Yea, like, I know we don’t have free will, pfff… it’s pretty obvious…
Just a quick commentary on something I see over and over in comment sections and forums regarding discussions on free will. There seems to be this smugness by scientists and the layperson alike in what appears to be the unavoidable conclusion that we, you, I, do not have free will. They all appear to be very satisfied that they have carefully evaluated the evidence, and arrived at the truth.
I don’t dispute that the logic, and the evidence, is leaving little room for any type of personal free will. I just take exception to the attitude of many of those that advocate this position.
Let’s get something straight, if you are right, if there is no free will, you are not “advocating” anything. You are behaving in a manner pre-determined by prior causes, and could not have taken any other position on the matter. If it happens that it is indeed true that we have no personal free will, you will have been ‘lucky’ in the sense that the universe unfolded in a way, from the big bang, until this moment, that landed you in one thought camp as opposed to landing you in the other thought camp. You deserve no credit for your stance, because you couldn’t have chosen another viewpoint. You can’t “evaluate” the evidence, because evaluation implies there are different outcomes at the end of that evaluation, that you can then choose from.
You, my careful and deliberative friend, cannot be anything other than careful and deliberative, and for that I am happy for you, to the extent I could never have chosen to have been sad for you.
You can’t “come to grips” with the reality of a deterministic universe because that implies volition, and you have none. You will ’come to’ whatever your prior causes allow you to come to, and you will grip only when you couldn’t have released.
You cannot advocate for the reform of our judicial system to be more fair and reflective of the true nature of reality, because it’s either going to reform, or not reform, and you will play a role in that reformation only to the extent that again, your prior causes allow you to.
You cannot know that there is no free will and then choose to live your life as you always have, because that’s “easier”. You. have. no. input. into. the. matter.
Don’t get me wrong, you will go on living your life as if you have free will, we all will. But it will not because you’re so sophisticated that you’ve come to that conclusion. You were brought that conclusion, and you deserve no more or less praise or ridicule than the person who was brought to the entirely opposite conclusion.
We are all then riding the wave, I challenge you, my intelligently unfree friends, to accept that, and then realize that you can’t accept or deny anything. It’s being done for you.
It’s this impossibility of reconciling our perceptions with the evidence against free will that offers free will it’s only hope.
Catching up on the news just like I do every Sunday morning and I came across an older dailymail article Are U.S. government microwave mind-control tests causing TV presenters’ brains to melt down? This is one of those things where you take a second look and just have to read further. Apparently, there have been multiple occurrences of on air reporters, or personalities, having these episodes where they devolve into complete gibberish while seeming to not fully understand what has happened, and they continue to look into the cameras and garble on to finish their segment.
This is disturbing to witness, and I imagine most people are like me in that they have never seen this happen before, except for maybe in the movies or on (fake) TV. Because of this, I won’t be surprised to see a mini-conspiracy movement pop up. The dailymail article takes on the air of an April Fool’s joke, which it probably is since it was posted 4/1, but there will be those who, in their own way, treat this more seriously, and try to trace the events back to a sinister plot.
The funny thing is, if we were back a couple hundred years ago, or more, when there wasn’t any notion of technology that, from a distance, could manipulate a person’s brain state (or even more, the idea of a brain state wasn’t fully conceived of), I believe a conspiracy would still be claimed, but with supernatural origins, demons, witches, smiting by God, something along these lines. When I am able to take this step back and view the conspiracy theory in this way, I have to start letting go of it. It’s a pattern really, and the pattern looks fundamental and unchanging, although the details and purported mechanisms do change.
The pattern is this: things occur - things don’t make sense or we are powerless to have prevented them - illusion of control is weakened - explanation of occurrence is devised - the explanation is based on the will and plan of a sentient being - this implies purpose behind the event - the illusion of control, even if not our own, is reestablished.