The best explanation of free will ever

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Re: The best explanation of free will ever

Postby rideforever » Sat Jul 21, 2012 7:20 am

Natalie wrote:He 'made' me see that the neural activity that precedes my thoughts/actions is not 'mine' to beging with. I didn't plan or author this activity, so the end rsult of this activity cannot be claimed as 'my choice'. That sealed the deal for me. I sensed my lack of free will way before finding this man on youtube but the way he conveyed his message was extraordinary in my opinion. I am not buying his books either. I did like his facebook page though.

Isn't the neural activity also you ? Are you just your thoughts ?

As you are, out of every 60 seconds how many of those seconds are you thinking ?? 35 seconds maybe - and what are you doing in the other 25 seconds ? Are you not alive ?
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Re: The best explanation of free will ever

Postby Natalie » Sat Jul 21, 2012 7:45 am

"Are you just your thoughts ?" No, of course not. The realization that everything I once believed (thought) to be true about myself is fiction has been the most liberating event of my life.
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Re: The best explanation of free will ever

Postby Webwanderer » Sat Jul 21, 2012 3:16 pm

Natalie wrote:He 'made' me see that the neural activity that precedes my thoughts/actions is not 'mine' to beging with. I didn't plan or author this activity, so the end rsult of this activity cannot be claimed as 'my choice'. That sealed the deal for me. I sensed my lack of free will way before finding this man on youtube but the way he conveyed his message was extraordinary in my opinion. I am not buying his books either. I did like his facebook page though.

My take is that many thoughts (maybe most for most people) may qualify as not being of active free will in that they are a result of conditioning. So that there would be neural activity that precedes an habitual/conditioned thought is not surprising. They are simply automated response perspectives created from earlier 'settled' choices. Certain events stimulate existing belief perspectives and there arises automatic thoughts that originate out of those perspectives. No active free-will is directly involved in such spontaneous arisings.

However, when these thoughts arise, along with whatever emotional response that occurs with them, it is then that a free will choice comes into being as one may simply accept the thought and emotion as is, automatically spinning and justifying it as a truth and reality, or actively explore the rational of it and look to perceive it in a different context. This is where choice enters the equation.

It seems the no-free-will perspective is based in those thoughts and emotions that arise from existing conditioning, while the free-will/choice perspective is based in the ability to choose a new context for the resulting experience. Choice is a conscious exercise, it is not habitual (unless we condition ourselves make it so) in that there is the element of preference, that one may not like the experience that the automatic response generates and looks at available options. It is a result of an active consideration of the experience at hand and then acting on a preference to experience it differently.

If our conditioned responses bring us pain, we can choose to think about, and perceive them differently - in a way that is at least less painful if not totally freeing. As a conservation of energy measure we may set habits, consciously or unconsciously, to work for us in order to free ourselves to engage and explore life more pointedly. We set aside the active review mechanism in favor of habits to focus on more immediate and expansive issues. Well, at least such a option is available. But like so many issues in life, in the short term it can work for us or against us. Learning how the mental mechanisms work however, is a great step forward in creating a preferable experience.

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Re: The best explanation of free will ever

Postby Rick » Sat Jul 21, 2012 4:41 pm

Webwanderer wrote:
It seems the no-free-will perspective is based in those thoughts and emotions that arise from existing conditioning, while the free-will/choice perspective is based in the ability to choose a new context for the resulting experience.

WW


If there is a chooser, then there is choice, if there is an illusory chooser, then there is illusory choice, if there is no chooser, then there is no choice.

It is said that every problem contains its own solution. If this is true, then it is not a matter of choice, but rather it is a matter of seeing with clarity the hidden solution.
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Re: The best explanation of free will ever

Postby Webwanderer » Sat Jul 21, 2012 5:18 pm

Rick wrote:
Webwanderer wrote:
It seems the no-free-will perspective is based in those thoughts and emotions that arise from existing conditioning, while the free-will/choice perspective is based in the ability to choose a new context for the resulting experience.

WW


If there is a chooser, then there is choice, if there is an illusory chooser, then there is illusory choice, if there is no chooser, then there is no choice.

It is said that every problem contains its own solution. If this is true, then it is not a matter of choice, but rather it is a matter of seeing with clarity the hidden solution.

That's a lot of 'ifs', and while it's a worthy consideration (by some considerer it would seem :wink: ), the opposite is also worthy of consideration.

Consider, in order for there to be 'seeing with clarity' it seems a priori that there be a seer to see this way or that, clear or distorted, and 'if' there is a seer, can that seer not also choose how to perceive, making choices based on its cumulative experience. If there is 'a matter of seeing with clarity', it implies an option of either/or. Can you say this is not a valid possibility? And is it not possible that there is an available choice to consciousness being? Does this not seem a reasonable process of conscious evolution? It would seem so, based on experience.

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Re: The best explanation of free will ever

Postby karmarider » Sat Jul 21, 2012 6:01 pm

Natalie: He 'made' me see that the neural activity that precedes my thoughts/actions is not 'mine' to begin with. I didn't plan or author this activity, so the end result of this activity cannot be claimed as 'my choice'.


Right. It's not "my choice" because choice is not really a choice--it's neural activity-- and it's not "my" neural activity because the "me" which wants to take authorship does not exist. There is no distinction between conditioned thought and unconditioned thought. There is no choice and there is no chooser.

This is as far as the science goes. And it's consistent with spirituality to this point so far, for example with what Adyashanti, Jed Mckenna, Krishnamurti etc say about the absence of a "doer" and absence of free will.

Can the environment in which conditioned and unconditioned thoughts occur be changed?

It seems to me that's exactly what happens in process where we go from suffering to sanity, the process which some people call awakening.
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Re: The best explanation of free will ever

Postby rachMiel » Sat Jul 21, 2012 6:50 pm

karmarider wrote:There is no distinction between conditioned thought and unconditioned thought.

All thought is, by definition: conditioned. (Thank you Jiddu. :-) ) With the exception, perhaps (?), of flashes of pure-ish insight/inspiration, if that can be called thought.

But experience is not necessarily conditioned. One can experience a sunset according to a learned template (conditioning): I'm supposed to be moved by this, I'm supposed to notice the colors, I'm supposed to associate this with the diurnal cycle, etc. One can also experience a sunset as _______________ : no template, no expectations, no sunset, just _______________ .

I'd go so far as to say that all pure (unencumbered by ego/memory) experience is unconditioned.
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Re: The best explanation of free will ever

Postby Natalie » Sat Jul 21, 2012 7:34 pm

For some unknown reason the notion of having no control over our goals and choices, as if all of our actions were simply the inevitable operation of forces outside of ourselves, brings me incredible peace. I understand that to many of us this kind of life would seem bleak indeed. I have realized the nature of my imagination and in doing so I have stopped chasing my tail. Have you ever seen a dog chasing his tail? What happens when the dog runs faster?
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Re: The best explanation of free will ever

Postby smiileyjen101 » Sun Jul 22, 2012 2:29 am

Karmarider said:
Natalie: He 'made' me see that the neural activity that precedes my thoughts/actions is not 'mine' to begin with. I didn't plan or author this activity, so the end result of this activity cannot be claimed as 'my choice'.


Right. It's not "my choice" because choice is not really a choice--it's neural activity-- and it's not "my" neural activity because the "me" which wants to take authorship does not exist. There is no distinction between conditioned thought and unconditioned thought. There is no choice and there is no chooser.

This is as far as the science goes. And it's consistent with spirituality to this point so far, for example with what Adyashanti, Jed Mckenna, Krishnamurti etc say about the absence of a "doer" and absence of free will.

Can the environment in which conditioned and unconditioned thoughts occur be changed?

It seems to me that's exactly what happens in process where we go from suffering to sanity, the process which some people call awakening.


What is this realisation if not that we are more than our 'physical' body that is interpreting stimuli and 'possibly' responding to it unconsciously?

Unmanifest there is no fear - false emotions appearing real. There is no ignorance within which to react in ignorance, there is no conditioning there is only the all of what is clearly seen and experienced.

For me the choice we have in the human experience is to stay in the ignorance of thinking we are this human body employing fear and conditioning to respond in ignorance to our experiences, employing only our mind within constructs, or to be willing to reach outside of that conditioning and engage with the eternal nature of who we really are, one with everything.

From this perspective we recognise the possibility of choosing fear and separation - and no thing will impose upon that to stop it, the choice must come from the higher self to instead choose love and awareness.

No choice is wrong, it just brings a different experience. Choose love where you would have 'unconsciously' chosen fear and there will be a difference of experience. Choose fear where there is also the capacity to choose love and again you will experience a difference.

This choice is not made in neurological functioning, it is made outside of it. Absolutely it will have an impact on neurological functioning which is only the pathway through which energies of different resonances travel through your human body and are interpreted by the brain before sending the energy off down neural pathways into 'action' responses.

Natalie said: For some unknown reason the notion of having no control over our goals and choices, as if all of our actions were simply the inevitable operation of forces outside of ourselves, brings me incredible peace.

I understand that to many of us this kind of life would seem bleak indeed. I have realized the nature of my imagination and in doing so I have stopped chasing my tail.

Absolutely to stop chasing your tail is a peace if you are speaking of your imagination as being limited to the cognitive functioning of your body and processing of that stimuli that resonates in the frequencies of fear.

Many do stop here where it comes to understanding their capacity for being.

ET explaining ...
“Nearly everyone derives his identity from mental concepts of who he or she thinks they are. Nearly everyone identifies with his or her thoughts. If you ask people who they are, you get their life story. But that’s not who they are. The story only describes a number of events in their lives. You can’t get to know yourself by thinking about it. You can only get to know yourself by silencing your mind and listening – by truly being present for what is presenting itself in the moment.
“You cannot solve your problems on the thinking level, because that’s where they were created.

Solutions come when you rise above your thoughts. I call that ‘beyond thought’, which is different than ignorance. Nor does it mean that you never think again, but it means that you are no longer a prisoner of your own mind.”

According to Eckhart Tolle, giving in to the now is the only path that leads to actual free will. “Most people live in the delusion that they make decisions out of free will.

In reality their actions are completely determined by their past. How you think, what you want and what you consider important are all determined by your upbringing, your culture, your religion – in short, by your concepts.

As long as you still think you are your mind, you have no free will. Spiritually you are unconscious. You may think you know what you want, but you don’t. It is only the conditioning of your mind that says: “This is what you need to have”. That’s not a choice, it’s mechanical.

Some people escape from this. Then it is suddenly as if there is more consciousness, which means that for the first time they truly experience free will. Only then can you take responsibility.”



The choice whether to 'escape from this' is absolutely yours to make, and because 'life' only happens 'now' you only ever have to, or ever can, make these choices in the moment, in as many moments as you choose to rise above your conditioning, in as many moments as you choose to ride the energies of love, instead of riding the energies of fear.

And as always, no choice is wrong, it just brings a different experience for the 'all' to encompass into its ever expanding creative knowing.

It's not really 'personal', in fact its actually totally the opposite it's your 'person' willingly freeing your little part of creation from that false sense of restriction of being in form. It's why it is, and isn't important to the all whether or what you choose consciously or unconsciously.

The 'all' isn't actually keeping score. :wink:

The next line in that ET interview at http://www.inner-growth.info/power_of_n ... de_mag.htm

“The moment you realise you’re crazy,” Tolle adds. “is the moment you start to heal.”


The question now Natalie - now that you know this level of freedom, what will you willingly and consciously do with it?
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Re: The best explanation of free will ever

Postby Webwanderer » Sun Jul 22, 2012 5:41 am

That's some clear seeing Jen. Well stated.

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Re: The best explanation of free will ever

Postby karmarider » Sun Jul 22, 2012 7:51 am

rachMiel wrote:
karmarider wrote:There is no distinction between conditioned thought and unconditioned thought.

All thought is, by definition: conditioned. (Thank you Jiddu. :-) ) With the exception, perhaps (?), of flashes of pure-ish insight/inspiration, if that can be called thought.


Yes, that's it. All thought is the same.

But fear can make us believe that certain thoughts and beliefs and choices are more "conscious" or more "spiritual."

But experience is not necessarily conditioned. One can experience a sunset according to a learned template (conditioning): I'm supposed to be moved by this, I'm supposed to notice the colors, I'm supposed to associate this with the diurnal cycle, etc. One can also experience a sunset as _______________ : no template, no expectations, no sunset, just _______________ .

I'd go so far as to say that all pure (unencumbered by ego/memory) experience is unconditioned.


Yes. I would say unencumbered by the basic fear of life.
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Re: The best explanation of free will ever

Postby karmarider » Sun Jul 22, 2012 8:21 am

smiileyjen101 wrote:
Karmarider said:
Natalie: He 'made' me see that the neural activity that precedes my thoughts/actions is not 'mine' to begin with. I didn't plan or author this activity, so the end result of this activity cannot be claimed as 'my choice'.


Right. It's not "my choice" because choice is not really a choice--it's neural activity-- and it's not "my" neural activity because the "me" which wants to take authorship does not exist. There is no distinction between conditioned thought and unconditioned thought. There is no choice and there is no chooser.

This is as far as the science goes. And it's consistent with spirituality to this point so far, for example with what Adyashanti, Jed Mckenna, Krishnamurti etc say about the absence of a "doer" and absence of free will.

Can the environment in which conditioned and unconditioned thoughts occur be changed?

It seems to me that's exactly what happens in process where we go from suffering to sanity, the process which some people call awakening.


What is this realisation if not that we are more than our 'physical' body that is interpreting stimuli and 'possibly' responding to it unconsciously?



Well, there is an explanation which does not require stretching into the metaphysical. It's observable right here, right now, as a human being.

The basic problem--indeed the only problem there is--is the basic dissatisfaction of life which encumbers the mind from the very beginning of life. The Buddha called this dukkha, ET called this the fear from which all negative emotions arise, Jed Mckenna called it the fear of non-existence, John Sherman calls it the fear of life, Ramana called it that which makes everything else uncertain, de Mello called it the opposite of love, and so on.

It's the inner atmosphere of dissatisfaction--and it's a small thing but its consequences are everything we see in human beings.

It is this context of dissatisfaction--the original separation and disaffection from life--which motivates us to seek satisfaction; some seek satisfaction in responses of ambition, security, cruelty, and so on; others seek satisfaction in religion, spirituality, metaphysical beliefs and ideas and so on.

It's kind of strange that we resist neurological evidence, but will embrace unobserved ideas about consciousness and desires and power if they allay our fears. Nevertheless, there is nothing wrong with these pursuits. There is nothing wrong with any human pursuit (except the ones which cause harm).

It's just that they are irrelevant to the seeing.

When it is seen that the only problem is the original dissatisfaction of life, the fear of life--it stands out in bold relief. It was never hard to see.

When the basic problem is seen, the solution is of course inevitable. (The looking at the sense of you, as suggested Nisargaddatta and Ramana and Sherman, for example, works very well.)

The basic problem of fear--the original dissatisfaction--isn't really hard to see. It's not that it's tricky or difficult to understand. And it's not like it hasn't been pointed out a million times before by the awakened. But the context of dissatisfaction itself keeps the chase going. Which makes it hard to see the original problem. Which keeps the chase going. Which makes it hard to see the original problem.

------------

Natalie, I celebrate whenever anyone stops the tail chasing. There is no reason to start another round of tail chasing.

Some people get here after decades of seeking. The spiritually-inclined can find this to be a frightening place. As Adyashanti points out, " 'Do not seek the truth; simply cease cherishing illusions.' And if you’re like most spiritually oriented people, your spirituality is your most cherished illusion. Imagine that."

In any case, the looking technique works regardless of the chasing or beliefs.

When the fear of life goes, life is extra-ordinarily satisfying. Not metaphysical, not spiritual. But right here on earth, as a human being, natural and free of resistance.

Thanks for this thread, Natalie.
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Re: The best explanation of free will ever

Postby rideforever » Sun Jul 22, 2012 11:55 am

I think you are just incredibly lazy KM.

Nisargadatta for instance who you quote a lot spent 2 years in very close proximity to a guru and was raised in a culture that was imbued with grace, and he conducted a very strict "sadhana" of deeply reflecting on his own existence and holding fast to the belief that he was the supreme as his guru had instructed him.

And after the EFFORT, the job was done. And this effort was conducted in ideal conditions in an ideal culture - it still took 2 years in that situation.

It is a lie to say Nisargadatta did nothing. It is a lie that you keep repeating.

You discard belief and effort - but that is exactly what the guy you quote all the time actually DID ! Did you even read his book ? For christssakes are you too lazy to do that even ??!!!!!!!

All lazy people would like company - so that they can console themselves that they don't have to get off their backside.
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Re: The best explanation of free will ever

Postby Rick » Sun Jul 22, 2012 2:31 pm

Webwanderer wrote:...is it not possible that there is an available choice to consciousness being? Does this not seem a reasonable process of conscious evolution?

WW


Depends upon how you see it.

A follower of Abraham might see it this way:

"If you are ending up where you want to be, what difference does it make whether you went fast or slow? Or what difference does it make whether it was painful before it got really good? Isn't that the point of free will? You get to choose." -Abraham

A non-dualist might see it this way:

"For a nondualist, who sustains that everything appears in Consciousness, and that there is only that One Consciousness, there is no such thing as free will, because all individual body-minds are not real entities, but mere appearances without substance. Where there is no real doer, there cannot be a free will.

What regards Consciousness Itself, being the only and ultimate subject, It is not an object. It is thus free of attributes or qualities. It is free of action, free of decisions, free of choices, free of will. It is pure Freedom." -Miguel-Angel Carrasco

These two views seem worlds apart. One may be right...or they are both craziness. You choose.
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Re: The best explanation of free will ever

Postby rideforever » Sun Jul 22, 2012 2:43 pm

Rick wrote:"If you are ending up where you want to be, what difference does it make whether you went fast or slow? Or what difference does it make whether it was painful before it got really good? Isn't that the point of free will? You get to choose." -Abraham

Ah yes I think I saw this sign over the entrance to Vegas : "Great Future Ahead, don't worry if you lose a bit of money on the way !!!".

Rick wrote:non-dualist might see it this way:

"For a nondualist, who sustains that everything appears in Consciousness, and that there is only that One Consciousness, there is no such thing as free will, because all individual body-minds are not real entities, but mere appearances without substance. Where there is no real doer, there cannot be a free will.

It's amazing what comes out of the mouth of a human. Reminds me of a story about Diogenese of Sinope :

A young student come to Diogenese one day with a theory he was working on, namely that motion could not exist. Diogenese upon hearing this got up and walked away.
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