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
Nick_A
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Re: Free will, is it a blessing or a curse?

Post by Nick_A »

obvious responses from those who have never contemplated the difference between animal REACTION to desire and the ACTIVE human potential for free will. A potential mind opening question but is now often abandoned in the debate over conflicting animal reactions as society devolves into its fascination with fragmentation.
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 »

Fellowmater wrote: September 2nd, 2021, 11:29 pm 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.
Yes, the realization of the fixed will, although we may come to appreciate its consistency, upsets several disciplines, and emotionally upsets people by showing them to be akin to very skillful robots.

The judicial courts mostly only attend to the axis of 'responsible' versus 'not responsible' (coercion, rage, mental illness, being programmed, etc,), ignoring the orthogonal axis of 'fixed will' versus 'free will', whatever 'free' means that no one is ever to say beyond that of the will being able to operate.
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Re: Free will, is it a blessing or a curse?

Post by PoeticUniverse »

As for our choices, they are as wide
Or as restricted as our learning.
After that, well, we surely want our choices
To reflect what we have become.
The notion of “determined” doesn’t sit well,
But if we consider its opposite—
“Undetermined”—then it does.
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Re: Free will, is it a blessing or a curse?

Post by FranknBerry »

Two points of discussion that appears to me to be at hand here. One being the initial question of whether the concept of free will is a blessing or a curse and then there is the inevitable branching discussion of whether free will is an illusion or not. I perceive no benefit in adding to the initial discussion as any answer can only ever subjective. In reference to the discussion as to whether free will is an illusion and if there are limits to the "mind" I see potential possibilities that could be of benefit to some individuals who are exposed to what I have to share.

In almost every argument/debate/discussion the issue at hand is perspective based. A perception exists in which there are clear lines in the sand. As though two or more individuals are arguing polar points. While perceived polar they are often not. The present argument/debate/discussion re: limitations/limitlessness of the human "mind" being an example of just that. Depending on the perspective that is taken up the "mind" can be argued as limited, but could also, with as much merit, be argued as limitless. The "mind" is limited in that it is reactive based upon only what it has ever been exposed to. That which a person has never been exposed to can have no impact at all on what that individual thinks, feels, or does. In that sense they can be argued as limited. However, there has been no indication from any existing study that there is a limit to what all an individual could be exposed to and retain within the confines of their brains. As such, it can be argued that the "mind" is potentially limitless. The term limitless in this sense not meaning "all knowing".

In regard to the concept of "free will" I've reached the conclusion that it is in effect an "illusion". To properly argue my perspective on the issue, however, I would need to argue my conclusions on what exactly "perception" is, why we think what we think, and why we do what we do. That would take far too long so I'll give a shortened version. We don't perceive the world as it actually is. We translate it. The concept of free will arrives from a concept of choice. The concept of choice arrives as a result of exposure to options. When coming upon a fork in the road we can either take a left or a right turn. The road we take will be due to how we've been conditioned prior. It's a reactive process. If one road leads to a den of ravenous wolves and the other leads to a field of fluffy and adorable puppies the "choice" we make will be dependent on our past experiences/exposures. "Choice" is a word and perception associated with the action that is undertaken. A translation nearer to what is occurring is that we are reactively taking either the left or right road. If we are conditioned to perceive ourselves as possessing free will and the ability to choose and are never presented with anything opposing such then we will always reactively express such a perception and hold it as objective truth. The process of translation is what makes perception entirely subjective. It can't be anything but.

Existence is not bound by our subjective perceptions, however, we are.
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Re: Free will, is it a blessing or a curse?

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PoeticUniverse wrote: September 2nd, 2021, 4:09 pm 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.”
I think free will is the consciousness. And that means our brain as well as our mind (the result of chemical activities of the brain) is well of that. There are functions that occur without the knowledge of the brain, but they are simply reflexes which are made and practiced for safety purposes. One cannot and also should not try to overdrive that and that is not a part of the free will. Though our thoughts and acts are limited and influenced by the rest of the world, our minds are not controlled by any outsiders. So we are free to do what we please and decide, and at the same time we are responsible for what we do.
"Nothing is true, Everything is permitted" - Assassins Creed
“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?

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Fellowmater wrote: September 2nd, 2021, 11:29 pm 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.
People believe in things for various reasons. Some do that because that is how they are taught. Some because it was the inheritance. Some for logical reasons. And some out of oure idiocy. I too think people do not believe in things merely for utility purposes. But they pretend to be believing and supporting various opinions just for utility purposes.

And, yes, if the world is already determined how it should be and how people should behave, why people are held accountable for their acts? People should be subjected to neither praises nor punishments because if they do not have free will, they are not responsible for their acts.
“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?

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Sculptor1 wrote: September 3rd, 2021, 10:10 am
Sushan wrote: September 2nd, 2021, 10:11 pm
Sculptor1 wrote: September 2nd, 2021, 3:46 pm
Sushan wrote: September 2nd, 2021, 2:16 pm

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.
1. Whatever the wordings are used, whether it is mind, imagination, or anything else, all these refer to results of human brain activity. So the goalposts are still the same.

2. Unlimited mind is not an all knowing mind. I am not trying to speak about a superior mind which has achieved some spiritual development. An ordinary person can think of whatever fantasies, and that makes his mind unlimited. People can travel through whole universe, and even beyond that in their minds. But that does not mean they know everything about the universe.

3. Everyone can have different thoughts related to same topic, and that is why I am asking, why do you say human mind have limits?
“There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers”

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

Post by PoeticUniverse »

Sushan wrote: September 10th, 2021, 1:41 am I think free will is the consciousness.
It is sequential to the figuring of the products that structure its contents, thus coming to late in the brain process to cause anything directly right then and there.
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Re: Free will, is it a blessing or a curse?

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Sushan wrote: September 10th, 2021, 1:55 am
Sculptor1 wrote: September 3rd, 2021, 10:10 am
Sushan wrote: September 2nd, 2021, 10:11 pm
Sculptor1 wrote: September 2nd, 2021, 3:46 pm
That is so onbviously and patently false.

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.
1. Whatever the wordings are used, whether it is mind, imagination, or anything else, all these refer to results of human brain activity. So the goalposts are still the same.
Goalpoasts are limits too.

2. Unlimited mind is not an all knowing mind.
There is no such thing.
I am not trying to speak about a superior mind which has achieved some spiritual development. An ordinary person can think of whatever fantasies, and that makes his mind unlimited. People can travel through whole universe, and even beyond that in their minds. But that does not mean they know everything about the universe.
"unlimited mind" is noting but a peotic fiction.
3. Everyone can have different thoughts related to same topic, and that is why I am asking, why do you say human mind have limits?
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Re: Free will, is it a blessing or a curse?

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Nick_A wrote: September 3rd, 2021, 12:47 pm 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.
That is a lovely thought. But there are few flaws in that.

1. Free will is not only for the educated ones, but for everyone. So the followers have the choice either to accept or deny what the leaders say.

2. And there can be people who do not like bettering human society because of their personal agendas. Those people too have free will and they can choose to simply interrupt the process and plans for a better future.

So simply free will can become a blessing as well as a curse like that.
“There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers”

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

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PoeticUniverse wrote: September 3rd, 2021, 2:59 pm
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'.
From the first parts of your comment I get that you are saying though one is having the freedom to think for one's own self, the thoughts can be either influenced or affected by various socio-political, economical, environmental factors as well as education.

But what about this point of stupid people being removed from the society? Seemingly you are having your opinions on the Covid vaccination as well as politics. But how can those who have different opinions be stupid? We see many vaccinated ones too being dead of Covid. If the vaccinated ones are intelligent, then the intelligent ones too have been removed. So there is no actual logic or connection between their removal, their intelligence, and their use of free will. And I am not going to comment on the political data, but I am pretty sure the data are pretty mmuch corrupted since there is no medical explanation that can explain one dying or surviving of Covid depending on their political beliefs.
“There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers”

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

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Sushan wrote: September 15th, 2021, 12:27 am
Nick_A wrote: September 3rd, 2021, 12:47 pm 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.
That is a lovely thought. But there are few flaws in that.

1. Free will is not only for the educated ones, but for everyone. So the followers have the choice either to accept or deny what the leaders say.

2. And there can be people who do not like bettering human society because of their personal agendas. Those people too have free will and they can choose to simply interrupt the process and plans for a better future.

So simply free will can become a blessing as well as a curse like that.
Actually, my post was sarcasm. There are two basic reasons why it is an impossibility. First it would require the philosopher kings described by Plato which the human condition prevents. Then it would require how human society could be bettered which again the human condition prevents. A true seeker of wisdom avoids lovely thoughts in favor of admitting the reality of the human condition and beginning from there.
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 ExistenceofSelf »

!!!!!!!!!! Social Engineer Explains Choice and Predeterminism !!!!!!!!!!


**** Introduction ****

Predetermined existence and choice are difficult concepts to fully comprehend. There are perspective conundrums that develop when processing the concept. If everything is predetermined, than how can I have choice or free will?


**** What is Predeterminism and Choice? ****

Predeterminism is mathematics that predict the outcome of everything that; has, will, is currently, will not, and could occur. Choice is when an individual is complex enough to formulate multiple constructs of perspective actions or solutions before implementing one of the; actions, ideas, or solutions for circumstance.

The more information and biologically complex an individual acquires and is, the more choice an individual can formulate.

The human concept of choice is what constrains perspective when trying to understand predeterminism and choice. The human concept of choice is predicated on the concept of free will. The human concept of free will is having the liberty of choice without being or feeling like a puppet that has no control over themselves. Religious; cults, ideologies, and personal beliefs heavily influenced how humans perceive the concept of choice. This naturally created a type of dissociation between the human perspectives of "reality and illusion" that surround the concept of free will and choice.


**** How Predeterminism and Choice Actually Operate ****

An individual is a constant quantitative calculation of mathematics. This also applies to everyone and everything outside of the individual as well. Mathematics takes a "predetermined" route in order to formulate and translate a conclusion. This is applied both in an individual's internal and external reality/illusion and illusion/reality of perspective experience.

All mathematical information is in domino since the beginning of the universe or "big bang." In theory, this domino can be predicted into what is considered an inevitable conclusion. A technology in theory could be produced to implement the Mother Of Equation (MOE) for great power in advantage. It is predeterminism that gets in the way of predeterminism. When a sub-species predeterminism conflicts with another sub-species predeterminism, then the two outcomes will compromise into a predeterminism not predicted by either.

During the initial stages of a universe's development, there is not complex isolated information to complexly influence the mathematics of environment. As a result, all matter and information would be 100% predictable in domino. The first sub-species that discovers the technology has true advantage. As more sub-species start acquiring the technology, the more likely predeterminism is going to get in the way of itself.

The purpose of complex data being able to influence the predeterminism of a universal existence, is to make adjustments for optimization. This is a natural manifestation of mathematics evolving in predetermined outcome. Math in predeterminism overall and in detail, takes the path of least resistance both objectively and subjectively to optimize outcome. Choice is simply a symptom in this process to allow isolated information to influence information without "restriction."


**** Conclusion ****

Humans always had choice, just not the perspective they envisioned for themselves. Everything is in an automated domino of calculation. An individual's ability to influence the calculation is choice. An individual will always be governed by core calculations of instinct or automation. Conscious calculations still rely on core automated calculations in order to produce perspective sufficient or insufficient functioning.

To give better perspective, if you were to build a universe to allow for choice, how would you do it? (What an individual should eventually realize is that the calculation is quite complex. The calculation keeps coming back to what I explained as the optimal; solution, perspective, and reasoning of the concept choice and predeterminism.)

Humans have choice, they just feel the concept in definition and perspective reasoning is not enough to explain the actions they choose and experience.


(I hoped this helped. If you like this, then please like and share. Your thoughts are welcome, however, please keep them tactful. Thank you for taking the time to read this.)

Content Created by and Author: Lloyd R Shisler (Social Engineer)
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Re: Free will, is it a blessing or a curse?

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Sculptor1 wrote: September 3rd, 2021, 3:15 pm 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.
I am not trying to discuss Christian notion of 'Free Will', since it is highly biased towards religious matters than philosophy. But in general we all have the freedom to think and do what we want (as far as we stay within the laws and cultural norms). So in that context one can select either to be successful or unsuccessful. Being successful is a good result of this free will, but being unsuccessful is not so. In that context, is it a blessing or 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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Re: Free will, is it a blessing or a curse?

Post by Sculptor1 »

Sushan wrote: September 18th, 2021, 5:50 am
Sculptor1 wrote: September 3rd, 2021, 3:15 pm 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.
I am not trying to discuss Christian notion of 'Free Will', since it is highly biased towards religious matters than philosophy. But in general we all have the freedom to think and do what we want (as far as we stay within the laws and cultural norms).
I sad to hear you say that. Humans create the laws and norms, they are there to be changed, not obeyed. The only restrictions are the laws of physics and cause and effect.
So in that context one can select either to be successful or unsuccessful. Being successful is a good result of this free will, but being unsuccessful is not so. In that context, is it a blessing or a curse?
You should first try to understand it.
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