Despite upbringing, genes and chromosomes, are we beings of free will?

Or do inherited traits dictate our behaviour?

2 Answers

  • Favourite answer

    Free will is the ability to choose a course of action based on personal preference.  This can only be done in spite of, or in deference to, biases...not in the absence of them.  Therefore, history is an enabler of free will, not a barrier.  If you erased your memory, you would have no free will because you have no context of the impact, detrimental or beneficial, of your actions.  Without context, you would not be exercising free will but instead simply instinct.

  • We are a miracle. An alignment of many chaotic elements to produce something meaningful. Despite the difficulty and the infinity, we exist. Out there there was a perfect possible place where life could arise. And it was found.

    The universe found us. Here we are. 

    First there were single celled microbial organisms. Then multicellular. Then mammals and human beings. 

    13.8 billion years ago the universe began. 

    4.54 billion years ago life on Earth began. 

    300 million years ago multicellular. 

    180,000 years of hominids. 

    40,000 years of humans outliving other hominids. 

    5,000 years of history. 

    600 years of dedicated scientific inquiry. 

    A 138 years of electricity and automation.

    Through the chaos, life and enlightenment emerged. And it still emerges. If free will is not in our past, it is in our future. 

    If we ascend, we will ascend into freedom and enlightenment. To be free is to transcend the mechanism. The machine to become a thing of spirit. 

    My definition of spirit is in contrast to the definition of machine. Freedom is spirit. Machine is determinism without spirit. Spirit is determinism with Spirit. At least in the pessimistic view that we are mechanistic beings which might become free one day.

    Spirit in my scheme is where the machine obeys the designs of a mind which feels and thinks with awareness of what it is and so may carve a path to the light. The light of unboundedness. 

    The ideal, the perfect place, is the place of Spirit. Even though we exist in chaos, perfection is not ruled out. The perfect alignment of chaos into blissful golden rays.

    So my answer is: free will is a future possibility, not something of the past. It is a state of matter which behaves with self awareness. There is for us a certain element of puppetry. But there are moments of awakening. Even if the awakening is out of our hands.  We can still try. 

    Our minds bestow a certain level of control. It is a process that can lead to actions which can increase the motivation and understanding in us to make more enlightened actions in the future. It is preferred that we reach a state wherein spirit reins and not just physics. Physics plus Spirit/Mind control and self determination.

    We try the best we can. Sometimes we must bow to the spirit within. Spirit is the base of our actions. So it must hold priority. This is the way I experience it. 

    Spirit is the base of our actions. But we have a construction between the world and the inner life, which can be called mind or thinking side of the entity we are. The mind thus defined is the extrapolator. It takes fuzzy noisy data and produces models which simplify and acts as an interface for navigation of the world. It includes philosophy and science, which are constructions of minds.  

    Sometimes we must go back to the fuzzy noisy data to feel more deeply and perhaps construct more refined ideas. Religion is an example of how something constructed by the mind can block a person from hearing the realities represented by the spirit (non-mental mechanistic underbelly of the mind). 

    The mind is the voice of the spirit. We may associate it with who we are. But it is a representative of a larger entity. The brain is a big place. There is much untapped knowledge in the brain which perhaps we can access by submitting ourselves. 

    Submitting means detaching yourself from the mental constructions which prevent you from listening to the noise in your brain. From this noise it is possible to construct new ideas. 

    The mental component might be called the Rationality in us. Even though it can lead to a construction which we become so attached like religion that we stop thinking or feeling.

    The rationality combined with the spirit (willingness to listen to noise beyond pre-established ideas; maybe colloquially described as open mindedness) allows for necessary components of a logical mind.

    A logical mind has a chance of attaining freedom. It is willing to listen to the full breath of sensation to see more effective ways to construct ideas. 

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