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January 18, 2023


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Free will is an illusion. Therefore ALL are truly innocent.

“Believing in free will isolates us.” And, Brian’s last paragraph of this blog: - “There are too many divisions in the world: political, cultural, religious, etc. A belief in free will is one more division that leads people to see themselves as a stand-alone island rather than as a tiny bit of ground in a vast shared continent.”

Yes, I’m all for dissolving the enormous gulfs that divide us as human beings and, I’d say that our (mostly unconscious) psychological predilections of believing ourselves to be separate and therefore divorced from other people and the environment we live with, is a major cause of the individual and collective pain and conflict we often find ourselves in.

Wherever one looks, in every culture and society there is always this enormous push to better oneself – usually at the expense of others. To collectively improve the standards of living of, not just our own particular society but throughout the world, is possible. What stands in the way of such an enterprise is the isolating beliefs that are fostered upon us and which through fear and insecurity we readily adopt.

And, perhaps the most insidious belief is that we are autonomous, self-directed creatures that have a separate ethereal self and free will which primarily serves to promote a ‘me’ culture. Yes, it is natural and necessary to protect and benefit oneself, though to take it as far as to separate ourselves through religious, national, cultural, political beliefs etc., is ultimately detrimental toward a physically and mentally balanced society.

The suffering and grief that the natural world brings upon us is minuscule compared to the pain and appalling atrocities that we humans bring upon ourselves – mostly caused through our mistaken beliefs and particularly that we are separate, isolated beings that have to fight anything that appears to threaten our fragile, illusory sense of self – which has little to do with

@ Ron

Consider yourself in danger and you have the choice to kill or be killed, what would be your choice.?

All creatures live with the inborn instinct to survive.
That instinct, cannot exist without the sense of being an "Individual", a separate unity.

All the rest, you know of that humans do, think and feel, is ultimately bound to that instinct.

Without humans being an "I", having that sense of individuality, there would be no .... you, we, them etc.

Creatures are constructed to look after themselves ... and ... they never do it at their own cost ... they all live on consuming the life-energy of other creatures./ living things.

From the "I", the mine is born .. my country, culture, religion ...even guru's and gods.
and the have all to be defended and kept alive based on these instincts.

Die to live ... or ...kill to live ... is the fundament of life in the universe..

Finaly ... we human beings are not build to extent the feeling of indiividuality to the whole world... we were not made to be globalised. ...and for THAT reason... people will inclict missery upon one another to survive as and individual ..be it person, institue, religion, party ..you name it.

Um. The ‘self’ I am referring to is the pseudo self that is comprised of information accrued from mental processes. It is this ‘self-construct’ which appropriates beliefs and opinions to maintain its illusory identity. Not to be confused with the physical organism which of course is naturally aware of itself as a distinct being, in order to differentiate between me and not me – necessary for navigating and surviving in its environment.

It is this pseudo-self that appropriates various aspects of the minds’ information processes to maintain its illusory existence. Beliefs, mainly of a spiritual or religious nature (and also national cultural and political), are ideal vehicles as they give the false self a seemingly solid and purposeful identity. It is such beliefs that – as history and today's conflicts show – are a major cause of the world’s grief and suffering.

Many researchers maintain that human beings are basically very social and cooperative creatures – which they had to be to build communities and social cohesion. As I point out, the chief cause of our collective troubles stems more from the pseudo-self clamouring for some sort of security than from our actual biological natures.

Incidentally and interestingly, it is the understanding of the nature and origination of the false self (and mind, which includes free will) that some refer to as real freedom.

@ Ron.

That pseudo-self, if you would like to call it, is a necessity sine-qua-non.
It is part of being human, like having lags to walk and eyes to see.
It is a survival tool.

Only few rare people, having spontaneous inner experiences, the mystics of the world, can expand that pseudo- self to the whole universe.

The very fact that these people exist and have these experiences, doesn't mean that these experiences can be had by ALL and at the same time.

Given the fact that very, very few people ever can created that experience by their own effort, gives us little hope there will ever be a change for the better.

What WE, as human beings, think and feel about ourselves, the world around us and the universe in large, might not reflect the reality of what is.

What we like and do not like, is not necessary "good" or "bad" .. we attach [abstract' value and meaning to things to create an universe of our liking CULTURE but that too is a pseudo reality.

To be "good" to another creature, the creature must be known by you

"... (I) don't believe that people are ultimately morally responsible for their actions, since we humans lack free will ..."

Ultimately, sure. That goes without saying. But operationally?

Assuming one doesn't come saddled with religious superstitions, then I find the free will question very easily and entirely trivially resolved, by arguing directly from first principles and working with a materialist paradigm; and in any case when it comes to the devising and assessment of our legal and judicial and penal sysems, I find the free will question a complete red herring (again, assuming one doesn't start out saddled with religious superstitions) and largely irrelevant; except maybe in terms of moderating out the eggregious extremes of it, and in terms of making of these systems something more humane; but then that last is achieved just as well by other routes, that having nothing at all to do with the question of whether one does possess free will.

"By and large I prefer truth over falsehood, reality over illusion."

Such a freaking pompous and tinker toy juvie way to preface a philosophical discussion.

It appears that the issue of free will is confused with choice. Choices are limited to the data that we are programmed with via our cultures and genetic natures. We may have a propensity toward liking certain foods – so we choose something sweet for example, or if we have taken on board some health information, we may choose to avoid the sweet option and go for the salad instead. Also, beliefs and knowledge can direct us to choose how to behave, think and act in specific situations.

Conversely, to have free will there needs to be an entity (somehow within the organism) that is separate and uninfluenced by the physical brain/body. This would require some mysterious agent that operates outside of natural laws. The concept of free will can give justification to the hope or desire that there is some agent (call it a soul, God etc.) running the show - which helps with mankind’s neurosis about our future demise.

There are fears in society and law that without free will criminals cannot be held responsible. This may be due to free will being thought as separate from choice. We are social creatures both by nature and by the cultures we belong to. As such there are natural and social rules that we instinctively adhere to, breaking them invites punishment. These are our choices, nothing to do with free will.

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