Webwanderer wrote:Consider the matter from two perspectives. Are we observers? Or are we explorers?
Both, although "we", or the singularized "I" is just the lens through which experience, nature essentially, becomes a singular perceivable entity for this particular biological entity. It's more efficient than everything being fragmented like a kaleidoscope.
Webwanderer wrote:But who is doing the watching? Who is this we? How did it begin, and to what end?
The first two are meaningless questions. The watching is doing the watching. Placing a who behind it is playing to the illusion of a unitary self doing the watching, creating more metaphysical layers upon which to build this "watcher of the watching". Why can't the watching just be watching? The mind is reluctant to let this be the case.
Webwanderer wrote:As a curious explorer, there is the opportunity to choose between possibilities within that unfoldment.
Absence of free will does not mean absence of choice. It just means whatever we choose, including the thought process leading up to the choice itself, was the product of an unbroken chain of prior conditions.
Webwanderer wrote:Exploring is inclusive of observing. The who is a conscious individualized self that began with a desire to explore experiential possibilities for the purpose of conscious expansion and evolution. Within those possibilities of our greater conscious being is included the limited perspective of the human life. This life experience is available for temporary adventures and unique explorations into the perception and perspective of human individuality.
Nothing you have said there necessitates, or is necessitated by free will.
Webwanderer wrote:As to the idea of 'no self' - that we can consider self at all - or for that matter consider any of more than one possibility, demonstrates a an ability to choose between those possibilities. It's all about experience.
Again, choice, experience, multiple possibilities - all these things can exist independently of free will. The only difference is, there is no singular creative entity spontaneously authoring
choice, experience or the multiple possibilities. Or at least there's no evidence for it.
Webwanderer wrote:Of course, one such possibility is living through the limited belief of no self and no free will. That brings a certain type of experience that is just as valid an experience as any other.
such possibility as a human being is living through limitation. Part of that limitation is that we are only conscious of a mere fraction of all the millions of processes that are occurring in our brain in any given moment. The more the brain is studied, the more laughable any notion of free will becomes. This is why I call it a religious belief, because to believe in something like free will you have to reject the overwhelming evidence against it.
Webwanderer wrote:I would suggest that there is no such thing as an imagined self.
Is that a positive claim disguised as a negative? That's not fair WW
Even if there is no such thing as an imagined self, this doesn't necessarily mean an actual self exists. But because nearly everyone seems to be claiming ownership of a self, yet no meaningful locus of self can be found in the brain (in fact everything we know about the brain suggests the complete opposite - fragmentation), the imagined/constructed self is seemingly more plausible.
Webwanderer wrote:There may well be a mistakened perception of self (ie: I am the things I 'think' I am), but the consideration of self at all is a demonstration of the reality of self as consideration is a unique function of self. Pure observation does not consider, it merely observes.
Self may simply be a construct that gives consideration a singular coherence, like a basic program being a platform more complex programs. What are my cats doing when they stare at something for a few seconds before walking over to investigate? Is that not a form of consideration, albeit through their own lense of perception?
Webwanderer wrote:All that said, I would agree that most all of us have lived portions, if not all, of our lives through an autonomous mental belief structure. Thoughts arise from the conditioning present with little or no consideration of their merit.
Even if there was a whole load more consideration, as much as you want, each interjection of that consideration still arises out of an unconscious darkness. It is still, piece by piece, delivered into our conscious field. Nobody can say they wilfully and consciously CREATE consideration. Even if we evolved in such a way that we were able to be conscious of more of our, as of now, unconscious processes, all we would see is further back in domino rally. I can see how becoming more aware leads to more consideration, but it still does not bring us anywhere close to that elusive locus of spontaneous free will.
Thought is the object, not the essence, of consciousness.