Deterministic Will

What you think about how you think.
Relinquish85
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Deterministic Will

Post by Relinquish85 » Mon May 06, 2019 8:17 am

In any given waking moment, we are ALL naturally attempting to travel along what we each perceive to be the 'path of least resistance' to as close as possible to happiness and to as far as possible from unhappiness.

We all have different ideas about what a 'happy life' entails. For each one of us, these ideas are only what they are because of the surrounding environment into which we were born and by which we were conditioned as we developed, completely beyond our control. Had we been born into (and conditioned during our development by) a different surrounding environment, our ideas about this would not have been what they are.

To test this assertion, try now just for a moment to GENUINELY cease desiring something specific that you strongly desire. Conversely, try just for a moment to GENUINELY desire something specific that you have absolutely no desire for.

Are you actually able to do this? GENUINELY?

In truth, the only possible reason someone would NOT take a course of action that they would actually prefer to take is that they do not want any anticipated undesirable consequences of taking it to come true.

Therefore, any course of action that we BOTH have a strong desire to take, AND feel that taking it will have no undesirable consequences is a course of action that we can't possibly stop ourselves from intending to take.

Likewise, the only possible reason someone would take a course of action that they would actually prefer to not take is that they do not want any anticipated undesirable consequences of NOT taking it to come true.

Therefore, any course of action that we BOTH have no desire to take, AND feel that not taking it will have no undesirable consequences is a course of action that we can't possibly make ourselves intend to take.

There is obviously 'something' causing us to FEEL like our will IS free, but we are under illusion.

When this is realized, the very energy draining activity of 'pointing the finger' (both at others and at ourselves) significantly relaxes.

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ElectricMonk
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Re: Deterministic Will

Post by ElectricMonk » Mon May 06, 2019 8:45 am

could you not just have said: "there is no mind-body dualism" ?

Relinquish85
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Re: Deterministic Will

Post by Relinquish85 » Mon May 06, 2019 8:52 am

ElectricMonk wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 8:45 am
could you not just have said: "there is no mind-body dualism" ?
Well, considering that wasn't the point I was trying to make, no.

I'm trying to demonstrate that free will must be an illusion.

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Re: Deterministic Will

Post by ElectricMonk » Mon May 06, 2019 9:01 am

Relinquish85 wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 8:52 am
ElectricMonk wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 8:45 am
could you not just have said: "there is no mind-body dualism" ?
Well, considering that wasn't the point I was trying to make, no.

I'm trying to demonstrate that free will must be an illusion.
...which is what follows if the mind isn't independent of the body.

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Re: Deterministic Will

Post by Relinquish85 » Mon May 06, 2019 9:42 am

ElectricMonk wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 9:01 am
Relinquish85 wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 8:52 am
ElectricMonk wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 8:45 am
could you not just have said: "there is no mind-body dualism" ?
Well, considering that wasn't the point I was trying to make, no.

I'm trying to demonstrate that free will must be an illusion.
...which is what follows if the mind isn't independent of the body.
Sure, but I was trying to do more than simply make an assertion.

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landrew
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Re: Deterministic Will

Post by landrew » Mon May 06, 2019 1:36 pm

Relinquish85 wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 8:52 am
ElectricMonk wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 8:45 am
could you not just have said: "there is no mind-body dualism" ?
Well, considering that wasn't the point I was trying to make, no.

I'm trying to demonstrate that free will must be an illusion.
I think your dilemma comes from the fact that a relatively small portion of our minds are engaged in the free-will pursuit of things which make us happy. The greater portion is largely autonomic and part of our hard-wired reward system encoded within our DNA. Brain chemicals such as dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin regulate our behaviors and generally guide us towards things evolution had deemed beneficial to our lives. Our conscious free-will holds some sway over our instinctive behaviors, but none of us are a "Spock" in our ability to suppress all our emotions all of the time (and even Spock went a bit psycho around the time of his mating cycle as I recall).

When we make the unfortunate choice to flood our brains with one of these chemicals, hardcore addiction can result which constitutes a near-total loss of free-will, "chemical slavery" if you will, and demonstrates how little of how our brain's function is subordinate to our consciousness. As many addicted smokers could tell you, you may resolve yourself every single day that you will quit smoking, but find yourself smoking an entire pack of cigarettes before noon. Or you may quit for 10 years, and one day you smell someone else's smoke, and then fall irresistibly into smoking again.

The mind-body duality is very real in this sense.
The job of a skeptic is to investigate the unexplained; not to explain the uninvestigated.

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Re: Deterministic Will

Post by mpsmitty » Thu May 09, 2019 12:59 pm

This seems simultaneously, "Duh, of course that's the way it works..." and "Wuh. This is too Meta for me." Maybe the free will part comes in the assignment/valuation of the pros and cons? Giving two T.V. shows to watch, of course I will choose the one the gives me most pleasure, but is my choice of sci-fi over rom-com pre-determined? I.e., why do I like sci-fi over rom-com? If given the choice of saving myself or someone else, what made me value one over the other initially?

Interesting question.
I have a day job and night time job (kids), therefore I might not immediately respond.

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landrew
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Re: Deterministic Will

Post by landrew » Thu May 09, 2019 3:28 pm

When we claim we have free will over our own mind and body, we sound a bit like Kommandant Klink from Hogan's Heroes, who in fact has little to no control over what goes on in Stalag 13.
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Re: Deterministic Will

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Thu May 09, 2019 5:36 pm

landrew: nice post two above. Kudos.

I think emanuel kant caught the issue best, along with the Supreme Court: "Free will is what you experience when you have a decision to make."

Simple.
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Re: Deterministic Will

Post by Dimebag » Fri May 10, 2019 12:56 pm

I think some people have more free wills than other people. Some people are slaves to their immediate desires, which means they are unable to achieve anything which lies beyond the attainment of short term pleasures and the avoidance of short term pain. Under this state of mind, a person has less tools to make decisions with, and so they sacrifice long term goals for short term pleasure and reduction of pain. For example, a person might have no disciple when it comes to fattening foods. They constantly find themselves gorging on junk food due to the immediate pleasure they receive from its consumption, and so it becomes the easy option to life’s problems.

On the flip side, they might set themselves a goal to lose 5 kilograms, and decide to stay away from the unhealthy aisles at the supermarket, and make their own lunch instead of taking the easy option and ordering takeout. They needed to look beyond the immediate pleasures to achieve a goal which wasn’t readily available. This was not the path of least resistance, but they realised that by sacrificing something in the short term, they could achieve something even more valuable if they remained disciplined. This person exercised more freedom by overcoming their immediate desires and focusing on something more worthwhile.

While technically not an example of what philosophers would call free will, it is a case where by having different mental tools at ones disposal, and a little self knowledge of ones flaws, a person can attain more freedom to achieve what they really desire, rather than giving in to less satisfying ends.

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landrew
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Re: Deterministic Will

Post by landrew » Fri May 10, 2019 2:30 pm

Where should we draw the line between someone who can suppress their emotions at will and a psychopath? How long before a sniper or a drone pilot develops PTSD? Some never do. Corporations often favor employees who demonstrate cold-blooded discompassionate behavior. Individuals who have demonstrated ruthless behavior in the corporate world have been offered important positions in government and visa-versa. Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld come to mind. Some of us admire the "ice" personality, and the ability to make ruthless decisions.

Are psychopaths really necessary in our society? To do the jobs that might cause a regular person to break down? A normal person may burn out and become hard-boiled over time, but they can ultimately fall into mental illness or suicide. Genetic engineering promises to be able to screen for such traits and prevent fertilization of undesirable traits, eventually removing them from the population. Should we be careful what we wish for?
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Re: Deterministic Will

Post by ElectricMonk » Fri May 10, 2019 2:45 pm

We know that cranial magnetic stimulation can affect how you think for a time, including turning you more sociopathic.
This might be useful to intentionally use when considering important business decisions.

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Re: Deterministic Will

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Fri May 10, 2019 5:17 pm

News clip just this morning is how "micro doses" of LSD can have profound long lasting beneficial effects for depression, phobias and other chronic conditions.

All highlighting: besides whatever else we are, we are very much just a bag full of chemicals with most of the actions/reactions not understood except by stimulus and response. the cogs and wheels: mostly unknown.
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Re: Deterministic Will

Post by landrew » Fri May 10, 2019 7:37 pm

You can cure any illness with drugs, if they make you stop feeling its effects.
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Re: Deterministic Will

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Fri May 10, 2019 7:48 pm

Dictionary Skills:

Becoming asymptomatic is not a cure.
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