The Free Will Debate

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  1. #1
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    The Free Will Debate

    I was compelled to create this thread. I felt that there were a lot of debates going on here on various topics that led towards the "Free Will" disscussion, so I thought, with the push of Floris Didden and Jetpack42 , why not create a thread on it. (Maybe a thread has already been done, if so, I apologize.)

    Free Will : Do we have any? Yes? No? Or is it more complicated than that?

    I used to think we had complete Free Will. Even got irritated when one person a long time ago suggested otherwise, it didn't seem to make sense. But after meticulously thinking about what causes a human being to do anything, achieve goals, what ever, I started to think the dreedful thought, ' wait a minute, do we really have any Free Will?'

    Based on my knowledge of life, to this point, I think we have very little, or no free will at all. Why? Because everything that we do, we do it because of our life experience, circumstance, environment, and genetic make up. I think that we humans don't create our choices, choices are given to us. We don't choose what to do in life, our decision is already made for us by our life experience, circumstance, and genetic makeup, and the only real power we have, is "when" we decide to go along with the already made choice. And I even question if we really have much control over "when".

    We want to feel and believe that we control our lives, so that life makes logical sense to us, so that we can feel responsible for our actions, and so we can put blame on others who do wrong, because we believe that they "chose" to do bad. We give respect to those who do well, because we feel they, "chose" to do well. The belief in 100% Free Will, keeps stability in society. I think the thought of, no, Free Will, is something that is so uncomfortable to comprehend and fathom, that most people don't want to believe it, because it destroys their pride and sense of "I accomplished this", or" that person has done evil, punish them". I think we have no real control over our lives and decisions, that it is all governed for us by our life experience.

    What do you all think? This could get interesting?

    BTW: This is not something I believe 100% to be true, it's an idea I've been pondering to see just how true or false it is. And this is the argument I've come to a halt at.

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  3. #2
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    Remember what Agent Smith said in Reloaded?

    "We are not here because we're free, we're here because we're not free."

    This one will get hairy really quickly. But it should prove interesting.

    ********************************
    There are 3 sides to every story. Yours, mine and THE TRUTH.
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    We have free will, but reality is still predetermined.
    We don't have the free will to not have free will until it's function in our earthly purpose has been served.

    So far as my limited understanding of string theory goes, time doesn't move in a line. Time is the observation of movement. Since time itself doesn't move, then ultimately everything(I mean literally everything-each individual instant of existence) is happening at once. The movement that we observe as time is our own. Consciousness moves-and so we witness things happening.

    At first, our awareness is limited. We have free will so far as our perceptions are concerned, because our awareness interacts with things. We feel like we're separate from things outside of us.
    As awareness and consciousness grows, we relate more and more to our surroundings, and ultimately we realize that we have inherent bonds with certain things....be they family, friends, other things that are special to us, etc.
    And with even more growth, we're able to put ourselves in eachothers shoes and not just relate, but understand the lives of our fellow people.
    Eventually, the separation between ourselves and reality seems to evaporate. There's no end to me and beginning to the rest of the world. I'm a part of the organism.
    And beyond that, the individual awareness gets exchanged for universal awareness where we actually adopt the awareness of the whole organism, giving up our free will so that we can function perfectly in the cosmic dance of the universal body. We get to the point where we know everything-and with complete knowledge one can't have free will because he's bound by perfect understanding to do the perfect thing in any situation. There's no longer a choice to make.
    And at that point, we realize that all along we were part of everything. Our free will is an important function of the dance. It's important because it's execution is the catalyst for development. We don't have the free will to not have free will until free will has served it's purpose to be excersized.

    Awareness' awareness of awareness.

    Linear and non linear...infinite and finite....free and definite....the universe has a very paradoxical nature that really isn't so paradoxical in a sense...which is a paradox within a paradox...but you get what I mean...because it's not really so paradoxical. lol

    -Rob

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    Encouragement keeps me swimming , even in the undertow of disappointment.
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    Yes we do have free will. Many just choose not to exercise it.

    What is life experience? It is the sum of all of your choices you made in the past that got you where you are now. Environment? You can choose your environment. You can choose your circumstance, because you are the creator of circumstance. Free will. Only thing you can’t decide on is genetics. We have no choice of what color we're born or who our parents are. What we do have is a choice of what we make of our lives once we're here.

    What is a choice? Choice is exercise of free will. You made a decision to come to this forum; you chose to pick a side of the topic you chose to hit reply. If you just sat there and chose not to do anything, which is your choice as well. Not to decide is to decide, choice is inevitable. Free will is a decision to choose.

    I’m sorry I don’t buy that choices are given to us. By whom? I think it’s a cheap way out of life and not taking responsibility for who you are and who you want to be. I choose my life, I choose who I want to be, I choose everything and the choices I make based on free will, will shape my future, hence give me life experience based on the choices I made. The choices you made in the past as irrelevant and insignificant they might be is what brought you here now. You exercised free on deciding based on your present level of awareness. So by saying “We don't choose what to do in life, our decision is already made for us by our life experience, circumstance..” is saying that you don’t take responsibility for the actions and choices you made in the past.

    Once thing that bothers me with your post is this statement “…so that we can feel responsible for our actions, and so we can put blame on others who do wrong, because we believe that they "chose" to do bad.” If we feel and take responsibility for our actions why do we need to place blame on others? No one chooses to do bad, they do what they know based on their present level of awareness. No one sits down and says, “ok, I’m going to do bad today”. There is no good or bad, right or wrong, it is all based on personal perception. Whats good to one, might be bad to another.

    “The belief in 100% Free Will, keeps stability in society.”
    I think it’s the opposite. If everyone believed in free will, people would be afraid of anarchy and chaos because they would think that their choices matter. What most people don’t know is that their choices DO matter. Why do you think so many people believe in religion and that God has a plan for everyone, that cuts out free will out of the equation. So saying everything is predetermined is giving up and being at mercy of life and circumstance and not taking responsibility for you own actions.

    So feel free to disagree, agree or bash my opinion. But the way I see it is I don’t blame anyone if something bad happens to me; I take responsibility for my actions; I choose how I feel; how I spend my days, nights; I choose what I want in my life and I choose who I want to be with. What I can’t control is others and outside circumstance like weather, other people etc. But I choose how I respond to it; I choose my belief, my views, and what kind of car I buy.

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    life is a game that noone has asked us if we want to get involved into or not.
    But we have the free will to quit it, anytime.
    A radical and sad example -, but actually I think not a too bad one. If we would be programmed to survive and follow our instincts only and if the would not be a "free will" there wouldn't be suicide.

    "The reason why truth is so much stranger than fiction is that there is no requirement for it to be consistent."-Mark Twain

    gone.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nike
    life is a game that noone has asked us if we want to get involved into or not.
    But we have the free will to quit it, anytime.
    A radical and sad example -, but actually I think not a too bad one. If we would be programmed to survive and follow our instincts only and if the would not be a "free will" there wouldn't be suicide.
    Good Point. But, in fact we can't even decide to die. Everything in life leads to death and we are only part of one gigantic organism. We all will die sometime, what do we choose when we choose to die?
    Fact is, we know nothing about ourselves. Everything we call "knowledge" is based upon our experiments with the world we live in. We think we understand, but we truly understand nothing at all. How could we?
    The human race has always had theories of existence and the big "why?" written in the books of religions.
    But how can anyone say something right about our existence if he or she doesnt know why it all happened. Why we exist?

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    good points, Lim

    We all will die sometime, what do we choose when we choose to die?
    we choose the time we are leaving the game. nothing more. But we refuse to follow the rules of nature. We break out of an order.
    It doesn't seem to be much of a freedom, to only chose the time, but that small piece of freedom has enraged the minds of many people in many decades (look at ancient greek and roman texts, medieval ones - just for instance)
    Peter Matt has put that into a system concerning literature. I'll try to find a translation into english of this text - I think it's an interesting hypothesis - it is about harmony/order - murder - and insania/madness in literature. Well I'm drifting away.

    Fact is, we know nothing about ourselves. Everything we call "knowledge" is based upon our experiments with the world we live in. We think we understand, but we truly understand nothing at all. How could we?
    we can not. We are no point further than Socrates in my opinion. The more we learn the more we realise how little we know. And that, I think, is our greatest achievement.

    The human race has always had theories of existence and the big "why?" written in the books of religions.
    true again. Wer are no point further that people in neolithic ages.
    The approaches have changed.
    Religion is always following the same system: first the fear of natural phaenomena, dark gods in underworlds that are waiting for us when we have passed that life, then the chance for something lighter if we behave well, then the move to something transcendent, that is giving us more hope...
    but one thing all religions have in common : they are made by humans for humans to satisfy their need or to frighten them enough to behave well in a social system.
    I am sorry if I hurt some religious feelings here. It is just my approach as a historican to the topic.
    But, back to the actual topic, besides that approaches we know nothing. We cannot verify anything. neither science or religion can answer us that questions from where we come from and where we'll go.
    Strange. I think that's why we are still able to enjoy very old literature - the basic questions have always been the same.

    "The reason why truth is so much stranger than fiction is that there is no requirement for it to be consistent."-Mark Twain

    gone.
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    Wow, free will. I'm thinking that it's a great topic for a field where so many freelancers work, right?
    Now i've always enjoyed philosophy, and i believe free will is one of the things that must have a great influence on our lives. I also believe, as you wrote, Chris, that it has a great impact on our society.
    I'll try to roughly lay out what i know about it. I read some philosophy, outside of school as well as in classes, and i studied philosophy, if only for one year. I studied because i was interested, and i'd still be at the university, but i hope to start studying art next year, and have to save my money now... But free will has been very interesting to me.
    There are many reasons to believe or not to believe in free will. One might be a kid that feels like a rebel in high school, and believe in free will, while at the same time acting out only what others want it to (unconsciously - remember this is only one example). You might also be a very religious person, and feel like god guides you, while at the same time you do only what you feel is morally right and thereby exercise free will more than the rebellious high school kid. Kind of ironic.
    There are two sides important sides to the concept as i see it. We can't scientifically pin down whether or not there is free will (AFAIK), so it is probably a subjective matter. That leaves me with (a) philosophy and (b) psychology.

    I don't know much about the psychology, but i think that the believe in a free will is part of the way we see life and influences it. Many people obviously believe in free will. Among those are in my opinion many who also believe they are superiour to others (again, a healthy attitude). It is easy not to believe in free will, you are not responsible for your actions. If you screw up on a job, you might say that it is because of your wife screaming at you when you come home, your boss being an idiot, managers are responsible for your small income... you might want to blame it on those pesky aliens for that matter. You're likely to feel bad about yourself. Quite possibly you really don't have much responsibility at your job, but that doesn't mean you can't go back to school, then go back to your old workplace and have your old boss fired (granted, you have to be somewhat intelligent + maybe a little evil). If you believe in free will, you might have gone to business school in the first place and not even hire that idiot, while in reality it was your mom who made you go, and your wife who made you apply at GenericBigCorporation. You may end up working there if you don't believe in free will, but you are more prone to become depressed and weak in your interpersonal relationships. You have probably already known some of this or know more about it, so I'll leave it at that. If you know more, please share.

    Philosophically, there are maybe as many opinions as there are philosophers, and i can't claim to have read even a marginally small amount of the valid opinions. Socrates wrote a nice parable about how we perceive reality (it's about caves, chances are you guys all know it). Spinoza proposed that all behaviour is lawful (he also tried to prove that god is in everything and does not exist as a part outside our world, because our world and god are one and the same. His peers didn't like that. He is becoming more popular because his way of thinking helps solving ecological moralic questions. Important stuff). So, if one falls in love with a girl, there are rules that predict what is going to happen. A bit like emotional logics. Leibniz and Spinoza were close in their opinions. The interesting part in this is, if you can predict behaviour, you can change it, even if you had no free will before. Seeking the logics explaining human behaviour has always been of interest to philosophers.
    I want to add one thing, because i saw a topic like that in this forum, the idea that humans are a priori bad and "are like wolves to each other". While this notion was crucial in the development of democracy, it really doesn't reflect reality. In my opinion, a more realistc approach is that we know only about the phenomena we experience. Basically, you can try to find out what stuff you can objectively know about humans, for instance how we can extract some information visually (we can prove that some things change and some don't, thereby defining loosely that time passes). Building on that, we try to cope and maybe start concentrating on experiencing pleasant stuff... i'm being really simplistic, don't take my word for too much, try to read up for yourself. Try Hegel if this stuff is interesting to you, but note that his writing is really complicated. Sometimes hurting others, especially if we don't know any better (for instance primitive humans) yields the payoffs we want, so we'll rely on that more. Again, if you know the rules, you can break them.
    One of the latest developments in philosophy is finding out how we act by talking. Everything we say, even a lot of things we do, pay for us in one way or the other. Wittgenstein, Peirce, Austin, and lately Chomsky and Umberto Eco concentrated on how we do things with words, and lately, looking for the hidden meaning in stories and pictures. This last topic is called Semiotics and especially interesting for the visual communicator. If you really want to know about the reasons you believe some things, which keeps you from developing a real free will, look it up. Umberto Eco has some great information on that.

    It should be obvious to you now that the problem with free will as i see it is, if you really want to decide for yourself what should be happening, you have to know what is happening. As teenagers we see movies or soap operas, and think, well, it isn't so hard, is it? We know what happens in a story, but that's because someone laid it out before us. And even then we are preoccupied. In real life, many of us don't have no clue what is going on and tend to operate solely on rules and role models. And that's okay as i see it.
    So, if reality is this chaotic, is free will ruled out as a possibility? I don't think so. Although our decisions always have to be based on something, i believe logic and rational thinking provide ways to create a working model of reality for our decisions to be based on. Which requires a lot of work. Not everyone is a philosopher (i'm not, at least), and we don't need to. We subconsciously find ways to nudge us in directions we rationally wouldn't want to go (imagine falling in love with someone who doesn't want you). But we can gradually take control, and if we find out about how our life works - what psychological tricks we and our peers use, what position we are really in (not who we like to believe we are), what philosophers believed the world to work like. That way, a person can learn how to live according to free will, and be less dependent on others and given choices. I think that while we are confronted with choices, those are not the only ones we have. We just tend not to see our possibilities because they don't fit in with our current mindset. It would be interesting to see where the big names on this site got their motivation to perform so well. I tend to stop myself very often because i'm very skeptical.

    Man, so i wrote a whole lot of text. Hope someone reads it and finds it worthwhile. If you disagree with anything, say so. I might be wrong on some things. I just think that We do know some stuff about our lifes that can help us structure the chaos that would occur otherwise. We as illustrators and wannabe illustrators should especially know something about learning to put some structure into the chaos that surrounds us. White Paper for instance. Or our relationships. Has been fun putting all this together, anyway.

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    Oh, you made another thread, I'll dip my fingers into this one too.

    I'll tell you this, "you" don't exist outside of your situation.

    Like I mentioned, from a -logical- standpoint, free will simply doesn't exist. Nike, it has nothing to do with following standards of normality... because there is no free will, we are all different, and the longer it continues, the more different everyone becomes. Conciousness and self-awareness are results of being able to store data, keep memories. The concept of "meaning" is just a side effect.

    I could never bother to write too much about this stuff. Eventually I just feel like saying "meh" and going to do something fun. Maybe we'll end up turning the san fran workshop into a philosophy workshop.

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    Chris, the lack of choice you see may be (for lack of a better term) situational momentum. Our lives go in a certain direction with very little active input from us (as children, we have very little conscious input in our lives, save for the rarely self-aware) and until we develop sufficient awareness of ourselves and the world around us, we react to the stimulation before us with a limited degree of flexibility. We are emotionally and intellectually unlikely to make serious changes in our lives, simply following the path before our noses (often the one of least resistance). With greater degrees of awareness come a greater number of choices. This is dependant upon the individual, of course, and some people are more self-determinate than others. kgb obviously sees more choices in life, implying a greater degree of awareness, but this doesn’t mean that everyone sees the same choices.

    Quote Originally Posted by NoUseFrAName
    Awareness' awareness of awareness.

    Linear and non linear...infinite and finite....free and definite....the universe has a very paradoxical nature that really isn't so paradoxical in a sense...which is a paradox within a paradox...but you get what I mean...because it's not really so paradoxical. lol
    Rob, you may have left the cap off the glue.

    Lim and Nike, I’m not sure if the “why” is always a very large ingredient in the “how” and “what”. While incredibly important to a huge number of people, I don’t think it is terribly relevant in the great scheme. Actions may be linked to motivations, but I don’t think we can always isolate one element (conscious motivation based on purpose) with a great degree of accuracy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lim
    Fact is, we know nothing about ourselves. Everything we call "knowledge" is based upon our experiments with the world we live in. We think we understand, but we truly understand nothing at all. How could we?
    I think you may be a little too all-encompassing. While study and science are a non-ending spiral, revealing greater depth the farther we dig, we have learned something about human nature in the last 4,000 years. While we tend to revise a lot of our knowledge based upon new evidence, there are certain things that we have learned that are valid and the variable success of modern government is the prime example. While nothing works all the time for all people (not even a nice pie), this is more an indication of the vast spread of individuality than the lack of knowledge.

    Wow, Kitten, that was a lot of stuff! I agree with a lot of what you wrote, but a lot of cause and effect can also be linked to physiological effects. We have the psychological side with all the comforts we seek, the philosophical side (which, for my money, is a subset of the first; a need for rationality) searching for the “why”, and the physical side, with all the funky chemicals juicing up our brains, sending us through the world like pin-balls (lust, often substituted for love, is a pretty good example of this last one).

    Mildly off subject, there are animals in the wild that do help each other. Elephants are known to band together to help a member out of a mud pit, for example. So, while we may be self-centered at birth, most of us are socialized into becoming conscious of our fellow humans. Degrees vary, of course.

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  12. #11
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    Jeez. Tough topic. I find all these deep debate threads surfacing lately to be a disturbing trend. And it didn't take long for the page-long posts to surface here, did it. To put it simply, I believe in both.

    Though, I have no inclinations or interest in any kind of mathematical theory, I can at least partially grasp chaos/complexity theory. It basically states that the universe is ruled by complex interactions on the smallest scale. Think of a pool table where not only force and trajectory come into play to determine how a stack is broken, but the grain in the wooden balls, irregularities in the end of the cue and the orientation of the hair fibers on the surface of the table itself are factors. Scientists originally called this chaos theory (remember jurassic Park) because the believed these countless immeasurable influences made the universe unpredictable. The theory has since been revised and has been called complexity theory because ultimately, just like the universe, while these subtle factors may be impossibly numerous for human beings to grasp, they are in fact finite. Just as our 17 billion-year-old they universe is finite in it's capacities of matter and energy. Douglas Adams explained it perfectly in the hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. There was a part where he explained that all existing data of the universe and it's history could be extrapolated from observing a piece of cake on a subatomic level. You watch how atoms, neutrons, electrons etc. interact with each other and inevitably, they reveal information about what exactly it is directly effecting them immediately adjacent to them, and those immediately adjacent atoms reveal information about what's next to them and so on and so forth.

    Human beings are similar. Our minds and personalities are influenced by our history (both tangible history and predetermined genetic inclinations). While it may be too complex for us to grasp, these factors ultimately come into play and effect how we make decisions. Basically, our choices are our own but they are not beyond their places in the universal scheme or predictability. I don't see the coexistence of freewill and predestination as a contradiction but as a paradox. The Christian faith (which I also adhere to) almost equally supports both in the Bible as well. I believe there are a little over 200 references for each actually... So either way you go, I’m not losing any sleep.

    Forgive me if I'm restating anything that anyone else has said. I'm too lazy to read it all.

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    I feel like I just "Quantumed" Leaped...

    "Oh boy..."


    -JtJ

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    Oh joy, the free will debate, finally in it's own thread. I've done some thinking since the last time I discussed this and I'm looking forward to diving off into this thread. Skimmed through the responses and it promises to be an interesting discussion. I'll do a quick response to what Exo said as it ties in directly with something I argued last time I participated in a free will debate.

    Exo, you just perfectly described the reason why I think there's no 'real' free will. Everything in existance is continuesly influencing everything. Your actions (that is, "you" defined as the pile of molecules working together to for "you" as an recognisable individual object) are the sum of the interaction of all particals.

    The fact that that interaction of all the particals in existance is ungraspable by the human mind does not mean that it is real chaos. Chaos as we humans use the word is order without possible overview.

    I gotto run now, but I'll be back . Rob made a comment about time beeing how we perceive movement. Coincidently (actually, it was predestined ) I had very interesting talk with a friend today about the theory of general relativaty and hyper-dimensions. Trying to visualise hyper dimensions (everything past the first 3, x/y/z) gives wonderfull insight in what time itself is (contrary to popular believe, time is not the 4th dimension, this misconception is caused by misinterpretation of a text where Einstein explains the theory of relativety and uses both the term Time and 4th Dimension somewhere in the same paragraph). In regards to visualising hyper dimensions, I'm refering to the flatland example, in case people have heard of it. I'll explain it as soon as I have time again.

    Rock on.

    /fd
    "It's too bad she won't live! But then again, who does?"
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    Lol this is awesome.

    Well, I do believe we have free will to choose a limited amount of options.

    Can I choose between A and B, of course I do, but if C does not present itself
    then I am limited and can only exercise free will between A and B.

    But this is what I find so spooky about humans, our creative ability to think beyond our options, imagination, though this reality has been safe guarded to only allow A or B, if we had the option of C it may be chaotic and allow for a choice which could allow for a break in our reality.

    Which is why we create expressions to communicate choices we do not have, expression which is outputted to say, ART!

    WOAH, did I just stumble onto something here.....

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    Honestly the more I think of it, the more afraid I become.

    I'm starting to believe free will is an illusion. When you choose something, you're then bound by the path you decided to walk on. Say in our case as artists, we choose to be in this line of work, then we're binded to the limitations of this path of work....not because artists cannot break out of the mould, but percieved concepts about what artists do from people outside our control locks us down to the specifics they want from artists...essentially you become a tool. So its kinda like saying....I am free to choose, but only what kinds of tools I will become for someone in power.

    For those in power, there isn't free will either. They're bound to the tools they can afford. Sure it may seem that they have more freedom...but honestly, they owe their existence to the nuts and bolts of society...the bottom feeders....the weakest links that hold up their world. Perhaps due to their own concepts and false notions that they are in control, but they are not....in fact if something goes wrong, they'd fall harder and suffer much worse fates (French Revolution is one example).

    There is an interdependence among all things in this world....what we do today can affect us in the future. Freedom of choice today, responsibility or payback tomorrow Thinking about it....looking back at the lessons I learned in my philosophy and buddhist classes...I'm finding it scary where we're going.



    Once again I want to mention Agent Smith's line in Reloaded...

    "We are not here because we're free. We're here because we're not free."




    Its all another system of control.....choice....

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    free will relates to desire not circumstance. You have reign over your freedom of choice and your interpretation of circumstances, but you have very little say in what the circumstances are. Circumstances operate on determinist principles.

    Often the pool table example is used in explaining the pre-calculatedness of determinism...but I think it's more like a pool table with mice on it.
    In any given situation where a mouse gets rocked by a pool ball, it's scientifically predetermined that there's only one way that the ball can change direction after hitting the mouse.
    Without a consciousness, random firing chemical signals would make the mouse do exactly predetermined things too....but since the mice(in this circumstance being a metaphor for humans) do have a conscience, they can disobey the signals being sent by the chemical erruptions in the brain. They can choose to follow intuition, logic, feelings, voices in their head, etc. and if there's anything that we can observe in our fellow men, it's that despite most people's general leanings towards one of those choice influences, it's not unusual for them to sometimes act out of character and choose a different response guide.

    -Rob

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    Rob, the poolballs are metaphores for the smallest particles we know, the buildingblocks, which are quarks still, non? Regardless, it's talking about interaction at the lowest lvl possible. The mice concist of a lot of little poolballs. Are you saying there are two different kind of building blocks? Those that have free will, and those that don't?

    A water drop can't change it's direction, but a human consisting of about 80% water can? What's so special about us?

    Bed time now, project presentation tomorrow, will go more in-depth tomorrow!

    Flow out.

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    I think keeping intelligent animals in captivity for our entertainment is just wrong. I say let him go!

    These grapes taste like Fresno! -- Steinbeck
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    Floris-true enough...they're made of the same particles, but the key is consciousness. If indeed it was all predetermined, what causes perception? something had to instigate perception so that we could react to things that we aren't physically in contact with.
    I think if determinism were really the case, we'd be able to trace it backward to the instigators of all actions.....much easier than trying to calculate forward anyways.
    For the life of me, I can't think of a factor that would cause a quark or an atom to become aware of it's fellow quarks and atoms....especially if choice wasn't a factor for it....and where is the screen that all these ideas created from predetermined reactions get projected? what creates the unity between particles so that they physically work together if they're just little pool balls? starting at the smallest pieces, they're independant....prone only to the reactions that occur with the various things they bump into...captured in ionic fields etc. to make larger parts....still individual without a consciousness....impersonally bumping into everything else....and the chain continues to be completely impersonal....until when? what sort of collision of things creates an awareness reaction? and what particles manage that awareness? and why do they manage it, and not other particles?
    Awareness is the greatest argument that there is against determinism....
    but the paradox is, that with perfect and complete awareness, we no longer have free will.

    -Rob

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    How about the blank slate philosophy? That one always got me thinking...but how far does it go?

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    i must agree with what a number of other people here have stated. we do have free will, but simply put it is finite in its scope of choices. for example, i can pick what i want to eat right now...sandwich, pizza, caviar, piece of ceramic tile, small rocks, LEAD! LEAD! sorry, however, what i actually choose to eat is limited by a number of factors such as but not all-inclusively:
    1 - what i have here already
    2 - what i can afford
    3 - what i like/am used to eating
    4 - what my life experience tells me is reasonable/healthy to eat
    5 - whether or not im feeling motivated to go get something or too lazy to go any further than my kitchen
    etc...
    so again with this issue as with sooooo many others, i think the truth is in the middle of the spectrum. ie - you cant honestly tell me i have NO free will because im disproving that by choosing to post here and not in another thread or not at all. but also you cannot say that i have absolute free will because maybe tomorrow the site will be down and i will not be able to post a reply no matter how much i want to.
    good thread though. its quite interesting reading all your posts, thanks.

    "...everything isnt meant to be ok..." - billie joe armstrong, green day
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    A water drop can't change it's direction, but a human consisting of about 80% water can? What's so special about us?
    BRAVO!!!! BRAVO!!! That's the one thing that keeps people from believing in free will. Humans naturally, not by choice, have the tendacy to think of themselves as being more important than life itself. We break all the boundaries, WE ARE THE ONLY ONES THAT KNOW THE ALMIGHTY GOD HIMSELF! But then we're kicked back to our lowly places by the fact that we're all a bunch of chemicals and atoms bouncing around making us feel happy and us feel sad. (Sorry for the bad grammar just sounded better that way to me) We are a little more complicated than a droplet of water though. We have more chemicals bouncing around than that drop of water, but that doesn't change much though. Just more varibles to be considered as to why we made our decisions.

    Such as that water, the only varibles of the phase of that water dropping is, the wind, the size of the drop of water, the few chemicals in it, and the few impurities (probably a few more but you get the point). So it falls and that's the life of that droplet. Well when we are conceived, (Keep in mind that this process that im about to explain to you goes back to the beginning of time, through all humans) the chemical make up of our parents, from all the unique atoms and such, are the genetic aspects of our being. This could be probably a bigger more developed right side brain even if its so minute, this scenerio makes it more suseptible for the child to have more of an artistic and visual way of living. Thus all this chemical mumbo jumbo is cooking up in mom's stomach and then we are born.

    After this, experience, (which is our environments the people we see all of the small billions of calculations that we make in our head a nanosecond) comes into play. The tiniest little step can change our perception of the world. If we move one step this way we are probably going to look at maybe a tree that fascinates us. This experience with the tree and the chemical make up of the baby leads this baby to love nature, and over time this nurtures into probably a love of drawing. All of the billions of things that we process through our eyes, nose, ears and touch (Not speech cause our speech comes from the experiences with the other 4 senses) make up the way we will go about decisions and how we will like one thing over another.

    Ok that's all ima write for now... but I wanted to say that this debate is a psychotic paradox that will probably never be answered until we find a space ship that can possible travel through a black hole sending us back in time to see if we can change one thing and see how that reacts to all of the decisions we made and yada yada. And another thing, there is only enough evidence about this topic which makes it somewhat immpossible to totally prove your point. I have never heard of a person changing their views about free will from this kind of debate. They hear a few things about free will and their experiences in life makes it more than likely that they will or will not believe in free will and that's where we get the people that participate in these debates. (Kind of a extra point for trying to prove my side, hehe)

    So its pretty much what Penguin said, it's an endless paradox.

    Edit: Just wanted to say that I don't believe much in determinism or predeterminism or whatever because there is really no substantial bases for any of it. Can't prove that something or some natural force consciously determined it, that's where the religious people come in.

    Oh ya forgot to add... THE FREAKIN BUTTERFLY EFFECT MAN THINK ABOUT THAT!!!

    Last edited by Daunting; December 23rd, 2004 at 05:46 AM.
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    Um, sorry if i sound like an ass. I'm not trying to tell you i knew any more than you do, i just want to point that there is a lot of faulty reasoning going on here.
    I think you guys are taking it way too easy. For starters, basing your assumptions on particles won't work. Those are a working model for physics, and don't carry over to philosophy and psychology without a massive scientific background for two reasons. First, while they help explain some theories and calculations (and nothing more... it's a theory, remember), noone knows how much they apply to reality in a practical way. The Spinoza guy tried to base his explanation of determinism on particles a couple of centuries age, which makes the stuff he was really proud of kind of obsolete now. And i have no doubts that it'll be the same with our theories in 200 years. Hawkings is a great guy and all, but the smartest person can only figure out so much.
    The second reason being that you are caught in aesthetic thinking. We can only understand complex ideas if we break them down into simpler reasoning we already know about, like the (very) limited mathematical understanding we get out of school and the interpretational knowledge we learn in linguistics (english classes for you, german classes for me), which is also not exactly state of the art. And even if those were state of the art, just because we have an idea of how complex systems work, we can't just 'reverse engineer' this knowledge and base our assumptions on that, because while we may understand what they do and have an idea of how they do it, doesn't necessarily mean we know exactly how they work. A much deeper understanding is needed for that.
    The latter also applies to the idea that you could understand human relationships and activities to a definite degree. You can only make assumptions and base your actions on those assumptions. You can be good at that, coming near a free will - meaning only that can be somewhat certain of your actions helping you achieve the goals you set yourself - or you can be bad at it and mess up. Which happens to the best of us.
    I hope i don't sound like an idiot now
    Oh and Penguin, you might also want to call up any number of persons you met and utilize an overwhelming amount of of suggestions or ways of persuasion to go to any place in a certain radius of where you live and choose from a great variety of delicious - awful dishes, making for a near infinite number of possibilities. If you just don't 'feel like it' right now, that is just a matter of controlling your thought - free will. Might be changed by any hot girl you meet on a given number of days.

    One last thing, i believe total awareness would require an insane amount of intelligence (read: energy), making it impossible. If Spock had any logic apart from hollywood reality in him, he'd realize that and immediately implode. Good times.

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    Wow, I've enjoyed reading what you've all said so far. This is some fun stuff!

    Alright, about Free Will, I have a senerio for you all to read, and I'm eager to read what your thoughts are about it. I'll try to write it as good as I can. Here goes.

    There are 10 babies. A soldier has to choose which one he feels will be worthy of becoming his apprentice. He picks one, a boy with grey eyes and black hair, he names him Ray. This soldier raises this boy as his only son, and raises him to become, the ultimate solider, the ultimate killing machine.

    The soldier trains Ray to learn the ways of acomplishment. Trains him not to be weak, to be strong, merciless. Even when Ray feel he doesn't want it, the soldier uses ways to condition him into wanting, with serious intent, to be the ultimate soldier. He teaches Ray about, being driven, being the best, being competitive, being more than all othes who will indeed challenge him, everything that one needs to know in order to become a success. He does this all through Rays childhood, and nutures him is such a way, that Ray grows to have the upmost respects for his "Father".

    The soldier, who is a legend himself, teaches Ray all of his tricks, fighting techniques, weapons, combat strateties, the best knowledge that most would pay dearly for. Ray learns the ultimate ways of a merciless killer, from a master. And he shows Ray how to be dependant on himself, and do all this on his own.

    Ray has come to love the joy of battle, his peers think he's the master, a genious soldier. Ray is incredibly driven, incredibly competitive, he's killed hundreds of enemy soldiers in battle, he is, practically, the best. Later on, Ray has earned so much respect from his peers and fellow colleagues, that he becomes the leader for many operations, he also becomes a fearless legend.

    Now, to the point Ray, 25, says to his peers, "Do you know why I'm so successful as a soldier? Because I chose to. I chose to be strong, to be this driven, this competitive. You have to "want" to be the best, the most rough, you have to "want" to be a success. And you all have the power to do it. I've gotten this far all on my own Free Will. It was my desire, and I made it happen. If I can do it, you can do it". They all cheer, "yeah, your the man, we got to want this, Yeah!"

    Ray's father, the Legendary soldier says to Ray, "Heh, what arrogance. You didn't do any of this by yourself. Everything that you are, you are because of me. I taught you how to be competitive, driven, and why. I taught you all of the best ways of being a success. I made you strong, I made you what you are today. You were just one out of 10 babies I chose you from, to become my son, and become what you are now. I could have chose any of those babies, and if I didn't choose you, you wouldn't be what you are now. It wasn't your Free Will that made you what you've become, it was me. You didn't do any of this on your own, and to think you did, is an illusion. You didn't just decide one day to be what you are today, it was me who taught you everything that you know. Without me, your no ultimate soldier, your no legend. You'd be nothing, here."

    So, what do you all think, did Ray have Free Will to be what he was, or did his "father" make Ray what he became? What Free Will did Ray have in all of this?

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    I think, Ray didn't have the chance to escape the training of his father. He was trained to become a mighty soldier, something he could be proud of. Other people gave him the illusion of free will, so he could believe in his self and the ability to chose between alternatives.
    Ultimately, this is wrong. His father probably was trained to be a merciless soldier, too. His experiences made him believe in what he became. He believed in his own success and wanted his child to be successful, too.
    In the end, none of them had an option. Everything in their lives was predestined.

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    thePenguin said:
    you cant honestly tell me i have NO free will because im disproving that by choosing to post here and not in another thread or not at all. but also you cannot say that i have absolute free will because maybe tomorrow the site will be down and i will not be able to post a reply no matter how much i want to.
    Thats interesting. I have a question. Explain how you're proving you have Free Will, by choosing to post in this thread, instead of another thread. If this thread didn't exist, you wouldn't have had the choice to post here. And the only reason you decided to post here, is because you find it interesting enough to want to post here. You find it interesting because you have ideas about the topic of Free Will you feel good to disscuss. You have those ideas because of some life experience that allowed you to have those ideas and ambitions to want to talk about this topic. If you didn't have an experience that nurtured your fasination of Free Will, you wouldn't care about the Free Will disscussion, and therefore, even if you saw this thread, you wouldn't have anything to say about it, or even a desire to want to say anything about it. But you do have something to say about it, because of some life expeirence you had that allowed you the opportunity to think more indepth about it and find interest in it.

    What if I said, you could only have the Free Will to both have interest in this disscussion, and write in this thread, if you chose to do that without any prior experiences that could possibly lead you tothis disscussion. Meaning, you came here for no reason, and you find the Free Will disscussion interesting, for no reason. This means there was nothing causing you to write in this thread about Free Will, but youself, and life experience and knowledge had nothing to do with it. This way, you really do have full control of your life decisions. But, we humans do things because of reasons, and those reasons exist because of what we experience in life. What ever we experience in life decides what you decide to do in life. And therefore, your life has lead you to this thread, not your own Free Will.

    What do you think?

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    First of all I honestly believe that we all have free will to choose, especially in the USA compared to the rest of the world. Sure, some people convince themselves that they are doing what they want to be doing, but in reality probably never pursued their true dreams or "discovered"what they were "intended" to do in Life. (But that takes your question further.)

    After reading your little story, this is how I percieved it: I associated the father soldier as Life. Life is always pushing us around, kinda telling us here and there "what to do". Now maybe Ray had a talent to be a soldier? And just becuase he didn't "want" to be one at times, doesn't mean that he wasn't intended to be one. Now, the story is very simple and doesn't answer alot of questions. But, I believe that in life , we all have a purpose here. Whether we find out what it is, or even decide to act on it, is another matter.

    Now, if Ray knew he wasn't intended to be a soldier, then he couldn't have honestly declared it was free will to be one. And then the story would've been set up fool the reader.

    Think about it: if you have no purpose in Life, then WTF are you good for? Not to mention why the hell are you here in the first place?

    I know you're being devil's advovcate on this issue,...good topic, lets just take it further.

    "If one advances confidently in the direction of
    his dreams, and endeavors to live the life he
    has imagined, he will meet with a success
    unexpected in common hours."
    - H.D. Thoreau
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    Just because you're bound to make your decisions about life and your views about life from experience doesn't mean you don't have a purpose. We learn new things everyday. You might find a new style of making a face. That style of making faces may have triggered one of your senses. You might have liked the way cartoon faces were made back when you were a kid because of all the different bits and peices of information that came into your head as a kid. It's not as simple as, "A person got a baby doll when she was a kid making her a toy designer and B person got a rocket ship as a kid making him an astronaut." Sometimes you can trace people's interests and habits from simple instances such as what I said before but we're dealing with trillions of sparks of information, no telling which one will make you more likely to do this or more likely to do that.

    You can still make decisions, I'm making some right now. I've kind of accepted that a lot of them may come from experiences i had in the pass but that doesn't keep me from trying to draw my butt off or try to get one thing over another.

    And to Ancient Kitten: You didn't sound like an ass at all lol. But, we make decisions and conversations all the time without having a good education in the field. Sure at times it can be irresponsible and damaging but we wouldn't have conversation at all if we didn't probe and push the buttons to try to learn. But just for the record, no assholiness went into your post lol.

    "Do the best that you wanna do." -My personal quote.

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    If you get tied up and too attached to your past 'life experience' you will never move forward and enjoy life.

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