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Things you can control

personperson Don't believe everything you thinkthe void Veteran
edited December 2018 in Faith & Religion

BuddhalotusVastmindShoshinKundolobsterZazen1David
«134

Comments

  • BuddhalotusBuddhalotus Here and now Explorer

    ShoshinZazen1person
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Things you can control

    Hmm the Weather whether

    Whether or not I do/choose to.............

    KundoZazen1Buddhalotusperson
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator

    Or, control is an illusion, and the choices you think you're making are conditioned by a myriad of factors a la causal determinism.

    KeromeVastmind
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran
    edited December 2018

    I’m not too sure the first four on that list — your beliefs, your thoughts, and your perspective in particular — are truly under your control as such. They can be changed for example by reading things which cause a realisation, but if you at any given moment say, “from now on I will change my belief on fireworks into one that fireworks are a hazard rather than fun” I don’t know with how much success you can do that. After all a belief is something that comes from within in response to events around you, although perhaps you can fool your brain into going along with what you say.

    VastmindSE25Wall
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    edited December 2018

    @Kerome said: I’m not too sure the first four on that list — your beliefs, your thoughts, and your perspective — ...

    (That's three, not four...)

    ...are truly under your control as such. They can be changed for example by reading things which cause a realisation, but if you at any given moment say, “from now on I will change my belief on fireworks into one that fireworks are a hazard rather than fun” I don’t know with how much success you can do that.

    Beliefs - can be changed. The 'belief' you illustrate is based on knowledge. People have been using fireworks for thousands of years, their dangers are very well-known, not to say proven.

    After all a belief is something that comes from within in response to events around you, although perhaps you can fool your brain into going along with what you say.

    Beliefs, are by definition, open to question and investigation. (OED definition: conviction of the truth of a proposition or alleged fact without knowledge.) Hence they can be changed.

    Your thoughts: If you can't change your thoughts/mind, then what's the point? A thought is only a thought, and a thought CAN be changed. You may think one way for a prolonged period of time, but the power to change what - and how - you think, is yours.

    Perspective - How you view things. Of course you can change that. Instead of seeing your side of an argument that you really don't want to cede or lose - stop. Look at it ENTIRELY from the other person's perspective. You may still hold your ground and refuse to budge - but at least you changed perspective...

    Vastmind
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran
    edited December 2018

    You certainly think that you can change them, but can you really? Or are you just responding to a particular occurrence in the world that caused you to change them? Was the motivation really self-generated, or did it come from the environment?

    This relates somewhat to @Jason’s causal determinism, though it’s not exactly the same.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @Kerome said:
    You certainly think that you can change them, but can you really? Or are you just responding to a particular occurrence in the world that caused you to change them? Was the motivation really self-generated, or did it come from the environment?

    Are the two mutually exclusive, then? Surely a change of mind is influenced by something then you make the decision to change your mind?

    Not sure why but I can't help feeling you're over-complicating the issue.

    This relates somewhat to @Jason’s causal determinism, though it’s not exactly the same.

    Then if it's not exactly the same, it doesn't relate....

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @federica said:

    @Kerome said:
    You certainly think that you can change them, but can you really? Or are you just responding to a particular occurrence in the world that caused you to change them? Was the motivation really self-generated, or did it come from the environment?

    Are the two mutually exclusive, then? Surely a change of mind is influenced by something then you make the decision to change your mind?

    Not necessarily. You could say the whole chain of mind events not really your choice, but it’s just arising from previous conditions which have shaped your mind (and there is your link to causal determinism). So the question is, if you chose to change say your thoughts, is that actually possible except in response to an external event? What we think is definitely conditioned by current and past events, within certain non-original limits.

    But original thought is possible, otherwise there for example wouldn’t be any scientific progress. It’s just that it is harder and rarer than we think... how long did it take Apple to invent the iPhone, and so redefine the mobile phone? Buddhism is another case in point, it has a variety of concepts and teachings in it which are highly original, and would be very difficult to duplicate independently.

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    It would seem that having control is an illusion...( be it a very persistent one :) ) just as having no control whatsoever is also an illusion....

    So perhaps it is AWARENESS that actually takes the wheel and is the rudder & captain that steers the Thought ships (thought patterns) when they sets sail...

    If given directions ie the 'right' desire/mentoring, AWARENESS will 'know' where to go and the safest route to get there...
    But If one puts too much thinking into thought this could cause the ship to become top heavy and it may capsize...

    lobsterBuddhalotus
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator

    @Kerome said:

    @federica said:

    @Kerome said:
    You certainly think that you can change them, but can you really? Or are you just responding to a particular occurrence in the world that caused you to change them? Was the motivation really self-generated, or did it come from the environment?

    Are the two mutually exclusive, then? Surely a change of mind is influenced by something then you make the decision to change your mind?

    Not necessarily. You could say the whole chain of mind events not really your choice, but it’s just arising from previous conditions which have shaped your mind (and there is your link to causal determinism). So the question is, if you chose to change say your thoughts, is that actually possible except in response to an external event? What we think is definitely conditioned by current and past events, within certain non-original limits.

    But original thought is possible, otherwise there for example wouldn’t be any scientific progress. It’s just that it is harder and rarer than we think... how long did it take Apple to invent the iPhone, and so redefine the mobile phone? Buddhism is another case in point, it has a variety of concepts and teachings in it which are highly original, and would be very difficult to duplicate independently.

    But even then, those ideas are based off of biological predispositions, upbringing, ideas and experiences one encounters, the ideas and experiences of others one comes into contact with, etc., meaning that what one thinks is orginal, unique, and something done by choice may very well be conditioned, too. It may simply appear to be original, unique, and one's own choice/will in action via our limited perception of time and space. We may all very well be standing on the shoulders of giants, and the true giant being that of the accumulated casual factors creating our experience of the present moment. Causality is a incredibly complex phenomenon, after all. Just a thought.

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the void Veteran

    I've come to a compatibalist position on choice. I do think that all our choices are a result of causes and conditions. But I think there is a difference between the causes outside of our "selves" and those internal to us. There is an important distinction between deciding to jump in the pool and being pushed. There isn't an independent, solid self inside that makes choices and directs actions, but I do think it is correct to say that the sum total of all those accumulated causal factors unique to each individual is our conventional self and is capable of change and morally accountable for it's actions.

    JasonShoshin
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    What @Shoshin describes in AWARENESS is our existence as a 4 dimensional Being. In other words a completed life includes its time of Sentient Being. There is no uncertainty or change in this whole.

    However from our 3 dimensional partial travel mode, choices and freewheeling allow us the capacity to choose ...

    BuddhalotusShoshin
  • BuddhalotusBuddhalotus Here and now Explorer

    I found an interesting article that states that Buddhism is neither "free willy" nor deterministic:

    https://www.thoughtco.com/free-will-and-buddhism-449602

    It highlights that:

    "In an article in the Journal of Consciousness Studies (18, No. 3–4, 2011), author and Buddhist practitioner B. Alan Wallace said that the Buddha rejected both the indeterministic and deterministic theories of his day. Our lives are deeply conditioned by cause and effect, or karma, refuting indeterminism. And we are personally responsible for our lives and actions, refuting determinism.

    But the Buddha also rejected the idea that there is an independent, autonomous self either apart from or within the skandhas. Wallace wrote:

    "Thus, the sense that each of us is an autonomous, non-physical subject who exercises ultimate control over the body and mind without being influenced by prior physical or psychological conditions is an illusion."
    That pretty much refutes the western notion of free will.

    But then also:

    "The Buddha taught that the effects of past karma can be mitigated by present action; in other words, one is not fated to suffer X because one did X in the past. Your actions now can change the course of karma and impact your life now. The Theravadin monk Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:

    'Buddhists, however, saw that karma acts in multiple feedback loops, with the present moment being shaped both by past and by present actions; present actions shape not only the future but also the present. Furthermore, present actions need not be determined by past actions. In other words, there is free will, although its range is somewhat dictated by the past'
    ["Karma", by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Access to Insight (Legacy Edition), 8 March 2011]

    Shoshinlobsterperson
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited January 1

    That is indeed how it seems; but even our present actions are conditioned, aren't they? I feel like I'm making choices, but am I? The real question is, without an independent, unconditioned agent, can there truly be said to be choice in any meaningful sense? I once thought so, but now I'm less sure. What is it that's free from conditioning, from causality, to effectively choose? Intention? Consciousness? Aren't these phenomena also conditioned? This question always makes my head hurt. 🤯

    Vastmind
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @Jason said:....This question always makes my head hurt. 🤯

    My brain's been aching since this convo began.
    It may fly in the face of all scientific, biological, psychological and anatomical evidence, but I'm afraid I CHOOSE to believe I am ultimately responsible for what goes on in my head, comes out of my mouth and I act upon....
    For me to wonder whether what I'm thinking is self prompted or not, is frankly getting into technical areas I have no wish to explore, and find fruitless and - yes - unskilful.
    I'm just plodding on the way I was taught to do.
    Under my own steam, and at my own pace.

    Tell me you have proof I'm doing otherwise, and honestly? I really don't care.

    personVastmindKundoLotusMind
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the void Veteran

    @federica said:

    @Jason said:....This question always makes my head hurt. 🤯

    My brain's been aching since this convo began.
    It may fly in the face of all scientific, biological, psychological and anatomical evidence, but I'm afraid I CHOOSE to believe I am ultimately responsible for what goes on in my head, comes out of my mouth and I act upon....
    For me to wonder whether what I'm thinking is self prompted or not, is frankly getting into technical areas I have no wish to explore, and find fruitless and - yes - unskilful.
    I'm just plodding on the way I was taught to do.
    Under my own steam, and at my own pace.

    Tell me you have proof I'm doing otherwise, and honestly? I really don't care.

    This is another important point that I didn't mention before about how I regard free will. That regardless of how it actually is, we should act as if we have free will. I don't like black and white thinking but acting as if we have no, or little, control over what we say or do vs acting as if we can affect choices in our lives leads to very different outcomes. And in the end even if acting as if we have free will is a purely deterministic act, it's a beneficial link in the chain of causation.

    On the other side, it is helpful in reducing our judgement and anger towards ourselves and others to realize each of us are not the complete authors of our mental worlds.

    lobster
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the void Veteran

    @Jason said:
    That is indeed how it seems; but even our present actions are conditioned, aren't they? I feel like I'm making choices, but am I? The real question is, without an independent, unconditioned agent, can there truly be said to be choice in any meaningful sense? I once thought so, but now I'm less sure. What is it that's free from conditioning, from causality, to effectively choose? Intention? Consciousness? Aren't these phenomena also conditioned? This question always makes my head hurt. 🤯

    I wonder if some aspect of consciousness or mind is unconditioned or outside of the chain of causation. The hard part of the "hard problem of consciousness" is that it seems like something to be conscious. Often in the world things seem one way but are in reality another way, like the setting sun for example. But with consciousness the seeming is the thing that is unexplained, why does it seem like anything at all? Why aren't we just mindless automatons (philosophical zombies) following the dictates of causation?

    My personal opinion is that conscious awareness of the conditioned arisings in our minds acts as a link in the chain of causation. The earlier and more aware we are of the direction the chain is heading in the better able the track can be changed. We see ourselves getting angry and that self knowledge allows for more options on how to behave, depending on our knowledge of and skill with alternative modes other than following reactivity.

    VastmindShoshinlobster
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited January 1

    @person said:

    @Jason said:
    That is indeed how it seems; but even our present actions are conditioned, aren't they? I feel like I'm making choices, but am I? The real question is, without an independent, unconditioned agent, can there truly be said to be choice in any meaningful sense? I once thought so, but now I'm less sure. What is it that's free from conditioning, from causality, to effectively choose? Intention? Consciousness? Aren't these phenomena also conditioned? This question always makes my head hurt. 🤯

    I wonder if some aspect of consciousness or mind is unconditioned or outside of the chain of causation. The hard part of the "hard problem of consciousness" is that it seems like something to be conscious. Often in the world things seem one way but are in reality another way, like the setting sun for example. But with consciousness the seeming is the thing that is unexplained, why does it seem like anything at all? Why aren't we just mindless automatons (philosophical zombies) following the dictates of causation?

    I think that's effectively the position of Thanissaro Bhikkhu when he talks about consciousness without feature (vinnanam anidassanam). But what relationship would that kind of consciousness have with causal consciousness?

    My personal opinion is that conscious awareness of the conditioned arisings in our minds acts as a link in the chain of causation. The earlier and more aware we are of the direction the chain is heading in the better able the track can be changed. We see ourselves getting angry and that self knowledge allows for more options on how to behave, depending on our knowledge of and skill with alternative modes other than following reactivity.

    That's basically how I used to talk about it as well, and think it's true, i.e., conscious awareness of the conditioned arisings in our minds acts as a link in the chain of causation. But the more I think about it, the more it seems like a linguistically sleight of hand to say that there is wiggle room for free will in this conditional process. We seem to make our decisions before we're aware we're making them, even though we feel as if we've chosen said thought or action of our own volition, like a complex, organic computer. But that volition itself is conditioned and not that of any independent agent as far as I can see from the pov of science or a study of the aggregates. I want there to be, but I've yet to discover it.

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Things you can control

    ???

    ???

    personlobster
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited January 1

    Maybe it should be, 'things you can pretend to control.' 😅

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the void Veteran
    edited January 1

    @Jason said:
    I think that's effectively the position of Thanissaro Bhikkhu when he talks about consciousness without feature (vinnanam anidassanam). But what relationship would that kind of consciousness have with causal consciousness?

    Maybe in the same way that looking into a mirror effects the way we behave. When we have conscious awareness of what our minds are doing that knowledge has an effect on the direction of our thoughts and behaviors.

    My personal opinion is that conscious awareness of the conditioned arisings in our minds acts as a link in the chain of causation. The earlier and more aware we are of the direction the chain is heading in the better able the track can be changed. We see ourselves getting angry and that self knowledge allows for more options on how to behave, depending on our knowledge of and skill with alternative modes other than following reactivity.

    That's basically how I used to talk about it as well, and think it's true, i.e., conscious awareness of the conditioned arisings in our minds acts as a link in the chain of causation. But the more I think about it, the more it seems like a linguistically sleight of hand to say that there is wiggle room for free will in this conditional process. We seem to make our decisions before we're aware we're making them, even though we feel as if we've chosen said thought or action of our own volition, like a complex, organic computer. But that volition itself is conditioned and not that of any independent agent as far as I can see from the pov of science or a study of the aggregates. I want there to be, but I've yet to discover it.

    The Libet experiments show pretty well that, at least for decisions we can anticipate, they occur well before we are consciously aware. Two things, first I would say that those preconscious decisions are in fact us, the identification solely with the conscious self is the mistake. Second, I don't believe it rules out the possibility of free won't, or that we can override the chain of causation once we become aware of it.

  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator

    That may be, but what overrides this chain of causation? And how can it override it exactly? It would seem to have to be something we could point to as a self, it seems, which opens up even more questions.

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the void Veteran
    edited January 2

    @Jason said:
    That may be, but what overrides this chain of causation? And how can it override it exactly? It would seem to have to be something we could point to as a self, it seems, which opens up even more questions.

    I mistakenly had this bit in the quote bubble, I think this is maybe my best shot at it.

    Maybe in the same way that looking into a mirror effects the way we behave. When we have conscious awareness of what our minds are doing that knowledge has an effect on the direction of our thoughts and behaviors.

    Then with that additional knowledge that comes from awareness, intention can do it's conditioned work in directing the other mental factors in some direction that wasn't available to it without that awareness.

    People do claim the fundamental awareness aspect of mind to be a self, but I don't believe it has to be personalized in that way.

    Maybe I'm grasping at straws, but it's all too Calvinistic and pointless to me without some ability to direct the flow of our lives.

    Shoshin
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    I found @Shoshin video closest to my understanding and experience.

    Kismet, fate, determinism, karma belongs to The tower of babble and ignorance we do still have a way out from ... Buddhism is our karma chameleon ...

    ... and now back to not pondering 🤔

    personShoshinLotusMind
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the void Veteran

    Today I was noticing that what other people think of you is not on that list. This is an area I struggle with, I tend to think that I can persuade people or change my behavior but I'm kind of thinking that that way of thinking isn't very healthy, you can't please everyone so it's sort of a hopeless effort, some people will always dislike some aspect or another or the whole of you.

    So what is some wisdom or experience others can share about how to let it go and be alright with others negative views towards oneself?

    lobsteryagr
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited January 8

    One way I deal with that is to think about how insecure everyone else is about the same thing. We all struggle with how we want to be perceived vs. how other people actually perceive us. Also, I tend to reflect on the fact that I can't control how others see me, and even acknowledge that they may have some justification in their negative opinions and perceptions, and use that as a motivation to do and be better. And when all else fails, I often think of death and how none of that really matters in the end.

    VastmindpersonlobsterShoshin
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the void Veteran

    As these things happen, I was just listening to Jack Kornfield and he tells a zen story.

    A young man went to a Zen master. After practicing for a time the student went off on his own with instructions to faithfully send a letter to the master every month, giving an account of his spiritual progress.

    In the first month, the student wrote, “I now feel an expansion of consciousness and experience of oneness with the universe.”

    The master glanced at the note and threw it away.

    Next month this is what the letter said: “I finally discovered the holiness that is present in all things.”

    The master seemed vaguely disappointed.

    A month later, the disciple enthusiastically explained, “The mystery of the one and the many has been revealed to my wondering gaze.”

    The master yawned.

    Two months later another letter arrived: “No one is born, no one lives, no one dies, for the self is an illusion.”

    The master threw up his hands in despair, because each letter was asking for a response, “Is this it? Is this it? Is this it?”

    After that, a month passed, then two, three, five, and then a whole year. The master thought it was time to remind the disciple of his duty to keep him informed of his spiritual progress. So he sent the student a letter. The disciple wrote back, “Who cares what you think?”

    When the master read those words, a great look of satisfaction spread over his face. “Finally, he got it!”

    pegembarafederica
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    So what is some wisdom or experience others can share about how to let it go and be alright with others negative views towards oneself?

    In Sufism this is done when developing the 'accusing self'. Who do we accuse? Ourselves.

    Obviously an ungrounded or damaged persona, that does this is in danger of exasperating a condition. It is a stage in an integrating process. It is a form of self reflecting on the nature of the inflating self image.

    Such self reflecting has in Buddhism to come after the establishment of boddhicitta to all beings, including ourselves. It is part of the service of the genuine Bodhisattva ideal. Buddhahood first.

    In the Zen story, not only what others think is of no consequence, what we think of our present presentation is like in The Matrix, 'residual self image'.

    https://buddhism.stackexchange.com/questions/21032/what-is-the-difference-between-vitakka-vicara-and-papanca

    yagrperson
  • @person said:
    As these things happen, I was just listening to Jack Kornfield and he tells a zen story.

    A young man went to a Zen master. After practicing for a time the student went off on his own with instructions to faithfully send a letter to the master every month, giving an account of his spiritual progress.

    In the first month, the student wrote, “I now feel an expansion of consciousness and experience of oneness with the universe.”

    The master glanced at the note and threw it away.

    Next month this is what the letter said: “I finally discovered the holiness that is present in all things.”

    The master seemed vaguely disappointed.

    A month later, the disciple enthusiastically explained, “The mystery of the one and the many has been revealed to my wondering gaze.”

    The master yawned.

    Two months later another letter arrived: “No one is born, no one lives, no one dies, for the self is an illusion.”

    The master threw up his hands in despair, because each letter was asking for a response, “Is this it? Is this it? Is this it?”

    After that, a month passed, then two, three, five, and then a whole year. The master thought it was time to remind the disciple of his duty to keep him informed of his spiritual progress. So he sent the student a letter. The disciple wrote back, “Who cares what you think?”

    When the master read those words, a great look of satisfaction spread over his face. “Finally, he got it!”

    It's a gradual progression that ends with "who cares" at the end of the path. Not before!

    lobsterperson
  • herbieherbie Explorer

    @Jason said:
    Or, control is an illusion, and the choices you think you're making are conditioned by a myriad of factors a la causal determinism.

    I think nobody would deny conditioned origination. Nevertheless even if conditioned, control can arise, be it ultimately illusion or not.

    However I experienced such thoughts like 'I can control {this or that}.' to be very prone to ignorance in the context of self which is why mindfulness should ring alarm bells when such thoughts arise.
    Having said that mindfulness may be seen as a kind of 'control', at least if it is successful.

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the void Veteran
    edited January 8

    I did a guided meditation this morning called something like, how to stop caring what other people think of you. Many of the reflections seemed emotionally helpful but frankly kind of like comforting lies. For example, "you're presence in this world is enough" and "you don't have to prove yourself to anyone". Those don't seem true to me, some behaviors and ways of being aren't good enough, I think there are many ways of making a positive contribution to the world, that often even contradict or clash with one another, so there isn't one "correct" way of being good, But there are ways to not be good and that line runs through all of our hearts. It also seems fairly arrogant to me to disregard others opinions as irrelevant and that we alone know ourselves sufficiently. To me others perspectives almost always have something useful to contribute to our understanding of ourselves and the world, even if only to temper some view or improve our own understanding. Often others opinions can be rather critical or unappreciative of our own strengths, but that doesn't make them irrelevant. To keep going, there was also a reflection on loving yourself, I think I like myself just fine thank you, it's other negative judgments.

    I don't know maybe there is some middle way that can adopt some of these views in part and still remain open to others perspectives. I'll probably give the meditation some further opportunity and see if I can't integrate some of the reflections to see how they work in practice.

    lobsterShoshin
  • herbieherbie Explorer

    Hi @person,

    I think that topic would deserve a separate thread.

  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    edited January 12

    I think every possibility has an equal chance initially and gets whittled down or conditioned from there until fruition.

    I do think we choose but also that we are constantly being conditioned to choose. I think that being mindful can help make clear decisions less based on conditioning but that this world is conditional so what the heck do I know?

    Damn you, @person!

    personlobster
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the void Veteran

    @David said:
    Damn you, @person!

    I take that totally in a friendly way and I assume you mean some notion you had of free will was changed in some way by the discussion? Is that correct and if it is I'd be interested to hear how your thought process changed.

  • Damn you, @person!

    I too felt this was friendly/playful. I would also remind everyone that 'right speech' is a useful policy and @federica is usually sensitive to the intent ...

    Yours in the Damha
    Damn Lobster🦞

    DavidKundo
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Knowing @David as I do, this is an entirely tongue-in-cheek curse ("Damn you, Holmes, and your inexplicable deductions!") .

    Not so sensitive that I don't get where the humour line is colourfully drawn.... ;)

    lobsterDavid
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    edited January 12

    @person said:

    @David said:
    Damn you, @person!

    I take that totally in a friendly way and I assume you mean some notion you had of free will was changed in some way by the discussion? Is that correct and if it is I'd be interested to hear how your thought process changed.

    Nothing changed I don't think. I think conditioning only takes us so far and that we choose when all is said and done. I also think our decisions are less conditioned the more mindful we are. I think we are conditioned to make decisions but not that those decisions are completely reliant on external conditions.

    And yes, that damning was friendly, lol. I don't even know how to damn anybody and hardly think a mention of right or harmonious speech was warranted. But hey, thanks for looking out for me @lobster.

  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited January 12

    @David said:

    @person said:

    @David said:
    Damn you, @person!

    I take that totally in a friendly way and I assume you mean some notion you had of free will was changed in some way by the discussion? Is that correct and if it is I'd be interested to hear how your thought process changed.

    Nothing changed I don't think. I think conditioning only takes us so far and that we choose when all is said and done. I also think our decisions are less conditioned the more mindful we are. I think we are conditioned to make decisions but not that those decisions are completely reliant on external conditions.

    From the POV of causal determinism, all external and internal phenomena are conditioned. Mindfulness itself is a conditioned mental phenomena, which in turn conditions others, such as intention. Mindfulness can alter our perception and decisions, and we can subjectively appear to make those decisions based on a greater or lesser degree of awareness and freedom. But conditionality ultimately underlies those decisions.

    I personal think this is true, which is why we often have to continually work to change bad habits and behaviours, to re-condition ourselves out of a drive to change, which is itself conditioned by experiences and feelings arising from those bad actions of thought, word, and deed and influenced by good ones.

    Most of my own decisions seemed to be based off of what will give me more pleasure and happiness, unless other conditions make me afraid of an even more unpleasant outcome. I would like to be in control; but who or what is able to exert control over conditionality? I have yet to discover this unconditioned self, and think it more likely that my choices are conditioned by a myriad array of external and internal factors too numerous and complex to fully see, and so I continue under the illusion that I in fact make these decisions of my own will despite that will itself being conditioned and programmed or led to make certain decisions over others.

    Certainly mindfulness can act as a condition to broaden those options. But I don't know if it can transcend conditionality altogether. Our decisions are made based upon what we see, hear, think, and come into contact with, whether experience or ideas. And even if we had a self, it seems our decisions would be made off of those very same conditions. Just my two cents before shuffling off to work.

    David
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    edited January 12

    @Jason I agree and I think I worded that badly. As I said, I'd call it conditional will rather than free although I do not believe all our decisions are pre-determined. As it usually does, I think the answer lies in the Middle.

    Through mindfulness we can take charge of our own conditioning thereby effecting a more liberated intent but this world is based on conditions so it could never be free.

    I do not think conditional will necessarily implies pre-determination as such because conditions are always changing.

    I think it gets written as the wheel hits the road because conditioning really just whittles down the possibilities.

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the void Veteran

    @David I know the damning was in fun and kindness, I was just wondering what it was for?

    @Jason It reminds me of conversations I've heard Sam Harris have with compatibalists on the topic. They end up basically saying the same thing and agreeing on almost everything, but somehow end up not agreeing with each other in some nebulous, indefinable way.

    So I guess I would say that, yes, all our thoughts, feelings and actions are conditioned including mindfulness and intention. What is important to me is that the actual act or condition of awareness forever only exists in the present so that element adds an important component that distinguishes determinism from fatalism or predeterminism. Also, I also think the distinction between internal and external causation is vital. You could have two distinct individuals encounter the exact same external conditions and the variations in their internal mechanisms would result in different outcomes. So, no, there isn't an independent homunculus sitting in there somewhere making decisions. The "homunculus" is the cumulative result of a myriad of causes and conditions. It is what Madhyamika's call the conventional self and I think the maker and receiver of karma.

  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran

    @person said:
    @David I know the damning was in fun and kindness, I was just wondering what it was for?

    For making me think and question said thinking. It's a good thing and all but gee whiz.

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the void Veteran

    @David said:

    @person said:
    @David I know the damning was in fun and kindness, I was just wondering what it was for?

    For making me think and question said thinking. It's a good thing and all but gee whiz.

    Thanks, it's not a persecution. I didn't understand what it was related to is all.

  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    edited January 12

    Is whittled down possibility the same as a pre-determined outcome?

    In my mind the latter sort of implies a plan/planner. Not sure why.

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the void Veteran

    @David said:
    Is whittled down possibility the same as a pre-determined outcome?

    In my mind the latter sort of implies a plan/planner.

    I guess whittled down possibility isn't clear to me. I think predetermined outcome means if you know all of the conditions ahead of time the outcome can be perfectly and reliable predicted.

  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    edited January 12

    @person said:

    @David said:
    Is whittled down possibility the same as a pre-determined outcome?

    In my mind the latter sort of implies a plan/planner.

    I guess whittled down possibility isn't clear to me. I think predetermined outcome means if you know all of the conditions ahead of time the outcome can be perfectly and reliable predicted.

    I think that's close enough at least. If the possibilities remained endless, nothing would ever get done.

    Although I personally doubt all conditions could be known absolutely. Due to the transient nature of phenomena, I think just being aware of the conditions could change the outcome in unpredictable ways.

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the void Veteran
    edited January 12

    @David said:

    @person said:

    @David said:
    Is whittled down possibility the same as a pre-determined outcome?

    In my mind the latter sort of implies a plan/planner.

    I guess whittled down possibility isn't clear to me. I think predetermined outcome means if you know all of the conditions ahead of time the outcome can be perfectly and reliable predicted.

    I think that's close enough at least. If the possibilities remained endless, nothing would ever get done.

    Sure, I think maybe I'm getting you now? Its about how it actually works over time, and over time the conditions do get whittled down. So it probably isn't exactly the same but close enough.

    Although I personally doubt all conditions could be known absolutely. Due to the transient nature of phenomena, I think just being aware of the conditions could change the outcome in unpredictable ways.

    100%... well said. There's chaos theory, quantum randomness, Heisenberg uncertainty.

    To me a strict interpretation of determinism comes across as thorough and understandable in theory, but when the rubber hits the road in the real world things are so complex, chaotic and insubstantial something more than we can really hope to understand is probably going on.

    lobster
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    edited January 12

    @person said:

    @David said:

    @person said:
    @David I know the damning was in fun and kindness, I was just wondering what it was for?

    For making me think and question said thinking. It's a good thing and all but gee whiz.

    Thanks, it's not a persecution. I didn't understand what it was related to is all.

    It was a compliment but I'm a weirdo who doesn't always communicate effectively.

    To elaborate on the weirdness for a minute, say we have an apple. From the point of it being in our presence there are many possibilities. If I take a bite, I wipe out an untold amount of possibilities and if you throw it away, you wipe out an unknown amount. These wiped out possibilities must have been being conditioned either forever and/or since time began. And with one conscious decision, conditions are forever altered.

    Heck, with every conscious decision, there could be a new timeline.

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the void Veteran

    @David said:

    @person said:

    @David said:

    @person said:
    @David I know the damning was in fun and kindness, I was just wondering what it was for?

    For making me think and question said thinking. It's a good thing and all but gee whiz.

    Thanks, it's not a persecution. I didn't understand what it was related to is all.

    It was a compliment but I'm a weirdo who doesn't always communicate effectively.

    To elaborate on the weirdness for a minute, say we have an apple. From the point of it being in our presence there are many possibilities. If I take a bite, I wipe out an untold amount of possibilities and if you throw it away, you wipe out an unknown amount. These wiped out possibilities must have been being conditioned either forever and/or since time began. And with one conscious decision, conditions are forever altered.

    Yeah, that sounds something like chaos theory and the butterfly effect. One tiny difference at one time and place, even with everything else being the same, can lead to very large differences in outcome somewhere else than if it didn't happen.

  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran

    Also, even if somebody could figure out what each and every potential outcome is, predicting which one of those will actually come to pass is a whole other task.

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the void Veteran

    @David said:
    Also, even if somebody could figure out what each and every potential outcome is, predicting which one of those will actually come to pass is a whole other task.

    Yeah, that's right. It's more of a thought experiment though, usually referred to as Laplace's demon rather than anyone thinking they can actually predict the future.

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