Free will is an oxymoron

Discussion in 'Abrahamic Religions' started by Azure24, Apr 3, 2012.

  1. Azure24

    Azure24 Well-Known Member

    Jul 5, 2006
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    I see we are going no where with our discussion...

    You say there is no "cause"...yet surely the cause (for knowing Jesus loves you), is He told you so.

    Well, we know where we both stand.

    BTW, I'm not a Lutheran or Calvinist...nor I am a "Christian" is commonly understood.

    If you believe my arguments were personal, then I apologize. I can present articles that represent my beliefs if you want to read them.
  2. Etu Malku

    Etu Malku Mercur├Žn

    Sep 1, 2011
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    I would be very interested in reading them.
  3. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

    Jul 28, 2011
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    Ditto, my friend.
  4. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercur├Žn Buddhist

    Aug 30, 2005
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    It is the means by which we can create real change:

    "Therefore it is said, 'In representing the Dao of Heaven, one uses the terms Yin and Yang, and in representing the Dao of Earth, one uses the terms Soft and Hard, while in representing the Dao of Man, one uses the terms Love and Righteousness.'"
    --Zhou Dunyi, Explanation of the Diagram of the Supreme Ultimate​
  5. salishan

    salishan freesoul

    Oct 15, 2011
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    exquisite creature

    for all the sophisticated turns to the arguing by u'r detractors
    i believe u'r arguments stand-up , & those of your detractors fail

    when talking about freewill , u start from the right place
    the emotions (impulses , glandular releases)
    u do not make their mistake ... of starting
    from intellect (from neural networks , i.e.
    ... cogitation may inform a person's behavior but it never causes it)
    yes , this is an oxymoron
    though the "constraints" are actually more internal than external

    u are constrained by the genes (the instinctual impulses) u are born-with , &
    u are constrained by the mindset (the cultural training/brainwashing) u are nurtured by

    this is a problem that our hunter-gatherer ancestors 40,000ya faced

    but you will have to admit , Azure24
    that these "constraints" appear to have worked pretty well for them for 30,000 years
    they flourish & migrate from one end of this planet to the other
    & harness the planet's ecology (exploit it) to their own ends

    but each distinct group of Cro-Magnons develop their own tribal laws
    ones specifically adapted to their own particular environment
    ... the variety of human instincts become cultural-options
    "follow this group of innate impulses & ignore those"
    (& these value-options then become reinforced by the cult-lore of the tribe)

    10,000ya the weather begins to change
    & forward-looking humans develop a new adaptation
    ... instead of being merely expert exploiters of their environment
    humans begin to alter their environment , domesticating plants & animals
    which meant they have to domesticate themselves , as well

    this is the first juncture , Azure24
    where u'r argument begins to weaken

    to domesticate (to breed) an animal is to work against its ("wild") genetic nature
    (to create a creature which is no longer able to survive "in the wild")
    & humans develop psychological processes
    (moderating one's instincts , inaugurating impulse-control) by which
    they are able to domesticate themselves in the same way
    (creating civil society & organized-religion , as result)

    in civil society , many tribes mingle together
    & tribal laws are (gradually) replaced by civil codes (e.g. the Code of Hammurabi)
    because "reality" now is a public world which needs to be kept orderly

    "culture" is now urban , a mix-&-match of ingredients from many tribal groups
    not one set-of-values but an array of value-options to choose from (many divine-things)
    & so in this "public" world there is a seeming "freedom of choice"

    but this public world is an economic world , entirely based upon "self-interest"
    (the "self-interest" of the individual or the "self-interest" of the citystate & its patron-deity)
    so that a "choice" is always made for a "reason" (an underlying cost/benefit analysis)
    choice stems from consumer-desire (learned/cultivated options) , choice is never free
    (there are always "memes" , always cultural-influences/"brainwashing" at work)

    so Azure24 , yes
    "circumstances" are still a determining factor in the workings of polytheistic temple-culture
    (the citystate's patron-deity is thought sovereign , that he or she brings order across the land)

    but because u need to trade goods-&-services with peoples beyond u'r boarders
    u'r citystate needs to be a good joint-stock company with a good reputation abroad
    (if one merchant cheats a foreigner , the whole citystate/corporation is distrusted)
    so a "company policy" is developed
    a set of "industry standards" which all merchants are asked to follow

    this is called "business ethics" , & ethics are value-neutral
    ethics are free of one cultural-prejudice/inclination or another

    when choices are made in the secular/public sphere
    they are limited by ethical-standards , but within the scope of these standards
    each consumer/business choice which is made , is made freely

    what is unlimited (here) is self-interest
    i.e. religion , i.e. the supreme (& sovereign-seeming) patron-deity of the citystate

    & it is this supreme emphasis upon self-interest which
    becomes so heavily scrutinized (& contested) during the Axial Age

    because self-interest has "reasons" behind it
    ("orderliness" of civil-society & "smoothness" of foreign-trade , "cost/benefit calculations")
    there is some "freedom of choice" , but this is still a constrained-choice
    ... "having options" is not the same thing as freewill

    self-interest in service of oneself or of one's citystate or of one's patron-deity
    ... this is what becomes interrogated by the great Axial-Age sages
    (whether the Chinese literati or Indian ascetics or Greek sophists or Judean prophets)
    & each sage rejects some or all of the instinctual & cultural underpinnings of self-interest
    (including worship of any self-interested deity
    ... a deity which needs flattery & bribes
    which needs songs-of-praise & fragrant-sacrifices , to subsist)

    each sage's gameplan ... ?

    shutdown the genes (neutralize instincts & reinforce impulse-control)
    shutdown the memes (neutralize cultural-brainwashing & analytically-deprogram "Mind")

    shutdown the things "causing" u'r behavior &
    u temporarily carve-out & subsist-inside a new reality , a new zone within u'r self
    a zone where freewill becomes possible

    freewill was invented by the sages of the Axial-Age &
    this is their program
    shutdown self-interest
    (though after each sage dies , each of their traditions backslides severely ... but)
    .... Azure24

    what-they-have-done ... works

    the instinctual &/or cultural causes-of-behavior are neutralized
    (the self-interest within a person is temporarily shutdown , i.e.
    freewill , for a few moments becomes genuinely possible)
    so a value-neutral/cause-neutral decision can then be made

    a decision is not a mere "choice"

    (a choice is based upon self-interest & upon cost/benefit option-hunting
    & at its most admirable , involves ethical investment in the general public-good)

    choice is a consumer thing ("u don't like it , buy something else") where
    decision is a moral thing
    a willingness to cross a point of no-return

    the Divine is no longer asking a person to worship him/her/it
    the Divine is an action-software , applicable solely for this place & this moment-in-time
    the Divine is taking u'r hand & saying to u , "let's take this leap"

    (for a slim-moment , u have insulated u'r self from unwarranted influences
    & within this zone ... )
    u can beg-off or u can go for it , but that's u'r call
    it's u'r decision

    it's a matter of freewill

    x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y


    to me it is pretty simple
    predestination is an argument for atheism
    (or ... for a return to the self-interested deity of temple-polytheism)​

    without freewill
    there is no ability for a person to make a cause-neutral decision

    & , to me
    if there is NO decision
    there is NO morality
    & if there is no morality
    there is NO Gyd

  6. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea Well-Known Member

    Jul 1, 2011
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    I agree with this, but I think that there are so many instinctual and cultural factor with different and unknown levels of effect, that in the end it all appears as free will to me.
  7. salishan

    salishan freesoul

    Oct 15, 2011
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    exquisite creature

    this post of u'rs is such a lovely piece of prose
    with such heart-felt sentiments , that
    i felt the need to clean-out its verbal excursions & reiterations
    to return your thoughts to their core beauty

    to essentialize u'r phrasing to how ... they first struck me

    (i hope u aren't offended by this conceit , on my part :eek: )

    x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y

    & this makes me feel all the more guilty

    because in some profound way , i disagree with it

    x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y

    in the Mesopotamian creation story
    man was molded from clay on a potter's wheel

    Radarmark , i can't help feeling
    that so many of us still think this way

    Gyd as an omnipotent "Being" who molds the world to his whim

    Piaget & Inhelder in their books on childhood development
    would characterize this as
    the cognitive understanding of a seven-to-eleven year old child
    (cognitive stage of "concrete operations")

    has our conception of "Gyd" not advanced beyond the "temple" deity stage ?
    a god who walks & talks & wields the forces of nature in his hands ?
    a god who "creates" , who starts things
    & pretty much leaves it to humans to complete them ?

    isn't this pretty-much ass-backwards , putting the cart before the horse ?

    doesn't nature (or innocent humanity) start things (create a world)
    & Gyd steps in & says ... "no , turn a different way" ?
    isn't this the real lesson of the Bible stories or of the Tao Te Ching ?

    not an omnipotent god , who knows all & does all
    but a deity who steps into the fire , steps in when it is at its hottest ?
    a god who is not ten steps ahead of us , but is only one step ahead of us ?

    "i've been-there/done-that & it works , trust me"
    not the god of a melodrama but of a thriller
    Gyd is what is just around the next bend

    x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y

    i am reminded by u'r remarks of the Star Trek episode
    where the Starship Enterprise crew comes across a planet
    which is now the refuge of the Olympian gods
    the crew having to fend-off Zeus's lightningbolts

    the songs-of-praise & burnt-offering sacrifices have long ago dried-up
    the once-powerful gods are not wanted any more , hardly remembered
    & are self-banished to this remote place in the universe
    eternal beings , but sad sad beings which no one cares for anymore

    even "the Eternal" only exist in the hearts of humans as long as the humans need them
    ... "eternity" itself turns out to be no stamp-of-approval , no insurance of "relevance"

    the Olympian gods stayed "concrete" while human minds became more "abstract"
    they were not able to evolve as fast as humans do

    x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y x y

    i'm convinced that those who are looking for the real deal
    need to look for Gyd beyond "an eternal omnipresent Being"
    who is soon to go the same way as the Olympian gods

    that part of u & that part of me , Radarmark
    which is a natural spontaneous "being" , contains no freewill

    Gyd is an action , Gyd is u'r (or my) self-aware behavior in the world
    (impulses sublimated into moral or spiritual acts)
    & it is here , where freewill arises

    so why do we keep talking about Gyd as a "being"
    (a being who needs praise & sacrificial gifts , needs to be worshipped)
    as if we were still a 9-year-old child ?

    i don't get it , my friend
    we are obviously smarter than that
    ... so why do we keep talking that way ?

  8. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

    Jul 28, 2011
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    "The Hard Problem of Philosophy"... if matter and physicality is all there is, why are there things in our experience like red or hardness or high C?

    There is no "Being", either as Gyd or self or instance of existence (like me tying the y in Gyd). There is only becoming. Until we realize and accept this, the notions you speak of continue to rule us.
  9. remocat2222

    remocat2222 Member

    Nov 21, 2013
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    omething is predetermined it doesn't mean we should all know why something happens in the first place...

    The illusion of free will still exists
  10. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

    Jul 28, 2011
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    Ah, see, modern physics does neither endorse nor dismiss free will. Problem with all those in the "illusion" camp.

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