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A Happy Slave Doesn't Require Total Freedom

Whether you believe in a higher power or not, this forum is dedicated to the topic of religion and spirituality. We live in a diverse world with different morals and ideas when it comes to our beliefs, so come in and share your thoughts.

Postby frrostedman » Sun Apr 01, 2012 8:05 pm

at1with0 wrote:I constantly consider the possibility that all my truth is a lie. It erodes the confirmation bias that I exhibit. These lines apply to me at all times, even when I think I've got it; especially when I think I've got it.

With relative perfection, it seems to be a fact that there is always the temptation to go to the other side. Eve was not prepared to face the temptation of an unknown promised to be even more pleasure. The promise of pleasure is very alluring to humans. Anything to keep us alive and on planet Earth. :D

It is curious that every omniscient being knew that Eve was going to decide that the only way to get rid of temptation is to give in to it. Every omniscient being knew that mankind's faith that Jesus' act of sacrifice leads to salvation would waver in the future.

It's all part of the plan.

Truth has an enslaving quality to it. If it got out that "God exists" is a true statement, then humphreys would be a slave to the facts, even though that truth would probably make him unhappy... He stated that he values truth over happiness and that's good because truth is rarely pleasure. They say that truth sets you free but it actually confines. Many people would be happy to be a slave to truth, in keeping with the spirit of the thread. I myself am, ultimately, a slave to truth but I see and am drawn towards a different light.


Though I am not entirely comfortable with the very last sentence, that entire read was some really good, deep stuff. "The only way to get rid of a temptation is to give in to it." Good stuff. But in some cases the temptation only increases to a different level so that you are constantly "getting rid" of it, only to see it come back stronger. Some examples could be drugs and alcohol, sex addiction, or even the temptations of a serial killer.
"But let us not come up with any patronizing nonsense about Jesus being a great teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to." C.S. Lewis
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Postby frrostedman » Sun Apr 01, 2012 8:08 pm

qmark wrote:There have been occasions where, as a slave, I “broke free” and exercised “complete freedom” which resulted in anything but happiness.
I agree 1000%.


Yep! Been there done that as well! Glad to see you're still tromping through here every so often!
"But let us not come up with any patronizing nonsense about Jesus being a great teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to." C.S. Lewis
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Postby humphreys » Mon Apr 02, 2012 4:04 am

greeney2 wrote:
humphreys wrote:Things created by the brain do not have to be imaginary.

Your whole experience of the real world is a perception generated by the brain, that does not mean the real world is not a real thing.

Interestingly, the book I am reading right now talks about free will, and how it is nothing more than an illusion. Subjects were tested and asked to make certain bodily movements, and to track when they consciously decided to make that movement. The crazy thing is, the brain KNEW the movement was going o happen, and readied itself for it, SIGNIFICANTLY before the will to make that action was registered. So the will itself, or the feeling of will, was just a feeling created by the brain after it had decided to do something anyway.

Thought provoking stuff.


I'm not understanding the test, were the subject awake? I don't see how this is a test of free will. Were they monitoring brain waves and timing to a physical movement? Not sure individual reaction time is a test of free will, rather than each persons time to process and react.


The subjects were awake, and showed clearly that the brain knows what you're going to do before you feel the will to do it and act on it. For instance, if you decide you want to move your arm, you'll feel the will to do so, and then act on that will.

The tests showed that the brain readies itself for the arm movement before the will to move it. In other words, the brain decided it was going to move your arm before you did. The will was just a side-effect and not will at all. Free will is an illusion, the brain is in complete control.

Processing and reaction times were factored in and cannot explain the results. The different between "brain readying itself for the movement" and "the will to move" is pretty significant and far exceeds processing and reaction time.

In a simplified description, imagine monitoring someone's brain waves and seeing that the brain waves for "moving the left arm" are triggered well before the subject reports the will to move the arm. So much before that it cannot be explained by the obvious delay there would be between the feeling of will and the reporting of the feeling.

In the other test, the subject way lying down and their brain was electrically stimulated. A part of the brain connected to "left arm movement" was stimulated and the patient moved their left arm as a result of that stimulation. When asked what just happened, the subject stated "I felt like moving my arm, so I did". This again shows that the feeling of will is just a side-effect of the brain's processing, and it happens about mid-way into the process of readying the movement, and then actually making the movement.

So it might look like this:

1) brain decides to move arm, readies itself
2) brain tells person/self that it has the will to move
3) arm moves

Whereas if free will were true we would see:

1) person/self decides to move arm
2) brain readies itself
3) arm moves
"All of our behavior can be traced to biological events about which we have no conscious knowledge: this has always suggested that free will is an illusion."

- Sam Harris
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Postby greeney2 » Mon Apr 02, 2012 9:09 am

I see this as a test of physical reaction process time difference, ability or inability, of healthy subjects, and has nothing to do with will or free will. The will to live when dying, the heart to keep boxing far and beyond normal ability are examples of strong wills. The test of the extreme, that is seemingly impossible to others, beyond our control, such as not giving in to torture. I've had nerve testing done that are eactly the test you discribe, to test the path brain signals get to destinations, and it has to do with the aging of the spinal cord, the canal shape, nerve damage, impeeding the brain signal. This has nothing to do with will, it is a physical test. Will and free will are 2 seperate things imho, and they have nothing to do with each other.
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Postby at1with0 » Mon Apr 02, 2012 9:38 am

Thanks frosty and greeney, well said...

humphreys wrote:Your whole experience of the real world is a perception generated by the brain, that does not mean the real world is not a real thing.


I wonder what happens when you replace "real world" with "god".
"it is easy to grow crazy"
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Postby humphreys » Mon Apr 02, 2012 10:22 am

greeney2 wrote:I see this as a test of physical reaction process time difference, ability or inability, of healthy subjects, and has nothing to do with will or free will.


Well, you're free to that opinion, but it does not match the facts, in my opinion. As I said before, timing was factored in. The "brain readying process" is demonstrably greater than the processing and reaction times, and considerably so.

Your solution is the obvious one, and probably the first thought of the scientists conducting the experiments, but it would seem to not be so, that's why the experiments are so dazzling.

greeney2 wrote:I've had nerve testing done that are eactly the test you discribe, to test the path brain signals get to destinations, and it has to do with the aging of the spinal cord, the canal shape, nerve damage, impeeding the brain signal. This has nothing to do with will, it is a physical test.


You are talking about something else entirely now.

This was a specialized scientific test, I can guarantee whatever it was you had done was a medical thing that is not related in any way.
"All of our behavior can be traced to biological events about which we have no conscious knowledge: this has always suggested that free will is an illusion."

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Postby humphreys » Mon Apr 02, 2012 10:24 am

at1with0 wrote:Thanks frosty and greeney, well said...

humphreys wrote:Your whole experience of the real world is a perception generated by the brain, that does not mean the real world is not a real thing.


I wonder what happens when you replace "real world" with "god".


The same as what happens if you replace "the real world" with "a unicorn".

They're the same thing to you, anyway!
"All of our behavior can be traced to biological events about which we have no conscious knowledge: this has always suggested that free will is an illusion."

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Postby at1with0 » Mon Apr 02, 2012 10:30 am

Oh yeah.
"it is easy to grow crazy"
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Postby greeney2 » Mon Apr 02, 2012 7:33 pm

If I'm not understanding the gest of the experiments, its becasue the explanation was not clear. Yes, I had medical tests to test the nerve path from the brain to my arms. they stick pins in you and induce electical current to stimulate the nerve. Seems a little similar to me, stimulating the brain, to see a reaction in the arm??? I supose the test would be interesting if it was done on quadrapaligics, that could not move regardless of having been stimilated in the brain where that occurs. Again, why does this demonstrate will?
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Postby humphreys » Tue Apr 03, 2012 2:12 am

greeney2 wrote:If I'm not understanding the gest of the experiments, its becasue the explanation was not clear. Yes, I had medical tests to test the nerve path from the brain to my arms. they stick pins in you and induce electical current to stimulate the nerve. Seems a little similar to me, stimulating the brain, to see a reaction in the arm??? I supose the test would be interesting if it was done on quadrapaligics, that could not move regardless of having been stimilated in the brain where that occurs. Again, why does this demonstrate will?


Okay, I can see I wasn't clear and I've confused you.

I talked about two different experiments here, and you're merging them together.

Experiment 1:
Patients connected to a brain-wave monitor are asked to move a limb of their own accord, and the moment they had the "will" to move is recorded by the subject. The monitor shows that the brain readies itself to move the limb significantly before the patient records the will to move it, and this time difference exceeds what could reasonably be allowed for reaction and processing times. This shows that the brain decides what we're going to do, and we do not will it, we merely feel the "will" because the brain tells us to feel it, after it has already made its decision. Action precedes will, not vice versa.

Experiment 2:
Patient's brains are electrically stimulated to force them to move their arm. This experiment is also a test of will because even though the act is forced, the patient will always report that they "wanted" or "willed" their arm to move. This shows that "will" itself is just an illusion, caused by brain processing.

Does that help?

These were specialized scientific experiments designed to test the notion of free-will, not medical tests, so it's not going to be what you had done, although there may be some similarities.

While the experiments may not be absolute proof of our lack of free-will, they are very suggestive of it, and should be taken seriously as evidence that what we call free-will is just an illusion. We really have no more free-will than a computer does.
"All of our behavior can be traced to biological events about which we have no conscious knowledge: this has always suggested that free will is an illusion."

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