Re: Free Will vs Group Think

Omega (
Thu, 30 Jan 1997 02:27:58 -0800

Reilly Jones wrote:

> > * Where something is predictable, then free will does not exist.>
> A slight refinement to make this more precise, predictable here means "with
> certainty." Prediction with less than 100% statistical confidence is,
> after all, just guesswork. Is an entity forced to make predictions in
> order to find out if the entity has free will? <g>

You are very right on this. I was implicitly assuming that predictable
meant 100% predictable. Lesser amounts (>0) would simply mean that we
have managed to draw some kind of border around some unknown.

As predictions go, they only tell us where free will is not, something
I feel is essential not for finding out if we have free will, but for
better approaching the problem of effective self-transformation.

> I admit I am aesthetically attracted to a well-turned phrase such as
> 'dependence on transcendence,' perhaps this influences my rationality, but
> I must say I find the argument to be logical that "independence does not
> derive its content from itself," that it "requires help."

I wouldn't worry about your rationality. Intelligent mysticism is an
extremely valuable tool for knowing the limits to rationality itself;
although looking at its sordid history, it also seems to be as dangerous
as a chain-saw.

> Overemphasis on
> the subjectivity of the humanistic world leads to the irresponsible
> role-playing outlined in the first paragraph (and that I see so much of in
> the world today), but overemphasis on the objectivity of the scientific
> world leads to loss of free will through either iron determinism or
> nihilistic randomness, a servility and docility with practical consequences
> for extropic ascension as bad as the irresponsible role-playing.

I find this an astute summary as to much of what is wrong with our society
today. I hope it's something we can all get over soon.

> Sounds like we need another "Warding Off Dogmatization" panel discussion
> such as we had at Extro-1.

I have some interesting ideas along this line. I think that David Musick's
approach to conducting conversations with devout Christians uses a very
powerful technique of communication which I don't think has been consciously
recognized by our culture yet.

> We need to pull ourselves out of the conceptual
> doldrums we find ourselves in, regain the trade winds, and spend time and
> energy achieving extropic purposes, instead of drifting along day-to-day in
> an animal existence. What's new, huh?

We may yet find ourselves in a conceptual hurricane!

In the Ecstatic Service of Life -- Omega