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Thread: Paradox of Free Will

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    Post Living with the paradox

    Brethren, can't we live with the paradox of free will? Here's my take:

    Eternal Recurrence of the Same [ERS] and determinism are probably true in the completely objective sense. But we must will them into being.

    Here's an analogy. For me to have the truth of ERS uppermost in my mind is like me sitting in a bar ogling an attractive girl. I do nothing to overcome my inertia and approach her. When I do pluck up the courage to approach her, it is necessary to have the concept of free will uppermost in my mind. If I continue thinking that 'what will be will be,' I will remain motionless.

    I see the concept of pure determinism, and ERS, as being akin to an infinite loop in a computer program. The effect of learning the concept of determinism was for me something my brain just could not get past. It suspended my will to power for a long time. Determinism has the potential to cause extreme depression.

    In fact I believe those profoundly sensitive individuals who absolutely believe in determinism with their entire souls will break down. They will sit down and not get up. I think of the holy men of eastern religions. I also wonder if something like this wasn't a cause of Nietzsche's eventual beakdown. His works certainly oscillated betwen emphasis on nihilism (exemplified by ERS) and anti-nihilism (will to power).

    I think we have to live with the paradox: scientifically, determinism is the truth. Practically, it is useful to hold and trumpet the concept of freewill. I think most people, even the philosophical adherents of ERS and determinism, actually operate with the assumption freewill. We must live with the paradox. Perhaps some sort of higher dimension would resolve this paradox?
    Last edited by Moody; Wednesday, May 5th, 2004 at 07:10 PM. Reason: split thread
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    Senior Member Moody's Avatar
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    Post Re: Living with the paradox

    hardcorps; "Here's an analogy. For me to have the truth of ERS uppermost in my mind is like me sitting in a bar ogling an attractive girl. I do nothing to overcome my inertia and approach her. When I do pluck up the courage to approach her, it is necessary to have the concept of free will uppermost in my mind. If I continue thinking that 'what will be will be,' I will remain motionless".

    Moody replies; Yes, your intellectualisation of the situation acts as a break - it weakens your will which is driven by your instincts.

    So will is merely diminished rather than free.

    In purely instinctive terms you would have been using all your senses [smell, sight, touch etc.,] to check her out as a suitable conquest and/or partner and she you.

    You are either drawn to each other or repulsed by each other - civilisation has acted as a buffer, a restrainer on what is a basic will to procreation.
    So 'freewill' is a redundant concept here.

    hardcorps; "In fact I believe those profoundly sensitive individuals who absolutely believe in determinism with their entire souls will break down. They will sit down and not get up. I think of the holy men of eastern religions. I also wonder if something like this wasn't a cause of Nietzsche's eventual beakdown. His works certainly oscillated betwen emphasis on nihilism (exemplified by ERS) and anti-nihilism (will to power)".

    Moody; I think Nietzsche's breakdown was due to a brain tumor, nothing else.
    True, those who seek Nirvana seek Nothingness and so deny their will; but again, they STARVE their will to weakness.
    It is not free.
    One could take an opposite path and give unfettered expression to one's strongest instinctual urges a la Crowley:
    Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law!

    Why are there beings at all, & why not rather nothing?
    [Leibniz/Heidegger]

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    Senior Member George's Avatar
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    Arrow Re: Paradox of Free Will

    I am a Determinist. Determinism has no effect that I am aware of on my thoughts or actions. Free will is an illusion, but I don't see a paradox there... (?) Yes it's true that our minds work on different levels at the same time, I am unconsciously controlling 500 muscles whilst my reptile mind is feeling hunger and lust and my higher mind is doing arithmetic.

    Come on pal cheer up, I'm sure you'll meet a receptive girl before long if you keep trying. Look confident!

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    Post Re: Paradox of Free Will

    'Free Will' as a concept is an important tool for those regimes that want to rule by 'Blame'.

    So - You did such and such out of 'choice', therefore you must be to 'blame' for such and such consequence.

    But if there is no 'freewill', how can individuals be so held responsible?

    Why are there beings at all, & why not rather nothing?
    [Leibniz/Heidegger]

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