Free Will
(Top Posts - Philosophy (General) - 101002)

This post includes replies to two posts on free will issues.

What do perceived choices result from?

Neurons, biochemical activity, electrical activity, all naturalistic
in form, yielding continuous results, only examinable and re-
flected upon by intelligent beings with hindsight, and all inter-
acting (as pertains to life forms, as we know them) as gene-
induced stimuli-response-random activity entities within "all
that is" and all that ever has been.

What is a choice? A result, no more, no less, an outcome of
neuronal competition and naturalistic events constrained by
the physics of the space-time continuum in which we find our-
selves, biology, and (from a larger perspective) the nature of
all that ever has been that happened to lead to the particular
space-time continuum in which we exist.

By the way, these initial paragraphs were added as a last step
in the edit / review of material previously written, a result of all
that has impacted this particular carbon unit as of this moment ...

... An illusory item, that, a moment, for once it is here, it is gone ...

... How big is it, a moment? 1 second? Half a second? A bil-
lionth of a second? What is it, a moment? Is it not the totality
of "all that is", resulting from all that ever has been (and random
activity) at an arbitrarily selected time point? What is that, "all
that is" and all that ever has been? Unknown, for sure.

So, when it comes to that which we call a moment, one is cre-
ating an illusion of minute size (in time), ignoring the vast-be-
yond-vast scale (in distance, matter, energy, time) of "all that
is" that has resulted from vast-beyond-vast stimuli-response-
random activity events (in history and in the neuronal networks
of individual brains), and from all of that, selecting a tiny aspect
to focus on, like say, a perceived decision or choice of one
person, disregarding (for the most part) the import of all
events (and random brain activity) which led to that perceived
decision or choice.

How many choices does one make? Is that a variable based on
the size one wishes to use for the illusory moment, for isn't every
illusory moment full of choice and activity which might be con-
strued as choice, all best understood as a constancy of results
(outcomes)?

Think about your body -- how many movements do you make
without even thinking about them? Sure, you may be thinking
about them *now*, because I mentioned it, but really, in the
constant flow of activities, more often than not, your hands -
arms - legs - head - eyelashes - lips - tongue - breathing -
sneezing - coughing - smelling - seeing - scratching - yawning
- etc... takes place outside of your conscious thought, as
results of neuronal activity apart from what we perceive as
conscious choice.

What differentiates all that activity from the activity we dwell
on? Is it not, all of it, a result of brain activity (as impacted by
stimuli, including involuntary hormones within the body, as well
as random brain activity) and the totality of the factors iterated
above?

And dreams, same deal, simply the way the neuronal activity
of the brain registers during sleep periods, most completely
forgotten, the dreams, and frustrating, that, at times, our inability
to remember our dreams, yet part of the totality of that which
we experience as existence in our less than conscious realm.

What part do dreams play in our behavior? One might make
a case for the dreams we *remember* playing a role, but
what about the dreams we don't remember? They are a
part of our neuronal network we use to make perceived
choices during our conscious moments, yet they're totally
outside of our consciousness ... the unremembered dreams,
the part of our brains that conveys experiences outside of
our control, for the most part, brain activity that evidently
happens *to us*, not *by us* as a conscious choice ...

- - - FYI - The following section is mostly - - -
- - - a replication from a prior reply, in - - -
- - - another thread, on the free will issue - - -

An ant that can do anything has free will. Same for a chimp,
a human, or a God.

The fact that matter can move, reproduce, respond to stimuli,
and behave in ways only falling within the parameters of proba-
bilities demonstrates the limitations of human comprehension,
for "all that is" is a result of all that ever has been and leads to
all that ever will be, with the caveat that random factors are also
a part of that equation.

Would I have written this post without the stimuli from two
other posts? No, as
this section was first written previously
as a reply to another another post on free will, quite a popular
topic of discussion, so in actuality, this section would not have
been written without the stimuli provided by that poster. This
entire post is leveraged off of those two posts -and- all that
ever has been that impacted the three posting efforts men-
tioned in this paragraph.

Why do humans tend to give 100 percent blame (or credit) for
an event (like my reply) which is nothing but a result of all that
ever has been (including all that led to the persons making the
two posts that I responded to, as well as all apart from those
two posts that led me to construct this reply in this manner)?

It's as if out of simple-minded and ancient mindsets, humans
tend to view the end of a long trail and place total blame / credit
for the end, without regard to the trail and all that transpired
along the trail and all involved in that long trail of events leading
to the perceived end as the be-all end-all of either blame or
credit.

All of that is the totality of causality, and all of that is, as best
we can determine, a result of a naturalistic continuum within
the eternal now we are imprisoned in.

Can humans choose? Of course, but on what is human choice
based? Genes + stimuli + random brain activity, naturalism
and the constraints therein, no more, no less.

Choices are inevitable and inalterable events, once made.
They are results based on all factors at play prior to the pas-
sage of the eternal now through the point of inevitable and
inalterable activity, with random unpredictable factors involved
due in no small part to the random activity of neuronal compe-
tition taking place in each of our brains.

Some of all of this activity is referred to as choices, with the
implication being that humans are Gods of the choices. No,
the choices we make are the outcomes of all naturalistic fac-
tors through which the mental activities called choices result,
not free -but- instead, when considered after it occurs, best
understood as inevitable -and- inalterable events within the
flow of the eternal now.

They're all results ... and everything we do and say feeds into
that continuum of results and responses to results which humans
sometimes call choices and judgement, approval and condem-
nation.

Why is none of this perspective part of the bible / quran / vedas /
torah? Because the ancients had not the understanding of nature
that informed and open-minded humans currently are capable of.
The way that societies and cultures exist, even in the current day,
is based in no small measure on concepts of individual blame
and credit which are divorced from the complex and multiple
naturalistic factors, including random ones, entailed in *every*
result, every outcome, every deed, every act, by each and every
one of us ...

... Does this provide an "out", an excuse for acts of harm? No,
not yet. Why? Aside from the ancient perspectives, humans
don't have the tools, yet, to partition blame to the genes / stimuli /
random brain activity involved, nor do humans have the tools to
accurately ascertain how likely (or unlikely) it is a human will be-
have in a desired way in the future based on selected stimuli
(such as rehab, positive inducement, or punitive measures) in
the present.

- - -

Will I "freely choose" to send this post? Well, I've put a lot of
work into it, so I'm very biased towards sending it ...

... I can choose to store it, post it, delete it ... if the computer
doesn't freeze up or we don't have a power hit, and there have
been a couple of unexpected (i.e., not weather-related) power
hits in my neighborhood during the past ten days or so ...

... I submit that if this post gets sent, it was an inevitable and
inalterable outcome of all that preceded the moment in time
when the "choice" was made, it was a *result*, not an action
outside of "all that is" and all that has been ...

... if not, same deal ... some might argue against that (heck,
some might try to pull the plug on my computer and therein
would reside the "choice" for "all that is" is a result of all that
came before and factors external to me are part of all that
--- a large part --- a mostly unexamined part, thus far, other
than the examinations made via posts such as this and the
examinations of some involved in scientific research) ...

... well, here goes, I'm "choosing" to send it ... but why? See
the details above - there's the why for this "choice" and all
"choices" by each and every one of us ...