Message Boards Message Boards

Insight and Wisdom

What is the Truth about Control?

Toggle
What is the Truth about Control? Yilun Ong 12/15/17 9:57 AM
RE: What is the Truth about Control? streamsurfer 12/15/17 10:19 AM
RE: What is the Truth about Control? D. 12/15/17 10:46 AM
RE: What is the Truth about Control? Scott 12/15/17 11:22 AM
RE: What is the Truth about Control? seth tapper 12/15/17 11:50 AM
RE: What is the Truth about Control? seth tapper 12/15/17 11:58 AM
RE: What is the Truth about Control? Yilun Ong 12/15/17 12:24 PM
RE: What is the Truth about Control? Chris Marti 12/15/17 1:45 PM
RE: What is the Truth about Control? Chris Marti 12/15/17 1:44 PM
RE: What is the Truth about Control? seth tapper 12/15/17 1:57 PM
RE: What is the Truth about Control? Chris Marti 12/15/17 2:20 PM
RE: What is the Truth about Control? jonjohn 12/15/17 5:52 PM
RE: What is the Truth about Control? dave m 12/15/17 8:48 PM
RE: What is the Truth about Control? seth tapper 12/15/17 9:49 PM
RE: What is the Truth about Control? Chris Marti 12/17/17 10:47 AM
RE: What is the Truth about Control? seth tapper 12/17/17 10:51 AM
RE: What is the Truth about Control? Chris Marti 12/17/17 11:10 AM
RE: What is the Truth about Control? jonjohn 12/17/17 11:26 AM
RE: What is the Truth about Control? Chris Marti 12/17/17 11:57 AM
RE: What is the Truth about Control? jonjohn 12/17/17 2:09 PM
RE: What is the Truth about Control? Chris Marti 12/17/17 4:39 PM
RE: What is the Truth about Control? jonjohn 12/17/17 8:19 PM
RE: What is the Truth about Control? Chris Marti 12/18/17 12:33 PM
RE: What is the Truth about Control? seth tapper 12/18/17 1:20 PM
RE: What is the Truth about Control? jonjohn 12/18/17 4:22 PM
RE: What is the Truth about Control? seth tapper 12/18/17 4:48 PM
RE: What is the Truth about Control? jonjohn 12/18/17 2:18 PM
RE: What is the Truth about Control? Chris Marti 12/17/17 4:50 PM
RE: What is the Truth about Control? seth tapper 12/17/17 1:06 PM
RE: What is the Truth about Control? Chris Marti 12/17/17 1:12 PM
RE: What is the Truth about Control? seth tapper 12/17/17 1:37 PM
RE: What is the Truth about Control? jonjohn 12/16/17 4:53 AM
RE: What is the Truth about Control? jonjohn 12/16/17 3:42 AM
RE: What is the Truth about Control? seth tapper 12/15/17 1:59 PM
RE: What is the Truth about Control? Chris Marti 12/15/17 2:21 PM
RE: What is the Truth about Control? seth tapper 12/15/17 2:59 PM
RE: What is the Truth about Control? Chris Marti 12/15/17 3:08 PM
RE: What is the Truth about Control? seth tapper 12/15/17 4:13 PM
RE: What is the Truth about Control? jonjohn 12/15/17 10:11 PM
RE: What is the Truth about Control? baba ganoush 12/21/17 8:58 AM
What is the Truth about Control?
Answer
12/15/17 9:57 AM
How much control or free-will do we as individual human beings really actually have? Other than small choices like coffee or tea, are the big decisions like how I ended up in a monastery predestined? Where and what do we really have control over? 

RE: What is the Truth about Control?
Answer
12/15/17 10:19 AM as a reply to Yilun Ong.
https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/freewill/

Big discourse with many contributions emoticon

I take control over life circumstances, action, thinking where it is possible. Where it is not, I accept it.
If my personal free will is determined from an absolute point of view, I care at the most philosophically, but not in everyday life.

RE: What is the Truth about Control?
Answer
12/15/17 10:46 AM as a reply to Yilun Ong.
There is no invisible force that suddenly posseses me and forces me to do things ostensibly against my will so I'm pretty free in that regard.

Some individuals are born with a shit set of karmic conditions that lead them to shitty destinations, but there is always the chance to revolt against 'destiny' and carve your own path.

This is the implicit subject of one of my favourite books of all time: The Old Man and The Sea. I whole-heartedly recommend it.

And it also contains one of my most favourite quotes ever: "Man is not made for defeat. He can be destroyed, but not defeated'
 
Much of human literature is about challenges to one's fate, and the subsequent consequences. And, I think there is something immeasurably powerful and grand encapsulated in that.

RE: What is the Truth about Control?
Answer
12/15/17 11:22 AM as a reply to Yilun Ong.
Over on Quora, I had this to say, responding to a question about Sam Harris's ideas about free will.

https://www.quora.com/What-do-people-think-about-Sam-Harris-argument-against-free-will/answer/Scott-Gosnell


Both free will and the problem of free will are poorly specified, and are subjected to a lot of hand waving in the philosophical literature.

It’s a very murky swamp, and neither concept carries well into the discipline of neuroscience—we probably don’t have a single will at all, but many motivations, drives, influences, and causes of action—in which case the problem with free will isn’t the freepart, it’s the will part.

I’m not even sure that either free will or determinism are fully falsifiable concepts in the Popperian sense.

Further, it’s unclear whether Sam Harris makes a strong determinist argument—sometimes he adopts some of the language of the determinists, while at other times denying that that's his position.

It seems to me that we don’t live in a universe where the two extremes are the case. Physically, we live in an in-between world, where the laws of causality are flexible enough to allow for enormous variety and freedom—there could conceivably be a very monotonous universe, where causes lead to effects in a fully predictable and ultimately sterile way. At the other extreme, there might be a universe where there are no stable laws whatsoever, which is not cohesive. Neither of these represent anthropic universes (universes where we as we know ourselves could exist).Likewise, the two extremes of volition don’t seem to apply. We are neither automatons nor are we omnipotent. If we were merely automatons all the time, there would be no point to the subjective experience of choice, and no need for subjective experience at all. Experience would be sterile, like the monotonous universe above. If we were omnipotent, then we could acausally act in whatever way occurred to us at any instant, without reference to or dependence on outside circumstances at all, like the non-cohesive world at all.

More than that, we have all experienced situations where the circumstances are very restrictive and do not admit of much exercise of free will—we know what it is not to have (or to have less) freedom of will or action in a situation—and we have also experienced situations where we actively and consciously cause events to happen—so we also know what it is to have (more) free will.

Even beyond that, because we have the capacities to imagine and remember, and because those capacities are limited (we are non-omniscient), some of the causes of our decisions and actions are events that did not happen at all, will never happen, might have happened differently, and possibly could never have happened.These imagined and remembered scenarios are truly illusory, but also construct the necessary condition for free will: that we could have done otherwise, had we chosen to.

We know that some of the circumstances we face in any situation are out of our control, and others are within our control. We are embedded and entangled in our environment. Our options are shaped by a mixture of these circumstances. All of which are just ways of saying that we have partial, or contingent, freedom.We are neither omnipotent nor automatons. We are active participants in the ongoing present.

You may also be interested in: Scott Gosnell's answer to What are the best arguments against deterministic behavior of humans?
tl;dr: We have an in-between sort of free will, neither absolute and unlimited nor fated and determined.

RE: What is the Truth about Control?
Answer
12/15/17 11:50 AM as a reply to Yilun Ong.
Free will is fiction.  Sorry buddy. 

if you think about it though, that is a very relaxing fact. 

RE: What is the Truth about Control?
Answer
12/15/17 11:58 AM as a reply to seth tapper.
Maybe that was an obnoxious reply. Sorry.  If you think about it, free will is absurd on its face.  All our desires and thoughts are created in our minds by the conditioning that we have undergone since birth, plus some mammalian basic OS stuff (like sex, hunger, love, the need to know and the experience of God.)   So to say you have free will would mean that you have some desires that somehow exist in your mind that are not the result of conditioning, which you dont. 

If you sit perfectly rational and see that these desires that arise are not yours or important, then you wont have any free will because you wont will anything. You will just be free.  Does that make sense? 

RE: What is the Truth about Control?
Answer
12/15/17 12:24 PM as a reply to seth tapper.
Thanks guys for the great replies. But Seth, we do have control over the ever-nowness of reversing the conditioning and choosing not to go with our desires, yes? Due to my current very-newly-realized circumstances (just got up from a crazy strong never-ending Kundalini sit), I can choose to (A) listen and actively search and destroy past conditioning or (emoticon disrobe and just live out my desires or (C) go even further to fight the thing?

Or you could say I am left with no free-will because my previous conditioning will make me choose Option A.

RE: What is the Truth about Control?
Answer
12/15/17 1:45 PM as a reply to Yilun Ong.
It seems to me that we don’t live in a universe where the two extremes are the case. Physically, we live in an in-between world, where the laws of causality are flexible enough to allow for enormous variety and freedom—there could conceivably be a very monotonous universe, where causes lead to effects in a fully predictable and ultimately sterile way. At the other extreme, there might be a universe where there are no stable laws whatsoever, which is not cohesive. Neither of these represent anthropic universes (universes where we as we know ourselves could exist).Likewise, the two extremes of volition don’t seem to apply. We are neither automatons nor are we omnipotent. If we were merely automatons all the time, there would be no point to the subjective experience of choice, and no need for subjective experience at all. Experience would be sterile, like the monotonous universe above. If we were omnipotent, then we could acausally act in whatever way occurred to us at any instant, without reference to or dependence on outside circumstances at all, like the non-cohesive world at all.


Agreed! There's no definitive answer either from buddhsim or from neuroscience. If someone is dead set on "yes" or "no" they're missing a lot of nuance.

JMHO, of course.

RE: What is the Truth about Control?
Answer
12/15/17 1:44 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Just to provide some examples of the nuance I referred to above:

- I can will my hand to move, and in a very deliberate manner. This implies a controlling function which probably stems from the conscious mind.

- I can drive my car successfully and not pay any attention at all to what my hands are doing, or likewise play an instrument, type on this keyboard, and so on, which implies a deep, apparently agency-less level of "control" that my conscious mind is completely unaware of. This kind of action requires no conscious will. It just happens all by itself, like breathing or digesting food.

So as the Quora paper states there's a lot of complexity in this question of "free will or no free will" that gets glossed over with philosophical certitude. I tend to say "I don't know" to questions like this because I really don't know.

It's a great message board question, however, Yilun.

RE: What is the Truth about Control?
Answer
12/15/17 1:57 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris, 

I disagree.   In my view there is no continuous self or willer and no desire to act that is not the result of environmental stimuli.  Our behaviors just arise the same way thoughts do when meditating and our sense of possesion or creation of those acts is false just as our sense of owning or creating thoughts was false when we began to meditate. 

RE: What is the Truth about Control?
Answer
12/15/17 1:59 PM as a reply to Yilun Ong.
Who is willing? When I am rational,   I think of myself as a Lava lamp, just bubbling along meaninglessly. 

RE: What is the Truth about Control?
Answer
12/15/17 2:20 PM as a reply to seth tapper.
I knew you would disagree, seth tapper. It's pre-determined that you would. You cannot help doing so  emoticon

RE: What is the Truth about Control?
Answer
12/15/17 2:21 PM as a reply to seth tapper.
Who is willing? When I am rational,   I think of myself as a Lava lamp, just bubbling along meaninglessly. 

Mind is willing. There may be no permanent "I/me/mine" but there is intent - will. Will does not presuppose a permanent entity. It can be just as impermanent as everything else.

RE: What is the Truth about Control?
Answer
12/15/17 2:59 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Well, then I think free will stops meaning what i thought it meant.  In my mind, free will is always only an issue if I am worried about something I did or am going to do or am supposed to do.  If I let the idea of a continuous self go, I can't buy into narratives that include any of those things.  When I am really rational, will isnt an issue at all.  

RE: What is the Truth about Control?
Answer
12/15/17 3:08 PM as a reply to seth tapper.
What do you mean by "will isn't an issue at all?" 

RE: What is the Truth about Control?
Answer
12/15/17 4:13 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
I spent a lot of time trying to understand how I could feel like I have free will and am an indendent and responsible actor even though I know both from rational analyses and from direct meditative experience that there is no continuous willer.   The answer, for me, was pretty simple - the feelings of being an indepedent and responsible actor were fabrications of the mind and false. 

Letting go of the sense of free will used to be terrifying at a very deep level because I would not be able to protect myself and the ones I love or to fulfill my responsibilities to community, justice and God if I just let it all go.  It turns out, for me, that it was always an illusion and letting go of the false feelings didnt change anything except I dont feel bad about stuff that isnt my fault.  

So when I sit and hit a very clear mind space, things just arise and pass away meaninglessly both in my mind and in the "real" world and there is no desire or even conception of willing anything. 

RE: What is the Truth about Control?
Answer
12/15/17 10:11 PM as a reply to Yilun Ong.
Yilun Ong:
How much control or free-will do we as individual human beings really actually have? Other than small choices like coffee or tea, are the big decisions like how I ended up in a monastery predestined? Where and what do we really have control over? 

Predestined or not,  there is no free will
. You are not free to will something other than the physical laws' expression. Things arise upon causes and conditions, and even if they arose in partial or total randomness, it would be still meaningless to speak about freedom. And the same goes for willing, and pushing, and striving, and everything else.. they all arise in the base of a  tightly interwoven net of conditionality.  

But it's important not to misinterpret the statement
It is a delicate distinction, but is a crucial one. People usually perceive the notion of absence of free will as being something like the situation of a free agent being put in a prison, or a free agent being trapped with chains, or a free agent being moved like a puppet against his will. But all these are just misconceptions. 

"You are not controlling the storm, and you are not lost in it. You are the storm"

~Sam Harris

meaning that you are neither a free agent (controller of the arrising of phainomena), nor
a traped one (in the midst of the arrising of phainomena). but that what you actually are.. is a PART and an EXPRESSION of the arising of phainomena, with no separate self to be found in the first place. In reality so, the view is not as depressing as it may first seem. On the contrary, it is a positive view that can encourage us to be more loving and accepting.  


In terms of practice, past is forgiven, no responsibility to be found and nothing to be blamed, and the future will show of what forces we will be the expression of, positive or negatives. The future is open to us, to be expressed.  One way or another, the taste of virtue doesn't change :-) 
 emoticon 

May you be a positive force in the world. May you be happy 

RE: What is the Truth about Control?
Answer
12/15/17 5:52 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Just to provide some examples of the nuance I referred to above:

- I can will my hand to move, and in a very deliberate manner. This implies a controlling function which probably stems from the conscious mind.


This is the illusion: the brain interprets a bodily movement that follows a volitional feeling as if it was done by the action of a free agent, the persona of ego. Nothing of this sort has actually taken place. It as if when a thought arises, and the ego comes afterwards to claim the experience by saying "I, thought it". 

Conscious mind is a passive witness and projector of already taken unconcsious decisions. It does not control anything. 

RE: What is the Truth about Control?
Answer
12/15/17 8:48 PM as a reply to jonjohn.
jonjohn:


Conscious mind is a passive witness and projector of already taken unconcsious decisions. It does not control anything. 


For anyone who has the stability of attention to directly observe intentions, is there any way to consciously influence them?  If not, then is it accurate to say that even the small decisions like tea or coffee are beyond our ability to affect?

RE: What is the Truth about Control?
Answer
12/15/17 9:49 PM as a reply to dave m.
Try sitting and holding your breath for 3 minutes.  At some point, if you are like most folks, you will take a breath despite your best "intention".  

In my own experience, the same forces in my nervous system that make me take a breath also make me get angry, make a sandwhich or go pee.   It is out of anyone's control. 

RE: What is the Truth about Control?
Answer
12/16/17 4:53 AM as a reply to dave m.
dave:
jonjohn:
Conscious mind is a passive witness and projector of already taken unconcsious decisions. It does not control anything. 
For anyone who has the stability of attention to directly observe intentions, is there any way to consciously influence them?  If not, then is it accurate to say that even the small decisions like tea or coffee are beyond our ability to affect?

Dave read if you want my answer to Yulin also. 

Is there any way the appearance of a word on the pc screen influence the pressing of  the keyboard buttons  that it produced it? The effect cannot influence its cause. 

The important thing to clarify here is that the question you ask, is loaded: it presupposes the existence of a separate from the rest of the universe entity, and this is not true in the first place. It is not that you have the ability to affect a decision, but it is also not that you don't. Because you ARE NOT  in the first place (as you imagine it). You are PART of the process instead.  When we ask about our ability to affect decisions and our freedom to chose between tea or coffee " , what do we exactly mean? Free from what? If our conception of freedom ultimately equals with the demand to be free even from the laws of nature, then the answer is NO, we cannot. Everything is in nature and obeys its laws, your volition and decision included. 

“You can do what you decide to do — but you cannot decide what you will decide to do.” 
― Sam harris

Does it make sense? Is there anything that needs to be clarified further? Thank you

RE: What is the Truth about Control?
Answer
12/16/17 3:42 AM as a reply to jonjohn.
An excellent presentation of the free will subject by Sam Harris

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCofmZlC72g

RE: What is the Truth about Control?
Answer
12/17/17 10:47 AM as a reply to seth tapper.
In my own experience, the same forces in my nervous system that make me take a breath also make me get angry, make a sandwhich or go pee.   It is out of anyone's control. 


Breathing is a great example - it can be completely autonomous and it can be controlled by will over short periods of time. So breathing, at least as I see it, is evidence that there is no simple answer to this conundrum. There are quite obviously several different mental processes at work here. I don't see fuly autonomic systems like digestion and such in the same way i see decisding to make a sandwich or choosing the time and place at which I pee. I will indeed pee - that's determined by my digestove system, but not at random, uncontrollable times and places  emoticon

To my sense this is just not as simple or as cut and dried as is being presented. Because there is no permanent continuous "me" and thus no permanent continuous "will" does not mean that the conscious mind has absolutely no control over anything whatsoever. The absolutist position that there is always free will and the absolutist position that there is no such thing free will simply doesn't square up for me, based on meditative experience and on relative experience. I think I'd be fooling myself if I made either absolutist claim, so I'm still firmly in the "I don't know" camp. 

Maybe folks are getting caught up in the Buddhist notion that all phenonema are conditioned and are inferring from that that free will is not possible. I don't think that's what the doctrine of dependent origination is about, but I can see where folks might think so.

Anyway, great conversation.

RE: What is the Truth about Control?
Answer
12/17/17 10:51 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
I can say for sure that looking at the world as if everyone is just behaving the way their genetics and conditioning causes them to behave is a much more relaxing view than one which holds individuals responsible for their actions.  Taking the first view, you can look at human society and see only love wrapped in delusion.   You can look at the story of your own life and not feel any guilt, shame or angst.  You can look at the future and accept that it is beyond anyone's control.  I reccomend it! 

 

RE: What is the Truth about Control?
Answer
12/17/17 11:10 AM as a reply to seth tapper.
I think these articles go some distance toward seeing the complicated and paradoxical nature of the "free will vs fully deterministic" views of our existence. It's more about which view we adopt when we think about this than it is about philosophical absolutes:

https://www.scienceandnonduality.com/the-paradox-of-free-will/

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/finding-free-will/

FYI to Seth, yes, and yet you can also look at the "universe is fully predetermined" and claim no responsibility for anything - a form of nihilism. There are experiments that have been conducted around this idea and folks who think their actions are fully outside of their control, are fully predetermined, tend to act less responsibly than those who believe they have some accountability because they believe they're making actual choices:

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/free-will-vs-programmed-brain/


I
 still don't know.

RE: What is the Truth about Control?
Answer
12/17/17 11:26 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Would you like to see the video of Sam Harris' talk i linked above and then  bring any problematic points you find for discussion? 

RE: What is the Truth about Control?
Answer
12/17/17 11:57 AM as a reply to jonjohn.
Would you like to see the video of Sam Harris' talk i linked above and then  bring any problematic points you find for discussion? 

I'll go this far - here's a critique of Harris' ideas on free will by John Horgan. No need for me to re-write these points:

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/cross-check/will-this-post-make-sam-harris-change-his-mind-about-free-will/

And there's more here from philosopher Daniel Dennett, by way of this blog:

https://philosopherinthemirror.wordpress.com/2014/02/04/touring-the-veritable-museum-of-mistakes-thoughts-on-dennett-on-harris-on-free-will/

Funny how message board conversations can sometimes become proxy battles for appeals to authority  emoticon

RE: What is the Truth about Control?
Answer
12/17/17 1:06 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
 I agree that feeling responsible makes people act responsibly, which is why we probably evolved to feel responsible.  That said, we aren't.  You have to subscribe to some supernatural soul that can be judged to hold people responsible and that is just not so.  It is like getting mad at a dog because it behaves like a dog.  

RE: What is the Truth about Control?
Answer
12/17/17 1:12 PM as a reply to seth tapper.
That said, we aren't.  You have to subscribe to some supernatural soul that can be judged to hold people responsible and that is just not so.  It is like getting mad at a dog because it behaves like a dog.  


You've introduced another sticky wicket - the immortal, supernatural soul. I don't think notions of morality and responsibility require a soul, or religion, at all. People can hold people responsible. We do it all the time, primarily through our human created and managed systems of justice.

RE: What is the Truth about Control?
Answer
12/17/17 1:37 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
As I see it we have several issues on the table: 

1.  Should I feel responsible for my past actions and worry about my future behavior and responsibilities.   If yes, why ? 
2.  Should I judge others for their past behaviors and think that they are less worthy humans because of those actions?  If yes, why? 
3.  Does some kind of God judge me or anyone for our behaviors and does that judgement have actual consequences (e.g. Hell) ? 
4.  If science teaches us that this is all occuring meaninglessly according to the laws of cause and effect and or randomness, on what foundation are we basing an idea of personal responsibility and free will? 
5.  If the Buddha taught that this reality in which seperateness exists is a fabrication of the mind and we believe or have experienced that to be true,  on what foundation are we basing an idea or personal responsibility and free will. 

After well over 10,000 hours of thinking about this issue and examining my own mind, the answer is apparently - for me- 

1.  no, 2 no, 3, no, 4, no basis, 5 no basis
       

RE: What is the Truth about Control?
Answer
12/17/17 2:09 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
No battles and no appeals to authority, and i just  appealed to spesific views. 

I knew about Denett's counter arguments and they are all false and really just off topic. He didn't even understand the position that he was trying to refute. To mention here that Denett is a compatiblist meaning that he believes that determinism is compatible with free will, which is like saying the a mechanicalclock-like machine (with all its gears and components) has freedom to do anything when at the same time ALL its history is  a b s  o l u t e l y predetermined. From the day you are born, you are totally predetermined to do something 20 years later, and he calls this freedom?... This doesn't sound as a meaningful view. 
.  

Daniel's case... https://youtu.be/FrS1NCvG1b4?t=64


Now to Mr Horgan:

-"But just because my choices are limited doesn't mean they don't exist. Just because I don't have absolute freedom doesn't mean I have no freedom at all. Saying that free will doesn't exist because it isn't absolutely free is like saying truth doesn't exist because we can't achieve absolute, perfect knowledge."
He is out off topic too. Sam Harris doesn't say that we have limited choices but we don't have any choices at all. 


-
"Human brains, in particular, generate human minds, which while subject to physical laws are influenced by non-physical factors, including ideas produced by other minds. These ideas may cause us to change our minds and make decisions that alter the trajectory of our world."
We cannot be influenced directly by minds and ideas of others, and even if we could so, there isn't any reason to conclude that this interaction is not subject to cause and effect as every other phenomenon in the universe. The way an idea will influence another mind will depend on the exact conditions of the system. I don't see how freedom has anything to do with this. 


-"Consider: When I watch the video of Sam Harris talking at Caltech, is it the electrons streaming through my MacBook, the photons impinging on my eye, the sound waves entering my ear that make me want to respond to Harris? Of course not. It's the meaning of the video that stirs me, not its physical embodiment."
?...
The important thing obviously is not the specific way an idea is communicated but the condition of the body (and brain) that is  about to receive it and be affected by. The way you will respond will be conditioned by the way your physical brain and body are.


-"We are physical creatures, but we are not just physical. We have free will because we are creatures of mind, meaning, ideas, not just matter."
It doesn't follow. He just inserts the non physical aspect of our being and then jumps arbitrarily to the conclusion that we have free will. That because there is subjectivity, there is free will. Why?.. He says nothing here.


-"He insists that because science cannot figure out the complex causality underpinning free will, it must be illusory"

No again. The thing he says is that we have no good reasons to believe in free will therefore we shouldn't beleive in it. It's not that we have some evidents and that we can't find an appropriate explanatory model for them. It is just that we don't have ANY evidents at all, be it objective or subjective.   








RE: What is the Truth about Control?
Answer
12/17/17 4:39 PM as a reply to jonjohn.
I'm still in the "I don't know" camp, folks. I find the arguments on both ends unconvincing to the extent that they insist experience must fit into one or the other extreme. I'm content to think there are good arguments on both sides and that how we see those arguments depends to a large extent on which view we assume is "true" to begin with. This is typical of philosophical discussions, IMHO.

emoticon

RE: What is the Truth about Control?
Answer
12/17/17 4:50 PM as a reply to jonjohn.
I knew about Denett's counter arguments and they are all false and really just off topic.

Ah, I see what you did there -- you're using Harris' verbal replies to Dennett's arguments and not Dennett's actual arguments.

I'll assume you had no choice because... determinism.

emoticon

RE: What is the Truth about Control?
Answer
12/17/17 8:19 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
I'm still in the "I don't know" camp, folks. I find the arguments on both ends unconvincing to the extent that they insist experience must fit into one or the other extreme. I'm content to think there are good arguments on both sides and that how we see those arguments depends to a large extent on which view we assume is "true" to begin with. This is typical of philosophical discussions, IMHO.

emoticon

It's ok, the only problematic camp would be the "i'm not willing to reconsider my views in the face of new evidence"emoticon

Dennett has no arguments at all, as he didn't even aligned with the initial reasoning.  You have to see Dennett's of topic response through the prism of his main motivation: his fear that if these views of absence of free will be adapted from the public, it will lead to very bad consequences in society. You mentioned a name, "Dennett", and i made a comment about the absurdity of the view that an automaton has free will, and for the other writer i presented counterarguments in detail. What was you respond to these?

Yes, i think it was in the absence of free will that i provided detailed refutation of the arguments you had referred to, is it in free will that you seem to be attached to views that that are not founded any anymore? 

If you are really interested in the subject though, you can bring any argument you want and you can test it against criticism. Just to mention that the phrase "i find the two ends unconvincing, because they are extreme"  is not really indicative of good philosophical discussion because eitηer you don't agree and you point the  the disagreement or you agree and you adopt the new position. If you find any false assumptions in my position i would be interested to point them to me, but to just refer to some generalities about extremes, is of no value in a discussion. 

RE: What is the Truth about Control?
Answer
12/18/17 12:33 PM as a reply to jonjohn.
If you find any false assumptions in my position i would be interested to point them to me, but to just refer to some generalities about extremes, is of no value in a discussion. 


So you've noticed that I'm not interested in a deeply philosophical discussion of free will versus determinism. That's because, as I've said a few times, the extremes on both sides don't, IMHO, support the complexity of the human condition I can observe. I'm sorry you find that unsatisfying but this is just not worth investing a serious amount of time on. We're not going to solve this conundrum here on DhO. So... I'm happy to move on.

Happy Holidays, jonjohn.

RE: What is the Truth about Control?
Answer
12/18/17 1:20 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
I have thought about it a bit as we have been discussing it and here are two more points thrust meaninglessly into the void. 


1.  This is the central issue of enlightenment and buddhism and happiness.  It isnt a side bit of idle chatter.  The reason why the Buddha was so perfectly happy is because he knew he was not in any kind of control.  Sitting and letting what happens happen is very different than sitting and worrying about what to do next. 

2.  As I watch my mind, it always chooses love.  No matter the circumstance, given a free choice I choose what would seem to maximize love over and over again.  When I make other choices, it is alway because some emotional compulsion dominates the mind and forces the other choice.  If one were to pretend there was some kind of central character that makes decisions, then that true self is the one that loves.  When I am choosing not to love, it isnt me and I am not in control. 

RE: What is the Truth about Control?
Answer
12/18/17 2:18 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
If you find any false assumptions in my position i would be interested to point them to me, but to just refer to some generalities about extremes, is of no value in a discussion. 

So you've noticed that I'm not interested in a deeply philosophical discussion of free will versus determinism. That's because, as I've said a few times, the extremes on both sides don't, IMHO, support the complexity of the human condition I can observe. I'm sorry you find that unsatisfying but this is just not worth investing a serious amount of time on. We're not going to solve this conundrum here on DhO. So... I'm happy to move on.

Happy Holidays, jonjohn.


Happy Holidays my friend 

RE: What is the Truth about Control?
Answer
12/18/17 4:22 PM as a reply to seth tapper.
There was a situation where i was walking and i was feeling pure and loving and anattached and i was about to let go. But there was some fear preventing me thinking that if i let go there would be noone tο do the restrain, and what if i do some bad thing? Who would be in control?.... But then it clearly appeared to my mind that whenever i did some bad thing in the past i was always in a state of fear and confusion. Withought fear, there was only love to be expressed (as i was feeling then).  It feels like they are opposites 

RE: What is the Truth about Control?
Answer
12/18/17 4:48 PM as a reply to jonjohn.
My investigation of fear in my mind has lead me to conclude that it is actually another form of love.  I fear for the well being of the things I love because I love them. 

RE: What is the Truth about Control?
Answer
12/21/17 8:58 AM as a reply to Yilun Ong.
Yilun Ong:
How much control or free-will do we as individual human beings really actually have? Other than small choices like coffee or tea, are the big decisions like how I ended up in a monastery predestined? Where and what do we really have control over? 

A long time ago i was interested in hypnosis and it turns out there's a protocol called 'time-line therapy' which is based on the ideas that a) people organise thier memories serially (in a line ... two main types left/right or behind/ahead, which give different perspectives on life) and b) early memories (include learned behaiviours here) are the parents of recent ones, the latter which grow from and extend/ modify what came before, and you can trace backwards. So from a thereputic viewpoint, if you fix an early mistake then that fix flows through to later accretions.

One aspect of this protocol was that you can remove old memories/ learned behaviour and replace then with something else .... that's a hypnosis story but how else could a meditation protocol result in a major personality shift?

Erm.. if you realised 'no-self' that would have a major effect no?

So in terms of free will 'we are totally conditioned by previous experiences and act as automata', and that is something we do not have.  However, imagine that our experience also includes mental events of an entirely hypothetical nature (is that any diff from the vipassana stage Mind and Body?), and that these events contribute to the programming of future reactions (as they cannot do anything else, they are our experience).  Imagine also that there is one very lucky person who is quite good at this and can contribute to other people's flexibility/ self determination.... it would spread quite rapidly.

Thereby we have free will because it's possible to affect our 'programming', and we are also automatons as we follow that programming.  Obviously it can work at surface or deep levels, depends how much effort/ excitement you care for :-)