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The Living Room General Magical Thinking
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Magical Thinking
I was reading a neuroscience article about how our free will may not be free at all.  Everything may be determined (predestined?).
I thought about Alan Plum's remarks on binary thinking: either/or, free will/no free will.
And Arthur's postings on Czeslaw Milosz' Road Side Dog and the separateness of body and consciousness.
And Ted's Feedback posting.
We ask a lot of questions here about either-orness.

Life, ALL life or all creation is really in the relationship isn't it?  If we keep separating things out and pulling things apart pretty soon the cake isn't a cake anymore.
I read a line by Bill Bryson, he said if he picked all his atoms apart into quarks and gluons he'd have a bunch of sub atomic things or waves that had never been alive, but when they'd been assembled--they were alive
and they were him.  Its the relationship of things.  If there's no one to hear the tree fall...if you can't see the cat in the box will he start to smell after a while? 


So here we are with the Penn State scandal and the difficulty of DSK and his testosterone storms.  Those are only two instances of misery and injustice and exploitation. 
If and when we sift the horror and uncertainty out of life will we still be what we are now?  Will we still have things to write about?

Back to neuroscience:  if it all comes down to what flows between the synapses does that make us less than we think we are or less than what we hope we are?
And where is hope anyway, is it just a bit of a bosun in a neurotransmitter?

When Joan Didion's book A Year of Magical Thinking came out I realized that in spite of my deep love of science and reason I'm a big proponent of magical thinking. Sometimes it's all that gets you through.
The relationship of fact and feeling.  The mutableness of thought processes (thanks, Ted) and how we are able to change our thoughts--is changing your mind predetermined? 
Does it matter?

I don't expect anyone to clear this up for me.  I'll just keep relating like I always do.  I just though about how dull it will be if everything gets picked apart and lined up on shelves--and labeled.



 
Books Discussed
The Year of Magical Thinking
by Joan Didion
Who's in Charge?: Free Will and the Science of the Brain
by Michael S. Gazzaniga


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We don't seem to be living in a world where everything is predetermined, including the actions of people. So we should not believe people don't have free will on that account.
I'm not sure what is meant by the term "free will".- I guess it means some part of ourselves sufficiently unconditioned by external forces/inputs such that the behavioral output is not and will never be predictable. I  believe "will" when expressed is a function of physical laws -the inputs to the brain and the state of the organic brain(and body) itself - the matter and energy it is made of. But because of indeterminacy at the sub atomic level the outcomes- the expressions of "will" - are not and in principle can never be wholly predictable all the time. I view this indeterminancy as a reason for hope in that new mutability of thought and behavior can emerge that is unpredictable and might be crucial to new concept and science development and further evolution. It could be that the brain has multiple levels of determinancy sandwiched between indeterminate levels. The possibilities are endless.
Perhaps some part of the notion of  "free will" can be captured in noting that it  does seem important  that people develop some inner capacity for refection and thought such that their behavior is less conditioned by their recent environment .(??), or by negative emotions. I'm thinking meditation and concentration. Yoga perhaps to unkink the body to allow for that.
The extent to which people can do this  is kind of the extent to which we say a person is free, or has the capacity to freely choose.
Maybe. .

 
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Latest Post: December 4, 2011 at 4:27 PM
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