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Free Will

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by Unrepresented, Oct 1, 2008.

  1. Unrepresented

    Unrepresented Something Borderline Offensive

    Jul 1, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    Since it's drawn 11 pages and counting of borderline off-topic comments in a thread nearby, I figure a legitimate discussion was appropriate in the standard location...

    I believe that free will is an illusion, but of course that depends on what definition of "free will" you use.

    My belief comes from the fact that we have no control over the events preceding us, yet we are limited to them.

    We are merely reactions to an action.

  2. As you noted, the definition can be too scattered to hope to answer it and realistically land where you're going with it.

    No control over the preceding events? It could be argued you are where you are because you affected the preceding events through prior choices. As you sit in a particular situation now, you are the product of those prior choices and can affect the future through your "free will" to act as you choose within the confines of that situation. I wouldn't argue that, but it could be stated.

  3. Deluge Of Sound

    Deluge Of Sound Banned

    Nov 8, 2007
    I'm not qualified to answer this question :D

    I think that there is such a thing as free will, but it is restricted by the societal expectations placed on us as soon as we are born. Having said that, even if you would do something, but don't because you've decided to disregard it as unseemly, impolite, or another social faux-pas, that does not negate the existence of free will. In fact, conforming to societal norms would indicate a presence of free-will, assuming it was done consciously.

    As far as reactions to an action go, well, Aristotle would agree with you. But he also thought the universe circled the Earth, so that's not much of an endorsement. ;)

    What happens when you do something spontaneously? Is that still a reaction to the relative stasis in your life? Or is it a completely new, unprecedented action?
  4. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Born under punches

    Aug 21, 2006
    Denver, CO
    The idea that we lack free will always seemed like a cop out stance to take.

    Yes and no. For the most part we can't control the events that unfurl around us. That doesn't point to a lack of free will. It points to a lack of omnipotence.

    This is faulty in the sense that by and large, most of the "actions" that affect us are an amalgam of choices made by other people. And of course, since their decisions and choices can affect us, our decisions and choices can affect others as well. Free will. This statement also assumes that we can only react in one way, which is patently false.

    Besides this whole discussion (and the one that spawned it) is rooted in Neil Peart's lyrics which I find overly pretentious anyway, especially at that point in his career.

    Now here's some lyrics worth analyzing:

    My momma talkin to me tryin to tell me how to live
    But I don't listen to her cause my head is like a sieve
    My daddy he disowned me cause I wear my sister's clothes
    He caught me in the bathroom with a pair of pantyhose
    My basketball coach he done kicked me off the team
    For wearing high heeled sneakers and acting like a queen
  5. MakiSupaStar

    MakiSupaStar The Lowdown Diggler

    Apr 12, 2006
    Huntington Beach, CA
    We have a free will but it easily influenced and manipulated.
  6. Shy Guy

    Shy Guy

    Sep 23, 2008
    Templeton, MA
    Free will does exist.... to an extent. Like everything that exists, free will is an illusion that is only what you perceive it as. As it was once interestingly put; nothing exists in a set past, present, or future, every thing just exists, a watch without a watchmaker. This means that what ever you do was meant to happen, not because some mystical force says it will, but because you will, events will unfold as they will and no matter what happens you will make a certain choice regardless of anything else you think.
    I only know three chords!
  8. MyUsernameHere

    MyUsernameHere ?????????????

    Nov 3, 2007
    Lexington KY
    Everything that can happen has happened. Therefor, if you were to look at the totality of Unrepresenteds running around out there in the multiverse they would either display complete free will, or a total lack of it because every action they could possibly take would by necessity have to be taken--depending on how you looked at it.

    You're just not aware of this...or at least this you isn't aware of it. There's one or more of you out there that is, but you'll probably not meet them unless your really lucky. That is unless the process involved with meeting them somehow blows up he Universe. In that case you wouldn't be very lucky at all.
  9. ryco


    Apr 24, 2005
    As you believe it to be, so it is.

    Or as Frank said "Do ya love it do ya hate it there it is the way you made it - waahhhh!"
  10. "Freewill"

    There are those who think that life has nothing left to chance
    A host of holy horrors to direct our aimless dance

    A planet of play things
    We dance on the strings
    Of powers we cannot perceive
    'The stars aren't aligned
    Or the gods are malign...'
    Blame is better to give than receive

    You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice
    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice
    You can choose from phantom fears and kindness that can kill
    I will choose a path that's clear
    I will choose freewill

    There are those who think
    That they were dealt a losing hand
    The cards were stacked against them
    They weren't born in Lotusland

    All preordained
    A prisoner in chains
    A victim of venomous fate
    Kicked in the face
    You can't pray for a place
    In heaven's unearthly estate


    Each of us
    A cell of awareness
    Imperfect and incomplete
    Genetic blends
    With uncertain ends
    On a fortune hunt that's far too fleet

  11. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Born under punches

    Aug 21, 2006
    Denver, CO
    You must have missed the thread that started this discussion. The question of that thread was supposedly how the OP could tell their band that they couldn't play Rush's Freewill because it in some way conflicted with the OP's Christian ideals.

    Of course, that would assume that any part of that story was true. . .
  12. Unrepresented

    Unrepresented Something Borderline Offensive

    Jul 1, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    But what affected those prior choices? Things of which I had no control. I didn't create the earth. I didn't create my DNA makeup. I didn't build a civilization, nor did I choose who would be my neighbors, or my third grade teacher. I am a product of all those things though and they've formed my worldview.

    Where does my freewill come from, if I'm a product of experiences I've been subjected to and DNA that preceded me?

    Chicken and egg sorta stuff.
    It's not a very pleasant notion to ponder considering the values of our society, I agree.
    That's where I'm leading, and my argument is that without omnipotence/omniscience we're incapable of freewill. We're too tied to our internal and external demands -- genes and environment.
    Choices made by other people also influence who we are. If we agree that we're simply products of experience and genetics then we should also agree that we truly have no control over either factor.

    I did not, with sound mind, determine what events have passed before my eyes and influenced my decisions. I have come to believe that the summary of those exposures is who I am, but I'm still limited to them.
    I really, really dig that song. It's got such a wicked groove to it. Leave it to another bassist to appreciate such things.
    That sounds more like "discount" will than free will.
  13. ehque


    Jan 8, 2006
    Free will is the right to do anything, isn't it.

    As long as you face the consequences.
  14. jomahu


    Dec 15, 2004
    Bos, MA
    no such thing as "free" will - you do something, you pay for it.

  15. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001

    Free will has nothing to do with control of the exterior forces.

    You do however have complete control of your reaction to those actions if, you're strong enough.
  16. Unrepresented

    Unrepresented Something Borderline Offensive

    Jul 1, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    But I contend we are soley a product of exterior forces.

    Exterior forces determined what our genetic makeup would be.

    Exterior forces determined what environment we'd be exposed to.

    Those two factors completely determine who we are. What else are you if not your memories, experiences, and DNA?

    Yes, we may believe that we are choosing what we're exposed to, but those "choices" are a product of the exposure we've already been subjected to. We do not enter into life with an omniscience necessary to make selections for ourselves. All of our thoughts are products of experiences we haven't chosen; they're limited, arbitrary, and often misleading.
  17. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    The instances you cite are the effect of the free will of others upon you. Just as you exercising free will has effect on those around you and the entire cosmic plan.

    You can change the universe by stepping on an ant.
  18. bwv1013


    Mar 20, 2008
    southern cal
    as an engaged man i am quickly becoming immune to free will
  19. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    Atta boy!! Just agree a lot and try to avoid eye contact.
  20. Unrepresented

    Unrepresented Something Borderline Offensive

    Jul 1, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    Actually, the "plan" was set into motion at the origin of the universe. Every moment since then has been a reaction to that original moment. We were stuck as actors to play out our parts in the causal universe since its inception.

    I was just arguing the more "human" determinist side of things.

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