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59 years old

There are as many questions as answers here. It is also a little light in substance but i just wanted to get the subject started.

FREE WILL - the illusion

Written 2006-05-13

Firstly I do not state my opinion is true, i just offer it for challenge. Mine like all other opinions are based solely on the limited information i have to hand and the conclusions i have drawn from that information. As information for an argument can never be finite, can we ever have all the facts, i don't offer my opinion to state that it is true but to offer it up to be challenged. This way, i have the opportunity to expand my limited information and temper my opinion accordingly.

What this all really means i am not sure. I just think it is important that we recognise the fact of what we are. As Clint Eastword (Dirty Harry) famously said "a man has to know his limitations"

So onto freewill the illusion:

Freewill the ability to rise above instinctive emotional forces and choose another path. To rise above desire and fear and to follow the correct path.

I believe FREE WILL is an ILLUSION because all decisions are made based on our emotions. And we do not control our emotions!

So why we do things:

- desire
- love
- food/shelter
- recognition
- covet of status

- fear
- towing the line (fear of consequences if we don't)
- guilt ( fear of outcomes)

- Intellectual argument
- duty
- obligation
- morally right - (*self gratification)

Why we don't do things:
- lack of desire (boredom)
- fear
- intellectual argument

*self gratification - the desire to feel good about oneself?

The moral intellectual argument:

The concept of right or wrong, where the illusion of freewill arises at its strongest. Choosing and doing what is morally right or morally wrong. Again solely based on an emotional argument.

We choose to do the right thing
- because it is self gratifying or we fear the consequences if we don't do it.

We choose not to do the right thing
- because it is self gratifying and we don't fear the consequences

We choose not to do the wrong thing
- because it is self gratifying or we fear the consequences.

We choose to do the wrong thing
- because it is still self gratifying and we don't fear the consequences.

It's the intellectual argument which we believe raises the human animal above all other species of animal. Intellectual arguments in a vacuum of emotions set the morals and the standards. Yet when faced with the raw power of emotion the intellectual argument often will crumble.

Now what is most important to do here, is to separate the freewill of thinking of an argument and the freewill of following that argument to its conclusion. They involve completely separate processes. This is where the conflict is, this is the 'human condition'.

The freewill of following and argument:

Ultimately it is an emotion which dictates which course we follow. We can choose to rise above a particular emotion but it is only successful if our will power, at the time, is stronger than the emotion we are facing. If will power is stronger than the prevailing desire or fear we are able to steer a different course.

The fact that mankind and individuals tend to follow the same cycles. War and conflicts for example, seem to indicate that we more often than not fail to steer a new course. Fail to over come our emotional instinctive reactions.

So what is will power?

- is it just another emotion? another desire maybe?
- is it constant for all of us or indeed within us?
- does strong will power indicate an innate ability or strength of mind or does it just indicate there is less fear to overcome?

Will power and freewill:

Because we follow a course of action, a path, we re-enforce the belief it is our free will that maintains us on that course. What actually makes the difference is that we remember the path from one day to the next, it is persistent within our memory. Yet each minute, each day and each time that we face the challenges of following that path our emotional state at the time chooses what action we will take. How big or small a step we will take down that path. Now we can slowly over time edge along that path each time that we face it. If we did not maintain a memory of the path. The decision would be made only when we were faced with it, and our whole life would be far more random. Probably more peaceful and harmonious too.

So why are some paths we face more persistent in our minds than others? Maybe the perceived emotional reward keeps them there or prevailing fears keep them there.

Because we have awareness we can see the range of choices available. Because we have memory we are aware of the choices we didn't make. Hence we believe our choice was due to freewill. But the action of making that choice was an emotional decision. Given the same set of choices in a different emotional state we will make a different decision. Will power can be strong one day and weak the next. Hence the decision made will be different. If willpower was a constant then we could possibly say we had free will because then our emotions could not dictate our choice and we would always choose the logical intellectual decision. But we don't and because our emotions do dictate our choice and our emotions are not within our control, how can we say, we truly have free will in the choices we make?

So maybe all this means is that we have to recognise that we are at prey to our emotions in all we think and do. Not just individuals but world leaders etc. Now on the face of it, we all know this. but i believe the problem arises as we all try to convince ourselves that it is not true. That we as individuals and a society are above our emotions, that we have the willpower and freewill to make our own choice. Hence all the pain and conflict we cause ourselves and all the pain and conflict we cause others.

We need to understand our limitations. We need to communicate with each other with these limitations firmly in our minds. We need to be fully aware and honest with the prevailing emotion which cast our decision. Then we maybe able to understand each other fully and display more compasion to each other when emotions steer us from the so called correct path.

More thoughts of a whimsical mind. Any comments or critiques or corrections in smelling pisstakes are more than welcome.

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A slant on the world, not sure how true this is but I just have these thoughts from time to time. Don't know whether it makes any sense. Can never be bothered to go into great detail. I just wanted to get it out of my head.


Written 2006-02-27

The human dilemma a world traumatised by fear

- fear of losing a job
- fear of being ridiculed
- fear of making a mistake
- fear of embarrassment
- fear of going unnoticed
- fear of leaving no mark
- fear of the unknown
- fear of being alone

- the list goes on and on

Some fears are more debilitating than others and lead us even closer to the abyss.

- fear of social intercourse.
- fear of social interaction.
- fear of social exclusion

Other fears lead to anger and hate

- fear of the unknown
- fear of losing status
- fear of losing place

but all fears play a great part in every decision we make.

Although we may not be able to understand the reasons behind some peoples fears and this may lead us into treating them lightly.

What we all understand is the effect of fear. We know how fear affects us. How it interferes and compromises our lives. How our mind's and body's react to it. How intense and all consuming it can be. So when faced with an-others fear don't judge the reason for their fear, only think of the effects it is having on them and then maybe we will be able to understand their situation, their reactions. And from this maybe our response will be tempered and we maybe able to offer compassion as an alternative to other actions that instinctively invade our frame of referrence.

Compassion for all the idiosyncratic behaviour people display as they confront their fears. Confront their fears as they try and steer a path through life. a path that will offer them some semblance of peace and harmony.

We all seek the same thing, this same path. We are just struggling between the conflict between our fears and our expectations.

Expectations which have been conditioned by our peers our environment and the force of society. The bigger the gap between our fears and expectations the greater the struggle.

Society is always toying with and preying on our emotions our fears keeping us on the edge of uncertainty and unhappiness. Making us believe that happiness depends on how fat the wallet is or how perfect we are. Steering our eyes away from our hearts and souls maintaining the illusion that all that "glitters must be gold". *Led Zep i think!

- we are conditioned to fear falling out of step
- fear of not having the newest and most up to-date
- fear of having the wrong 'label'
- fear of not conforming

- advertisers prey on our fears
- politicians prey on our fears
- even religion will use fear

So much time, money and effort spent to raise our expectations. So little time and effort spent to help balance our fears with them. We are cast out into the abyss like children, ill prepared to tame the silent demons which wait their moment to wreak havoc.

This conflict shapes us, shapes all around us and this conflict shapes the world. It always has and it always will.

- fear sets our boundaries
- fear isolates us
- fear restricts us

Fears drives us all whether it is the ego of a world leader or the kid on the corner of the street. Look closely and you will see the footprints of fear.

We are all at the mercy of the conflict between our fears, desires and emotions, which makes:

- living tough
- mistakes easy
- and forgetting very difficult.

And out of all this, we all try to find peace of mind and harmony and if we are very lucky a companion who will understand:

- our fears
- forgive our mistakes
- and help us to forget.

When fear is subtly at work it leads to misunderstanding of social signals by all sides.

Somebody said when 2 people meet there are six people in the room. Who you are, how you act and how you appear to the other person. 3 personalities for each. But this i believe is not the fall picture there are many more people in that room.

One of the most important is how you wish to be, how you see yourself in your minds eye. This is by no means who you are or how you appear to others.

Who you are: is the person who when feeling serene shines through. Your basic instinctive genetic footprint.

How you act: is who you are when dealing with conditioned fears, desires and expectations.

How you appear to be: completely depends on the interpretation of your audience and how they are dealing with their own conflicts and fears at the time.

And then there is who you wish to be: conditioned as you grow by the environment that envelopes you. To reach this person it probably means pushing the boundaries of your fears which will undoubtedly distort all the above three. Leading to how you act.

- who you wish to be sets your mark. Sets the conflicts you are likely to face and endure. Sets up thoughts of dissatisfaction, apathy, resentment and all that kind of jazz.

- the larger the gap between who you are and who you wish to be the greater the conflict. The greater the potential turmoil, trauma and confusion.

The closer 'who you are' and 'who you wish to be' the less you will have to face your fears, the less stress there will be, the less conflict you will find in all walks of your life. The closer you will find yourself to peace and harmony.

Ok - i admit this doesn't account for the constant force of gravity that society applies to force us into certain boxes which seem unavoidable.

Anyway all just whimsical thoughts of a whimsical mind.

All comments welcome, for or against.

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