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Consciousness & Free Will
#1
Hannah Critchlow, neuroscientist from Magdalene College, Cambridge U:

Quote:She has started writing another book, based around the idea of free will. “There’s quite a lot of evidence to show it’s largely an illusion,” she says. “There’s a huge amount that seems to be hardwired into us and predetermined.
The whole article is here: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/may/18/neuroscientist-hannah-critchlow-cambridge-consciousness-funny-word
As always, the idiotic question about reducing humans to chemical & electrical functions is asked, but she answers it brilliantly, drawing on the giant intellects of Orwell, Adams et al to state:
Quote:Yeah, but it’s an awe-inspiring, highly sophisticated, highly dynamic system that is incredible and beautiful in its intricacy...

...Demystifying the brain’s connections doesn’t reduce its magic.
The beauty is in the system, not because some thing made it that way. You don't need the fairies at the bottom of the garden.
Great piece that I'll be getting the kids to read shortly.
Love is... that one person whose freshly-warm toilet seat you don't find disgusting.
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#2
Quote:“There’s a huge amount that seems to be hardwired into us and predetermined. You are born with a particular brain and that shapes your perception, shapes what you are hardwired to find rewarding.

You are brought up in a particular environment and that reinforces what you are born with.” What does that mean for decision-making? “If your perception of the world is based on prior experiences and hardwiring, then that shapes your reality, which goes on to affect your decision-making. A large amount of your decision-making taps into your reward system in your brain. Although there is scope to change certain behaviours, you have to make a real conscious effort in order to break habits and change how your reward system affects your motivation.

That article ticks the box in my "reward system" TA.  
I wish I'd thought to term it reward system, it's not quite as confronting as 'self interest'.

I've had a few arguments over the years about free will.   They didn't like that I maintain that we always choose to do what we want to, not what we should.  

Even when we appear to be making a decision for good of others, we're really not. 
We've decided that the benefits accruing from the approval for our decision from our peers is more valuable than merely settling for the chance of winning whatever it is that our opinion differs about.

We're not robots, and there must be millions of variables involved in our decisions and opinions but we do think a bit strange sometimes, unless we look into our motivations deeply and honestly enough.

People can dress up good intentions with all the frills they like but peel it all back and we find that even the most self sacrificing act boils down to being what the individual feels would be of benefit to themselves,  either to save a loved one they can't live without, or to be seen as a hero or whatever, but most of all, whatever makes their conscience feel good.

e.g.  Most people just settle for the warm and fuzzy glow of being an 'environmentalist' without even knowing what that entails.  Most think it's just putting litter in the right recycling bin.

It's a good thing, but let's not call it for more than it is,  a decision to go along with whatever the majority deem okay behaviour so they'll still "like" us.
 


The ones who piss me off are those who swan around in massive gas guzzling 4WDs and live in McMansions with the air-con at full blast all day,  and who clock up frequent flyer points in highly polluting airplanes so they can go and attend seminars on to make everybody else become more conscious of the dangers to the environment.   

Do those people really decide to champion the cause of the environment?  They sure don't seem to mind contributing their own share of pollutants in their crusade.

Or do they choose championing the environment as the most efficient career path of promoting themselves to build status and decide to become a high profile 'environmentalist' due to cold blooded calculation?

Our individual reward systems are at the core of what we all argue about,  they're why yelling at people won't change their minds.  There's nothing in it for them to change.

We don't control the wants and needs of our conscience, it's a hardwired thing that would need a lot of work to alter.   The 'reward system' seems to be controlled to large degree by our conscience, but we are very, very, clever at finding a spin that will fool even our conscience if we want something badly enough.

I think I may have put too much Cynicism Sauce on my egg this morning.  sorry bout that.

Anyway I agree that looks to be well worth a read TA.  
Perceptions are the subject of another hobby horse of mine.  You may have noticed. Blush
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#3
Doing something/anything is generally somewhat automatic. Not doing that automatic thing requires volition.

So it is not "free will"... it is "free won't".
Ask not what is the problem but, rather, where is the lesion.
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#4
(05-21-2018, 06:49 PM)President Bush Wrote:  Doing something/anything is generally somewhat automatic. Not doing that automatic thing requires volition.

So it is not "free will"... it is "free won't".

I had a won't once.

Sent her back to her mother.
Love is... that one person whose freshly-warm toilet seat you don't find disgusting.
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#5
Had a buddy named Will who died. Now he's Won't.

True story.
Ask not what is the problem but, rather, where is the lesion.
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#6
I always liked the Japanese baseball player, "Willy Knockahoma".
"when you think you've lost everything... you find out you can always lose a little bit more." - President Bush
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#7
Castanada (the writer) employed a tool he called "not doing". It was a purposefull device to break out of habitual patterns.

The 'not doing' wasn't about doing nothing...it was more about doing a specific task that was irrational on the surface. An example would be to change the order of which shoe you put on first. Do that for 6 months, as if it matters, which it doesn't...except that it has a disruptive effect on normal brain ruts.
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#8
When I was a kid I remember getting the idea that when waking up in the morning I would not open my eyes until I decided to. Seemed interesting to accomplish.
Ask not what is the problem but, rather, where is the lesion.
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#9
If i weighed-in on this subject matter, i'd likely piss-off people.

(Not the prez, natch.)

He's at least as crazy as me.
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#10


"when you think you've lost everything... you find out you can always lose a little bit more." - President Bush
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