is the justification in allowing us to be pawns of Satan?

Third, I agree that the universe is in constant motion and always evolving somehow. However, I don’t think that necessitates the existence of God.

Lastly, I might have to ask – Can/does God create anything that is perfect? It would seem well within his ability, though nothing of our reality can act as testament to that.

That’s exactly the type of concept I was getting at with my comparison to multiple choice, rather than short answer. If the options of the Will are limited, then the choices must also be – therefore, I suppose I’d call that ‘marginally free will’, at best.

Well, to believe things can be determined seems different than a belief that all is predetermined, in my opinion.

Great point. I was trying to be concise in my statement about a cause-effect type relationship, but I agree there is far more to the process. However, I’ll also say that I do believe this process to largely determine our states at times.

Haha, I don’t think anyone fully understands Buddha, but it is fun to try. But, yeah, as far as I know he did teach a theory of ‘oneness’, which I actually believe to some degree. I think the Upanishads believe something similar as well…

True, but that doesn’t mean they are “free” either.

Then, by what merit is he God?

If he were that human in characteristics, and benevolent at once, would he not have enough humility to not need worship indefinitely, by everyone, all the time?

Interesting. This raises the question as to the nature of God’s personality as well then – does he wish to regard us as children, colleagues, …slaves?

How do you regard Nature? My conception of indifference pertaining to God is the same I would apply to nature for example. Not totally indifferent, but indifferent to human affairs.

Well I suppose that depends on perspective. Pluto exists, but I can’t see what influence it has on me personally. It doesn’t seem all too powerful from what I can deduce either. So then what is the power that necessitates its existence? What is the power that necessitates boogers?

That brings an issue of honesty into the equation.

Haha, perhaps. But, what of Satan?

I’d think there more to God than the ability to remove space/time from ‘reality’, but I do believe we are essentially at different levels of a big picture.

Agreed.

Haha, welcome to the club. Did you sign in?

Very interesting. I’ll have to look more into Somaras, I hadn’t heard of them yet.

Toss Albert Camus in there – I’ve seen him described as “a saint without a God”. Kind of makes me smile.

I think we, nature, and God are in a loop to some extent. The question being whether this loop is intentional.

Yes, a ton. Thanks again.