Free will, is it a blessing or a curse?

Use this forum to discuss the September 2021 Philosophy Book of the Month, If Life Stinks, Get Your Head Outta Your But's by Mark L. Wdowiak
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Sushan
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Free will, is it a blessing or a curse?

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This topic is about the September 2021 Philosophy Book of the Month, If Life Stinks, Get Your Head Outta Your But's by Mark L. Wdowiak

You have been born into this earth with the ultimate inalienable right of free will—the ability to choose for yourself what you want in your life. Depending on what your current opinions and beliefs are, this fact can be either a blessing or a curse.
(Location 254 - Kindle version)

We all have free will, the freedom to think on our own and act on our own as far as we are bound by the laws and ethics. It is a real blessing, and I can understand that. But this author is claiming that it can be a curse too. How can it be?
By the way, an excuse is a reason based upon a lie. By making excuses, you’re lying to yourself and creating a false reality.
(Location 322 - Kindle version)

We can either choose to work hard, or to give excuses and avoid work, and as per the author this will lead us to a false reality which is created by us on our own. Is this the bad aspect of 'free will' that the author is talking about? What do you think about this whole concept related to free will and excuses?
“There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers”

– William James
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LuckyR
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Re: Free will, is it a blessing or a curse?

Post by LuckyR »

Sushan wrote: September 2nd, 2021, 1:43 am This topic is about the September 2021 Philosophy Book of the Month, If Life Stinks, Get Your Head Outta Your But's by Mark L. Wdowiak

You have been born into this earth with the ultimate inalienable right of free will—the ability to choose for yourself what you want in your life. Depending on what your current opinions and beliefs are, this fact can be either a blessing or a curse.
(Location 254 - Kindle version)

We all have free will, the freedom to think on our own and act on our own as far as we are bound by the laws and ethics. It is a real blessing, and I can understand that. But this author is claiming that it can be a curse too. How can it be?
By the way, an excuse is a reason based upon a lie. By making excuses, you’re lying to yourself and creating a false reality.
(Location 322 - Kindle version)

We can either choose to work hard, or to give excuses and avoid work, and as per the author this will lead us to a false reality which is created by us on our own. Is this the bad aspect of 'free will' that the author is talking about? What do you think about this whole concept related to free will and excuses?
Many have unrealistically high opinions of themselves. They openly fear the exposure of their shortcomings. Thus they seek to avoid appearing to be wrong by never being responsible for a decision. They would find the freedom of decision making to be a curse.
"As usual... it depends."
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Re: Free will, is it a blessing or a curse?

Post by Sculptor1 »

It is neither a blessing nor is it a curse.
It would not even be either case if there was such a thing, which there is not.
Free will is an illusion.
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Sushan
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Re: Free will, is it a blessing or a curse?

Post by Sushan »

LuckyR wrote: September 2nd, 2021, 3:03 am
Sushan wrote: September 2nd, 2021, 1:43 am This topic is about the September 2021 Philosophy Book of the Month, If Life Stinks, Get Your Head Outta Your But's by Mark L. Wdowiak

You have been born into this earth with the ultimate inalienable right of free will—the ability to choose for yourself what you want in your life. Depending on what your current opinions and beliefs are, this fact can be either a blessing or a curse.
(Location 254 - Kindle version)

We all have free will, the freedom to think on our own and act on our own as far as we are bound by the laws and ethics. It is a real blessing, and I can understand that. But this author is claiming that it can be a curse too. How can it be?
By the way, an excuse is a reason based upon a lie. By making excuses, you’re lying to yourself and creating a false reality.
(Location 322 - Kindle version)

We can either choose to work hard, or to give excuses and avoid work, and as per the author this will lead us to a false reality which is created by us on our own. Is this the bad aspect of 'free will' that the author is talking about? What do you think about this whole concept related to free will and excuses?
Many have unrealistically high opinions of themselves. They openly fear the exposure of their shortcomings. Thus they seek to avoid appearing to be wrong by never being responsible for a decision. They would find the freedom of decision making to be a curse.
Some are borne to take decisions and play leading roles, while some are simply borne to follow a leader and obey the orders. Both of these are useful for the betterment of the human society. A leader needs full support of his subordinates, who are having free will and their own rights to make their own decisions. So one of these subordinates suddenly decide to use that and play a leader's role, even the actual leader who used his power to make decisions will see free will as a curse.
“There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers”

– William James
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Sushan
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Re: Free will, is it a blessing or a curse?

Post by Sushan »

Sculptor1 wrote: September 2nd, 2021, 3:59 am It is neither a blessing nor is it a curse.
It would not even be either case if there was such a thing, which there is not.
Free will is an illusion.
Human mind has no limits and no boundaries. One can think of anything whether it is good, bad, legal, illegal, helpful, harmful, etc. All the limits and boundaries come to play when you try to act upon them. Still you have your own free will to go against all those boundaries and act as you wish. So why do you say free will is an illusion?
“There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers”

– William James
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Sculptor1
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Re: Free will, is it a blessing or a curse?

Post by Sculptor1 »

Sushan wrote: September 2nd, 2021, 2:16 pm
Sculptor1 wrote: September 2nd, 2021, 3:59 am It is neither a blessing nor is it a curse.
It would not even be either case if there was such a thing, which there is not.
Free will is an illusion.
Human mind has no limits and no boundaries.
That is so onbviously and patently false.
One can think of anything whether it is good, bad, legal, illegal, helpful, harmful, etc. All the limits and boundaries come to play when you try to act upon them. Still you have your own free will to go against all those boundaries and act as you wish. So why do you say free will is an illusion?
Because you will has to be the result of a series of causes like anything else.
In order that you "go against" a boundary, there are learned criteria upon which you work: all this is a chain of events determined by a large range of causal factors. If it were not, it would be meaningless.
PoeticUniverse
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Re: Free will, is it a blessing or a curse?

Post by PoeticUniverse »

The fixed will (brain) makes choices based on what it has become up to the moment of choice. We are not aware of the analysis done by the neurons and their connections doing as they must, nor is the subsequent consciousness of the result arriving after a few hundred milliseconds aware of it, which is called 'referral' (no reference to brain states).

One cannot be free of the will. 'Random' wouldn't help, but would hurt the will. Being a mini first cause wouldn't provide any information. Consciousness comes too late in the process.

Expanded:

The ‘free will’ or not dilemma is whether the will’s product has to be what it is, as fixed and determined by a result from an estimation based on an analysis of scenarios of consequences based on and limited to its current repertoire, or if, well, … I don’t know what alternative?

Random instead? A mini first cause instead? Consciousness instead?

The ‘free’ part of ‘free will’ is thus not the trivial natural fact that the healthy will is free to operate when there’s no coercion, although the compatibilists think this is the whole deal; case closed. (Not to mention that the coercion was determined, too.)

‘Random’ would produce chaos. Once in while would be survivable, but perhaps for when you are on the edge of a cliff.

‘Consciousness’ doesn’t will anything. While the brain’s subconscious analysis is quick, this process still takes a bit of time to figure a result, and only right after it finishes can the product get into conscious and get unified, integrated, and stitched to whatever was ongoing, and then presented, which also takes some time.

A mini first cause without access to the brain’s information wouldn’t know anything.

It makes sense that one’s two trillion or so neural connections really get used to narrow down the options and produce an output consistent with what one has become.

The brain’s will is dynamic and so its information continually increases from learning to a better fixed will of another moment, and so it is thus that it might then produce a different output than it did for the same situation in the past.

We can never be free of the fixed will and who would even want to be? The will’s consistency aids survival, in general, and otherwise ever allows us to continue as we’ve become. The fixed will is a blessing.

Does one want ‘free will’ because on the surface it just seems to be a good thing to have? Is it that being a kind of even a smart robot still seems repulsive?

There seems to be no alternative. Does that bring peace? Hope so.

All in all, the Universe does us, not the other way around. We become who we are from our genetics and the influences from our surroundings and learning, for which we were never responsible. Thus, neither fame nor shame can be claimed as owned and so they must fall by the wayside, for they belong to the Cosmos.

It is just luck that some can learn better than others, to enlarge the range of the their wills. In some unlucky people learning doesn't work so well. Other than that disability, it may be that the wires that so often fired together got really wired together and so the same answer keeps coming back no matter what the evidence, such as the simple science telling of how to stop from spreading viruses through masks or vaccine. We feel compassion for those who are stuck in any kind of way. 'Live Free or Die!" OK, die.

Experiencing is what life is all about and so it is like a 'benefit'. I think it even feels better if one acts as if s/he is in charge.

Tell your partner of your love and feeling using those second story terms; don't say that our first storey bonding hormones in the opaque neurological basement made us to be partners, etc.

Protecting Society and Hope for Learning

“The universe made me do it,” says the accused,
And the Judge replies, “Well, this does excuse,
But I still have to sentence you to the pen,
Until the universe can’t make you do it again.”
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Sushan
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Re: Free will, is it a blessing or a curse?

Post by Sushan »

Sculptor1 wrote: September 2nd, 2021, 3:46 pm
Sushan wrote: September 2nd, 2021, 2:16 pm
Sculptor1 wrote: September 2nd, 2021, 3:59 am It is neither a blessing nor is it a curse.
It would not even be either case if there was such a thing, which there is not.
Free will is an illusion.
Human mind has no limits and no boundaries.
That is so onbviously and patently false.
One can think of anything whether it is good, bad, legal, illegal, helpful, harmful, etc. All the limits and boundaries come to play when you try to act upon them. Still you have your own free will to go against all those boundaries and act as you wish. So why do you say free will is an illusion?
Because you will has to be the result of a series of causes like anything else.
In order that you "go against" a boundary, there are learned criteria upon which you work: all this is a chain of events determined by a large range of causal factors. If it were not, it would be meaningless.
Why do you say human mind has limits? No ones imagination can be or have to be limited. If one can keep their thoughts in their minds they can think of any fantasy. And we see many sci-fi fantasy that come out from such minds. They may not be practical or applicable, yet you can think anything like that.

When it comes to action only the things have to follow a chain of cause and the result. And this has to be applied when someone is planning a scientific experiment or a new invention. But for fantastic thinking there is no limit.
“There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers”

– William James
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Re: Free will, is it a blessing or a curse?

Post by Fellowmater »

I fundamentally do not accept the premise that you can choose to believe something just because there is some utility in doing so. If you are convinced that the world is determined and that, because of this, free will is a nonsensical concept then you will be unable to simply abandon this belief purely because in a moment of dejection it would make you happier.

Furthermore, one way or another, there is an objectively right and wrong answer to this question, and which answer is correct has profound ramifications for how we assess the praise and blameworthiness of actions and individuals. To take a postmodernist stance that it is all subjective ducks a really interesting a consequential debate in philosophy.
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Re: Free will, is it a blessing or a curse?

Post by Sculptor1 »

Sushan wrote: September 2nd, 2021, 10:11 pm
Sculptor1 wrote: September 2nd, 2021, 3:46 pm
Sushan wrote: September 2nd, 2021, 2:16 pm
Sculptor1 wrote: September 2nd, 2021, 3:59 am It is neither a blessing nor is it a curse.
It would not even be either case if there was such a thing, which there is not.
Free will is an illusion.
Human mind has no limits and no boundaries.
That is so onbviously and patently false.
One can think of anything whether it is good, bad, legal, illegal, helpful, harmful, etc. All the limits and boundaries come to play when you try to act upon them. Still you have your own free will to go against all those boundaries and act as you wish. So why do you say free will is an illusion?
Because you will has to be the result of a series of causes like anything else.
In order that you "go against" a boundary, there are learned criteria upon which you work: all this is a chain of events determined by a large range of causal factors. If it were not, it would be meaningless.
Why do you say human mind has limits?
Really why do you ask? If you mind has not limits then why would you have to ask me that question. An unlimited mind would already know.
Think that over for a moment!
No ones imagination can be or have to be limited. If one can keep their thoughts in their minds they can think of any fantasy. And we see many sci-fi fantasy that come out from such minds. They may not be practical or applicable, yet you can think anything like that.
Have you ever read much science fiction?
You have also changed goalposts. You have switched from an unlimited mind, to unlimited imagination. Both have limits.

When it comes to action only the things have to follow a chain of cause and the result. And this has to be applied when someone is planning a scientific experiment or a new invention. But for fantastic thinking there is no limit.
There are significant limits to even the imagination. Some ancient writers condiered the possibility of extraterrestrial travel. Quite impressive, but they were all limited by their lack of knowledge any were wrong on a series of points of fact.
I see no reason why similar limits would not still apply now.
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Re: Free will, is it a blessing or a curse?

Post by Nick_A »

Bettering human society requires educated leaders with free will. Only they have the knowledge to choose the good. They will have the charisma and ability to convince the non educated of the importance for ridding the world of all who oppose bettering human society. The result will be what is called social progress through the gradual elimination of undesirables.
Man would like to be an egoist and cannot. This is the most striking characteristic of his wretchedness and the source of his greatness." Simone Weil....Gravity and Grace
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Re: Free will, is it a blessing or a curse?

Post by PoeticUniverse »

Sushan wrote: September 2nd, 2021, 2:16 pm Human mind has no limits and no boundaries. One can think of anything whether it is good, bad, legal, illegal, helpful, harmful, etc. All the limits and boundaries come to play when you try to act upon them. Still you have your own free will to go against all those boundaries and act as you wish.
The brain's will is ever coming up with thoughts out of the dark subconscious, many about what is already ongoing and some as suprising 'out of the blue' tangents, limited only by one's repertoire, which is still a vast number but finite. It can triumph over obstacles. These thought products precede the awareness of them in consciousness. Other interested areas of the brain's will provide further inputs to the rumination, and so on. The process keeps on repeating as the will hones in what it must come up with to be true to itself as what it has become in providing the best satisfaction from all the scenarios of consequences considered.

One thinks that they could have chosen differently but in actuality the choice came out as what it was and so the 'differently' was but of a fantasy world or a game to play with simulations, such as if Hitler had won WWII.

Consistency is mostly a blessing but can become a curse if one has gotten too stuck. A radio host called 'Anti-Vax' just died from covid. 5 times the number of republicans die from covid than do democrats. Evolution has slowed down its cullings in more modern areas due to diets good enough and medicine and more, but with covid going on, stupid people are being gotten rid of quickly. It's not one's fault, though, for their will having developed to what it is; just bad or good 'luck'.
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Re: Free will, is it a blessing or a curse?

Post by Sculptor1 »

Having challenged the existence of free will, I can answer the question in the sense of asking if the "notion" of free will is a curse,
Free will is a Christian myth which demands that people of all kinds have an unfettered capacity to chose Jesus as Saviour, or if not, to have tacitly chosen the devil and his works.
I have no doubt, then that seen in this light it is most definitely a curse.
It is a curse to those that may never have heard of Jesus. Historically this runs into billions of humans in the last 2000 years.
It is a curse to all those that have been brought up under the aegis of some other religion which considers outsiders like Jesus to be anathema.
It is a curse to people like me who find the entire notion of God and his son utterly incredible, and could only accept Jesus as an act of utter dishonesty, such as Pascal's Wager.
The fact is that an all powerful God has made me such that I shall die a sinner and be damned to hell. An all powerful god must have known since the dawn of time that I would reject the idea of god and his son, and live and die in sin my whole life.
If there is such a god then there is no doubt that He has cursed me.
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Re: Free will, is it a blessing or a curse?

Post by Nick_A »

Have you ever thought about the difference between the action of free will and the reaction to desire?
"God...does not constrain the will. Rather, he sets it free, so that it may choose him, that is to say, freedom. The spirit of man may not will otherwise than what God wills, but that is no lack of freedom. It is true freedom itself." Meister Eckhart
Man would like to be an egoist and cannot. This is the most striking characteristic of his wretchedness and the source of his greatness." Simone Weil....Gravity and Grace
PoeticUniverse
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Re: Free will, is it a blessing or a curse?

Post by PoeticUniverse »

Nick_A wrote: September 3rd, 2021, 3:36 pm "God...does not constrain the will. Rather, he sets it free, so that it may choose him, that is to say, freedom. The spirit of man may not will otherwise than what God wills, but that is no lack of freedom. It is true freedom itself." Meister Eckhart
Oh, dishonest Eckhart, you dishonestly cite 'God' as if it's truth and then do it some more in adding that for sure free will with consequences is true freedom! Blah, blah, blah, suppositions… Obey or burn…

Misleading

Their ingrained beliefs the priests’ duly preach,
As if notions were truth and fact to teach.
Oh, cleric, repent; at least say, “Have faith”;
Since, of unknowns ne’er shown none can e’er reach.

The Postering Cleric

I just love how the religious preacher
Talks so firm and sure and then gets louder,
As if to show how true his warnings are,
Eyes closing, head tilting up toward afar.
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