Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by thabosshogg, May 12, 2011.

  1. Lately I've been observing my thoughts and actions, and I am starting to believe more and more that we really do not have as much free will as we like to think we do.

    Think about it, you can make any decision right now. But won't that decision just be the natural result of many different variables (mindset, personality, past experiences, mood, daily routine) all combined to create an action, or a thought?

    For instance, let's take a hypothetical situation in which a person believes he has free will:

    Let's say I tell you 'Think of anything you choose to think of'... and you say "I want to think of pizza, so I choose to do so, by my own free will"...

    Well in reality the only reason you chose to think of pizza it was the most readily available thought from your subconscious at that moment to choose as a conscious thought.

    Not only that, but the only reason you thought of pizza is because I recommended that you think of whatever you want to.... when I said that your mind, much like a machine, came up with pizza of its own accord... not by your choosing.

    So it would seem that everything, our actions, our words, our thoughts, our sensations, are happening of their own accord and we just are overwhelmed by the illusion of being in control... when in reality we are on the ride.

    So the only true choice we can make is the choice of how to perceive our own lives.... whether we perceive ourselves as the agent of action (the creator, the agent of free will), or as the awareness that perceives the action, as the experiencer of the action.

    Thoughts on fate? Can you prove to me that you have free will?

    Because I feel like anything you do can be fit into a mathematical "equation" in which an infinite number of variables pre-determine every action "you" take.
  2. I choose to disregard everything you wrote with free will, so ha! lol
  3. Yup. You don't walk alone completely until farther down the road, for now you have a guiding hand.
  4. Making a decision based on how you feel does not mean you don't have free will.

    "Can you prove to me you have free will?"

    Can you prove to me you don't? That's a pointless question to ask.

  5. I disagree. How you feel is predetermined by an infinite number of variables leading up to that emotion in the present moment. Can you choose to feel ecstatic and feel that way in an instant, purely by your own willpower?

    Or do you have to have something make you feel that way, whether it is a thought about ecstacy, a thought about love, about a blissful moment in your past... Likewise you can't choose to feel depressed without giving yourself a mental reason to.

    Thus, making a decision based on an emotion is simply a decision based on a sensation that was determined by an infinite number of variables. In your decision the emotion is just one of those variables determining which decision you make.

    For instance let's say you feel sad one day and make a decision to commit suicide based on those feelings, out of your own free will.

    The reason you are sad is a number of depressing events have been happening in your life lately (you have no control over those events, nor over the fact that they made you depressed... otherwise you would not be depressed). So you choose to commit suicide because you see no way out of your depression... this is a result of the depression itself, which is controlling you and influencing every thought you have. So you choose to commit suicide. Again this is a result of the depression, not your own conscious behavior.
  6. Fate implies everything that happens in the future is predetermined. Which means every decision I will ever make, despite what "random" events that may happen to me, is written down in a cosmic book.

    You can't logically prove you have free will. I could easily just say "well, I'm gonna just sit here until I die, so there" and you can just say "well that was predetermined". It's a self-defeating concept and pointless to ask for proof. Especially considering you have just as much tangible proof that you don't have free will.

    You can disagree all you want, but it all boils down to you just believing you don't have free will.

    Which is a pretty depressing state of mind.
  7. #7 thabosshogg, May 12, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: May 12, 2011

    Fair enough... I won't waste our time arguing this.

    I disagree with the last statement. Perhaps it is depressing if you are attached to egoic action, to the idea of being in control.... but it is quite blissful to simply accept your path, to surrender to a higher power, and enjoy the ride without seeing your actions as a part of your ultimate self, instead viewing life as a learning experience, as a journey towards self/god realization.

    That doesn't mean you should give up action, or give up living. You must act as if you had free will, all the while understanding that in reality you don't.

    Our illusion of free will is one of the many vehicles by which fate exists.
  8. I've pondered this many times. This is my conclusion.

    If we don't have free will nothing really matters. If you kill yourself after learning this, it was predetermined.

    If you do have free will, everything matters.

    So like you said "we should act as though we have free will"

    We can't prove it either way so the important thing to remember is one of my favorite quotes.

    "a rose by any other name would smell as sweet"

    Free will or not, happiness is still happiness and sadness is still sadness.

    Describing how something works, doesn't change what it is. Try to look at the big picture.
  9. I would argue believing you don't have free will is holding on to your ego as much as firmly believing you do.

    Cause you don't know!
  10. Free will to me seems like a program malfunction; a bug or a glitch.

    I think we have it but I don't think it matters.
  11. We are generally conditioned beings. With conditioning, there cannot be true, full free-will. However, as we come in touch with our true nature, we lose conditioning and truly become individuals with real free-will. It's funny, losing the ego/sense of self actually makes you an individual. These things are what prevents you from being a true individual, despite what people think.
  12. It's not so much about holding on to the ego. The ego is a part of us that we ultimately cannot get rid of. Rather, it is more about attachment to action throught the ego, and viewing yourself as the agent of an action instead of the experiencer of an action.

    I agree, this is kind of what I am getting at here... though I think that coming in touch with our true self and into unity with god is a long complex process that happens over the span of many lives (that is an entirely different discussion though).
  13. And how would you know how many lifetimes you have been attempting to come into unity with god?
  14. #14 thabosshogg, May 12, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: May 12, 2011

    I don't know.... it's really irrelevant because this could be that lifetime where you break through, although usually there seem to be signs of inherent divine ability if that is the case.

    Essentially one should always be looking to acheive that unity and to understand your true nature, and it will come when it is meant to. In my opinion the journey towards understanding alone is incredibly beautiful and more than worthwhile....
  15. Ego loss is possible, I don't know who told you different.

  16. First it depends on what you mean by the ego.... if you mean the ego as it is contained within the soul, i.e. the very means for our being here on earth, then no you cannot seperate yourself from your ego/soul.... at least not during your incarnations on earth.

    If you mean the "ego" in the sense of the identity that we create for ourselves based on past experiences, on the idea of seperateness, then Ego loss is possible, but you can't "try" to have it, it just happens due to a deep understanding of the nature of reality. Hence why I said "get rid of" because there is no action you can do to rid yourself of the ego... it just sort of falls away naturally.
  17. #17 TheJourney, May 12, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: May 12, 2011
    The outflows of the ego cannot be destroyed, for it is the basis of our existence. The ego itself can be, though. The attachments to these things, particularly as a basis for a sense of self.

    As you say, it all depends on how you define these things.
  18. Naturally? Pretty sure there's many means. Some are intentional. I don't know who told you different.

  19. Alright, this is drifting off topic lol. You are correct, let me re-word what I was trying to say.

    I mean that there are ways to pursue unity with god and discover the true self. These are called spiritual practices, and include prayer, yoga, meditation, introspections, etc....

    The primary purpose of these practices is to attain unity... however, as one advances along the spiritual path, the ego falls away on its own. Now, of course it is due to these practices that the ego falls away, but the ego falling away is not the primary purpose of these practices, it can't be or else they would be self-defeating practices.

    You can't partake in any conscious effort to get rid of the ego, because that concsious effort is an act of the ego, it is self-defeating. The ego can only fall away unintentionally as a result of spiritual advancement.... you can't meditate and say "I am going to get rid of the ego" because the ego is what is saying that. However if you meditate with the intention of attaining unity and higher awareness, the ego will eventually reveal itself to you and a distance will grow between self and the ego of its own accord.

    Let's get back to the topic of fate.... we could talk about the ego all day but that is again, another topic.
  20. Fate is a religious-like way of "acceptance"

    I would argue a more reasonable way to look at it is that our will shapes a future around us, but there is no predetermination - only a "direction" but with no defined end. We can't possibly know and to argue that you, in a sense, do in saying there is fate and we don't really have free will is ultimately a fallacy.

    Whatever is going on, cosmically, our primitive brains can't wrap itself around whatever it really is.

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