Re: Free Will vs Group Think

Omega (
Fri, 31 Jan 1997 22:55:47 -0800

Reilly Jones wrote:

> After thinking about this, it seems that the search for the existence of
> free will ends up at the same garbage dump that the search for the
> existence of rationality ends up at. There is no "ground" to free will any
> more than there is "ground" to rationality. We have here a method to see
> where free will is not, but not to actually find out if we have it at all.
> Likewise, we have a method to see where rationality is not, namely where
> reasoning entities are selected out of existence, but not to actually find
> out if we have rationality at all, because what is defined as rational can
> only intelligibly be done a posteriori. It is not enough to say "I am
> rational because I am doing something for a reason," the follow-up question
> must be asked, "Did it work?" Likewise with free will, it is not enough to
> say "I have free will because I choose to do something," the follow-up
> question must be asked, "What choice did you really have?" The operation
> of free will and rationality cannot be shown a priori, there is an
> unavoidable information deficit.

Very true. Its only value is as a conceptual tool that can point out to us
where we are limited, and only then, if we haven't blinded our ontological
perception with the use of tautologies.

> In the "Free Will" post between John C. & Omega,
> Omega wrote 1/30/97: < this time because I feel that no ontological
> basis has yet been defined for the concept of self-referencing. I am not
> nit-picking this issue just for the fun of it, but because I believe that
> establishing the ontological basis for self-referencing requires us to
> penetrate into an area of the ontologically unknown that we currently
> perceive as acausal behind which we may find both a truer form of
> acausality, and the ontological basis for self-referencing.>
> Leibniz's monads were a stab in this direction, a very fruitful stab
> considering that little or no metaphysical work worth the name has been
> done since him. I have been pondering the nature of the link between the
> hypothesis that life evolves in the direction of "the edge of chaos"
> (actually defined more rigorously in the biophysics work coming out of the
> Santa Fe Institue), and the acausal (or transcendental) realm that provides
> the coherency to matter-energy structural systems, the source of existence,
> if you will. You have stated the matter well.

I'll have to check out Santa Fe again. They definitely seem to have some
interesting projects going on. With regard to the metaphysics which has
been long out of favor in our culture, it seems like the curse of the human
race is that every flowering of culture seems to think that its current per-
ception of reality is in some way a knowledge of absolute truth thus blinding
themselves to what could only be called the meta-reality behind the "curtain"
we aren't supposed to look behind.

Even things as intractable as this business of a priori and a posteriori
logic that you mentioned above might suddenly appear in a new light when
viewed from the atemporal. I don't know if knowledge of the atemporal
will lead us to an absolute truth, but I would certainly expect it to be
a good step closer.

This business of chaos also relates to that other can of worms that we call
the "technological singularity". While I certainly agree that we can't
expect to coast through this, I have an ever growing sense that what we call
the "technological singularity" is in fact a "fractal event-horizon" in a
very literal sense. When we look at the full set of symmetries we find in
reality, a "fractal event-horizon" is a well definable concept that almost
demands an accompanying "technological singularity". It would be, if
attained, a point of irreversibility of extropian germination.

> Bravo! It's unfortunate that your best fencing thrusts are taking place in
> a completely different Fourier space than your target is inhabiting, they
> are hitting shadows.

It sure seems like the discussion John and I were having (along with Lyle's
Venus thread) were setting the stage for this idea. All I know is that it
dawned on me while responding to Lyle's post that Fourier spaces define a
form of incompleteness of knowledge as fundamental as Godel's. I'm some-
what shocked that nobody seems to have generalized this principle before.

In the Ecstatic Service of Life -- Omega