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Introspection and Free Will

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posted on Dec, 28 2011 @ 01:50 AM
Free will- do we have it ? If we do, to what extent ?

As I age, I become more and more drawn to the conclusion that we have less of it than we tend to think. It becomes more and more obvious that most of our choices and decisions actually happen subconsciously, and our conscious self simply takes credit for it, and makes up explanations and reasons after that.

I often will point out that individuals reasons for a certain behavior can vary widely. I believe this is true- in that individuals have come up with different ways of percieving the world and their place in it, which influence the explanations and reasons they will create. –In mind.

Despite these varied differences, however, what can be observed outside is that despite their conscious differences in personality and intents, behaviors themselves are predictable and follow patterns which are common through out the human species. These behaviors can be mapped out and their function in a community or society very clear. The instinct of the social animal still reigns, even in communities which believe themselves to be free of it and all acting as free willed individualists.

In other words, we all think we’re different inside, but actually, we’re not.

Widely confirmed in study is the introspection illusion. Here’s a short illustration of that from Wikipedia-

Psychological research on cognition and attribution has asked people to report on their mental processes, for instance to say why they made a particular choice or how they arrived at a judgment. In some situations, these reports are clearly confabulated. For example, people justify choices they have not in fact made. Such results undermine the idea that those verbal reports are based on direct introspective access to mental content. Instead, judgements about one's own mind seem to be inferences from overt behavior, similar to judgements made about another person. However, it is hard to assess whether these results only apply to unusual experimental situations, or if they reveal something about everyday introspection. The theory of the adaptive unconscious suggests that a very large proportion of mental processes, even "high-level" processes like goal-setting and decision-making, are inaccessible to introspection.

Even when their introspections are uninformative, people still give confident descriptions of their mental processes, being "unaware of their unawareness". This phenomenon has been termed the introspection illusion and has been used to explain some cognitive biases and belief in some paranormal phenomena. When making judgements about themselves, subjects treat their own introspections as reliable, whereas they judge other people based on their behavior. This can lead to illusions of superiority. For example, people generally see themselves as less conformist than others, and this seems to be because they do not introspect any urge to conform. Another reliable finding is that people generally see themselves as less biased than everyone else, because they are not likely to introspect any biased thought processes. These introspections are misleading, however, because biases work sub-consciously. One experiment tried to give their subjects access to others' introspections. They made audio recordings of subjects who had been told to say whatever came into their heads as they answered a question about their own bias.[11] Although subjects persuaded themselves they were unlikely to be biased, their introspective reports did not sway the assessments of observers. When subjects were explicitly told to avoid relying on introspection, their assessments of their own bias became more realistic.

I first became interested in this years ago when I saw a documentary, in which electrodes were placed in peoples brains, to stimulate specific parts of it that control behaviors. I saw a woman whose brain had been stimulated to cause laughter. She laughed, and when asked WHY she laughed, in a split second, her mind looked back over what just happened and made the connection between what she had been looking at in the moment she laughed. A fork. She said she laughed at the fork and that they are funny looking.

Months later, when interveiwed again, she still found forks funny and continued to laugh every time she saw one. She had never found forks funny until that experiment.

That was like a major revelation to me, on how our brain confabulates.......and how much those confabulations influence our future « programs ».

I found with animals that "cause and effect" are not so much what they register, but associations. « This and that go together. ». Our subconscious animal does the same. I taught my horse to only eat on command. While riding her, I let her stop and graze whenever she felt like it. Each time she stopped and her head went down, I said, « Eat ». When she had had enough and decided to move on, I said, « Fini » (french for « end »). I did this for one afternoon.

Ever since, when riding, if I want to allow her to stop and grab a bite, I say « Eat » and her head drops on cue and she does. When I am ready to move on, I say « Fini » and her head pops up and we move forward immediately.

No cause or effect actually is registered in her mind, only associations between stimulus and behavior. It doesn’t matter which comes first or second, they simply go together.

Further experimentation upon myself and others showed that we do the same thing, without being aware of it. THIS is where those « varied reasons and explanations » we come up with gain some importance. We may be way off the first time, but the explanation we come up with will train our inner reflexes in future ! In particular, they form our self image and self respect.

If you research further into what has been found about this introspection illusion is that the explanations and reasons people come up with for anothers behavior remain in the subconscious as associations.

Point to another and say « anger is why they are doing that. » Then you will feel anger the next time you do that same behavior ! These confabulations are your programing codes for your internal experience of self in relation to the exterior world.

So I still think that our conscious minds creations and explanations, if even false, have some value to consider- but not so much as truth about right now, nor about others, but in terms of how we shall experience in the future. To continue to register and be aware of what our conscious ego constructs to explain what the body does (and to make itself believe it is in control) can be beneficial, if you don’t take it too seriously !

I keep a huge pile of books next to my bed, of varied sorts, that I grab blindly and open to read the passage I fall upon at hazard, and always, always, fall upon something that is very pertinant to what is going on in my life or head, what questions I have..... and yesterday I fell upon David Hume’s « A Treatise of Human Nature » and the most beautiful paragraph ! It is too long to type it out.

But he points out that despite all of our superficial differences in appearence- in skin, hair and eye color, and different builds- we all have the same basic construction inside. The same skeletal form, the same sorts of organs......

And as the body, so is the mind ! Only different in superificial ways, for underneath, we have the same cosntruction, the same mechanisms.

And though our attention is naturally drawn to that which mirrors our self (those with the same ideas, values, background, culture, language,..) we are actually deeply, similar to all people. And when you recognize that deeper common construction, your attention is suddenly increased to include all people.

posted on Dec, 28 2011 @ 02:15 AM
some people know freedom,but most are controlled by their beliefs, friends, family, and the rest of their surroundings.

posted on Dec, 28 2011 @ 02:36 AM
reply to post by Bluesma

no all what u r meaning is ur subjective pretense of being conscious superiority which is nothing at its best freedom individuality and evil as its most logical fact of evil rules use to make it living through confirm it being justified

ur body is not u, ur body is ur true reality, ur true reality is to truth objectivity not u

what is objective is truth existence
what is subjective is freedom existence

ur mind is build upon ur subjective existence never about objective reality

u r what is behind ur mind subjective reality totally out of objective existence

truth is objective existence bc somhow truth freedom is the reason of it while truth freedom is absolute truth

so free will is about being free out of absolute objective existence from recognizing its positive value then being free out of absolute subjective existence from recognizing its superior value
then being free out of absolute truth value conception from recognizing being else free one

then it is about realizing ur life one through being urself one till u get use to deal with truth as else objectively and subjectively base condition while staying free else one

what is constant necessarly become objective and what is objectively constant is necessarly true while what is true cant b objective when it is objective reason, so any perspective of objective is free out of truth conception as being conscious one

posted on Dec, 28 2011 @ 03:08 AM
I want to see who--or what--is behind the curtain. There are strings being pulled; there are buttons being pushed; there are switches being flipped; and there are shades being pulled down over our eyes. Free will extends only so far as it is allowed to.

posted on Dec, 28 2011 @ 03:24 AM
I have found, since I began to understand it, that, people tend to confuse - the requirement to fulfill a group activitiy/activities, within a context of other people - with the concept that they do not have FREE WILL because they are compelled by the requirement to do so, which then leads them to surmise that they do not feel they have FREE WILL, because they feel some sort of compulsion.

The ability to accept FREE WILL, is dependant on the ability to accept social responsibility. (I am not accusing you in any way Bluesma, just generally stating a position).
Individual reasons for behaviour are extant whether you subscribe to one camp or the other...this, in itself does nothing to disprove or diminish FREE is in fact, a sign of FREE WILL...but, of course, the reasons attributed can be attributed to non-FREE WILL, but this is only possible because of the aspect of individualisation which can determine this...

Un-individuality and FREE WILL are not mutually exclusive...think of an army, a corporation, a sporting side...etc...

Psychological research that uses peoples' cognitive faculties to report on thier cognitive faculties to disprove or forcefully question FREE WILL are having a laugh!

Accessing unconscious and subconscious parts of the brain to describe concrete concepts which need to be deliniated in words, is also laughable...Bluesma...describe to me the color words...

Subjective experience is, and will always remain subjective to the subject. Any White-coat can come along and tell you that your imagination is rabid...this comment could be applied in any number of situations. It makes the experience no less subjective or your subjective description of the color red, which will vary accordingly person to person, and color-cognitive person to color-incognitive person...
Adjunct to this, any white-coat can design a foible of human psychology, cloth it in rock solid examples, and call it anything they like...this is called, the-label-by-association Syndrome. Profiling, by another name.

The implication in the example of the horse and rider, is flawed to the extent that, a human has bridled the animal and uses the animal to ride on for thier own usage...the relationship, in this case, is clear...the horse will do what it is told...and has the cognitive faculties to realise this.

Unconscious or hidden responses to stimuli do not vouchsafe individualisation or FREE WILL.

There are very good reasons why FREE WILL exists...our reactions to others' FREE WILL is not exclusive of these...if we deem it to be is...since we have determined, according to FREE WILL that it is so.!?

Whether we are individually conscious of it, or not, does not preclude FREE WILL. Basic faculties in the human animal have been subconscious-ised, because they are non-essential to the understanding of our position here...breathing, blinking, growing, etc...simply relegating them to subconscious or unconscious reactions and then calling them automatic, does not mean they are out of our control...or FREE WILL to control...this association would be flawed, and it seems, this is what your white-coats have done, and subsequently, using words, convinced a host of others that this is a fact...which is laughable...


posted on Dec, 28 2011 @ 04:42 AM
Free will is a complex issue, because ultimatley, you would have to be a God to totally control your environment, however, given ones physical and mental capacity, they are able to influence situations and circumstances around them to an according degree. I can decide to drink a glass of water, and I know that I can drink it, however, I am not sure that I can get a job, but I can increace my chances by preparing a superior resume. In that respect, we are not totally limited, and if you can see the universe as a complex realm of energies, then ones thoughts will carry onwards to the future, generating fortuitous circumstances.

posted on Dec, 28 2011 @ 06:23 AM

Originally posted by SystemResistor
Free will is a complex issue, because ultimatley, you would have to be a God to totally control your environment, however, given ones physical and mental capacity, they are able to influence situations and circumstances around them to an according degree. I can decide to drink a glass of water, and I know that I can drink it, however, I am not sure that I can get a job, but I can increace my chances by preparing a superior resume. In that respect, we are not totally limited, and if you can see the universe as a complex realm of energies, then ones thoughts will carry onwards to the future, generating fortuitous circumstances.

I agree to an extent...

But being able to control your whole environment, leaving nothing to chance, would be counterproductive to the concept of putting into practice the ability to exercise FREE WILL around and with other FREE WILL 'units'.

From the outset (and without post-incarnate knowledge) we have by FREE WILL chosen a circumstance commensurate with the lesson/s we deem necessary for us to learn, at any 'pre-incarnate' position (before life).
The circumstances we choose, test and trial ourselves with...the degree to which we adapt to the circumstances and get on with learning the lesson/s, determines our necessity to relive this circumstance or situation in a next life, within the cycle of lives that can be lived in the grander cycle of the 'universe' cycle.
The grander 'universe' cycle eventually comes to an end...those who have not reached the basics for that cycle are kept to repeat the whole cycle again...this is the meaning of the 'end of times' is the end of a grand cycle...those who will be 'saved' are those who will continue to the next cycle...and so on and so forth...


posted on Dec, 28 2011 @ 06:30 AM
reply to post by akushla99

"Man can do what he wills but he cannot will what he wills."
Quote from Schopenhauer.

posted on Dec, 28 2011 @ 10:37 AM

Originally posted by Itisnowagain
reply to post by akushla99

"Man can do what he wills but he cannot will what he wills."
Quote from Schopenhauer.

I'm so sorry for the man/woman...i hope it gets better...

In a battle between the imagination and the will...the imagination always wins...

Willing, is not a concrete action. Neither is imagining. But both can achieve activity in the 'real' world.
If neither is present, you are presented with the image of a robot...without will, and without real imagination.

What exactly is the procedure of not willing what you will?...if by not willing at the second (to prove the first), the first has been willed?


posted on Dec, 28 2011 @ 11:19 AM

Originally posted by akushla99

Originally posted by Itisnowagain
reply to post by akushla99

"Man can do what he wills but he cannot will what he wills."
Quote from Schopenhauer.

the meaning of will in that quote is clearly confusing two different definitions, will as wanting and will as making

they are opposite definition as giving and taking

the right definition concept of will is smthg else

the will is the abstraction of future from what a free move as a whole ended like

posted on Dec, 28 2011 @ 11:48 AM
u never admit truth facts, freedom value is absolute one, when truth is freedom positive superiority always and all those terms are absolutely same in truth, then any free fact by of course free fact is from free conscious move still, so any free fact is positive superior one reality itself, the end in concept perspective is fast but the conscious must realize it if it means it through keeping the free still so protecting right objective freedom rights and surely having to give to superior rights too but to stay free out right

this end is the one true reality but it is not the free one which is mostly its source, so here u can also get how free will is the free one u become by being a true source, true source is considering truth in concept and reality freedom and accepting being active free right for truth positive existence while staying out as else

truth is never a source that is how being true sources is the value of freedom realizations, wether of superior freedom or positive freedom
the superior freedom is the freedom above all absolute existence absolutely
the positive freedom is the freedom above one absolute existence absolutely

the superior freedom is in truth positive present
the positive freedom is in truth superior present

posted on Dec, 28 2011 @ 11:49 AM
In this world, we are either slaves to decay, or slaves to life.
Spiritual Understanding is the conception of New Life within us which is Truth/The "Free" Way.
The promise given to those who are conceived into the New Life is Eternal Life. This will not culminate into it's own fullness until the body is shed.

posted on Dec, 28 2011 @ 11:53 AM
reply to post by Itisnowagain

Nice quote.

posted on Dec, 28 2011 @ 12:01 PM
reply to post by absolutely

Who can authorize rebellion against decay except that it was provided to them by The Living?

Your words are interesting, but lack clarity.
Again, you seem to attempt to build a structure, but the pieces lay about without forming a shelter, let alone a door.

And just as a door is necessary in a properly built temple or well built sheepfold, without an invitation, the Master will cast you away as a thief.
The Provision of Provision by Provision is not reliant on any perception and Truth expresses in OrderCharity. We are images of freedom, but we are not free.

It is Life that works in us both to desire and to do or it is Death that works in us both to desire and to do.

posted on Dec, 28 2011 @ 12:57 PM
reply to post by Dasher

there is no rebellion nor decay nor master nor authorizations nor any word u use as a fact

ur clarity is build on doors u mean to get or reach smthg, self expressions are all to freedom value so the opposite to ur intentions, it doesnt matter how it is obvious that u r fundamentally opposed to objective rights what matter here in the point im meaning is what true values are opposed to u

total unsanity that unconscious extent, how can u speak about all and any and what must and wat must not and end and source, how can u think of urself like that, such evil will that jump in all ways to gather any form of absolute superiority while staying still as less then none
there is no relative in truth mister while any and all is exclusively in truth so ur efforts to look absolute are in vain any human conscious is absolute any animal awareness too
ur efforts should only bring to u mokery for the sake of truth sacred respect how never any nor all can dare realize objective thing being else, what an evil way cheapest and easiest one to pretending being objective source, in pretending having smthg to say about truth conclusions

posted on Dec, 28 2011 @ 01:38 PM
reply to post by absolutely

It is already difficult enough to decipher the unction of your words, but add to that the desire to be a sword of spiritual division, and my ability to converse with you, on a logical level, fails. I am not fully certain I understand what you are saying, nor am I certain you understand what I am saying.

So, unless you begin to communicate more clearly, the depth of your unction is of no use. Some may understand, and many may express, but to understand and also express understanding, that is the rarity.

posted on Dec, 28 2011 @ 02:00 PM
reply to post by Dasher

u keep proving the evil u r showing how it is ur fundamental free still will

there is no use mister go create what u want to use, it is amazing how u think
as if reality is waiting for u to talk about it, while if dare touch it it kills u mister reality exist u not

rarity is an evil concept in objective truth, true objective is only out of absolute facts

that notion is all to ur evil will to gain a powerful sense of being free in inventing things objectivity totally opposed to truth
but also that notion is clearly meaning absolute abuse of what is right as rare thing
so proving the evil one of its way

when all objective is to truth then any subject is free so b ur own rarity urself out of all noone is interested about it
any word any whisper even is to objective truth mister, step back with ur rarity out

posted on Dec, 28 2011 @ 02:20 PM
reply to post by absolutely

I stand by my most recent post to you with the addition that I am now sure you misunderstand my communication. I'm sorry for the diversion. I hope the Opening Poster is still willing to reflect on my post above that was directed at him/her. Also, any thoughts generally related to this diversion would be appreciated, but it would also be appreciated that we avoid the aspect of confusion that I allowed myself to get wrapped up in.
edit on 12/28/2011 by Dasher because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 29 2011 @ 08:59 AM
I would like to respond personally to each and everyone ! I got a little overwhelmed with it all though, since it is a deep subject already, and I actually posted this on a couple of other boards I frequent, so the number of really interesting responses to consider and digest is enormous ! I may have bitten off more than I can chew......but if it was thought provoking, that is great, as far as I’m concerned ! Agreement, nor even total understanding of my current position is not necessary.

I grabbed onto this, perhaps because it is placed into a metaphor which makes it simpler-

The implication in the example of the horse and rider, is flawed to the extent that, a human has bridled the animal and uses the animal to ride on for thier own usage...the relationship, in this case, is clear...the horse will do what it is told...and has the cognitive faculties to realise this.

I do not agree. Horses do not just do what they are told, and they are not forced into a submissive position. (or for the few non-horsemen and women who try that, they get their just desserts eventually, and find out it is an illusion). Horses naturally learn from their environment and remember everything that happens to them. They learn something from every event- things you want them to learn- and not. They also have the natural desire to have a directive force- a leader. So, like our subconscious, which is a formidable storehouse of experience memories, both those the ego intends it to remember and those it didn’t intend for it to remember, it’s resulting behavior is highly influenced by the entity who it considers it’s leader (used with the drives for food, pleasure, protection....)

The question arises in some of these discussions- do we have the ability to choose to act outside of our own biases ?
First of all, we must percieve those biases, which becomes a problem when using introversion because of the phenomenon of «bias blind spot»- in which people can easily percieve the biases of others, but not their own.
The ego judging itself according to it’s own critieria, upon which it is formed, is handicapped there.

Then I have heard some say that giving in to the spontaneous social instincts and reactions is what limits our free will.

So if the "Self aware" choices which go against the natural instincts are limited by their own biases (sprung from the individuals education, experience, environment) they are not « free ». They are limited in perception and potential, prisoner of the self.

If the "Other aware" choices which are the natural instincts are limited by their evolved programmed nature, they too are not « free ». They are limited to certain combinations of action-reaction.

Either prisoner of your own ego, or prisoner of your collective evolution then ?

I did not say, « no free will exists. » I wrote « we have less of it than we tend to think. »

But look at this study-

Petter Johansson and colleagues investigated subjects' insight into their own preferences using a new technique. Subjects saw two photographs of people and were asked which they found more attractive. They were given a closer look at their "chosen" photograph and asked to verbally explain their choice. However, using sleight of hand, the experimenter had slipped them the other photograph rather than the one they had chosen. A majority of subjects failed to notice that the picture they were looking at did not match the one they had chosen just seconds before. Many subjects confabulated explanations of their preference. For example, a man might say "I preferred this one because I prefer blondes" when he had in fact pointed to the dark-haired woman, but had been handed a blonde.These must have been confabulated because they explain a choice that was never made

(wikipedia Introspection Illusion)

Laugh all you want at me, but try this sort of experiment out with people around you. Of course, seeing them lie to themselves can make you say to yourself « Whew ! Glad I’M not like that ! » But they don’t know they are doing that- why would YOU ? It’s like the funny question of « most crazy people think they are not, do you think you are crazy ?? How do you know ? »

The only answer comes down to getting reflections and feedback from others. The way we need a mirror to see our own face. We cannot really know ourselves without the help of others.

edit on 29-12-2011 by Bluesma because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 29 2011 @ 11:11 AM
reply to post by Bluesma

I have realized that i will never know myself because i know i am not a thing, no one else will ever know me either. That's a relief and it is true. Now it is accepted that i can not be known there is freedom, freedom to be, to be.
I can accept that i don't know who's driving this dream bus and it's a mad ride. This character that appears before me in the mirror sure is strange and i see and hear all characters here that are just as strange. Strange in a wonderous way.
Thank you for being.
edit on 29-12-2011 by Itisnowagain because: (no reason given)

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