The Nature of the Mind: Where is the Free Will?

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snowheight
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Re: The Nature of the Mind: Where is the Free Will?

Post by snowheight » Sat Mar 19, 2011 4:05 am

enigma wrote:
snowheight wrote:
enigma wrote:There's a complete absence of boundaries around what 'could happen' next.
Complete?
Yeah, God doesn't have boundaries....so much....really.
O.k., just to be clear, are you suggesting that things that current scientific understanding would suggest are physically impossible can actually happen?
enigma wrote:Nowhere in this is a determining force, or a controller, or a planner, or a chooser. Choices are a delusional overlay onto what is happening with or without the choosing.
snowheight wrote: How then do you account for the observer? (if anyone answers, please use the context of the next paragraph) 300+ years of study by the brightest minds in human history result in the conclusion that the Observer is the only thing that is "real". Observation, as it is defined in quantum mechanics, is the mechanism of choice.

Little-me is a phantom and as such has no "will" or anything else. The antiquated notions of God as a watchmaker seem to fail the test of non-duality ... but the rejection of a pre-determined future implies consequences based on the road not taken. Call these consequences "imaginary" if you will, that won't make the whole question go away.

It seems that we are confronted once again with a paradox -- without choice there is only a superposition of potential states but there is noone to make these choices. Perhaps this is one of those limitations which will always remain outside of our conceptual capabilities, perhaps not.
The implication of quantum mechanics is that reality is a product of consciousness. It says nothing about choice or volition. There is no paradox.
While you are partially correct in that the Copenhagen interpretation of QM studiously avoids the concept of choice or volition or will or any other such idea, it is clearly implied. If there COULD be multiple outcomes to a scenario but there is ONLY ONE, what can we conclude? There is the idea of an infinite number of parallel Universes but even that only MIGHT solve the problem completely and we have no evidence of such an interpretation.
enigma wrote:
snowheight wrote:
enigma wrote:You cannot know your next thought until it has already occurred and can be observed. As such, how can you determine the content of your choices?
In a strict sense that is true but an individual can often find him or herself in a life-situation in which the probability of the content of the next thought is so high that the strict sense is a defeated bit of meaninglessness.
IOW, what's actually happening is irrelevant? What does the probability of a given thought have to do with volition?
.

It is only tangentially related to fact or fallacy of free will in that it is simply a challenge to that one point (which is actually a tautology): that one "cannot know their next thought until it has already occurred and can be observed". For example, if you are counting to 10 for some reason, it is very possible that you will be interrupted or all of a sudden decide to stop, but it is more likely that one number will follow the next. A more complex example would be if you decided to solve an equation or write some code. Less virtuous examples come to mind but I'll leave those out for now :oops:.

This idea could form a building block of the argument in favor of volition on the part of sham ego, to which I do not subscribe. I think rather that there is something which transcends the tension between an acceptance that there is noone (or even noONE) making choices but choices are made and whatever that transcendent answer, it is currently outside of our ken.

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enigma
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Re: The Nature of the Mind: Where is the Free Will?

Post by enigma » Sat Mar 19, 2011 4:24 am

smiileyjen101 wrote:
Enigma said: Restating your assumption that free will is a fact does not make it true. What you offer as proof is that this thread has diverted from the original topic (I don't see where it has, but that's irrelevant).
What I actually said was:
That this thread has grown and diverted from it's source is proof. Every post, every word within those posts and every letter within those words have been chosen - based on the understandings of individuals, maybe or maybe not impacting upon the whole and others, based on free will choices. To type, not to type, what to say, how to say it, whether to read, how to view it, from what angle - we may not see the all.
From salem's first pondering typed onto this thread (choice to share) and others responding (choices) from their perspectives (choices) the dynamic nature of this thread has grown and diverted from Salem's original personal musing to this dynamic discourse between many.
That doesn't say anything about volition, it just says that's what happened. The idea that somebody's free will choice brought about the diversion is an assumption.
That you took my expression of 'diverted from its source' as meaning a change in the content direction of the topic is a cultural difference of understanding on an individual level based on our experiences.
Yes, that's a fair assessment. Does the fact that interpretation follows past experience imply volition?


Did you or did you not choose to respond to my post, whether consciously or unconsciously?

Whatever the answer - isn't that the expression of free will?
The issue is not whether or not a choice was declared. The issue is whether or not one had a choice about that. (Whether it was volitional)

enigma
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Re: The Nature of the Mind: Where is the Free Will?

Post by enigma » Sat Mar 19, 2011 5:00 am

O.k., just to be clear, are you suggesting that things that current scientific understanding would suggest are physically impossible can actually happen?
Absolutely.
If there is a difficulty with possibilities or probabilities or unbreachable laws or incontrovertible facts, this is part of the boundaries defined and accepted from within the unfolding dream and in no way implies a limitation placed on creation itself. All things imaginable are literally possible right now, but for the belief that they are not.




The implication of quantum mechanics is that reality is a product of consciousness. It says nothing about choice or volition. There is no paradox.
While you are partially correct in that the Copenhagen interpretation of QM studiously avoids the concept of choice or volition or will or any other such idea, it is clearly implied. If there COULD be multiple outcomes to a scenario but there is ONLY ONE, what can we conclude? There is the idea of an infinite number of parallel Universes but even that only MIGHT solve the problem completely and we have no evidence of such an interpretation.

What we can conclude is that all choices are part of the unfolding of consciousness and are not under the direction of the supposed little man sitting behind a particular set of eyes.


IOW, what's actually happening is irrelevant? What does the probability of a given thought have to do with volition?
.
It is only tangentially related to fact or fallacy of free will in that it is simply a challenge to that one point (which is actually a tautology): that one "cannot know their next thought until it has already occurred and can be observed". For example, if you are counting to 10 for some reason, it is very possible that you will be interrupted or all of a sudden decide to stop, but it is more likely that one number will follow the next. A more complex example would be if you decided to solve an equation or write some code. Less virtuous examples come to mind but I'll leave those out for now :oops:.

This idea could form a building block of the argument in favor of volition on the part of sham ego, to which I do not subscribe. I think rather that there is something which transcends the tension between an acceptance that there is noone (or even noONE) making choices but choices are made and whatever that transcendent answer, it is currently outside of our ken.
It is not at all beyond our understanding. There is a very simple explanation for the fact that choices are being made but nobody is making them. The thought stream is falsely identified with and this is believed to be a separate, volitional person. Given this belief, it's very natural to declare choices and authorship over the activities of the body/mind, and yet these activities are part of the expression of Consciousness.

If I believed I was a tree, and that I was responsible for growing and dropping my leaves, the fact that I notice my leaves growing and declare a choice to grow leaves does not present a mysterious question for which there is no answer, unless one is unwilling to recognize the delusion involved.

arel
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Re: The Nature of the Mind: Where is the Free Will?

Post by arel » Sat Mar 19, 2011 5:30 am

There is no way of beating "there is no free will" argument because it is a conceptual discussion, therefore a mind structure. And no discussion can take place without mind concepts. So not guilty until proven innocent, or "no free will until proven otherwise". How about we attempt to get out of the mind to take a look, to keep it fair. As you sit there, move your attention onto your right arm, then your left arm, then your left leg, and on and on and on. Attention, or rather its source, is what I am and what you are. You cannot say that there is "free will" in there, but you cannot say there is no free will either, if you look RIGHT NOW, you simply cannot say one way or another for sure by looking at things from these two perspectives. Seems to me to be consistent with the scientific paradox of the double slit experiement actually. Engima, can you prove to me that I did not take part in moving my attention? How absolutely sure are you? And your example of trees.. well I can right now say that I can imagine that the trees would not grow or drop the leaves if I did not notice the growth and the dropping of leaves. Did I make a choice to grow and drop the leaves? Can you say no for sure?
What I say is only my viewpoint.

enigma
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Re: The Nature of the Mind: Where is the Free Will?

Post by enigma » Sat Mar 19, 2011 6:48 am

arel wrote:There is no way of beating "there is no free will" argument because it is a conceptual discussion, therefore a mind structure. And no discussion can take place without mind concepts. So not guilty until proven innocent, or "no free will until proven otherwise". How about we attempt to get out of the mind to take a look, to keep it fair. As you sit there, move your attention onto your right arm, then your left arm, then your left leg, and on and on and on. Attention, or rather its source, is what I am and what you are. You cannot say that there is "free will" in there, but you cannot say there is no free will either, if you look RIGHT NOW, you simply cannot say one way or another for sure by looking at things from these two perspectives. Seems to me to be consistent with the scientific paradox of the double slit experiement actually. Engima, can you prove to me that I did not take part in moving my attention? How absolutely sure are you? And your example of trees.. well I can right now say that I can imagine that the trees would not grow or drop the leaves if I did not notice the growth and the dropping of leaves. Did I make a choice to grow and drop the leaves? Can you say no for sure?
I won't rely on proof to support what I'm saying since any such evidence is also within this "mind structure" to which you refer. I've been following along with snowheight's Quantum arguments because they don't support free will anyway, but science is part of the dream stuff we're talking about. It's an expression of the same Consciousness it pretends to be objectively observing. Surely it's apparent that one cannot objectively observe subjectivity. For this reason I've also not pointed out two experiments that seem to prove that choices are made prior to one's conscious awareness of having made a choice, making conscious choices impossible.

What is always implied is that you look for yourself rather than believe or search for proof. The whole issue of free will or no free will is misconceived. Yes, this is self evident and not subject to doubt.

snowheight
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Re: The Nature of the Mind: Where is the Free Will?

Post by snowheight » Sat Mar 19, 2011 7:39 am

enigma wrote:
snowheight wrote:O.k., just to be clear, are you suggesting that things that current scientific understanding would suggest are physically impossible can actually happen?
Absolutely.
If there is a difficulty with possibilities or probabilities or unbreachable laws or incontrovertible facts, this is part of the boundaries defined and accepted from within the unfolding dream and in no way implies a limitation placed on creation itself. All things imaginable are literally possible right now, but for the belief that they are not.
It's one thing to accept that there is Something that I'll never conceive of but what you are referring to here sounds alot like "The Secret" ( :lol: ) ... and yes, there are things that are impossible and the Universe isn't infinite. Not to say that there isn't something which is infinite, but the known Universe does have limits. I'll take Carl Sagan over David Copperfield and Einstein over Houdini any imaginary day of the illusory dream-week ... but thanks anyway!
enigma wrote:
enigma wrote:The implication of quantum mechanics is that reality is a product of consciousness. It says nothing about choice or volition. There is no paradox.
snowheight wrote:While you are partially correct in that the Copenhagen interpretation of QM studiously avoids the concept of choice or volition or will or any other such idea, it is clearly implied. If there COULD be multiple outcomes to a scenario but there is ONLY ONE, what can we conclude? There is the idea of an infinite number of parallel Universes but even that only MIGHT solve the problem completely and we have no evidence of such an interpretation.
What we can conclude is that all choices are part of the unfolding of consciousness and are not under the direction of the supposed little man sitting behind a particular set of eyes.
Yes, I'm with you there, and with that we are back to the starting point: there are choices being made with noone making them.
enigma wrote:
enigma wrote:IOW, what's actually happening is irrelevant? What does the probability of a given thought have to do with volition?
.
snowheight wrote:It is only tangentially related to fact or fallacy of free will in that it is simply a challenge to that one point (which is actually a tautology): that one "cannot know their next thought until it has already occurred and can be observed". For example, if you are counting to 10 for some reason, it is very possible that you will be interrupted or all of a sudden decide to stop, but it is more likely that one number will follow the next. A more complex example would be if you decided to solve an equation or write some code. Less virtuous examples come to mind but I'll leave those out for now :oops:.

This idea could form a building block of the argument in favor of volition on the part of sham ego, to which I do not subscribe. I think rather that there is something which transcends the tension between an acceptance that there is noone (or even noONE) making choices but choices are made and whatever that transcendent answer, it is currently outside of our ken.
It is not at all beyond our understanding. There is a very simple explanation for the fact that choices are being made but nobody is making them. The thought stream is falsely identified with and this is believed to be a separate, volitional person. Given this belief, it's very natural to declare choices and authorship over the activities of the body/mind, and yet these activities are part of the expression of Consciousness.
All you've done there is to re-iterate the idea that "little-me's" are mistakenly identified as the QM Observer ... I disclaimed that at the outset. For the sake of this discussion we agree on two things: 1) That the false individual self has no free will and 2) That the Observer is not some omnipotent watchmaker ... you've flip-flopped on a third point: 3) Whether reality is dependent on choice ... but that third point is actually subsumed by the larger issue of pre-determination which you backed away from before I entered the discussion.

Our major point of disagreement is whether or not the notion that choices are made with noone or noOne to make them is a paradox or not.
enigma wrote:I've been following along with snowheight's Quantum arguments because they don't support free will anyway,
Never said they did, I just pointed out an unresolved paradox. It may or may not be the same one as "who gets enlightened?" in disguise although that one I guess to cut closer to the bone as it will never be resolved as opposed to "is there free will?" which just might someday.
enigma wrote: but science is part of the dream stuff we're talking about. It's an expression of the same Consciousness it pretends to be objectively observing.
Ironically the Physics of Einstein and Bohr reports to us that there IS no such thing as "objective truth", even if for the purposes of everyday life there may as well be. Be that as it may I don't see it as an invitation to dismiss all logic in favor of the fairytale notion that "anything is possible".

Keep in mind that the concept that the physical world is an "illusion" is a concept in and of itself and fraught with the same pitfalls as any other. We learn of this Something that we cannot express through self-inquiry and the signposts of enlightened teachers and grasp at ways to explain it and so we arrive at the conclusion that the keyboard that we are typing on is not really there. If I hadn't heard it from both skeptics and faithful alike I never would have considered the idea -- but that is not my point: we keep typing even though we have nothing to do it with.
Stop talking. Hear every sound as background. Look straight ahead and focus. Take one deep breath. This is you. This is Now.

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Re: The Nature of the Mind: Where is the Free Will?

Post by enigma » Sat Mar 19, 2011 6:48 pm

snowheight wrote: It's one thing to accept that there is Something that I'll never conceive of but what you are referring to here sounds alot like "The Secret" ( :lol: ) ... and yes, there are things that are impossible and the Universe isn't infinite. Not to say that there isn't something which is infinite, but the known Universe does have limits. I'll take Carl Sagan over David Copperfield and Einstein over Houdini any imaginary day of the illusory dream-week ... but thanks anyway!
I'm not talking about what happens in the universe, I'm talking about the potential that forms the universe continually. Infinite potential is another way of talking about God's omnipotence.



Yes, I'm with you there, and with that we are back to the starting point: there are choices being made with noone making them.
Yes, that's what's happening. I'm just saying it's not a paradox.




Never said they did, I just pointed out an unresolved paradox. It may or may not be the same one as "who gets enlightened?" in disguise although that one I guess to cut closer to the bone as it will never be resolved as opposed to "is there free will?" which just might someday.
'Who gets enlightened' isn't a paradox either, but since my Houdini-like paradox resolving skills seem to be lacking here, I guess I'll leave it alone. Hehe.


Ironically the Physics of Einstein and Bohr reports to us that there IS no such thing as "objective truth", even if for the purposes of everyday life there may as well be. Be that as it may I don't see it as an invitation to dismiss all logic in favor of the fairytale notion that "anything is possible".
Infinite potential isn't a rational conclusion on my part, it's something that is seen clearly, and there's the potential that you might 'choose' to look for yourself.
It's true there is no such thing as objective truth, so if it's all subjective, where are the boundaries to be found on what is possible?

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Re: The Nature of the Mind: Where is the Free Will?

Post by smiileyjen101 » Sun Mar 20, 2011 4:35 am

The issue is not whether or not a choice was declared. The issue is whether or not one had a choice about that. (Whether it was volitional)
I once tried to have a conversation with a bot (when I very first started going into a chat room). It didn't respond.... it had been programmed to say 'hello" and the person's name when anyone entered that room.

The bot had no volition. I would suggest you and me are not bots on any level.

Volition = the act of willing, choosing, or resolving; exercise of willing.
We have enacted our willingness, we have chosen to respond as we have, we have resolved to respond as we have, we have exercised willingness.

In the physical world (this topic is not in the outside the physical section of this forum) whether we acknowledge it or not we choose, we resolve, we act. We enact free will.
My understanding of it only stands for me and how I make my way in this world, but with the consciousness of it, I not only respect mine, but others' rights to exercise theirs within their personal circumstances. I also accept responsibility for mine, while at the same time accept that others may view it differently, may employ it differently, may unconsciously abdicate it and the responsibility for its use.

But likely again its a difference of views pitching our responses within levels of practicality and theories. We can argue the theories till the cows come home, but someone will likely have to use their free will to get up and put the cows in the shed, or not - no choice is wrong, it just brings a different experience. :roll:
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Re: The Nature of the Mind: Where is the Free Will?

Post by enigma » Sun Mar 20, 2011 5:28 am

smiileyjen101 wrote:
The issue is not whether or not a choice was declared. The issue is whether or not one had a choice about that. (Whether it was volitional)
I once tried to have a conversation with a bot (when I very first started going into a chat room). It didn't respond.... it had been programmed to say 'hello" and the person's name when anyone entered that room.

The bot had no volition. I would suggest you and me are not bots on any level.

Volition = the act of willing, choosing, or resolving; exercise of willing.
We have enacted our willingness, we have chosen to respond as we have, we have resolved to respond as we have, we have exercised willingness.

In the physical world (this topic is not in the outside the physical section of this forum) whether we acknowledge it or not we choose, we resolve, we act. We enact free will.
My understanding of it only stands for me and how I make my way in this world, but with the consciousness of it, I not only respect mine, but others' rights to exercise theirs within their personal circumstances. I also accept responsibility for mine, while at the same time accept that others may view it differently, may employ it differently, may unconsciously abdicate it and the responsibility for its use.

But likely again its a difference of views pitching our responses within levels of practicality and theories. We can argue the theories till the cows come home, but someone will likely have to use their free will to get up and put the cows in the shed, or not - no choice is wrong, it just brings a different experience. :roll:
Acting like the commander in chief of the armed forces may give you the experience of being the president, but it doesn't actually mean you are. :roll:

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Re: The Nature of the Mind: Where is the Free Will?

Post by Natalie » Sun Mar 20, 2011 7:27 am

“Human beings, in their thinking, feeling and acting are not free agents but are as causally bound as the stars in their motion.”
Albert Einstein :shock: :shock: :shock:

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Re: The Nature of the Mind: Where is the Free Will?

Post by Salem » Sun Mar 20, 2011 7:55 am

I'm starting to think that in the big picture there is no free will, and that indeed we are all bound by the laws of the universe, but that it really doesn't matter a hell of a lot.
"The eye through which I see God is the same eye through which God sees me; my eye and God's eye are one eye, one seeing, one knowing, one love." — Meister Eckhart

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Re: The Nature of the Mind: Where is the Free Will?

Post by enigma » Sun Mar 20, 2011 8:10 am

Salem wrote:I'm starting to think that in the big picture there is no free will, and that indeed we are all bound by the laws of the universe, but that it really doesn't matter a hell of a lot.
The recognition that this is so is a major realization. If you are ultimately not to blame for your misdeeds, then neither are your brothers. We're all doing the best we can, which is really the only thing. A very clear understanding of this is not only the end of self judgment, but the end of the judgment of others. There is no-one to blame. This, itself, is a major change in the dynamics of the mind. In addition, if you are not the author of this life, the thought may occur that you are simply the witness of it.

Don't underestimate the impact of this as a genuine realization.

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Re: The Nature of the Mind: Where is the Free Will?

Post by Salem » Sun Mar 20, 2011 8:18 am

Agreed, enigma, but let me add, in the practicality of this world, we are responsible for our actions, both positive and negative. If I see someone doing wrong and I can do something about it, it also isn't good for me to say "Well, he doesn't have a choice in that foul deed of his." Maybe we are doing the best we can, but we still ought to help one another, right?
"The eye through which I see God is the same eye through which God sees me; my eye and God's eye are one eye, one seeing, one knowing, one love." — Meister Eckhart

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Re: The Nature of the Mind: Where is the Free Will?

Post by Sighclone » Sun Mar 20, 2011 8:25 am

Enigma declined to mention the Benjamin Libet experiments and other who followed him -- quite convincing concerning the timing of "conscious decisions." Google him.

I'm actually more interested in predetermination vs. the appearance of volition. The life of a leaf is pretty well predetermined, from the macro level. It's going to emerge, live, turn brown, fall down and be resorbed into the soil. Or maybe get eaten by a giraffe. No capacity for a glimmer of volition.

But it certainly appears that I can choose to touch my nose. (Enigma or somebody poked fun at this a few months ago.) All laws are based on the assumption that people can choose their behavior...the ones who choose "poorly" go to jail. Of course the cop-out is that there are no persons anyway (just these scripty fictions, body-mind-personalities as Mooji says.) And Ramesh Balsekar made a sort of weak argument when accused of sexual misbehavior that there is no doership, so nobody did anything. If the "little me" is a phony, but a thug rapes and murders a teenager, do we just toss the body in the river?

I think that the appearance of free will is necessary for the play to go on. I find there to be great divine comedy in our discovery that the observer affects the outcome of experiments. Even if there is no real decision-making, it's an important collective delusion that it seems to happen. Why bother to watch a movie to the end? Because we like to see what script-writing decisions the author didn't make... :)

Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce

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Re: The Nature of the Mind: Where is the Free Will?

Post by enigma » Sun Mar 20, 2011 8:34 am

Salem wrote:Agreed, enigma, but let me add, in the practicality of this world, we are responsible for our actions, both positive and negative. If I see someone doing wrong and I can do something about it, it also isn't good for me to say "Well, he doesn't have a choice in that foul deed of his." Maybe we are doing the best we can, but we still ought to help one another, right?
Of course. Help in any way you can, be fair, be honest, be courageous, be compassionate, and be careful about deriving conclusions about how to act or not act in the face of your nonvolition. :lol:

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