Thursday, October 14, 2010


The following arises from my discussions on the WPM website:

Paul, you write "George, I'm glad you retracted the "remarkable naivete" comment. The "Paul you are truly disturbed" comment is also way off the mark. I could respond by speculating on the psychological reasons why you seem so obsessively attached to the idea that you and all the rest of us are robots, why you seem compelled to raise the topic is almost every discussion you visit, but I won't. Ad hominem arguments have no bearing on the merits of the arguments here."

Here's why I think (obsess ?) about the problem of free will. If free will is only an illusion, then how can we continue to thin the human herd of dangerous, more aggressive and less inhibited human animals if they are not truly free to be other than they are? I think we have faith in free will because it allows us to rid ourselves of dangerous predators among us without the qualm of conscience biting us. However, since our reactions to dangerous humans among us is also not a free will action and is also determined by psychological factors beyond our control, then the two considerations cancel each other out. But, further, it's pleasant and realistic to hold in memory the idea that the Universe is an amoral and benignly indifferent place to live in. That contact with reality is, to me, a better stance than an idealist, romantic or religious stance that offers comfort through a lie. Better discomfort through the truth than comfort through a lie. Having once been an implacable romantic most of my life, arriving at the truth about free will has brought me a peaceful resolution to my battle with reality. I've now accepted reality and no longer fight it.

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