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Author Topic: Free Will  (Read 4447 times)

Nymree

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Free Will
« on: June 24, 2016, 02:40:11 pm »
Hi All,

Opinions, please. Do you believe in free will? Would you describe your beliefs as maybe more hard deterministic, or soft deterministic? Why? Do you believe in a soul, and if so, how is this involved (if at all)? Thanks to any and all replies made :)

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Re: Free Will
« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2016, 04:11:28 pm »
Quote from: Nymree;193096
Hi All,

Opinions, please. Do you believe in free will? Would you describe your beliefs as maybe more hard deterministic, or soft deterministic? Why? Do you believe in a soul, and if so, how is this involved (if at all)? Thanks to any and all replies made :)

 
I don't believe in a single discrete entity controlling all our decisions from within our heads, a ghost in the machine, which is what most people who talk about "free will" (not necessarily you, but most that I've seen) seem to be thinking about.

I think it's probably a complicated paradox, where the more self-aware and wise we are the more personal Will we have--but also the less likely we are to actively exert it.

Maybe I can think of more to say when I'm at a computer.
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Re: Free Will
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2016, 07:05:29 am »
Quote from: Nymree;193096
Hi All,

Opinions, please. Do you believe in free will? Would you describe your beliefs as maybe more hard deterministic, or soft deterministic? Why? Do you believe in a soul, and if so, how is this involved (if at all)? Thanks to any and all replies made :)

 
What a question! I spent a good deal of time thinking about this growing up in church. There was free will,  but also God's will, so if he knew everything that's going to happen, wouldn't he be controlling/torturing you?

I guess my views now are soft deterministic. I don't believe in souls the way I was taught, rather, I believe we are all part of THE soul. We are an expression of that soul.

As for the determinism, I believe we are going to end up in the same destination one way or another, and our free will comes into play by how long it takes and what shape we're in when we get there. As a parent, you know (barring unfortunate incidents) that your toddler will grow up, that he will have his heart broken, that he will struggle to learn something and overcome it. You can't communicate what those things are or what they feel like to a two year old; you have to let him go thru it, as much as it may hurt you to see it. Regardless of how he handles it, you know that hearts heal, that challenges pass or are met, and that he will grow into an old man one day regardless.

My sense of determinism is almost not determinism at all, but a law or rhythm we all flow by; we can't really escape that flow of life, but we have freedom in it to learn and grow, and many spirits (human and not) that we can go to for guidance.

YungMeatRabbit

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Re: Free Will
« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2016, 09:42:45 pm »
Quote from: Nymree;193096
Hi All,

Opinions, please. Do you believe in free will? Would you describe your beliefs as maybe more hard deterministic, or soft deterministic? Why? Do you believe in a soul, and if so, how is this involved (if at all)? Thanks to any and all replies made :)

 
I guess my beliefs would be more in the middle.  Maybe "Squishy determinism."  I believe that most of our actions are pretty much pre-determined by our brains, environments, genes, etc.  However, I think that we have a very small ability to choose.  I feel like this is probably like 0.5% and most of our choices are 99.5% pre-determined.  

As for souls, I don't know if they exist and if they affect free will at all.  Considering that our thoughts seem to occur in our brains, then I would assume that souls would not factor into the free will equation.  But I could be way off here.  At the end of the day, no one really knows.

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Re: Free Will
« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2016, 10:41:50 am »
Quote from: ViolaRae;193137
What a question! I spent a good deal of time thinking about this growing up in church. There was free will,  but also God's will, so if he knew everything that's going to happen, wouldn't he be controlling/torturing you?


 
Not necessarily.  All that implies is S/He/It (sheeit) know(s) the outcome of your choice(s).  But that supposes a G-d lives at least partially outside space-time, and so has a different perspective than you or I.  
That a G-d sees the outcome of your choices doesn't necessarily imply that Sheeit is controlling said choices.
<neverending light>

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Re: Free Will
« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2016, 04:15:18 pm »
Quote from: Nymree;193096
Opinions, please. Do you believe in free will? Would you describe your beliefs as maybe more hard deterministic, or soft deterministic? Why?

I believe in what appears to at least be a reasonably convincing illusion of free will.  I have not encountered anyone who appeared to have convincingly discovered a Real Truth and thus could be assumed to have made their will save against the relevant illusion; either it is a very good illusion, or it is reality.

Why do I believe this?

Because that's what's obviously the facts I have to work with.  If there are deeper facts than the apparent reality, they are both completely inaccessible and entirely irrelevant.

Quote
Do you believe in a soul, and if so, how is this involved (if at all)?

How would it be involved?  I can't figure out any relationship between these questions.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2017, 12:55:27 pm by Morag »
as the water grinds the stone
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Nymree

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Re: Free Will
« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2016, 04:45:58 pm »
Quote from: Darkhawk;193241

How would it be involved?  I can't figure out any relationship between these questions.

 
I only included the soul question to keep my mind open to all replies; I have asked others the former part of my questions before, and have had replies based on beliefs of a soul. Sorry, it does seem a little irrelevant without context.

MeadowRae

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Re: Free Will
« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2016, 09:02:11 pm »
Quote from: MadZealot;193239
Not necessarily.  All that implies is S/He/It (sheeit) know(s) the outcome of your choice(s).  But that supposes a G-d lives at least partially outside space-time, and so has a different perspective than you or I.  
That a G-d sees the outcome of your choices doesn't necessarily imply that Sheeit is controlling said choices.

 
I agree with that premise now, but it was very confusing to me growing up due to having a portrayal of God that was very controlling. They prayed for outcomes in the Super Bowl. I was living under the thought that God controlled literally everything and we had free will only to obey or disobey.

Dam

Re: Free Will
« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2016, 04:53:27 pm »
Quote from: Nymree;193096
Do you believe in free will? Would you describe your beliefs as maybe more hard deterministic, or soft deterministic?  

This is a tough one for me. I want to, but at the same time I don't. If free will is real then this raises more questions for me. Is any one faith correct? Are bit of them all correct? Are all of them wrong and is the universe purely scientific with nothing greater than ourselves other than pure coincidence?

When I overthink things I can make myself pretty miserable, so I like to think we are somewhere between a pre-determined destiny and free will. I like to think we have our paths we are set on, but we can veer off how we like. So it's more like a single long corridor with infinite doorways on each side, all of which are opening and closing randomly. You can go down any you want into another fractal hallway... but then is that path set out, or is free will an illusion? I like to think we can choose to an extent.

In Völuspá, a poem in the Poetic Edda, it is said that there are creatures called Norns who carve the destinies of all creatures (gods, children, probably ants too) into the Yggdrasil and in other accounts weave fate. This fate is not unalterable, however, and every creature can have some input on their own path. So like the Pirate Code in Pirates of the Caribbean I see fate as 'guidelines, not rules'.

I guess this would be soft determinism? Although I have not researched the term, honestly, so please forgive my ignorance.

Ryu

Re: Free Will
« Reply #9 on: September 18, 2016, 08:58:49 pm »
Quote from: Nymree;193096
Hi All,

Opinions, please. Do you believe in free will? Would you describe your beliefs as maybe more hard deterministic, or soft deterministic? Why? Do you believe in a soul, and if so, how is this involved (if at all)? Thanks to any and all replies made :)

I really don't know. I suppose if we are confronted with a smattering of superficial choices and told we can "choose" between them then we have the illusion of "Free Will" but like all forms of life it seems our actions are greatly limited by the society we live in.

It's kind of hard for me to explain because I really don't adhere to any labels to define my mode of thinking. I do not accept the concept of destiny or fate so to speak and I do not think our lives were all laid out before we were born and all we are doing is pretending to go through the motions.

I suppose to some small degree we have some semblance of free will but it just seems like our decisions are greatly influenced by what society allows as well as what the current circumstances encompass.

(I'm a tad tired so this probably makes little sense)

EclecticWheel

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Re: Free Will
« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2016, 02:31:43 am »
Quote from: Nymree;193096
Hi All,

Opinions, please. Do you believe in free will? Would you describe your beliefs as maybe more hard deterministic, or soft deterministic? Why? Do you believe in a soul, and if so, how is this involved (if at all)? Thanks to any and all replies made :)

 
No, I do not, at least not in the libertarian sense that most people are using when they say they believe in free will.

But I am not sure as to determinism.  I do not know if there is not an element of probability in causality in the macroscopic realm.  If there is a random or probabilistic element that is still not the same thing as free will.

Choices do not come from a vacuum.  They come from somewhere, from what came before -- genes, environment, social influences, and so on.  I am not sure where there is room for someone or something "in there" to do anything or add anything special that is not already taken care of by the physical organism in conjunction with its environment.  There is nothing needed for free will to explain or contribute to.

I think the science is against free will, too, and it may be an illusion that some people can simply dispense with.

Plutarch

Re: Free Will
« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2017, 04:45:31 pm »
Quote from: MeadowRae;193137
There was free will,  but also God's will, so if he knew everything that's going to happen, wouldn't he be controlling/torturing you?

Here's an interesting thought:

Where does the faculty of "intuition" fall within a discussion of "free will"?

We do have freedom of choice, yet there is always that little voice (conscience) making sure we feel guilt if our actions hurt someone. And then there's intuition that kind of works like the kiddie bumpers at a bowling alley. They won't guarantee a strike, but they'll stop your ball from rolling into the gutter if you take heed.

My point with all of this is, we can argue about the existence of free will vs. predestination, yet something somehow seems to give us the impetus to "feel" our way through a situation. And where does that come from? What is it? I think it was Mozart that used to comment on how he couldn't really remember how or where the inspiration came from during the writing of his compositions, and when it was finished, he couldn't believe that it actually came from him...almost as if something was being channeled through him.

Of course, the interesting part about this entire topic is...we could always choose to ignore our intuitions and inspirations....

:p
« Last Edit: March 11, 2017, 04:47:33 pm by Plutarch »

ehbowen

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Re: Free Will
« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2017, 05:50:01 pm »
Quote from: Plutarch;203615
Here's an interesting thought:

Where does the faculty of "intuition" fall within a discussion of "free will"?

We do have freedom of choice, yet there is always that little voice (conscience) making sure we feel guilt if our actions hurt someone. And then there's intuition that kind of works like the kiddie bumpers at a bowling alley. They won't guarantee a strike, but they'll stop your ball from rolling into the gutter if you take heed.

My point with all of this is, we can argue about the existence of free will vs. predestination, yet something somehow seems to give us the impetus to "feel" our way through a situation. And where does that come from? What is it? I think it was Mozart that used to comment on how he couldn't really remember how or where the inspiration came from during the writing of his compositions, and when it was finished, he couldn't believe that it actually came from him...almost as if something was being channeled through him.

Of course, the interesting part about this entire topic is...we could always choose to ignore our intuitions and inspirations....

:p

 
I personally see that as a combination of divine guidance (not necessarily Deity, but also guardian angels and similar) as well as our own future personality attempting to reach back through time as much as possible and attempt to induce us in the here-and-now to avoid choices which would be disastrous and/or reinforce those which will prove beneficial.

While I do believe that these sources of advice are real and ongoing, I also believe that we are absolutely free to either heed or ignore them. I also believe that not all of the divine guidance is necessarily "friendly"...take it at your own risk. "Trust your feelings, Luke" is not always the wisest choice of action....
--------Eric H. Bowen
Where's the KABOOM? There was supposed to have been an Earth-shattering KABOOM!

Heim

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Re: Free Will
« Reply #13 on: March 12, 2017, 05:51:03 am »
Quote from: Nymree;193096
Hi All,

Opinions, please. Do you believe in free will? Would you describe your beliefs as maybe more hard deterministic, or soft deterministic? Why? Do you believe in a soul, and if so, how is this involved (if at all)? Thanks to any and all replies made :)
I do believe in free will. If there is a limit to one's free will, I think it is a sociological or psychological limit instead of a matter of divine influence.

Plutarch

Re: Free Will
« Reply #14 on: March 12, 2017, 05:45:30 pm »
Quote from: ehbowen;203620
...as well as our own future personality attempting to reach back through time as much as possible and attempt to induce us in the here-and-now to avoid choices which would be disastrous and/or reinforce those which will prove beneficial.

While I do believe that these sources of advice are real and ongoing, I also believe that we are absolutely free to either heed or ignore them. I also believe that not all of the divine guidance is necessarily "friendly"...take it at your own risk. "Trust your feelings, Luke" is not always the wisest choice of action....

Interesting...

I don't want to pull this thread off-topic but I had never heard of the idea of a "future personality trying to reach back to the present." But, in one way or another, there could be some truth to that.

We do have reasoning faculties that try to predict potential outcomes of future events. I've read (through theories of evolutionary scientists) that our faculty of imagination may have come to us because it was something that helped us to survive in the wild. For example, we could imagine possible behaviors that animals would exhibit during the chase of the hunt for food. We could also stockpile food in the summer in anticipation of the upcoming winter, for example.

But I think imagination and intuition are two completely different things.

That little voice in our heads could very well be the voice of a guide or guardian angel. But I like your advice about being careful on whether or not the advice is actually "friendly."

I am deeply fascinated with the subject of magic and the idea that there are extra-dimensional or spirit entities which can cross over, but I must point out that while I research this material and want to learn everything I can on the subject, I personally do not practice magic, for the exact reason you stated about "friendly" guidance. In fact, what keeps me away from actually contemplating the practice is the worry that I'd get in contact with something trying to deceive me.

But wow...sorry, I didn't mean to derail the thread or go off-topic.

Going back to free will, I personally think the argument of free will vs. predestination can't be made in the absolute, meaning it isn't a case of one or the other. I see them as two independent and separate forces working in conjunction with each other. As Alice Bailey explained in "Esoteric Psychology Vol 1", there is no free will except within certain clearly defined limits, which are defined by equipment and by circumstance.

I think what she's trying to say here is that we indeed have free will, but we only get to exercise that free will within a small circle delineated by fate.

For example, you have total choice on how to go about living your life, but you cannot change who your parents were or the particular era of time in which you were born.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2017, 05:50:03 pm by Plutarch »

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