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Notes on Free will

Free will only exist in intangible moments of present experience. As soon as someone looks back they can see where they came from and that their decision to put a step forward or in any direction was a result of their previous location. Therefore free will is an illusion as much as the external world is an illusion. If I look away from the computer screen it disappears to me, it exists only as a fuddled memory as does free will. However, in saying this I admit it’s realness.

If an alien observed us from above, watching our interactions it would not believe us to have free will. Like cars on a road we go when the lights are green, unless some other cause makes us hurry through. But surely the alien itself is experiencing free will… but not if it’s a robot.. but what about animals…

If we have free will, why do we all want much the same things? We don’t want to feel pain, we do want to feel pleasure, we do want to be loved and we do want to reproduce. Our different physical locations and interactions gives us different means to attain these innate desires, which percolate down from the executive at the top, known as consciousness, which knows it exists and will’s that existence to continue in as familiar form as possible.

On the other hand, we are all free to want whatever we want, but it is in our programming to only want certain things. I cannot make myself genuinely want the destruction of earth, nor can I make myself want to be an unhappy failure who achieves nothing and dies alone. These may happen by circumstance. Our free will is like a river flowing across an open plain towards the sea. There doesn’t appear to be anything blocking it from the directions it doesn’t take, but there are forces (that seem invisible at first) causing it to take a precisely ‘chosen’ route.

It is like humans have a brain extension allowing us to view from a window some of the calculations our brain is making, which gives us the illusion we have decided, when really, our brain has decided just the same and we have simply agreed with it. For example an animal, say a hog, may trot to the food trough to feed, then to its some females to have sex and then off to the corner of its hut to extrete everywhere. If that hog could be given the brain extension we have been given by evolution, he would watch is brain say ‘im staving’ or ‘im really randy’ or ‘I need a shit’ and he would agree, go and do those things and think himself a triumphant creature excercising his free will.

‘being free is doing what one wants to do’. Referring back to the river example, a river would ‘want’ to flow downstream, if it were conscious. If a dam is built pressure builds up and the water level rises. In the event of the bursting of the damn, a poetic individual may describe the water as bursting with ‘fury’, and one would marvel at its power. This is the same with the idea of free will. If people are trapped (say in prison) like the water, when given the oppoutunity they will burst forth, kikely killing the guards and rampaging around with the fury and power of an escaped river. They are experiencing no more free will than the river, despite spectators feeling they are excercising something distinctly human and passionate in their desire for freedom. It is simply a build up of pressure, a chemical pressure in the brain. From an observing aliens perspective, or a computers (i.e. non-biased…) that would be the perspective they see.

Philosophy


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