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Are we fooling ourselves about 'free will?'

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posted on Dec, 7 2005 @ 03:41 AM
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‘Will’ can be defined as:

1. The mental faculty by which one deliberately chooses or decides upon a course of action.
2. Diligent purposefulness; determination; desire, purpose, or deliberate intention or wish.
3. Self-control; self-discipline.

‘Free’ is variously defined as:

1. Not imprisoned or enslaved; not subject to external restraint.
2. Not controlled by obligation or the will of another.
3. Not subject to arbitrary interference by a government or to a given condition.
4. Not affected or restricted by a given condition or circumstance.

Can we really say, in all honesty, that our ‘will’ is ‘free?’

When we are in perfect possession of all of the factors of ‘will’ there is inevitably something factored in which impedes our ‘freedom’ over that will, as defined above. And vice versa. Cause and effect render ‘free will’ a theory, in regard to the human condition. Even to live alone on a desert island does not provide the conditions for ‘free will’; for things such as weather, flora, and fauna, will still affect one’s decisions in various ways.

What we DO have is the ‘opportunity to choose’ and the ‘freedom to decide for ourselves’.

‘Choose’ is:

1. To select from a number of possible alternatives; decide on and pick out.
2. To prefer above others.
3. To determine or decide.

Yet our choices are always in a predefined menu—whether it be scripted by our relationships with others, the weather, our financial situations, or social mores. Even in the absence of those types of obligations, there are inherent personal limits that, despite being totally internal and individual, are often still outside of our power to completely control.

And, ultimately, there is one part of life, that we all share equally in common; that no human has any shred of control over, whatsoever. Of course, I'm speaking of death: time, method, place, etc… To say suicide is a way to get around that certainty is not quite accurate, either. All suicide does is determine the specifics, by hastening something that will happen regardless.

The final freedom is just not there, for any of us. We do not have ‘free will.’




posted on Dec, 7 2005 @ 04:37 AM
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What you are saying, in the semantic sense, about the expression "free will" is certainly very true. The words we use to label and define things definately have a great deal of influence on us and our perceptions of the world. For instance, the word "reality" implies something singular, something tangible, that is "outside" of us, whereas it would seem to be more accurate to use the word "realities" instead...

In my experience, what the term "free will" really implies, is an understanding that "most" of us are in a trance like state "most" of the time. Once it dawns on us that we are conditioned, we can then begin to reprogram ourselves, to undo the conditioning that has been impressed upon us by outside influences for most of our lives, and step by step, move closer to "free will" or understanding who we "really are" what is our purpose in life and relationship with the universe or god/creator...



posted on Dec, 11 2005 @ 04:27 PM
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Anyone else have any opinions?



posted on Dec, 11 2005 @ 06:44 PM
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You are very right about not having free will, you have just noticed you are sleeping.

To have freewill is to have the will to change the things you like, the things you don't and to know why you apparently like somethings and detest others.. it is mastery of your emotions, mastery of your surroundings. control of the ethers, freewill is the ability to turn water into wine, it is the hidden knowledge, (gnosis) which is inside you, inside us all. It is the control of fire, water, earth and wind. it is peace and love.

It has begun that a master will arise and teach us, many are along the same path but no one is going the same direction, some are standing looking about, some are waiting for others to move, some are even setting traps along the roadways, but one will come soon that will put us all single file so we may all go the same way and reach our destination.



posted on Dec, 11 2005 @ 07:33 PM
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Free will was not a gift to the mud and blood you call your body, it was a gift to you. You had it before you came here, you have it now and you will have it when you choose to leave this life.

Free will does not mean there are no consequences for your actions though. If you rob a bank you will go to jail. If you cheat on your spouse you will end up divorced. If you live alone you will end up lonely.

That’s why I’m pro choice on EVERYTHING!

Imagine for a moment that you were god. (If you know you are then imagine for a moment that your not) Now, as God you wanted to create a school for the children you have and love. What would be the most perfect school you could create?

Give the child free will and place them in a world with infinite possibilities. Whatever decision they made would lead them to a lesson they need to learn. If they needed to learn about trustworthiness they would decide to betray and they would be betrayed. Lesson learned.

If they needed to learn about hurting others they would hurt others, and be hurt in return. Lessons learned.

Free will is very real, and each time you use it, it leads you to something you need to learn.

Its even ok to sleep thru class. Many do here and sometimes it takes lifetimes after lifetimes for them to wake up and pay attention. That is their choice, it is their expression of free will. They have the right to use it as they see fit.

It would be easier to stop the sun from shining or the season from changing then to stop the growth of the eternal soul.

Love and light my friends,

Wupy



posted on Dec, 11 2005 @ 07:39 PM
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Originally posted by dnero6911
You are very right about not having free will, you have just noticed you are sleeping.

Actually, I've been awake for some time. I just hadn't yet thought of a way to approach this particular subject until it came up somewhere else and the words came to me in order.


To have freewill is to have the will to change the things you like, the things you don't and to know why you apparently like somethings and detest others.. it is mastery of your emotions, mastery of your surroundings. control of the ethers, freewill is the ability to turn water into wine, it is the hidden knowledge, (gnosis) which is inside you, inside us all. It is the control of fire, water, earth and wind. it is peace and love.


EXACTLY!


It has begun that a master will arise and teach us, many are along the same path but no one is going the same direction, some are standing looking about, some are waiting for others to move, some are even setting traps along the roadways, but one will come soon that will put us all single file so we may all go the same way and reach our destination.

I think it will certainly be a group of several, acting as One. Christ was one, the second string is more than just one.



posted on Dec, 11 2005 @ 08:00 PM
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Originally posted by queenannie38

Originally posted by dnero6911
You are very right about not having free will, you have just noticed you are sleeping.



Actually, I've been awake for some time. I just hadn't yet thought of a way to approach this particular subject until it came up somewhere else and the words came to me in order.


I urge you to be careful, I am no more awake than you are, ... we are in the beginning stages of waking up... it is a difficult thing, waking up. Most times we are dreaming of being awake, Jesus is the only truly awakened individual to have walked our earth, but there are many of us coming, a new age is at hand.



posted on Dec, 11 2005 @ 08:10 PM
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Originally posted by dnero6911
I urge you to be careful, I am no more awake than you are, ... we are in the beginning stages of waking up... it is a difficult thing, waking up.

No doubt. It is a crazy thing, in the whole.


Most times we are dreaming of being awake, Jesus is the only truly awakened individual to have walked our earth, but there are many of us coming, a new age is at hand.

Agreed. It is only His arrival within our own slumbering souls that has any power to wake us, at all.

The most startling thing about waking up is realizing that you were asleep the whole time until then. It makes you wonder how thoughts even rose in your mind.



posted on Dec, 11 2005 @ 08:27 PM
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You're using a semantic game to further a fallacious proof.

What you're doing is narrowly defining the word "free" in order to nominally demonstrate that we don't have true freedom of action, then returning to the more traditional definition, as it applies to "free will" in order to nominally prove that there's no such thing.

Obviously our choices are limited by all manner of things-- external and internal realities prevent us from being able to follow particular paths, at least at particular times and in particular places. But all that means is that those paths, for all intents and purposes, DON'T EXIST. The fact that we are unable to follow paths that don't exist is axiomatic, and demonstrates nothing. At any time, we are able to follow any path that we might choose that does exist, and that is the very essence of "free will."

At any given point in life, we are faced with any number of choices. As I write this, I am constantly making choices, for instance, choosing which ideas I want to convey in which order and which words I want to use to convey them. Every time that I choose one idea over another or one word over another, I'm exercising my entirely free will. I can choose ANY word if I desire, but I choose one. I exercise my entirely free will to do so.

By your argument, the fact that I can't choose to use words that are impossible-- words that require letters that don't exist or words that are sensed by smell or words of infinite length, means that I don't really have free will. But the truth is that it means nothing of the sort-- all it means is that my actions are constrained by reality. Within the axiomatic constraints of my current reality, I not only may, but must, exercise my free will from moment to moment in order to define my path through life.

"Free will" has never, other than in this particular argument (which I've seen before, elsewhere) meant the ability to choose to do ANYTHING, regardless of the constraints of reality. It only means the ability to choose, freely, among however many possible choices there might be, from moment to moment. And in that sense, free will is an obvious reality.

Now I'm going to exercise my free will to either post this, or to preview it first. Then, depending on the choice that I make, I'll further exercise my free will to either rewrite this or that part of it, or not. Then I'll exercise my free will to decide whether to post it or preview it again, and so on. Every choice, from moment to moment, will be an exercise of my free will.

And yes, at no point will I be able to choose, for instance, to go lay in the sun, since it's night here and the sun has already set. But that says nothing at all about the existence of free will.


As a bit of an aside, if I might be so curious-- what is it that this fallacious proof provides for you? As I said, I've already seen this particular argument elsewhere, and I've never understood its appeal. It clearly relies on a misinterpretation of the word "free" as used in the phrase "free will" and thereby only appears to demonstrate the falsity of something that is self-evidently true. When (or even if) you read this post, you will surely exercise your own free will in deciding if, and if so how, to respond to it, so your own free will has to be apparent to you. Every moment of every day, you decide which of many paths to follow, and you can't help but be aware of the fact that you do that, so what's the point of this obviously fallacious argument? I'm truly and sincerely curious.



posted on Dec, 11 2005 @ 08:28 PM
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You make me smile, it warms my heart to hear the truth.

May you have luck awakening others.



posted on Dec, 11 2005 @ 08:48 PM
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There is a difference between the freedom of action and the freedom of will.
As Queenannie intimates, we are pushed or pulled into actions by the influences upon us, and those influences are manifold. We are told what we should do by governments, schools, parents, children and so on ad naseum. Often our choices are made by smart marketing ploys and that has nothing to do with free will, but rather choice of action.

Beside these choices are social restraints. We are forced to make our decisions based within the framework of the legal system or the religious morality where-in we have found ourselves.

Our actions, directed by such restraints and proddings, do not represent 'free will', since our choices are limited within acceptable parameters. In fact, taking this approach to extremes bolsters Queenannie's statement that there is no such thing.

However, it is never that simple when philosophers start talking. David Hume thinks that there is the ability to decide to, or, not to do something, calling it Liberty. Also, there is the difference between 'animal' and 'rational' and the fact that they often conflict. Ask any teenager and they'll attest to that.

When we overcome our animal instincts, hopefully by the time we've reached maturity, we then have 'self mastery', the condition where our will is tempered by the desire to fit within the immediate society by attending it's laws and morals.

Our desires are channeled through our conscience. We do or not do what we will by our understanding of what is good and what is not. Those who do nothing but good are rewarded for their excellent choice by the responses of those around us. Invariably, those who adhere to the social morals are accepted. Those who deliberately are antisocial are not, plainly because we soon learn to avoid such people.

Once again, there is no 'free will', only personal learned behavior not unlike Pavlov's dog salivating at the sound of the dinner bell. The freedom of will is directed.

so much for the philosophers...
Stanford Encyclopedia of philosophy

But I believe there is a deeper meaning to the term. DruidTek mentions the fact that we are in a trance, choosing this or that much like the philosophers describe. But s/he mentions also an awakening, and that is important. We do have the ability to change our social structures...tear down the laws which control us, change our theologies and break the trance. Perhaps there is a bit of free will after all!
Dnero6911 goes even further by declaring the coming of a New Master who will drag us from our dreams.
Mrwupy, goes to the heart of it all when he talks about the soul.

So...we can change our society which controls us, proving free will. Where we find this 'new way' will be in our souls, and when we search there, we are searching for the ability to be like God (I prefer Creator, but, hey...).

We are destined to find, through free will and discernment between good and evil, the true meaning of life. Not just our lives but all of life, from atoms to animals. We have free will to understand the meaning behind the creation of the universe, to know what constitutes beauty and love, and to understand that 42 was a frivolous answer.

love and light right back at you, mrwupy



posted on Dec, 11 2005 @ 11:06 PM
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The thing that I truly don't understand about all of this is that it's apparently coming from people with relatively strong ethics, yet the notion of a complete lack of free will is far more often espoused by people who are at best immoral, if not amoral. For instance, murderers, particularly sociopathic ones, will often attempt to defend their actions by claiming that they "had no choice." That, effectively, they had no free will.

I would think that people with strong ethics would tend MORE, not less, to understand that they do indeed have free will-- that they are not forced to act in a particular manner, but instead choose to.


And you know-- if you think about it, free will, in and of itself, is axiomatic, simply because "not-free will" is self-contradictory. To argue that one does not have free will, one must argue that one does not have will at all. The definition of "will," as stated in the first post on this thread, and as it applies to this topic, is "the mental faculty by which one deliberately chooses or decides upon a course of action." One cannot simultaneously "deliberately choose or decide" and NOT "deliberately choose or decide" so if one has "will" at all, it is axiomatically free.

Additional thoughts-- if there is no free will, then there are no slaves and no rapists-- no tyrants and no prisoners. All of those things are defined by the denial of the free will of others-- the slave and the prisoner have had their will usurped, the murderer and the rapist usurp the will of others. But if nobody has free will to begin with, then there is no will that can be usurped, and there can be no crime in the denial of a thing that doesn't exist anyway.


Granted, as was pointed out earlier, there are many who do not often actually exercise their free will, and who allow themselves to be directed by propaganda and marketing and custom and habit, but that still doesn't mean that it doesn't exist. As a matter of fact, the fact that some do not exercise it is further evidence that it DOES exist, for, again, if it did not exist, there could be no significance to failing to exercise it.

In the end, I still and truly do not understand why anyone would deny the existence of something so fundamentally obvious as free will. The very fact that you can choose to deny it proves that it exists.



posted on Dec, 12 2005 @ 09:20 AM
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Originally posted by Bob LaoTse
In the end, I still and truly do not understand why anyone would deny the existence of something so fundamentally obvious as free will. The very fact that you can choose to deny it proves that it exists.



I don't believe that free will is so fundamentaly easy to define. Consider a flock of birds, turning in unison, or the instinct of herd animals to encircle the young...does this not say there is an instinctual habit among animals to act according to rules shared by the many? How much of that instinct applies to humans? When you say you have the choice to preview your reply before hitting the post button, you are acting on good advice, not free will. A post full of spelling or grammar errors does not reflect well to the ATS herd...and so you preview. (something I need to focus on more myself
)

There is also a requirement to fully try to understand previous posts before commenting. To not do so would make you run the risk of being 'off topic' or even worse, failing to note the (sometimes difficult to understand) intent of others who have commented. In total, I have only seen Queenannie38 say definitively that; "We do not have free will" and yet she backs off that by stating that her faith in the return of the Christ may wake our slumbering souls. This implies that she too thinks there is free will somewhere, but we are not using it.

I tend to agree with her and dnero6911...our free will has been subjegated, to a large degree, by the forces of public opinion, law, corporate advertising, governmental meddling, social mores, schools and so on. Someday, someone is going to come along and change our way of thinking about all things.

When such a powerful individual comes among us and makes us see ourselves as we really are, then the changes will be rapid and, like that flock of birds turning magically in concert, so will we, because we become enlightened about ourselves and our relationship with each other.

The will to become enlightened defines free will.



posted on Dec, 12 2005 @ 09:50 AM
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Originally posted by queenannie38
Can we really say, in all honesty, that our ‘will’ is ‘free?’


No we can't. As best we can tell, the workings of our brain conform to the same patterns of the universe that we observe for inanimate objects. There's plenty of speculatiion about metaphysical souls, but even if you go down that road you can not resolve the problem that 'free will' is an inconsistent concept. You ultimately have to punt on trying to understand it if you go down a dualistic road, which means it is not a comprehensible phrase in any of the usual contexts.

You end up with will that is deterministic or random, neither of which are free in the sense it is typically thought. The only way will could be free would be if it were completely self caused, with no initial causes either.

What most people think of when they say 'free will' is that it feels like our choices are unconstrained. But that doesn't mean they actually are, it only means we are unaware of the constraints.

Good summary Ann!



posted on Dec, 12 2005 @ 09:57 AM
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People that post such things ... and convince someone of these things. Are conspiracizing against thier ownself. If you can convince yourself that you do not have "Freewill" ... You do not know what you are talking about ... You are basically living in the U.S. you don't ever see any other country asking do we have "Freewill" .. You know why ... ??? Because they know what it is like to have Freedom Of Religion taken away ... Or to really comprehend something taken away ... If you have never had anything like this taken from you then you would not be able to appreciate or understand even ... that something cannot be taken from you UNLESS IT IS TAKEN FROM YOU !!!! ...Freedom ... is something that this country has always held High ... Now you guys acting like it is not a freedom ... will more than likely let someone some day come in and take these freedoms for you because you are trying to give away your freewill as noone is fighting trying to take it for you ... Wait untill one day when you WEAK minded people have someone fighting to take it from .. you ... You will almost give it away .. Then you will truly be slaves to someone as you want to be ... But don't worry it runs in your genes from ancient times .. the slaves can't help but be slaves they do not know better ... Well, this former slave sitting behind this computer ... will not try and give away my freewill just because you think there is someone behind the scenes pulling your strings ... Look around untill you see those strings ... Don't post here about how you do not have freewill ...

Can you pick your nose ... ??
Can you flick that bugger at anyone you want ??
Does that condemn you ??



posted on Dec, 12 2005 @ 10:43 AM
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Originally posted by 5Lostboy5
If you can convince yourself that you do not have "Freewill" ... You do not know what you are talking about ...


...a compelling argument if I ever heard one. :shk:


Originally posted by 5Lostboy5
You are basically living in the U.S. you don't ever see any other country asking do we have "Freewill" .. You know why ... ??? Because they know what it is like to have Freedom Of Religion taken away ...


What on earth are you talking about? The 'free will' discussion has nothing whatsoever to do with freedom of religion.



posted on Dec, 12 2005 @ 11:24 AM
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Freedom ... runs together whether you want it to or not ... Free Will is a freedom .. I don't know what you are talking about ... saying that Other freedoms do not have anything to do with this freedom ... Because it has all to do with it ... What are your Freedoms ?? Depending on where you live ... you have different ones ...Hopefully where you live you don't have to hide your face whereever you are or your FEET ...



posted on Dec, 12 2005 @ 01:07 PM
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Originally posted by 5Lostboy5
Free Will is a freedom .. I don't know what you are talking about ... saying that Other freedoms do not have anything to do with this freedom ...


Free will, if it exists, is inherent. Other freedoms, such as freedom of religion or speech, while they may be natural rights, they can be taken away by law. The concept of free will is a philosophical/metaphysical question that has nothing to do with legal freedoms, any more than 'free beer' does.



posted on Dec, 12 2005 @ 03:04 PM
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I think ... freedoms are what people make of them ... There is all the "Free Beer" you want ... here in the U.S. yeah you might end up in jail for a night or two ... or even with some Psychological Evaluations after you break in and just start drinking ... But it is free .. no matter what you want to call it ... The same goes with your Life .. You can make decisions to do whatever you want to do ... it may cost you something .. But you already know what the cost is before you do it ... Free Will ... is something that EVERYONE has ... this is something that should never be contradicted ... For it is the one thing that has been here all throughout time ...

Now if you think you are going to change GODS will you have something else coming ... No matter what god you believe in ... You cannot change Allah's will or Budah's will ..... Especially if you are that particular religion ... If you don't believe in anything ... your probably pretending to be Atheist .. But if you really are Athiest ... then you cannot believe in anything from my understanding lol ... Anyways ...
take it easy on my flame lol ...



Freewill is not inherent unless you try to make it that way ... and then I guess you can make anything, anything you want it to be in your head if you think about it to much.

[edit on 12-12-2005 by 5Lostboy5]

[edit on 12-12-2005 by 5Lostboy5]



posted on Dec, 12 2005 @ 04:03 PM
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I think we're all missing the real point here, it isn't about wether you can decide you do or don't wanna kill someone, it isn't about the fact you can flick a booger at someone/anyone ... its about the fact someone doesn't like mushrooms for instance, they do not choose whether they like them or not they simple find them disgusting whether or not there is a suffient reason... it isn't the fact you can decide what you like and don't like, it's the fact we can't change our "hard-wiring" in order to change our decisions. Free-will is more broad than most people think...

Freewill encompasses the ability to control the weather in your immediate presence as well as at a distance, the ability to control fire, the ability to change water into wine, the ability to heal and also to harm, the ability to transfer thought and emotion without telephone or computer, the ability to build with no tools, the ability to accomplish absolutely anything. that is freewill not simple deciding where you take your next crap.

[edit on 12/12/05 by dnero6911]



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