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View Poll Results: Do you argue with yourself about free will?
No, I believe that we are immensely complex machines, and that free will is an illusion. 4 14.81%
No, I believe that we have free will, and that not all of our decisions are determined by physics. 6 22.22%
Yes, I drive myself insane over this every day... 3 11.11%
I sometimes wonder about it, but I don't think about it too much. 6 22.22%
None of the above 8 29.63%
Voters: 27. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 08-17-2010, 11:04 PM   #91
ntubski
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrCode View Post
In order to be "free", your decisions would have to be able to be made at random
That doesn't sound free to me, it sounds like you are being controlled by a random process.
 
Old 08-17-2010, 11:24 PM   #92
MrCode
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Quote:
That doesn't sound free to me, it sounds like you are being controlled by a random process.
*sigh* Okay, this is where the really stupid stuff comes in (i.e. the part where I sound crazy, you guys tell me that, and I end up getting the thread closed )...

Does anyone here believe in "alternate universes", i.e. the idea that multiple possible "timelines" can exist in a parallel "universe"?

...didn't think so. Okay, moving on...I can't do this. If I say what I want to say, then I'll get lots of stuff back about how it's completely false, that there's no way of proving it, and that I'm a nutcase for believing that it's how freedom works.

Sorry.
 
Old 08-17-2010, 11:32 PM   #93
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First of all, a disclaimer; the views I'm expression are my own thinking and I make no claim to whether it jives with any "official" brand of determinism.

My belief that everything is governed by a set of natural laws does not mean that I have knowledge of those laws. I merely believe that with a complete knowledge of all natural laws and the current state of the entire universe, one could extrapolate all past and future states of the universe. This, however, is an impossible task. But because this task is impossible, the burden of perfection is lifted. No one "knows" what you will do next. We can make predictions based on sociological and psychological models, and even be right most of the time, but that knowledge is not absolute.

This may not be the "Freedom" you're looking for, but between what we know and what we can know, there's enough waiting to be discovered to fill all of our lifetimes many times over. This is what I take personal pleasure in, gathering knowledge and having new experiences. A geologist can describe the topology of a mountain range, but that knowledge cannot replace the thrill of have a valley floor spread out before you like some sort of Greek god. Knowledge of anatomy cannot replace the experience of looking into your newborn daughter's eyes for the first time.

So work through your existential angst, but know that life is not over just because it is theoretically possible to predict the future.
 
Old 08-17-2010, 11:51 PM   #94
MrCode
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Quote:
Knowledge of anatomy cannot replace the experience of looking into your newborn daughter's eyes for the first time.
Now I think we're starting to touch on what hurts me emotionally...

I find myself taking a reductionist/determinist POV on everything, and it's to the point where I can't even enjoy a simple life experience for very long without trying to reduce it to cold logic.

Also, as I mentioned before, there are certain things that I wish could happen that I'm not comfortable with sharing here (or anywhere else on the internet for that matter), and to me, the more knowledge that is amassed about the universe, the less and less plausible those things seem to be. Hell, people would laugh and/or scold me right now for wanting such things, should I choose to share them...

I don't know how to jolt myself out of it; it's like I can't seem to find some way of looking at things from a less depressing POV...this is probably where I need psychiatric help.

Quote:
know that life is not over just because it is theoretically possible to predict the future.
...and more importantly, I know I probably shouldn't be swayed so easily by others' opinions...I need to be able to form my own hypothesis on the whole "free will vs. determinism" question, rather than relying entirely on other people to decide for me.

Besides, even the possibility of predicting the future is (IMO) questionable, even if we did know all the laws of physics, because if you could present the future in a way that humans could understand, and you were showing the future of someone to them, wouldn't that allow them to change it? Unless of course it's always a predestination paradox, in that no matter what the subject does to try to "change" the future, it actually causes that future to happen...that's another part of what depresses me. What if you were shown a prediction of the death of one of your loved ones, and even though you tried to stop it, in so doing, you actually caused the events to happen exactly as they were shown to you?? Talk about devastating...

EDIT: To be more "on-topic" with your post:

Quote:
I merely believe that with a complete knowledge of all natural laws and the current state of the entire universe, one could extrapolate all past and future states of the universe.
This is kinda what I believe, too, but see my next point:

Quote:
This, however, is an impossible task.
Yes, and I hope for it never to be possible! This is where part of the problem lies, I believe. I'm afraid that knowledge will come within my lifetime...some people believe that we're approaching a "technological singularity", as it were, where all knowledge will be able to be known, because technology will grow exponentially to be practially infinitely complex...or something like that (kinda sketchy on the details ). This thought disturbs me...

Put more simply, I'd rather live in an illusion and be happy than live in a cold, heartless, meaningless reality. Or, I'd like for it not to be an illusion in the first place.

Quote:
because this task is impossible, the burden of perfection is lifted.
Not for me it isn't...see what I wrote above...

Last edited by MrCode; 08-18-2010 at 12:30 AM.
 
Old 08-20-2010, 03:05 PM   #95
MrCode
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I just received a cold reminder of our real nature (i.e. not our illusory "we have free will and life has meaning" nature ):

Apparently genetics are solely responsible for our beliefs in a higher power/life having a purpose.

Life is meaningless in reality, it's just that we've been genetically predisposed to believe that it has meaning. It was a "required" stage of our evolution, to enable survival, nothing more.

However, apparently this trend is declining with the rise of science/atheism as the dominant "faith" motive. This is what I mean by people saying it's "evolution at work". (Am I just seeing a loud minority here, or is this really true?)

I really don't get how people can just "set aside" the notion that everything is predetermined in order to live their lives...I don't know how to do it...then again, that's probably because I've been genetically predisposed to not be able to...or so science would say.

I've also been genetically predisposed to believe in reincarnation...but that just means I'm an "inferior specimen" now, right?

^ I don't know if you can see my point yet, but it seems that "evolution" and "genetic predisposition" are being used as excuses for the reasons why we believe in something greater than ourselves (or, to be more on par with what I believe, that we are more than the sum of our [physical] parts). This is a large part of what disturbs me and is what keeps me in a ridiculously $#!tty mood...which, of course, is only a result of my genetic makeup; I was predestined to go through exactly this $#!t that's bothering me now. I had no choice; the "choices" I made were an illusion...I was simply running through my "program", as it were, and I didn't realize it until recently. Hell, even the "self-realization" is an illusion; just yet another part of the "program", since after all, it lies at the base intrinsic functions of the human mind, and no one can escape it.

So you see, it's all intertwined: the "we are automatons" problem links up with the "there is nothing beyond the physical universe" problem, which links with the "life has no meaning" problem...

...which links with the "everything I just described (including this) is only further proof that it's part of a simple machination of the mind, nothing more, which further proves the other points (i.e. that life is meaningless, etc.)..." problem. This is where the downward spiral begins...

Last edited by MrCode; 08-20-2010 at 03:11 PM.
 
Old 08-20-2010, 03:35 PM   #96
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I'm not one to look behind I know that times must change
But over there in Barrytown they do things very strange
And though you're not my enemy
I like things like they used to be
And though you'd like some company
I'm standing by myself
Go play with someone else
(..)
 
Old 08-20-2010, 03:42 PM   #97
MrCode
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Quote:
I'm not one to look behind I know that times must change
But over there in Barrytown they do things very strange
And though you're not my enemy
I like things like they used to be
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the subject here could be *me* (i.e. I'm the one saying "I'm not one to look behind I know that times must change", etc.), and it could be translated in my case as this:

I see that I'm now considered "wrong" because I believe in something that plenty of others no longer do...

However, I don't agree with what you believe either.

While I respect that you believe in one thing and not another,

I simply cannot accept what you believe as my own beliefs, as I prefer my own beliefs, "wrong" or otherwise.

...am I close?

EDIT: My post above, simplifed:

List of existential fears:
  • Free will/free choice are illusory/all "choices" are predetermined by physical laws.
  • Life is meaningless, and our belief that it has "meaning" is a mere evolutionary trait, meaningless in itself/
  • The very fact that I can rationally explain the above two things is more proof towards them, i.e. it's all the result of a meaningless machine. It's like what the existentialist xkcd girl says: "If the question of what it all means doesn't mean anything, why do I keep coming back to it?" Damn good question...

Last edited by MrCode; 08-20-2010 at 03:49 PM.
 
Old 08-20-2010, 05:59 PM   #98
XavierP
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MrCode, have you ever heard of the Circle of Influence? I found that understanding about this made me much happier when I had concerns like yours. Even if I understood them before I learned about them!
 
Old 08-20-2010, 08:02 PM   #99
MrCode
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the site that you linked to
First notice all your concerns. Then, among those concerns, determine where you can take action
I'm sorry, but as soon as I see the d-word I stop reading. Just more of the same to me: mechanisms and algorithms.

Same thing with anything else that has to do with patterns/sequences..."habit" comes to mind here.

Quote:
Focusing on what you don't like is disempowering. Focusing on what you can do is proactive and empowering.
This, I know. However, it only feeds my problem, because I can see it represented as C pseudo-code:

Code:
focus_on_positives ? empowering : unempowering;
Just more algorithms to me...cold mechanisms, nothing more. The evidence against free will is stacking up exponentially it seems, and yet it hurts me so deeply...makes me feel powerless.

Perhaps this thread should be closed for sanity reasons? Unless someone really thinks they can help me break out of this "analyze every single little thing" loop...

It's really quite hard to do so: every time somebody makes a suggestion, I start looking for a reason to call it "more of the same". Hell, that statement I just made is a perfect example: it's a rationalization of my negativity. Here's yet more C pseudo-code:

Code:
int proofAgainstFreeWill = 5; //max = 10 (we're all machines); min = 0 (we're freee!!!);
bool fearOfNoFreeWill = true;

while(fearOfNoFreeWill == true)
{
    if(AnalyzeReasons(circumstance,currentMood) > 0) //if I can find a valid rationalization
        proofAgainstFreeWill += 1; //Plus one for the determinists...
    else                           //Otherwise:
        proofAgainstFreeWill -= 1; //Hmm, maybe there's something unexplainable going on...

    if(proofAgainstFreeWill >= 5)
        fearOfNoFreeWill = true;
    else if(proofAgainstFreeWill < 5)
        fearOfNoFreeWill = false;
}
...okay, so maybe that's a little rough, but even so, the fact that I can at least approximate my situation in the syntax of a programming language is just more fuel for my fire, I think. The only reason it's harder is because computer languages (AFAIK) don't have as much ambiguity as human languages, and so you have to be as absolute as possible.

Last edited by MrCode; 08-20-2010 at 08:07 PM.
 
Old 08-20-2010, 11:44 PM   #100
MrCode
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Okay, I know this is going to sound weird, but I would officially like this thread closed. I have taken this discussion elsewhere (as in another forum), and really would like to not have the burden of two "is there a such thing as free will" threads to keep track of.

That is all...

Last edited by MrCode; 08-20-2010 at 11:46 PM.
 
Old 08-21-2010, 03:31 AM   #101
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Threads are only closed for specific reasons so unless you have Compulsory Posting Disorder the only thing you need to do now is stop posting in this thread. You'll see it'll wither away in no time and die() off all by itself.
 
Old 08-21-2010, 03:48 AM   #102
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Quote:
the only thing you need to do now is stop posting in this thread. You'll see it'll wither away in no time and die() off all by itself.
Okay, I can stop posting here, but that doesn't stop others from doing so...every time I check LQ /General, I get little anxiety butterflies if I see that there are new posts in this thread.

Although, I suppose I really don't have to read them...alright, consider this my last post. I'm done here; I don't need to pollute this forum with my determinism angst any further. Besides, it's getting better, so...
 
Old 08-21-2010, 07:49 AM   #103
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MrCode
Volunteer to be the test pilot for Alexvader's home-made helicopter. That should take your mind off other problems.
 
Old 08-21-2010, 10:50 AM   #104
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Hmmm. On second thought let's close this thread. Piloting experimental aircraft may possibly be a tad too permanent a way to take ones mind off of things...
 
  


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