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dimreepr

What is inner-peace?

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3 minutes ago, dimreepr said:

how much control do you have over your culture or your ability to imbibe alcohol?

Seriously? You want me to answer this same question again? Or are you again trying to make a point that is only clear to you?

7 minutes ago, iNow said:

This gets into fascinating territory, the cross-section of neuroscience and freewill (or the likely lack thereof).

I've followed your discussions on this topic before, and while I agree they are fascinating, I'm not sure that it's generally accepted that we 'likely lack freewill'.

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1 minute ago, zapatos said:

Seriously? You want me to answer this same question again?

 

Yes please since the context is very different.

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zapatos

I agree of course and thank you for laying out my position so succinctly. 

dimreepr

I have complete control over my intake of alcohol unless you are going to bring up some totally off the wall situation. 

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2 minutes ago, Outrider said:

dimreepr

I have complete control over my intake of alcohol unless you are going to bring up some totally off the wall situation. 

1

That wasn't my question.

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iNow

I agree freewill is both a fascinating and worthwhile subject. Would you agree that in most (all?) situations it is better to act as if we have it? I mean I wouldn't know how to act as if I didn't. 

 

3 minutes ago, dimreepr said:

That wasn't my question.

Reframe the question please I apparently don't understand it as asked.

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I have complete control over my ability to imbibe alcohol and limited control over my culture.

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2 minutes ago, zapatos said:

I have complete control over my ability to imbibe alcohol 

really? most of us just get drunk.

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I also think it ignores the chemical nature of the urges, and how addition can easily overcome rational parts of our brain...

32 minutes ago, Outrider said:

Would you agree that in most (all?) situations it is better to act as if we have it?

AFAICT, there'd be no functional difference. Our everyday experience would be unchanged, even if the way we describe it shifts.

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Ok iNow thanks.

36 minutes ago, dimreepr said:

really? most of us just get drunk.

So you have just abandoned any pretense that this is a serious subject for you?

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iNow and Zapatos, I would like to hear your thoughts on free will as you seem to have opposed stances on this. I found myself thinking about this when seeing the below thought experiment by Sam Harris:

I saw this a few weeks ago and as much as I didn’t like the rhetoric I couldn’t pinpoint why I don’t like it, I think Im ready now to adress this. Harris is basing his premise that we do not have free will on 2 arguments, 1. We cannot choose freely because we do not have the knowledge (of all the cities in this example) and 2. We are biased by our experiences (having sushi in this example) Up untill this point I see these arguments as completely false because I don’t think the definition of free will should include knowledge or experience factors. I chose Mogadishu as my first city (just because Im to go there in a few weeks time) and chose Wroclaw as my second city (because of reasons) and both my choices where based on reasons...does these reasons mean that I don’t have free will? This is what I think Sam Harris is saying.

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15 hours ago, koti said:

I saw this a few weeks ago and as much as I didn’t like the rhetoric I couldn’t pinpoint why I don’t like it, I think Im ready now to adress this. Harris is basing his premise that we do not have free will on 2 arguments, 1. We cannot choose freely because we do not have the knowledge (of all the cities in this example) and 2. We are biased by our experiences (having sushi in this example) Up untill this point I see these arguments as completely false because I don’t think the definition of free will should include knowledge or experience factors. I chose Mogadishu as my first city (just because Im to go there in a few weeks time) and chose Wroclaw as my second city (because of reasons) and both my choices where based on reasons...does these reasons mean that I don’t have free will? This is what I think Sam Harris is saying.

In fact Harris anticipates your argument, by telling about psychological experiments where people give reasons for their choices, but the researchers know it is something else (having a cold or war glass in the hand is an example gives): so the reasons we give are confabulations, rationalisations afterwards.

The example of the cities however is a very banal one. In this 'experiment' you are asked to choose something where there are no good reasons to pick one city above another. It is the same with the famous Libet experiments: people are asked to flex their wrist at some moment for no reason at all.

The point about free will however is a different one: that we can do what we want without any obstruction from somebody else. Harris sees free will as physically unconditioned free will. But that is a chimera. What free will is in daily life, is that e.g. I want to go to my work, and nobody is opposing me to avoid I get in my car and drive to the company where I work, and here I am. If somebody asks why I am driving my car, I have a very good reason: I want to go to my work. Of course you can ask further, why I want to go to my work, and after a few 'why-levels' I certainly come to the point where I have to say "Because I am who I am". But that has nothing to do with free will: free will does not mean 'to be who I want to be', but 'to act according to what I want to do'.

So what Harris is doing is defining free will as something that a priori cannot exist (at least if you have a naturalist world view), and then deny that it exists. Fact is that Harris in his pamphlet 'Free will' argues against free will, but then, when he is arguing why this does not mean that we have to give up on morality, or our penal system, he argues exactly as compatibilists do when they defend free will.

So as an antidote to Harris, here is Dennett:

At 3:25 he defines free will: the capacity to see probable futures that seem to gonna happen, in time to take steps that something else will happen instead.

At the end Dennett says a few words about the consequences, e.g. that we have to let go the concept of ultimate responsibility, of sin (which clearly shows where such ideas come from...).

And if you think about something you think now morally wrong, it can contribute to your inner peace. Feeling regret, but knowing that you were determined, you might not be too hard with your self. You can think 'I should have done otherwise', meaning: 'next time I come in such a situation I will do otherwise'.

In facts Buddhism (at least as I know it) encourages such a stance, to your self and to others. And to make the circle round: Harris is a strong promoter of (Buddhist) spirituality. See his book Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion. So in their practical consequences, Dennett and Harris might be very close to each other. But Dennett (and I), do not like his rhetoric. We should never forget that we should take as much responsibility for our actions as we can. In my opinion, saying we have no free will does not contribute to such a position.

 

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18 hours ago, Outrider said:

So you have just abandoned any pretense that this is a serious subject for you?

 

You're going to have to explain yourself here.

Do you think you can control how drunk you get, after a bottle of whiskey, or do you think you can control what extras others put in your cola? 

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23 minutes ago, dimreepr said:

You're going to have to explain yourself here.

Do you think you can control how drunk you get, after a bottle of whiskey, or do you think you can control what extras others put in your cola? 

You're going to have to start mentioning your constraints when you ask your questions, otherwise we're never going to get anywhere.

If you want to know if we can control how drunk we get after a bottle of whiskey, then that is the question you should ask.

You can't expect us to somehow know you were talking about someone spiking our drinks, when the thread is about inner peace.

Acting baffled that we didn't somehow know that is what you were getting at is only going to piss people off (see any of koti's responses to you).

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1 hour ago, Eise said:

In fact Harris anticipates your argument, by telling about psychological experiments where people give reasons for their choices, but the researchers know it is something else (having a cold or war glass in the hand is an example gives): so the reasons we give are confabulations, rationalisations afterwards.

The example of the cities however is a very banal one. In this 'experiment' you are asked to choose something where there are no good reasons to pick one city above another. It is the same with the famous Libet experiments: people are asked to flex their wrist at some moment for no reason at all.

The point about free will however is a different one: that we can do what we want without any obstruction from somebody else. Harris sees free will as physically unconditioned free will. But that is a chimera. What free will is in daily life, is that e.g. I want to go to my work, and nobody is opposing me to avoid I get in my car and drive to the company where I work, and here I am. If somebody asks why I am driving my car, I have a very good reason: I want to go to my work. Of course you can ask further, why I want to go to my work, and after a few 'why-levels' I certainly come to the point where I have to say "Because I am who I am". But that has nothing to do with free will: free will does not mean 'to be who I want to be', but 'to act according to what I want to do'.

So what Harris is doing is defining free will as something that a priori cannot exist (at least if you have a naturalist world view), and then deny that it exists. Fact is that Harris in his pamphlet 'Free will' argues against free will, but then, when he is arguing why this does not mean that we have to give up on morality, or our penal system, he argues exactly as compatibilists do when they defend free will.

So as an antidote to Harris, here is Dennett:

At 3:25 he defines free will: the capacity to see probable futures that seem to gonna happen, in time to take steps that something else will happen instead.

At the end Dennett says a few words about the consequences, e.g. that we have to let go the concept of ultimate responsibility, of sin (which clearly shows where such ideas come from...).

And if you think about something you think now morally wrong, it can contribute to your inner peace. Feeling regret, but knowing that you were determined, you might not be too hard with your self. You can think 'I should have done otherwise', meaning: 'next time I come in such a situation I will do otherwise'.

In facts Buddhism (at least as I know it) encourages such a stance, to your self and to others. And to make the circle round: Harris is a strong promoter of (Buddhist) spirituality. See his book Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion. So in their practical consequences, Dennett and Harris might be very close to each other. But Dennett (and I), do not like his rhetoric. We should never forget that we should take as much responsibility for our actions as we can. In my opinion, saying we have no free will does not contribute to such a position.

 

Dennett’s line of thinking appeals to me a lot more in this case than what Harris is saying (this is one of my favourate youtube channels btw) I share the premise shown in Dennet’s video that there are versions of free will and that defining it from a biological stand point does a better job than aproaching it from a physics point of view. Im just begining to get into this subject and your post is very informative, +1.

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zapatos:

This tangent is a result of my claim that "control is illusory" all my subsequent replies and questions stem from that basic claim.  I'll ask again, do you think we have control over our culture or our ability to imbibe alcohol? For culture read others and for alcohol read oneself, both of which have/can have an impact on how we think and neither of which is in our control.

My point is, humility is a very important constituent of acceptance which is a fundamental part of our path to peace.

Edited by dimreepr

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Yes, I have some degree of control over my culture and my ability to alcohol.

I can drink or not; my choice. I can drink some then stop. I can spread out my drinking so that I can drink longer/more. I can drink socially or to get hammered. All under my control. If I want to be able to drink more I can build up my tolerance.

I can participate in aspects of my culture or not; my choice. I can help fund one part of my culture while withhold funds from another. I can actively work to make changes in my culture. All have an impact on the culture and the people in it.

I can also work to develop inner peace. Whether or not some people gain inner peace is not something that is completely outside their control. I suspect that for some of those here, that inner peace is something they take some degree of responsibility for having.

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2 hours ago, Eise said:

In fact Harris anticipates your argument, by telling about psychological experiments where people give reasons for their choices, but the researchers know it is something else (having a cold or war glass in the hand is an example gives): so the reasons we give are confabulations, rationalisations afterwards.

The example of the cities however is a very banal one. In this 'experiment' you are asked to choose something where there are no good reasons to pick one city above another. It is the same with the famous Libet experiments: people are asked to flex their wrist at some moment for no reason at all.

The point about free will however is a different one: that we can do what we want without any obstruction from somebody else. Harris sees free will as physically unconditioned free will. But that is a chimera. What free will is in daily life, is that e.g. I want to go to my work, and nobody is opposing me to avoid I get in my car and drive to the company where I work, and here I am. If somebody asks why I am driving my car, I have a very good reason: I want to go to my work. Of course you can ask further, why I want to go to my work, and after a few 'why-levels' I certainly come to the point where I have to say "Because I am who I am". But that has nothing to do with free will: free will does not mean 'to be who I want to be', but 'to act according to what I want to do'.

So what Harris is doing is defining free will as something that a priori cannot exist (at least if you have a naturalist world view), and then deny that it exists. Fact is that Harris in his pamphlet 'Free will' argues against free will, but then, when he is arguing why this does not mean that we have to give up on morality, or our penal system, he argues exactly as compatibilists do when they defend free will.

So as an antidote to Harris, here is Dennett:

At 3:25 he defines free will: the capacity to see probable futures that seem to gonna happen, in time to take steps that something else will happen instead.

At the end Dennett says a few words about the consequences, e.g. that we have to let go the concept of ultimate responsibility, of sin (which clearly shows where such ideas come from...).

And if you think about something you think now morally wrong, it can contribute to your inner peace. Feeling regret, but knowing that you were determined, you might not be too hard with your self. You can think 'I should have done otherwise', meaning: 'next time I come in such a situation I will do otherwise'.

In facts Buddhism (at least as I know it) encourages such a stance, to your self and to others. And to make the circle round: Harris is a strong promoter of (Buddhist) spirituality. See his book Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion. So in their practical consequences, Dennett and Harris might be very close to each other. But Dennett (and I), do not like his rhetoric. 

11

The illusion of time and the illusion of control are both prominent here. 

2 hours ago, Eise said:

We should never forget that we should take as much responsibility for our actions as we can. In my opinion, saying we have no free will does not contribute to such a position.

 

but we should forgive ourselves, despite our apparent free will.

2 minutes ago, zapatos said:

Yes, I have some degree of control over my culture and my ability to alcohol.

I can drink or not; my choice. I can drink some then stop. I can spread out my drinking so that I can drink longer/more. I can drink socially or to get hammered. All under my control. If I want to be able to drink more I can build up my tolerance.

I can participate in aspects of my culture or not; my choice. I can help fund one part of my culture while withhold funds from another. I can actively work to make changes in my culture. All have an impact on the culture and the people in it.

1

You're missing my point, it doesn't matter how much control you have or think you have, it's ultimately illusory and while you cling to that illusion you create your own roadblock to peace.

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10 minutes ago, dimreepr said:

You're missing my point, it doesn't matter how much control you have or think you have, it's ultimately illusory and while you cling to that illusion you create your own roadblock to peace.

No, I understood your point completely. I disagree with it, and provided examples of the way in which I do have control.

If you want to present an argument that my examples are in fact an illusion on my part, please do so. But just repeating that you are right and I am wrong is getting us nowhere.

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Just now, zapatos said:

No, I understood your point completely. I disagree with it, and provided examples of the way in which I do have control.

1

But that control is limited not ultimate, so where on the spectrum do you position yourself and why does that position lead to peace?

You can control where to plant a seed but not what it will grow into; monocultures are never a good idea.

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1 hour ago, dimreepr said:

You're going to have to explain yourself here.

Do you think you can control how drunk you get, after a bottle of whiskey, or do you think you can control what extras others put in your cola? 

Nice how you ignore all my questions and demand I answer yours. Thank you for an excellent opportunity to exercise my self control. Of many options I choose to answer the question. 

I choose not to drink any whiskey and to guard what I do drink carefully which makes your question moot.

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1 minute ago, Outrider said:

Nice how you ignore all my questions and demand I answer yours. Thank you for an excellent opportunity to exercise my self control. Of many options I choose to answer the question. 

I choose not to drink any whiskey and to guard what I do drink carefully which makes your question moot.

FFS way to miss the point...

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22 minutes ago, zapatos said:

No, I understood your point completely. I disagree with it, and provided examples of the way in which I do have control.

 

18 minutes ago, dimreepr said:

But that control is limited not ultimate, so where on the spectrum do you position yourself and why does that position lead to peace?

Zap has told you several times and yet you just rinse and repeat as always. Go back and reread the thread if you are honestly confused. 

 

11 minutes ago, dimreepr said:

FFS way to miss the point

So you refuse to answer my questions?

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1 hour ago, Outrider said:

I choose not to drink any whiskey.

This is outrageous.

But I’ll give you a +1 for the other parts of your post.

Edited by koti

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1 hour ago, dimreepr said:

But that control is limited not ultimate,

Again, neither I nor anyone said it was.

You said our control was an illusion and I showed where I had partial control, and you repeated that it was an illusion.

You seem to move the goalposts back and forth from "it is an illusion" to "it is limited".

Quote

so where on the spectrum do you position yourself and why does that position lead to peace?

I position myself differently depending on what we are talking about. I have more control over my drinking than I have over Western Culture.

I don't think I claimed that my positioning on the spectrum leads to peace.

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2 hours ago, dimreepr said:

The illusion of time and the illusion of control are both prominent here. 

Time is very real for us. As long as you have memories of the past and hopes, expectations, and curiosity about the future time is real for you as it is for me.

The idea of 'control' is very confusing. If you mean 'absolute control', in the sense that somebody (or something) has control without previous conditions, then you are completely right. But then I also have no idea what our acting would be based on: you would have no character, you would not even be a person.

But there are less unrealistic concepts of control. Take a thermostat as example. It controls the temperature. But it is of course a (simple) mechanical system, based on negative feedback. Now organisms are also systems that express control. Not absolute control, but they can change their environment so that it fits to their survival. 

Higher animals have the capability to anticipate the future, and act based on their expectations of what possibly might happen and what their capabilities to act are, and so to have influence on the environment they live in. So animals have control over their environment. Not absolute control, but still control.

However, it is a category error to assume that they therefore should have a centre of control in themselves. It is as if you are saying that a thermostat has no control over the temperature of the environment because it cannot change its own settings: but that is a ridiculous expectation.

So if we speak of control, we should look at the influence of the organism as a whole on its surroundings, and not for some magical control centre in the organism. And free will is based on this kind of control, not on the existence of such a magical control centre. Our actions are free when we can express our control, without being obstructed by somebody else. Harris however sticks to just denying that a magical control centre exists. He is right, such a centre does not exist. But it has nothing to do with the question if we free will or not.

 

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