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December 10, 2022


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"...she fails to realize that our choice of those different future experiences doesn't spring from our unfettered free will, but from the same sorts of influences that created our past mental programming. "

She fails to realize that if the universe was started over again, it would result in Chuckie Cheese restaurants, the invention of the hula hoop, and the birth of and exactly precise musical career of Michael Jackson. Sure.

That, my friends, is the ineluctable conclusion of the No Free Will Absolutists. And if obviously makes no sense whatsoever.

PascalsPager, actually what you said DOES make sense. Perfect sense.

As Sam Harris persuasively argues in his Free Will book, if the universe was in absolutely the same state as when something happened, the exact same thing would happen again the next time. So if the universe started over again just as it did in the original Big Bang, the same things would happen again.

Of course, there's the element of chance or probability, which plays a big role in quantum mechanics. Since the early universe was very small, and thus obeyed quantum laws, chance/probability would change things if there was another Big Bang.

But this has nothing to do with free will, which is associated with sentient creatures. My point, which also makes perfect sense, is that just as determinism, or causes and effects, is what causes our thoughts, actions, and other phenomena in the past, determinism also causes those phenomena in the present, which creates our future.

There is no magic fairy dust called "free will." That's a fantasy, akin to a belief in immaterial soul.

We are born with an element of free will until someone or institution takes it away and you become a kind of conditioned puppet. Take RSSB and gurinder singh dhillon, who have created a religion / cult to brainwash minds that are suffering and in need of help and a direction to help make sense of the pain brought on by parasitic forces that gurinder singh dhillon works with. It is in this vulnerable state, where they become desperate for answers and fall into bent baba hands - wolf in sheeps clothing. These crooked sly foxes provide some crumbs of answers but create a heightened emotional suggestive state and the sheep effect to seduce them. This is when their sense of reason and free will is completely subdued. They become under a spell of a sex demonic baba who cares only about himself, his family , and expanding their investment and power in the form of a world wide religion. These leaches suck your mind into many layers of brainwashing where you actually love strangers more than your real family and community. They get you to do free seva, which is nothing but modern day slavery as you gain nothing , but their masters , gurinder singh dhillon gains free labour, your mind and your soul in the afterlife.
In the afterlife he rapes your soul and harvests it for a meal before repeating the whole reincarnation process again. They are creating a high vibration individual before the harvest - why else do you think they want you vegetarian. These monsters will face their karma as the truth is coming out.

On the other hand, there's the RS take on free will, in the broader context of ontology and the role and identity of the guru. This is what I recently heard in an RSSB satsang from a speaker who though I'm sure is a wonderful person is one of those people who typically ends her sentences in a whisper (perhaps the most annoying verbal tic there is).

"Someone asked Maharaji how many light bulbs it would take for people to see his face and he gave a huge smile and said 'there will never be enough for people to truly see my face!" and these kinds of comments show us how wise the masters are!"

Wise how? What the hell was she talking about?

I doubt if I'll ever attend another RSSB satsang. The theme is perversely defeatist and, to me, depressing. The tacit message is that all we can expect from our efforts is failure, and yet we should try harder, harder.

I've been to a very many religious groups East and West over the last several decades, and I just realized that none of them comes close to RSSB in their emphasis on the members as spiritual failures. Spiritual failure is always the theme of every RSSB satsang.

@ Pager.

People that want to live in a monastery have to go through a process that goes by the term NOVITIATE that last something of 2 years.

Years in which a person has to find out about his motives to live a monastic life.
If these motives are ulterior, it is better for all, he does not enter into monastic life.

Schools like RSSB are in a sense also a monastic way of life. A life that is not different from other ways of life, as all humans are the same, having the same needs etc, but in such a life everything is focused on a central goal.

If one is not prepared to life it from the heart, to the complete exclusion of everything, else, one is well advised not to take up that way of living.

There is nothing to be had there, but to GIVE and if you have nothing to give, that too is alright but than you better find another "Shop" were you cab pay with "efoort"

There was a nun, having lived decades in a monastery who was asked, if here prayers were ever heared and/ or if she had ever had an answer. No she said smilingly. The surprised reporter but why did you stay .... she laught heartly and said .. "I do love this life and I love praying"

Becoming an olympic hero is only within the reach of a very few, but finding pleasure in sports is open to most people. But those that are after results, after compensation for their efforts, for those, even this simple pleasure is not avialable.

It’s quite possible that Sam Harris wasn’t right about everything.

It’s highly probable that RSSB isn’t right about everything.

If Brian is an atheist purely based on determinism then why are we reading any of this?

I’d like to believe that there are people out there who have the ability to contemplate and make decisions based on evidence. If everything Brian writes is based on his programming then where is the true contemplation or discernment behind the writing?

If you went to any professor of quantum mechanics and told him there was no such thing as free will he’d advise you to consider a vocation that doesn’t involve higher learning.


I’d like to add that for ALL people, our greatest limitation is ourself.

Self. Self is profoundly limited.

We can choose to see the world through our own self (ish) lens or we can choose to try and see the world through the lens of Oneness.

Brian quotes Barrett's ' . . . third domain of responsibility': - “So as a human being, you have the ability to shape your environment to modify your conceptual system, which means that you are ultimately responsible for the concepts that you accept and reject”.
Yes, it does read smack of free will. As Brian summarises what she is saying: - “ . . .we still have the ability to choose different experiences in the future which will modify the conceptual system that guides our behaviour now”

Barrett's premise is that we (or rather our brains) construct concepts from our past experiences which are then used to predict current sense data; but this is all about brain predictions from our 'library' of existing data and as I understand her theories, we can deconstruct (some of) our concepts to alter the realities of our conceived worlds – how we experience people, our boss, nature etc. It's not to do with free will, more to do with the brain re-programming (through choice) its predictions.

Having just been reading her other book 'Seven and a Half lessons About the Brain', with regards to 'brain predictions' she states: - “You may not be able to change your behaviour in the heat of the moment, but there's a good chance you can change your predictions 'before' the heat of the moment. With practice, you can make some 'automatic' behaviours more likely than others and have more control over your future actions and experiences than you might think”.

I would say that there is a common misapprehension between the concepts free will and choice. The ability to choose is determined by our experiences – when and where we were born, the culture we grew up in, our parents, DNA, hormones, brain networking's and so on. Any choice is bound by these circumstances and is purely dependent on the limited information our brain hold. Conversely, free will would necessitate some entity or vital source that is independent (free from) of our biological natures and able to effect outcomes. Naturally, no such entity has ever been found – only believed or assumed.

Free Will would imply that the individual can make a choice and perform an action without factors involving environment, circumstance, conditioning, the autonomic nervous system, other individuals' actions and the winds of change.

Life presents endless possibilities but it is the one you choose that will define the quality of your mind state in now-ness.

We all have the Freedom to Choose and make Choices …………………

Anything (physical, emotional, psychological, or any combination thereof) is possible but not all things are plausible.

Although, free will has been debunked within a neurological context, there still exists conscious choice and it is that conscious choice that will define the experience of your mind state that will affect what you think, say and do next.

But conscious choice can only happen when you are paying attention and are aware and not simply reacting to sensory data input on the basis of conditioned habitual patterns, or in other words, living on auto-pilot.

Conscious awareness is the key to the alleviation or the eradication of the worrying mind.

Every human experience brings with it two choices. You can react in an unhelpful way and the mind will worry, or you can respond in a helpful way and the mind will be at peace with itself, others and the world around it.

If you think, speak and act on the basis of doing the least amount of physical, emotional or psychological harm to yourself, others and the world around you, the mind will not worry.

If you think, speak and act unkindly, the mind will worry.

There is value in having an Open Mind and engaging in some kind of Critical Thinking.

@ Ron E. [ free will would necessitate some entity or vital source that is independent (free from) of our biological natures and able to effect outcomes. Naturally, no such entity has ever been found – only believed or assumed. ]

Thousands of years of mystic practice suggest a different answer is
discoverable within. An answer that isn't merely believed or assumed
either but is knowable/provable by direct perception. Of course, these are
only words... hollow until experienced within. But the method is there. In
the mystic's case, a discipline of mindfulness/devotion to overcome the
distractive thought and imagery of the mind. A hard discipline too... far
more than what the usual hobbyist or religious part-timer will be willing to
invest. But IMO it's the only away to slip out of the smothering grasp of
the mind's dualism to see the truth.

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