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Is it at least possible that free will is entirely an illusion? It would seem so.

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posted on May, 5 2010 @ 12:06 PM

Originally posted by Smiggle

I think we examine and continually manipulate our beliefs by which our experience and perception changes, but they in term belong to our root assumptions - we dont eliminate as such as I think we devlop and evolve from them as they they become apparent, and we need change for our conscious expansion and development - as we are creators, this is part of the creation/ive process. We are never beyond our own control to make choice, to have free will is the taking of self responsibility, the recognition that what we experience is our own choice - we draw from the internal to experience the expternal - to have the capacity to reflect and see what our believes hold that make us choose the choices that we do.

Perhaps. But if those beliefs derive from deterministic processes or indeterministic processes which are nevertheless beyond our control, then would choices derived from those beliefs not be beyond the scope of what we traditionally consider free will?

There is also Mass Consciousness - the dance in which we all participate in this time and in this term of life in this reality plane. Maybe asking why you chose (or me or anyone) this time and this life, in the body your consciousness created and rests upon, in the country you reside, using the language that you do, in an era on earth under the 'restrictions and freedoms' that contain or release you ... under certain political rules, religions, cultures, somewhere, you made a choice, and you made that life contract with others in a time and space where you could experience all the conditions you needed to learn within. ...

... You are experiencing what you set out to in this world, by the realization and choices you make - Freewill enables you to reflect on that - if you examine your beliefs you will see where your choice are made within you and why you make them. Freewill starts that process and enables you to present it back to the self for examination...

... It isn't the first nor the last time you Spirit will do this
(Slightly truncated for space.)

That would seem to be one possible scenario in which free will is conceivably functional, but this still falls within the realm of belief in my opinion. I certainly do not reject the possibility, as there is no proof that this isn't the case, however I can't simply accept that scenario without proof as being the ultimate reality of our existence here either. And if it might not be the case, then a total lack of free will is still at least possible.

We're all in this together

I certainly agree with this point, though. Whatever our nature is, we're all experiencing it.

posted on May, 5 2010 @ 02:14 PM
reply to post by AceWombat04

Yeah your right I aggree with you.

I have a lot of respect for scientists and their endevours. Their efforts bring alot of insights at how our world works.

I would like to elaborate why I said what I did about science/scientists.

I find it a bit hard to word what I want to say.

In practice their is a difference between "empirical fact" and "subjective conjecture". Indeed empirical research has proven itself as a solid foundation in understanding and shaping existence. Whereas subjective consciousness is like quiksand in contrast to "facts". Even so. The scientific paragdim changes constantly. What is left now, was right yesterday and will be behind us tommorow. Therefore the most acurate statement about what scientific facts are can be formulated lik this.

Scientific facts = The way things are in our perception based on current knowledge and understanding facilitated by current technologies and techniques.

Now lets lay this down besides Subjective Conjecture.

Subjective Conjection = The way things are in our perception based on current knowledge and understanding facilitated by current states of consciousness and observations.

Even science has its roots in subjective conjecture. Much of science came forth from the desire to test out under clear circumstance what seems to be.

Following this patern of thinking and comparing. Gives me, on an abstract level, the impression that their is no difference between fact and fiction.
I can not see the difference between subjective conjecture and a scientific hypothesis when I reason like this.

Now their dawns a certain comphrehension, that adjusts my worldly vieuw.
We seem te exist in a state of being where their are no absolutes. That their are no absolutes in existence. Therefore duality seems to be an ilusion, that their is no right or wrong, that their is no difference between proven and unproven. Their is only perception.

So what does this mean in relation to my comment? I mean even if the above is "correct", what difference does it make? What is called science and who call themselves scientists will stil be on the fore front of understanding, most certainly on a practical level. So why say science can not light a candle to human intuition or consciousness or ect ect?

Well.... it was wrong to state it like that, because it is not the science that is less then or intuition more then. It is about the divisions science creates based on various reasons. Ironically I made a division ( where their is no division ) so that I could bash on a, by me unliked "perceived" division that did not even come through, because of the induced short sightedness raised by frustration and opossition against.

Nothing is lost though.
The above strings of thought may very wel shed light on what I am going to say now. What I should have said in my previous post.

The perceived superiority of science over believe is a misplaced phenomenon. Very often good ideas that could lead to good science if researched are shunned because it does not comform to the facts. This "arrogance" drives a lot of worthwhile development and increase of awareness underground. Science is more dynamic then religion, but still retains an essence of dogamtism that flows from human weakness. This I would like to see differently. One theory I like, but have not given the propper attention is sub quantum kinetics. To give an example of a theorie that possibly could hold alot of merit, but is not accepted by mainstream science.

Well I gues the human mind is prety much the same in interpreting what the intuition perceives. What is right or wrong and all other considerations. The only difference is you only have to convince yourself to develop yourself. Witch science you need to convince the whole world that your idea is the way to go to get it to develop

Well hope this clarifies a bit.

[edit on 5-5-2010 by GamleGamle]

posted on May, 5 2010 @ 02:27 PM
reply to post by GamleGamle

I could not agree more. Very well stated, in my opinion. This is the primary reason that while I label myself a rational skeptic, I also have deeply personal spiritual beliefs which employ the other tools we have at our disposal as human beings/animals/entities, i.e. intuition, altered states of consciousness, interpretation, guesses, feelings, etc. The only delineation I make between the two at all is that one requires irrefutable proof (of which, if I'm being truly skeptical and scientific, ironically, there is actually very little in my opinion - about anything!) whereas the other allows for beliefs.

I prefer to think of them as two different "modes" of thought and analysis, rather than two opposing or contradictory ways of thinking. I don't consider it contradictory at all, for example, to say that on the one hand, I do not scientifically see sufficient evidence to prove that such a thing as a soul might exist, while simultaneously saying on the other hand, that I personally believe in the existence of a soul.

Science prevents me from accepting something as 100% true without question, while still allowing for possibilities to be objectively considered. Beliefs allow me to indulge in and experience those possibilities subjectively.

[edit on 5/5/2010 by AceWombat04]

posted on May, 5 2010 @ 03:58 PM
reply to post by AceWombat04

Well said.

Science and believe do not contradict each other.
To me your reasoning, when aplied can function as a corner stone for peacefull coexistence of these often perceived contradictionary states of mind.

In all honesty I have been derailing the thread a bit from its initial purpose so I will answer as bluntly as possible to your inquiry.

Scientificaly it can not be proven or disproven at this time if humans have, or do not have, a free wil. Empirically their is an inclination towards pre-determinism. Although more recent studies has revealed more insight in higher brain functions and/or consciousness. Effectively it has only moved the question of free-wil to ( for lack of better wording ) higher plains of existence. Or rather the substructures behind the structures of existence. Even this is by my knowledge still disputed and largly ignored by mainstream science for various reasons not relevant to this thread.

Personally I like to suggest to feel and reach deep down inside. Per my experience their is something their that is you. It is wordless. Infinitly complex and simple at the same time. Sometimes I copare it with an animal with an undescriably powerful instinctive drive, but it ecompasses all, it has endless faculties. One state that is many. LEGION that is SOVEREIGN.

Sorry I have been influenced by the recent Mass Effect thread. As I am a former gamer I rememberd and spontaniously associated with. It suits my purposses at the moment so it seems form my minds eye.


This something stands above, behind, beyond any form of freedom and captivaty. I would suggest you try to approach this state and dwell within it as good as you can. I believe it will show you why your spiritual believes are as they are and why you do not have to be against being what you are be it a state of freedom or predeterminism. It as in you, because their is no difference will probably also show you that by all means you are capable of being oneness divided dan that you can divide further by passing judgement. But it makes no difference.

Once again it is endless. Rest your soul and be what your are at the best of your omnibilities.

posted on May, 6 2010 @ 06:36 PM
reply to post by GamleGamle

Ha, that's alright. As an avid gamer I actually appreciate the choice of words.

I too feel that there is something that is "me," ultimately. I have to question whether that feeling itself is an illusion too of course (or at least whether its source is illusory,) but I do feel it. It is what ultimately spawned this line of thought's importance to me. Some evidence suggests we may not have free will in the sense that we traditionally think of it (or even a "self" to begin with,) but my feelings tell me there is a "me" or "myself" which is distinct even from my body and brain.

Whether that's true, well... perhaps I won't learn until my death. Perhaps I won't even know then. Who knows?

posted on Jul, 16 2010 @ 01:34 AM
Not to resurrect a slightly old thread, but the thought just occurred earlier today that if the universe is truly unpredictable at the quantum scale, then while we might lack free will in the traditional sense, we might still be capable of unpredictable "creativity" for lack of a better term, through emergent behavior within the complex system that is our mind.

That might, in fact, be what the illusion of free will derives from (if it is an illusion. I'm still no more certain of that than when I last posted here.)

posted on Jul, 16 2010 @ 01:40 AM
reply to post by AceWombat04

There is no freedom on this planet but there is free will and it is critical man keeps it the Gnostic gospels state that if man loses free will the creator will forclose the planet.

posted on Jul, 16 2010 @ 02:02 AM
reply to post by AceWombat04

I laid out the final parameters of the experiment: I would attempt to decide to imagine something, without the parameters thereof randomly popping into my head. Much to my surprise, I discovered that I was incapable of coming up with parameters that did not simply pop into my head without me specifically prompting it to do so. Any parameters I was able to "decide" to think up literally seemed to be cropping up from the ether of my unconscious mind.

Yes, this was Nietzsche's refutation of Descartes in Beyond Good and Evil, and thence of his refutation of free will.

There is no free will, except, perhaps, that which is not worth having.

posted on Jul, 16 2010 @ 06:13 AM
I'm just fascinated by the prospect of free will as we tend to conceive of it being an illusion, because it suggests also the possibility that our very sense of self, our identity, our ego (in the psychological sense,) and even the very concept of being an individual rational agent, could likewise be an illusion.

The delineation we make between the complex system that is the universe and ourselves as seemingly individual entities with our own minds and wills could be illusory. We might be merely emergent behavior on the part of the universe, and our minds, personalities, and senses of self might likewise be emergent behavior on the part of the systems which comprise us.

It could all be about perspective, and the possible illusions generated by the limits on our own sensory and cognitive abilities. If that might be the case though, then could not one choose to view the entirety of the universe from an organism-like perspective?

[edit on 7/16/2010 by AceWombat04]

posted on Jul, 16 2010 @ 06:57 AM
reply to post by AceWombat04

Free will is the ability of every individual to act on their own without the influences of others.

In other words you have the ability to decide and make up your mind all on your own.

That is what free will means, regardless of what the laws of man, society and whatever science said.

See nobody can stop you from going into the streets and kill, injure, steal , love, have sex, live or commit suicided, but the results of your actions will always impact somebody else lives.

That same way of thinking is what makes us follow or obey the set of rules, regulations and laws that we human beings enact in order to protect others from ourselves.

Still you can do anything you want and nobody will stop you unless your advertise your intentions.

posted on Jul, 16 2010 @ 03:06 PM
But if the choices we believe we are making, the feelings which influence them, the positive, negative, or indifferent weight we attach to different options, and all of the other factors - both conscious and unconscious - which lead to us making those choices are governed by deterministic or indeterministic but unpredictable and uncontrollable processes in our minds, are we truly making those choices?

For example: the decision to kill or not kill someone. When faced with that choice, what happens in the brain? We believe, or would like to believe, that we make a judgment call in our own mind, freely. But what is the process by which choices are made, at a fundamental level? One could say, "We choose in such a situation based on our personal beliefs." Okay, so we're faced with a situation, and then we draw upon our ethics, or our beliefs, in order to determine how to proceed. At the same time, various other factors are being processed by our minds: possibly a fight or flight response for example, fear, anticipation of remorse, etc. etc. etc. Those are just hypothetical examples. Simultaneously, our ethics and beliefs tell us what we "should do" or "shouldn't do" in this scenario.

All of that combined could be, potentially, assigning a sort of value to the actions available to us. Is one option "desirable" based on all of the factors we're presented with, including our own beliefs, or is it "undesirable?" Is it "neutral?" The answer of course differs from person to person based upon the information, personality, and psychology inherent to them as an individual entity (or so we perceive.) Is a choice then simply the action available to us with the most favorable "assigned value?"

I've already discussed how 1) the selection of what to drink seems potentially deterministic, or at least beyond my full, conscious control, and 2) how I was unable to decided to think of a thing, and 3) how science tells us (at least to date) that the unconscious mind is active prior to conscious action, and that volition is largely illusory, at least potentially. The decision of whether or not to take a human life, to us at least, is a much more complex choice, obviously. (I would never kill someone, even in self defense, unless it was an accident.) But could even that choice be governed by the same processes, however much more complex in such a scenario? And if so, how then can we then state categorically that we possess free will in the sense that we tend to think of it? The same would seem applicable to the adherence to laws or rules.

I still cannot honestly regard any of the existing evidence for free will and conscious volition as proof yet. (Nor can I definitively conclude we lack free will, of course.)

posted on Jul, 16 2010 @ 07:54 PM
Very good stuff. Excellent post. You're getting a star for this Ace.

The apparent illusion of our so called "free will" is understandably something that troubled and alarmed me. After some research and pondering, I came to believe in the "determinism" view of the universe, which leads one to the conclusion that everything is determined, or in other words "destined". If you think about it, the question of "do we have free will" ultimately boils down to the question of fate. After thinking about it, that's what it came down to for me. As far was concerned it didn't really matter if I had "free will" or not, what bothered me about the determined universe was this, if everything is already determined, already fated, then there's nothing I can do to alter my destiny/fate. After all, that's whats so appealing about "free will", that we can exercise it to affect our future. It gives us the sense that we are "the masters of fate", "the architects of destiny". Most people want to (and do) believe this and many take it for granted.

Nowadays this no longer bothers me. I am a spiritual person. At some point in my spiritual journey I found myself in a state of consciousness that was beyond fear, beyond apprehension of an uncertain future. I am filled with a faith in a devine power that watches over me. I no longer worry about wether the universe is "determined" or about how "free" my "free will" is. I have come to understand that it is best to practice contentment and be happy with whatever happens, "free will" or no.

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