Your Brain, Your Freewill

The origins of the imperative, "know thyself", are lost in the sands of time, but the age-old examination of human consciousness continues here.

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Your Brain, Your Freewill

Postby Mr. Kebop » Thu Sep 07, 2006 11:39 pm

One of the first philosophical concepts I struggled with when I was about 10 years old was the idea that my entire life was to be pre-determined.
Now at this point I still believed in God yet did not believe he determined my life.
What I concluded was that no matter what so called decisions you believe you are making, ultimitely, you really have no control over your own life.
The specific brain, with your specific personality, with your specific intelligence. This is what will determine your life.
The other determining factors in the ultimate outcome of your life are the socio-economic situation you are born into, as well as your race and your aesthetic qualities.
Your encounters with other people and how these encounters will turn out is immediately determined by the factors fore-mentioned.
You don't make decisions, the decisions are illusions, the decisions you have made were the only ones you ever would have made under your own specific circumstances.

So I suppose the real question that comes out of this is...Whether or not having our brain control our life is infringement upon our free-will, after all it is you.
But we'd like to think the 'ourself' consist of much more than this fleshy, nervy pink mass inside of our head. But really that is all it comes down to.

So if this concept of a brain in a bottle being everything that you are is disturbing, then are you must be looking for something else to call yourself.
This is the soul, this is something that can transcend the brain and assume the role of 'self'.
Without the soul there could be no free-will...

My conclusion: I still don't know what the hell to think...
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Postby Faust » Fri Sep 08, 2006 1:10 am

Kebop. I have the same trouble with my boat. Can't make it fly or drive down the highway.

Limiting factors are "determining" factors, sure. They determine the range of possibilities. Why does this have to be an all or nothing proposition?

The fact is that you are not at this point thinking anything at all.

"Something" that "transcends the brain"? What in God's name does that mean? "Transcending the brain"? Just what does this entirely undescribed thing do? It starts out "inside" the brain and travels "outside"? What does "transcend" mean here? And what is this "something" other than the "thing that transcends the brain"? What have you described here?

Honestly, I cannot see how the answers to any of my subsequent questions can make sense until the first one is addressed.
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Postby Mr. Kebop » Fri Sep 08, 2006 1:38 am

What in God's name does that mean?


Okay faust, what I'm saying is that we have this notion of self, this idea that our thoughts and our actions are all our own, that we make decisions.
What is this idea of self that we hold so dearly?

Is this what you call yourself?

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This is all you are, and you don't control it, nor does it control you. It is you.

Most people would say, no I control my actions, I control my thoughts, I control my decisions. What is this control supposed to be exactly?

What I was trying to do was not use some cool word like 'transcend'. My god you are condescending.
I was trying to say that if you are to 'control' your brain it would require the 'real you' to be something supernatural, something that inhabits your body and is the basis of your intellect. Something 'beyond' your brain.
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Postby Faust » Fri Sep 08, 2006 2:10 am

Ohhh. I get it. My mistake. I have mistaken your position.

Trouble is, I have now reread you post several times and I still don't know what it is you are saying.

I'm sure the fault is my own. My apologies.

Ciao.
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Postby Dan~ » Fri Sep 08, 2006 2:21 am

I think that I will say nothing randomly, then edit later once I've read through the stuff...
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Re: Your Brain, Your Freewill

Postby Jakob » Fri Sep 08, 2006 11:29 am

"My first act of free will is to believe in free will" - William James, first Americal psychologist.

As effective as this approach is therapeutically, free will really is a contradiction in terms. The word 'will' refers to a state of tension between two positions; not there and there. (I am not there and want to be there) By this definition it is necessarily unfree, as it is bound to circumstance. If someone is free as in unbound, he is also free from will. As soon as he starts willing, there is an object of this will.

My take on the soul and will comes down to the following; I have a hierarchy of wills, which can be rearanged by revolt. If a will is oppressed it will either fight of subdue, I have little control over that, as I am the sum of these wills. Once a will is revealed to me so that I can unerstand it and recognize it, I can work with it, which gives me more freedom to excersize it (or not)

"1. Man cannot change his essence.
2. He cannot change the laws according to which his essence gets transformed.
3. He cannot change the laws of transformation of his inner properties as a result of the outer influence.
4. The surroundings, which man totally depends on, can be changed!"

http://www.kabbalah.info/engkab/freedomofwill.htm
Last edited by Jakob on Fri Sep 08, 2006 11:57 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Jakob » Fri Sep 08, 2006 11:43 am

faust wrote:"Something" that "transcends the brain"? What in God's name does that mean? "Transcending the brain"? Just what does this entirely undescribed thing do? It starts out "inside" the brain and travels "outside"? What does "transcend" mean here? And what is this "something" other than the "thing that transcends the brain"? What have you described here?


I can't speak for him, but I think Kebop has in mind that the brain is not necessarily the foundation of consciousnes. Of course it is easy to assume that it is, as there are a lot of cognitive processes happening in the brain. But there's no evidence of any kind to link it with directly with consciousness.

I agree with you that nothing has been said. I have tried to say stuff about consciousness and transcendence in the past but failed miserably. Now I'm taking the straight out mystic approach, were I just assume that there is a objectively unverifyable objective reality and work from there, instead of trying to prove it. reminds me of what you said about Raphael being the only one making sense about God long ago, something like:
some argue '''Blah blah blah, therefore God exists'', Raphael argues; ''God exists, therefore Blah Blah Blah.''

"My first act of free will is to believe in free will'' is advocating that approach. It's nice to realize you can believe what you want, because you've always done it anyway. The best thing is that you can believe things that are irreconcilable with each other and not worry about it.
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Postby Mr. Kebop » Fri Sep 08, 2006 1:53 pm

faust wrote:Ohhh. I get it. My mistake. I have mistaken your position.

Trouble is, I have now reread you post several times and I still don't know what it is you are saying.

I'm sure the fault is my own. My apologies.

Ciao.


Fine, then I just have one question....

Do you control your brain?
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Postby W.C. » Fri Sep 08, 2006 1:57 pm

Free: able to do something at will; at liberty: free to choose.

Will: to wish; desire; like: 'Go where you will. Ask, if you will, who the owner is.'

Do we have free will? Yes, I personally have little doubt about it. Some say we are chemically programmed and as such, do not have free will. I say to those that we control those chemicals and as such, do have free will.

There are a few topics here that you might want to search for on this subject if you have not already.


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Postby W.C. » Fri Sep 08, 2006 2:04 pm

Mr. Kebop wrote:Fine, then I just have one question....

Do you control your brain?

To this I would respond that I am my brain, and I can control myself - at least to the point of madness, for after that, I honestly do not know though would assume, I am dead.
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Postby Faust » Sat Sep 09, 2006 2:47 pm

Well, at the risk of being seen as condescending, the issue presented here is a bogus one. The brain is the seat of consciousness. But our entire "selfness" is not rightly seen as consciousness alone. This is a religious notion.

While I agree with Jake that "will" operates in a state of tension, it is more than that, of course, for Jake has not said what will is, but only what it does, in part. "Will" is a term that describes several processes. We are physical entities - just what it seems we are.

"Will" describes the amalgam of processes that react to our environment. This environment may be the ambient temperature, or people around us, who are constatntly acting. The human body can survive in only a small range of temperatures - our will to build a fire in the cold is merely an act toward survival. I say "toward" survival because over-dramatising the case leads quickly to error. We need not be in an immediately life-threatening scenario for will to operate. The risks are too high if we wait to the last minute. Hence the will to put on a sweater (jumper).

Will is, in effect, a reactive force - again, it is overdramatising the issue to conceive of will as too much a progenerative force. Consciousness provides information - much more valuable information than that which is available to plant life, for instance. And to be sure, civilisation masks this - we need to have an entirely primitive will to survive, but a complex society requires much more complex behavior - will is "extended" to reactions that seem to bear no relation to survival - and many are only indirectly related.

Freud thought all we wanted was to get laid. He discounted the other survival skills we need, because he never studied people whose very lives were in a precarious situation. He studied those who were left with almost vestigial survival needs.

My brain and my will - the mechanisms that my body has evolved to employ in order to survive, interact. "I control my brain" is nonsense. I am my brain and everything else that I am. This organism, "me" reacts to its environment. That environment influences me, it engenders certain reactions - many of which are accidental, trial-and-error. Think of muscle-memory. Patterns. Patterns help us to survive - intelligence is measured often only by our ability to recognise patterns. We cannot help but recognise patterns, because we would be dead if we didn't.

Cause and effect does not exist is any modular way - it doesn't begin within me or end there. No one is in complete control. The idea itself makes no sense, and is not reflective of reality. It is a vestigial religious notion. "Complete control", however employed, will always ultimately lead us back to God. Any notion of will that has attached to it the word "free" will lead us to God. I agree with Jake that we might as well start there, then.

That's too brief, but the full explanation of my position is book-length. I have tried to present the pith of my view, and have probably failed. But I do not then consider to have spoken randomly, nor will I edit. I have read the material.
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Postby Mr. Kebop » Sat Sep 09, 2006 7:11 pm

So with all of these intristic reactions to every different type of situation where does free-will play into our lives?

By the way I was not trying to prove that we have a soul, in fact I don't think that we do. I was saying that a soul (something that is able to control our brain that is the very essence of our self) would be the only way we could achieve free-will.
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Postby Faust » Sat Sep 09, 2006 7:27 pm

Because "free" will is a religious concept. It is, in fact, a pseudoconcept. I am not talking about that religious pseudo-concept, and so I wll respond only as a courtesy. I need to find another thread, evidently, as you will not address my objection to the term itself.
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Re: Your Brain, Your Freewill

Postby vfr » Wed Sep 13, 2006 3:59 pm

Mr. Kebop wrote:One of the first philosophical concepts I struggled with when I was abo

My conclusion: I still don't know what the hell to think...




As humans we can sum it up in a famous quote:

"We are free to act as we want...but we are not free to want what we want."







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Re:

Postby Jakob » Fri Sep 15, 2017 10:39 pm

Faust wrote:Well, at the risk of being seen as condescending, the issue presented here is a bogus one. The brain is the seat of consciousness. But our entire "selfness" is not rightly seen as consciousness alone. This is a religious notion.

While I agree with Jake that "will" operates in a state of tension, it is more than that, of course, for Jake has not said what will is, but only what it does, in part. "Will" is a term that describes several processes. We are physical entities - just what it seems we are.

"Will" describes the amalgam of processes that react to our environment.

Yes, this ambiguity is what I mean to integrate (and make less ambiguous) with value ontology; beings as valuing the world in terms of their basic requirements; having come into being as such.
Interpretation based on these values. Will to power as interpretation of whatever is encountered into values, positive, negative widely ranging purities and intensities of course.

But what is a being to itself?
What is truly a basic requirement? How does the mind interpret itself? Morality becomes a primordial substance when nature becomes "sapient".
Ns solution was to reduce man back to taste - the animal instinct closest to aesthetics, which in turn is vey close to ethics.

This environment may be the ambient temperature, or people around us, who are constatntly acting. The human body can survive in only a small range of temperatures - our will to build a fire in the cold is merely an act toward survival. I say "toward" survival because over-dramatising the case leads quickly to error. We need not be in an immediately life-threatening scenario for will to operate. The risks are too high if we wait to the last minute. Hence the will to put on a sweater (jumper).

Will is, in effect, a reactive force - again, it is overdramatising the issue to conceive of will as too much a progenerative force. Consciousness provides information - much more valuable information than that which is available to plant life, for instance. And to be sure, civilisation masks this - we need to have an entirely primitive will to survive, but a complex society requires much more complex behavior - will is "extended" to reactions that seem to bear no relation to survival - and many are only indirectly related.

Freud thought all we wanted was to get laid. He discounted the other survival skills we need, because he never studied people whose very lives were in a precarious situation. He studied those who were left with almost vestigial survival needs.

My brain and my will - the mechanisms that my body has evolved to employ in order to survive, interact. "I control my brain" is nonsense. I am my brain and everything else that I am. This organism, "me" reacts to its environment. That environment influences me, it engenders certain reactions - many of which are accidental, trial-and-error. Think of muscle-memory. Patterns. Patterns help us to survive - intelligence is measured often only by our ability to recognise patterns. We cannot help but recognise patterns, because we would be dead if we didn't.

Cause and effect does not exist is any modular way - it doesn't begin within me or end there. No one is in complete control. The idea itself makes no sense, and is not reflective of reality. It is a vestigial religious notion. "Complete control", however employed, will always ultimately lead us back to God. Any notion of will that has attached to it the word "free" will lead us to God. I agree with Jake that we might as well start there, then.

That's too brief, but the full explanation of my position is book-length. I have tried to present the pith of my view, and have probably failed. But I do not then consider to have spoken randomly, nor will I edit. I have read the material.

Well said, as usual. Now all that rests (or rested, as far as Im concerned) is the discrete rendering of what which it is not not. That what it is.
A further question is: what do we want to do with our understanding, once it is gained? Chances are understandings will present themselves like maidens with short skirts, temptations by all the modes of belief that can afford some outward abundance. This is why we stand as value-neutral in the analysis; the only way to do that is to fix the given of valuing at the outset of the equation, or logical string.

It makes psychological analysis extremely easy. What it doesn't naturally builds a model of the cosmos; it would rather command the assumption that such a thing could not exist without having an alternative, an outside; timespace is relative, it is not reasonable to assume it walled into synthetic universal quantity of stuff. It is not reasonable to expect there to be an end. It must be viewed from a dimension that takes time and space not as merely Relativistic criteria, but also a definitive cognitive object of reason.

So instead of an objective limit, we have an objective form of limitation. It carries the name Death, but is much larger and includes time and space.
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Re:

Postby Jakob » Fri Sep 15, 2017 11:03 pm

Mr. Kebop wrote:So with all of these intristic reactions to every different type of situation where does free-will play into our lives?

Free will means health.
Only the weak are determined by outside forces other than gravity, oxygen and the other basic components of Earth-based organism.

By the way I was not trying to prove that we have a soul, in fact I don't think that we do. I was saying that a soul (something that is able to control our brain that is the very essence of our self) would be the only way we could achieve free-will.

A soul is a word that means whats most important to us personally. The concept mediates between our petty interest and the assumed eternal justice of the universe, so as to generate an Ideal that spreads a lofty light into out consciousness and forms a more pleasant conscience.

The soul is the set of the values we would die for and live for.
If one wouldn't die for anything, one has no soul. If one isn't living for such values, one is asleep.
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Re: Your Brain, Your Freewill

Postby Meno_ » Sat Sep 16, 2017 10:16 pm

And extend that from its formal, bracketed frame, to its reference, what we really would die for, and do, all the time, is life. And life is both intrinsically and extrinsically navigated, without a disclosure as to their source, or difference, and only passion fueling the necessity for that extension, can gain an insight into a repetitive succession of equally necessary choices.

What appears to us as choice by chance, external effects ; retroactively discloses patterns which begin to show such priority, that necessitates the separation of the goals involved.

Imminently cruel , when eternity is factored in, the solution becomes one perfectly understandable. Without such understanding, Being would have long been nihilized into its Nothingness. But that it has not, is proof positive of the overcoming of the one over the other.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Was.....
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