The illusion of conscious will, BEHAVIORAL AND BRAIN SCIENCES (2004)

Martin, modified 3 Months ago at 3/20/22 3:09 PM
Created 3 Months ago at 3/20/22 3:09 PM

The illusion of conscious will, BEHAVIORAL AND BRAIN SCIENCES (2004)

Posts: 443 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
Here is an interesting article in terms of what is and is not there when we have a sense of agency and when we do not.

http://www.its.caltech.edu/~squartz/wegner2.pdf

This is purely academic but I find it interesting to read non-meditative investigations of how the mind works, as well. 
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terry, modified 3 Months ago at 3/24/22 5:16 PM
Created 3 Months ago at 3/24/22 5:16 PM

RE: The illusion of conscious will, BEHAVIORAL AND BRAIN SCIENCES (2004)

Posts: 2185 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
aloha martin,

   This is good stuff. The author recapitutates the duality of mind and matter in philosophy and the controversy between hume and kant over moral agency. These are contemporary issues as neo-kantians rule; it is the moral basis of neo-liberalism.

   The belief in will is based essentially in the desire for things to be simple and readily understood. Complicated and nuanced explanations are rejected in favor of gut reactions. Similarly people knowingly watch fake news (there is actually a Fox Soul channel, how's that for cynicism) because there is a simplistic world view touted as "normal" which involves simply "bad" people ("the radical left"; that is, mainstream politicians and others mildly opposed to unbridled greed and the license to tell outrageous lies completely freely) stepping on our freedoms to be stupid mindless consumers of moronic pablum and to avoid good sense and decency. Don't mean to harp on this but people need first off to set themselves free from the corrupt influence of for profit entities of all sorts, including our so-called selves. That these people call theselves conservatives is the most cynical ploy of all. Eisenhower with the largest republican congressional majorities in history taxed all incomes over four million dollars at the rate of 91%, and tax shelters had yet to be allowed for cheating. All mail and phone calls were completely private and fairness in political comment and truth in advertising were mandated by law. Now the trump party (formerly "republicans") is nakedly fascist, promotes the destruction of democracy in america and worldwide, and is used as a tool by world oligarchs to keep the people of the world from organizing in their own defense. The method is to keep us stupid and divided, as oligarchs have always done, but now they have algoriths and computers that can destroy hearts and minds without any human agency.

   The world is so complicated even in small details that there is no way our minds no matter how clever can really understand what is going on. Once you accept that we don't know you may begin to grasp how despite our awesome abilities to cope we really don't know anything in terms of the big picture. If you could know you wouldn't want to. Knowledge is limiting. With the abandonment of ideas and feelings of agency comes real freedom and power.

   When you know something, you miss everything else. When you know everything, nothing is special. Knowing everything is knowing nothing.

   Awakening means waking up, seeing what is really happening. Dependency is not freedom. Public health measures are not a violation of your rights tantamount to slavery. No one makes you read and think all those lies, they just manipulate you. Blow up your computer, throw away your phone. Don't patronize att, verizon, apple, google, facebook, amazon, big pharma, big agriculture, netflix, youtube, etc. Use them when you must but avoid entanglement and recognize they are evil tentacles of late capitalism and are what is killing us all.

terry


from the article


The mind creates this continuous illusion because it really doesn’t know what causes its actions. Whatever empirical will there is rumbling along in the engine room – an actual relation between thought and action – might in fact betotally inscrutable to the conscious mind. The mind has a self-explanation mechanism that produces a roughly continuous sense that what is in consciousness is the cause of action – the phenomenal will – whereas in fact the mind actually cannot ever know itself well enough to be able to say what the causes of its actions are. To quote Spinoza in The Ethics: “Men are mistaken in thinking themselves free; their opinion is made up of consciousness of their own actions, and ignorance of the causes by which they are determined. Their idea of freedom, therefore, is simply their ignorance of any cause for their actions” (Spinoza 1677/1883, Part II, p. 105). 

In the more contemporary phrasing of Minsky (1985, p. 306), “none of us enjoys the thought that what
we do depends on processes we do not know; we prefer to attribute our choices to volition, will, or self-control
....Perhaps it would be more honest to say, ‘My decision was determined by internal forces I do not understand’” (italics in original).
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terry, modified 3 Months ago at 3/24/22 5:30 PM
Created 3 Months ago at 3/24/22 5:30 PM

RE: The illusion of conscious will, BEHAVIORAL AND BRAIN SCIENCES (2004)

Posts: 2185 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
Martin, modified 3 Months ago at 3/25/22 9:48 PM
Created 3 Months ago at 3/25/22 9:48 PM

RE: The illusion of conscious will, BEHAVIORAL AND BRAIN SCIENCES (2004)

Posts: 443 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
Yes, I agree. We are often caught up in ways of seeing the people in the world or seeing objects in the world that ultimately make us, and the people around us, unhappy. When we can let go a little bit, it's nice for everyone. 
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terry, modified 3 Months ago at 3/25/22 10:30 PM
Created 3 Months ago at 3/25/22 10:30 PM

RE: The illusion of conscious will, BEHAVIORAL AND BRAIN SCIENCES (2004)

Posts: 2185 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
   My number one apprentice, millennial 'beauty,' said to me the other day as we were working at the bench, "I don't see how dwelling on end-of-the-world scenarios helps us in our everyday life." I realized she probablywas right but it hasn't stopped me.

   The article was way less inflammatory and I'm still reading it. Great clarity of thought.

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