[Paleopsych] free will

Michael Christopher anonymous_animus at yahoo.com
Wed Jun 1 21:20:45 UTC 2005

Howard says:
>>We're under the impression  that we have options and
that the exertion of some sort of thought, feeling,
and  will really does help us make up our mind, or 
whether we simply pinball automatically 
down just one predetermined path.   It's a question of
what will is and if what we think it is is all

--I think the problem is due to confusion between past
determining factors and present computation. We are
all computing, at every moment, what our actions are
going to be. We are all, to some degree, ignorant of
our own future actions (or else they'd be
preprogrammed and we'd be coasting into the known).
So, even if it's all deterministic, we still have the
feeling, an accurate one, of being involved in
determining our fate at each step. And, because it's
very difficult to make decisions while knowing every
factor that determines the outcome, we make decisions
first, then perform the autopsy. This means free will
is *virtually* real, even if literally false.

There is also the fact that very few people can handle
the feeling of being enmeshed in the same system with
everyone else. It feels cleaner, safer and less
confusing to perceive oneself as separate and in
control, even if one is out of control (addicts have
to deal with this problem... how to feel in control
while the brain and body are hijacked) or trapped in a
web of bad alternatives. If free will doesn't exist,
we may not *want* to know. But if the knowledge found
its way into our minds, we'd have to find some way of
making decisions without free will. If we find good
ways to do that, ways that don't limit freedom to
choose among alternatives and reprogram ourselves as
we go along, we may not need the illusion after all.


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