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The false dilemma of free will or no

DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran
edited August 11 in Philosophy

Hello Sangha;

I was just on another thread and was thinking of how free will and no-free will could be seen as another example of a false dilemma or two more of Nagarjunas Negations.

The reasoning being that we are not exactly and absolutely separate processes or beings and are not even absolutely separate from the environment we find ourselves in. Also in conjunction with constant change, we are conditional beings that depend on everything else working in unison (Dependant Origination). How could our decision making ability be any less so? We have neither free will nor no-free will... We have conditional will. The Wright Brothers did not just sprout wings.

Human vs nature? There is no vs. Humans either work with nature or not at all.

So many false dichotomies at play when we examine the nature of Interbeing.

federicaJeffreylobsterRen_in_blackyagrRelentlessseeker

Comments

  • Ren_in_blackRen_in_black Georgia Explorer

    Well said. Also it's a very circular argument.

    One man says "I believe in free will. All my choices are mine." Another may say, "I believe that God's plan is already in place and is simply unfolding in space and time."

    But where did these beliefs come from? Unlikely that we get to pick our beliefs out from a soul menu before we are born. =) The different perceptions must have arisen through the conditions experienced by each person.

    And how did those conditions come about? And around and around it goes.

    VastmindDavid
  • yagryagr Veteran

    @Ren_in_black said:
    Unlikely that we get to pick our beliefs out from a soul menu before we are born. =)

    Why do you believe that this is unlikely?

  • 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

    @yagr said:

    @Ren_in_black said:
    Unlikely that we get to pick our beliefs out from a soul menu before we are born. =)

    Why do you believe that this is unlikely?

    Good point. As Voltaire once said, "It is not more surprising to be born twice than once; everything in nature is resurrection.”

    Why should we not also be influenced conditionally thus-wise?

    yagrDavid
  • Ren_in_blackRen_in_black Georgia Explorer

    @yagr said:
    Why do you believe that this is unlikely?

    Hmm well my attempt was to be comically literal, as in standing in line at McSoul's and saying "I'll take a belief in free will with a side of cynicism, please." :)

    But my sincere inkling is that, being that we are cells in our father and mother, who were cells in their father and mother, etc., that beliefs come through (generally) direct experience. Now, if beliefs are stored in our ancestors' cells as a kind of karmic DNA, I don't know. That's another thread. ;)

    yagrJasonDavid
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    The false dilemma of free will or no

    Who is in prison? Tsk, tsk!
    Where is the warder?

    Nobody escapes a sufficiently open prison

    howShoshin1BunksDavid
  • JeroenJeroen Do it with a smile Netherlands Veteran

    Well it seems that neuroscience has already proved that most decisions are made in the brain before we are consciously aware of it, by about 150 milliseconds. So it seems there is no such thing as an I where the I is ‘in control’.

    lobsterDavidRen_in_black
  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran
    edited August 15

    @Kerome said:
    Well it seems that neuroscience has already proved that most decisions are made in the brain before we are consciously aware of it, by about 150 milliseconds. So it seems there is no such thing as an I where the I is ‘in control’.

    It can't be in control because of all the environmental variants that it is not really seperate from which include other sentient beings trying to be in control. It can only do what it can with what it has to work with at the time.

    Conditional will.

    An article in Quanta from 2019 has this to say:

    Neuroscientists have long known that the brain prepares to act before you’re consciously aware, and there are just a few milliseconds between when a thought is conscious and when you enact it. Those milliseconds give us a chance to consciously reject unconscious impulses, seeming to form a foundation of free will.

    Those few milliseconds is where our Buddhist or Mindfulness training comes in. This is where we break habits and notice the conditioned responses. The more we notice, the quicker we notice. The quicker we notice, the less we react from conditioned response. The article goes on to say:

    Freedom, however, can be enacted by both the unconscious and conscious self—and there are neuroscientists who claim that being controlled by our own unconscious brain is hardly an affront to free will. Studies showing that neuroscientists can predict our actions long before we’re aware of them don’t necessarily negate the concept of free will, but they certainly complicate our conception of our own minds.

    https://qz.com/1569158/neuroscientists-read-unconscious-brain-activity-to-predict-decisions/

    This finding doesn't negate free will, it negates the sense of seperation. That's pretty cool.

    Ren_in_black
  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran
    edited August 15

    @Ren_in_black said:
    Well said. Also it's a very circular argument.

    One man says "I believe in free will. All my choices are mine." Another may say, "I believe that God's plan is already in place and is simply unfolding in space and time."

    But where did these beliefs come from? Unlikely that we get to pick our beliefs out from a soul menu before we are born. =) The different perceptions must have arisen through the conditions experienced by each person.

    And how did those conditions come about? And around and around it goes.

    What I find funny is both these jokers could be right. Everything could have all been predetermined and boring so we came along as part of the scheme to mix it up a bit. Our decision making ability maybe makes things a bit more exciting.

    Free will could really be the predetermined plan, hahaha.

    We do love our stories.

    Ren_in_black
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the liminal space Veteran

    Neuroscientists have long known that the brain prepares to act before you’re consciously aware, and there are just a few milliseconds between when a thought is conscious and when you enact it. Those milliseconds give us a chance to consciously reject unconscious impulses, seeming to form a foundation of free will.

    It does seem like there is a gap there. Even if hard determinism still rules the day though, it seems to me like the occurrence of conscious awareness of a mental states would also be a conditional factor in the workings of will. So at the very least conscious awareness frees us from being total slaves to unconscious factors.

    Freedom, however, can be enacted by both the unconscious and conscious self—and there are neuroscientists who claim that being controlled by our own unconscious brain is hardly an affront to free will. Studies showing that neuroscientists can predict our actions long before we’re aware of them don’t necessarily negate the concept of free will, but they certainly complicate our conception of our own minds.

    This is kind of where I am in my opinions at the moment. Just because a thought or emotion is formed in ways that are unconscious to us doesn't mean that they aren't still us. Or the way external factors influence and direct us, they still influence one individual differently than another when the external world interacts with a individual mind.

    There's an important difference between deciding to jump into a lake and being pushed into a lake in terms of external influences.

    lobsterDavid
  • Predetermined: The direction we are headed predetermined by genes and circumstance of birth coupled with every vector we have taken to this point. Free will - let's change the flight path, now.
    It has always been a mix and always will be a mix. We as a species are predetermined to frequently alter course. We are predetermined to free will.

    Peace to all

    lobsterBunksDavid
  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran

    @Lionduck said:
    Predetermined: The direction we are headed predetermined by genes and circumstance of birth coupled with every vector we have taken to this point. Free will - let's change the flight path, now.
    It has always been a mix and always will be a mix. We as a species are predetermined to frequently alter course. We are predetermined to free will.

    Peace to all

    So free will is something we can develope through intent and practice. At that rate it would seem inevitable.

  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran

    @Person;

    It does seem like there is a gap there. Even if hard determinism still rules the day though, it seems to me like the occurrence of conscious awareness of a mental states would also be a conditional factor in the workings of will. So at the very least conscious awareness frees us from being total slaves to unconscious factors.

    I agree. And the gap isn't really that small. In the world of quanta, a few milliseconds can be a lifetime.

    Ren_in_black
  • @David
    Ah, the inevitability of free will. =)=)

  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran

    @Lionduck said:
    @David
    Ah, the inevitability of free will. =)=)

    Well, I can't fly yet without some kind of extension but don't worry, I test by jumping up, not off.

    Ren_in_blackLionduck
  • We are a mix of free will and the limitations of genetic and culture. the "Dilemma" is merely a mental game. We are, as human beings, unable to naturally fly. Yet, with machines, we fly. We can not, naturallly, run as fast as a horse. So, we ride the horse. We are an amalgum. Elements of us are fixed, and elemints are limitless.
    It is a just mind game.

    DavidShoshin1lobster
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    It is a just mind game.

    We go where the mind dictates. In Buddhism that is a broad extension. It includes:

    • The sense gates that @how mentions and their drama loops
    • The constraints and freedoms of our karma/circumstances
    • The roll of dice on an odd gambling universe
    • Other Mind. The awareness/compassion/attention from our centre to All Being

    David
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