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 Post subject: We have no free will
PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 7:42 pm 
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I can't think of any reasons to doubt the thesis of this article, but I don't think I really understand the MBT point of view. The basic assertion is that we have no free will. We can make choices, but we can't make choices about our choices. If that's too abstract, consider this: I can choose to buy a Beatles album, or I can choose to buy a Pink Floyd Album, but I can't choose the reason I made that choice.

It's explained better in the article:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sam-harri ... 73654.html


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 Post subject: Re: We have no free will
PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 9:24 pm 
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"The problem is that no account of causality leaves room for free will [...]" fourth paragraph. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sam-harri ... 68804.html Bam, it all falls right there.

Some other problems with his reasoning:

- Like most other people, he misses the concept of decision space, and how that relates to free will.
- He thinks that the lack of intellect in certain decisions are equal with no free will. He fail to realize that choices are not only made at the intellectual level, but also the being level.
- He fails in the introduction of the article, with refuting the three points of others with nonsense. Such as claiming that a "soul-stuff" being real wouldn't change anything, thereby saying he assumes to know something that is really unknown to him.
- The choice of choice abstraction. It's meaningless to the concept of free will (and decision space), as it tries to change the definition of it. You can actually choose the reason for making a concrete choice, first you must be able to have two different models of making your choice, at the intellectual level. Instead of having two choices, you now have four potential choices. However, this is just expanding the decision space, the free will is just the same. Then you will say, one didn't choose which of the two reasoning models to go by. Because it's outside the awareness of the intellect, means nothing to the existence of free will, sometimes a decision is taken at the being level, and then you may be aware of it, or not.

"I do not choose to choose what I choose. There's a regress here that always ends in darkness." See? Stuck in the intellect (ignoring his firm belief that no account causality would allow free will; because that's close-mindedness and simple belief)


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 Post subject: Re: We have no free will
PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 11:08 pm 
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This argument is meant for the sole purpose of supporting the ego:
Quote:
-- my argument against free will does not require philosophical materialism. There is no question that (most) mental events are the product of physical events -- but even if the human mind were part soul-stuff, nothing about my argument would change. The unconscious operations of a soul would grant you no more freedom than the unconscious physiology of your brain does.
Small picture thinking. It is the opposite that is true: Physical events are the result of mental events.

Quote:
... you are not in control of your soul. This is obviously true in all cases where a person wishes he could feel or behave differently than he does.
Controlling your soul? wouldnt that be like the tail wagging the dog?


Quote:
...choices, efforts, intentions, reasoning, and other mental processes influence our behavior -- but they are themselves part of a stream of causes which precede conscious awareness and over which we exert no ultimate control. My choices matter, but I cannot choose what I choose. And if it ever appears that I do -- for instance, when going back and forth between two options -- I do not choose to choose what I choose. There's a regress here that always ends in darkness.
I cant remember where I read it but I believe Tom said something about... {Choices often come from the being level, somewhere outside the limits of our perception.} As we grow up the quality of our consciousness also improves and so do the quality of our choices

Correct me if Im wrong, but this entire article is just more BIG thinking INSIDE the box, and it seems to me that it would be a great argument if I were a defender of EGO and small picture thinking.

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 Post subject: Re: We have no free will
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 6:13 am 
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I haven't read the article yet, but I want to try and point a couple of many absurdites in materialist thinking related to what pgtrue quoted from the article.And show that his thinking may be based on out dated science.( I'll read it later)

"mental events are the product of physical events"

If all material brain events are equal to mind events,exactly what happens when one changes one's mind and accepts a new position based on the pure reason of another?

To take materialism seriously would mean that some material,chemical or electrical configuration ,that is equal to the newly acknowledged mental position, already preexisted in the brain.If you think about this it seems crazy and goes completely against our experience.

What reason is there to believe this?

If he is saying that mental events are the emergent property of material events it still doesn't work.If this were true then mental intentions would not manifest in the world because the mind (nonmaterial) wouldn't effect the material. If it is an illusion then there surely would be many instances throughout our experience in which our bodies and responses from the world would not match our intentions.

Another objection is that an emergent mind with no effect on the 'physical' could not be selected by evolution.How could superior mental processing ( greater nonphysical decision space) be selected by evolution if there is no effect on matter to begin with?

Checkout this book if you like these arguments:

http://www.amazon.com/Soul-Hypothesis-I ... 1441152245

Also,check these out. At the subatomic level there is no story inside of space-time ( no hidden local variables) that can explain these effects.It is likely that our sense of freewill shares the same origin. (Quantum indeterminism can be amplified to the macroscopic )


http://www.cs.auckland.ac.nz/~jas/one/f ... eorem.html

http://www.quantumphil.org/SuarezRandFinQM


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 Post subject: Re: We have no free will
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 8:16 am 
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Free Will
I don't think you understand his argument. It is not dependent on materialism at all and I am anything but a materialist. If anything, I'm a panpsychist, but that's a different discussion.

[quote]but even if the human mind were part soul-stuff, nothing about my argument would change. The unconscious operations of a soul would grant you no more freedom than the unconscious physiology of your brain does./quote]

^^His argument does not depend on materialism.

[quote]If you don't know what your soul is going to do next, or why it behaved as it did a moment ago, you are not in control of your soul./quote]

It doesn't matter what causes your mental events, or whether mind can have an effect on matter. The whole point is that when we make choices, we are largely under the influence of our subconscious mind. If I'm trying to go on a diet, my conscious is saying (I want to diet all the time) while the subconscious (which controls our actions) will determine whether we stick to our diet or not. The fact that my subconscious (being?) controls my actions instead of my conscious (ego?) shows that I (ego?) has no free will.

This subconscious not only controls our actions, but also our thoughts. If you try to meditate, your subconscious will make random thoughts pop into your head. When you go about your day, your thoughts will come to you automatically. You do not choose to think them, your subconscious puts them there. We cannot choose what thoughts our subconscious puts in our head because choice IS A THOUGHT put into our head by our subconscious.

This is a quote from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:
“I may want to eat a candy bar (first-order desire), but I also may want not to want this (second-order desire) because of the connection between habitual candy eating and poor health.
(Compare the addict: typically, the addict acts out of a desire which he does not want to act upon. His will is divided, and his actions proceed from desires with which he does not reflectively identify. Hence, he is not acting freely.)”
But Our second order reasoning is the result of the subconscious thoughts that we have.


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 Post subject: Re: We have no free will
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 8:34 am 
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[quote]If you don't know what your soul is going to do next, or why it behaved as it did a moment ago, you are not in control of your soul./quote]

Who ever said that you were in control of your soul, whatever he means by that? If he means that there is more to us than the pseudo materiality observable in the VR, then he is right. But his understanding is PMR related and incorrect if he believes that you should be in control of your non physical aspects. Actually control goes neither way. You are your non physical aspect experiencing this PMR VR. You can make choices out of free will as you in fact exist and they may or may not be made within the consciousness associated with your experience of PMR. You may not know why you made a certain choice but that does not mean that you, as the real and total you, did not make it.

Ted


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 Post subject: Re: We have no free will
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 5:53 pm 
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I don't understand your reply Ted.

Perhaps it would be better if we talked about the process of making an individual choice. Right now, I'm trying to decide what I'm going to do after I finish this post. I could go walking outside or I could meditate or I could read a book, etc. I have a seemingly infinite number of options. What's going to happen is that when I finish this post, I'm going to have a thought pop in my head. It could be a feeling such as being cramped in my room. It could be a verbal thought such as "I want to find out what's in that book." I do not know ahead of time which thought will come into my head. When the thought does come, it will determine what I do in the future. However, I do not know ahead of time which choice I'm going to make. The choice is going to make itself (by popping into my head) when the time comes.

Do you agree that we cannot predict which thoughts will come into our heads ahead of time?
Do you agree that thoughts such as "I feel like going for a walk" will result in me taking a walk so long as a competing thought such as "I feel like riding my bike" don't also occur?

Perhaps I'm asking the wrong questions. How do you think the decision making process works?
To me it seems like my thoughts are automatic and unpredictably determined by my subconscious. Because my immediate thoughts determine my immediate actions, my actions are governed by the same (automatic) mechanism that produces my thoughts.


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 Post subject: Re: We have no free will
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 6:24 pm 
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You are simply going to have to supply some information in order to know how to answer you. You say you do not understand my previous answer. Have you read My Big TOE? If you have not, what common understanding do we have in order for you to understand. Even if you know nothing about MBT, do you have any comprehension of the existence of unconscious thought processes. Do you somehow feel that thoughts that come into your mind such as 'I'm hungry' are being placed in your mind by some alien entity instead of just your unconscious aspects of your mind noting that you are hungry which your conscious mind, being busy with something else, was ignoring. That is the way that it works. You have many processes going within your mind, even based upon an entirely PMR based understanding. Some pass through your stream of consciousness while other do not. Those that are not conscious can become so. They are not some kind of alien intrusion but rather perfectly natural. Your consciousness simply cannot follow all those paths at one time. If you stop and think about it, you can probably note various itches, odors, hungers, etc. that are not becoming conscious because their level of need for attention is so low. That is simply the way that it works. It has nothing to do with free will.

Ted


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 Post subject: Re: We have no free will
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 6:33 pm 
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Hello Curiouskid23,
I hadn't read the article yet when I posted,I was addressing only that one specific sentence.Anyway,I see where he is coming from in this article but I don't think that he has refuted 1.2.or3 totally. This is really challenging to try and word a response but I'll try.

It is certainly true that we do not 'choose to choose what we choose' -I agree with his article up to a certain point.The content of our experiences and choices are compiled transparently at a level of existence beyond our knowing and then presented to our sense of self . We don't 'see' our retina or 'hear' our ossicular chain.We don't experience the fine grain construction of our linguistic thoughts etc. We don't seem to form the basis for our choices at a level we can be aware of.

But the buck has to stop somewhere. A 'leap in logic' is required to transcend the regress. Alternate questions might be: Where is the chooser? Is there more than one chooser? Are there choosers at many different levels?

Whether material ,nonmaterial or mystical, at the core these are information processes that seem prior to our common sense of ownership and agency.Though we are imbedded in a larger information process ,a subroutine, information itself seems to be a fundamental aspect of our consciousness and the formation of it's contents that we feel free to manipulate-a common link that spans the 'subjects' and 'objects' what ever their origin.

From our individual little window positions in the bigger process there is both determinacy and indeterminacy.Just because we don't consciously choose-control content that appears to us as the result of 'top down' or 'bottom up' causation is no real reason to deny freewill that I can see. We can just as well occupy a position in a nested hierarchy-a mind within a MIND- that constitutes the One reality from a big picture. If we identify ourself with the One process ,with freewill and creativity as it's (fundamental) attributes -somewhere- , then there seems to be less of a problem.

If "I" seem to have freewill then this freewill may also occupy other causal chains prior to 'my' experience no? The links I posted before at least demonstrate this much....

Then there is a whole feedback loop angle.If portions of our experience are generated-calculated based on previous freewill decisions ( 'future probable reality surfaces') then this would explain the diet analogy to a degree...This is one of the purposes of percieved physical reality in Tom's model btw -to provide feeback to a unit of consciousness in order to generate yet more decisions,among other purposes.


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 Post subject: Re: We have no free will
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 7:10 pm 
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Curiouskid,

Thoughts are (depending on the level of awareness) more often something that presents a choice, rather than the choice itself. It varies, but a thought can't make a choice for you, the thought is something which you can operatively be aware of, not to be misunderstood as that is not part of you. If the thought is related to some decision, then the thought is just the expression of the decision in that format; the format of language (but internally). That the intent (what it's really about) did not surface to your intellect is no shortcoming of free will, only your (or our) awareness.

To be clear: Your thoughts in the examples you give, are not some automatic mechanism without free will, but the by-product of intent that translates into action. The small decision space can give the illusion, especially if one only thinks there is one option, that it's not a free choice.

There are some few exceptions though: Thoughts can be placed in your mind by other beings, for positive or negative purposes. This just gives you the choice to act on it or not, or to consider with other options (larger decision space), it doesn't mess with the execution of your free will, only how it can be applied.

Check the video out (it goes to the right time), and read the chapter for more complete information. :)
Most recent video on Tom, with free will discussed: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tDVtxvvRGQI&#t=20m22s.
The chapter in MBT digging into free will: http://books.google.com/books?id=6To090 ... e&pg=PA409


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 Post subject: Re: We have no free will
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 8:14 pm 
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As SS says, The quality of thoughts are based on the level of awareness. We may be subjected to various random thoughts that distract us during meditation. But these random thoughts are not only coming during meditation, they come all day long yet we remain, for the most part, unaware of them. A great deal of these thoughts are generated by fear and ego. THIS IS WHAT MEDITATION IS FOR, to increase awareness. We need to become AWARE of these thoughts and how we are affected by our random thoughts. Like the old hippie guru said to me years ago: We are NOT responsible for the thoughts that pop into our head, but we ARE responsible for the ones that we entertain. The more we entertain these thoughts the more likely it is that they will manifest. EVEN if we SAY that we did not WANT it to happen. We need to become aware of and take responsibility for our EVERY thought.
People are constantly UNDERESTIMATING the power of their thoughts. Tom says that -THOUGHTS are as real as ROCKS- Thoughts have more healing power than any PILL or medicine, and also possess the destructive power of RADIATION. Being exposed to negative thoughts for long periods of time can be extremely harmfull to your health, and happiness.

This is where MANTRA is extremely usefull. In order to focus the mind on a specific, usually positive thought, that pushes out all other thoughts. When random thoughts pop in we learn to NOTICE them and let them go. They are NOT ME. They are a product of the "MONKEY BRAIN", the EGO saying "GIMME MORE, GIMME MORE, I AM BORED"
We must always be MINDFULL of our thoughts. Our thoughts are CREATING our REALITY. EVERYTHING begins with a thought, and then becomes manifest. The longer you hold a thought in your mind the more likely it is to manifest in your reality. But we CAN learn to gain control of the "monkey brain" with constant practice and much discipline.

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 Post subject: Re: We have no free will
PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 3:55 pm 
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I do not know, wheather we have freewill. But: If we implied freewill, we would do much better, because only than we would take responsability for our actions!


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 Post subject: Re: We have no free will
PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2011 2:56 pm 
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Ted: I have read your other posts on the concept of free will and they seem to be framed as a tautology, i.e. we have to have true free will, otherwise how are we able to develop our consciousness and make better choices?

It seems that a defense of true free will stems entirely from the ego. We have to feel that we are responsible for our progress in this universe somehow, not just at a subjective level but at an objective level. If we are data streams in a Big Computer, we can be expressed as functions. Inputs go in, resulting in actions. Whether choices made in any size decision space are made by our consciousness, subconsciousness, or "being", in the end we are reacting to stimuli.


Jeff: "But the buck has to stop somewhere"

Again a tautology. Why does it have to stop anywhere? If you accept that free will is an illusion, it changes the paradigm but not your experience of reality. It does, however, throw into question the "purpose" behind NPMR.


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 Post subject: Re: We have no free will
PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2011 3:03 pm 
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pgtrue: Let me describe the process of meditation and self-awareness without any free will involved.

Events in your life and mental makeup led you to eventually sit down and explore meditation. Right away you notice that your thoughts seem to have a life of their own. "You" are observing them and choosing not to react to them, thus you identify yourself as the agent of free will.

After enough introspection and meditation, however, you may find that there is no observer, no agent involved at all. Just the pure existence of consciousness. No choices as we know them are being made, it is only experience being recorded in the atoms of the universe. Has Tom addressed the point of view previously? It's the bedrock of Eastern philosophy. Meditation seems to always converge on the same view of the universe, so I'm curious about how Tom's final TOE managed to diverge into something so anthrocentric.


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 Post subject: Re: We have no free will
PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2011 3:41 pm 
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Hey bluremi, welcome to the forum.

This page on the MBT Wiki should help you understand free will from MBT's point of view, it contains references to posts and a video with Tom as well:
http://wiki.my-big-toe.com/index.php/Free_Will

I don't really disagree with any of your statements regarding functions, inputs, actions, stimuli, etc. These "functions" are highly dynamic and have pseudo-random components. To me, you are just declaring that we have no free will without any definitive reason why that is so. I think you might have a different perspective or definition on what free will "should be", which is why I recommend you orient yourself with the wiki link.

There are many terms used in MBT that don't quite fit the common usage of the term (for example, another one would be "Intent" or "Entropy"), so that may be causing some confusion.

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