Free will is a persistent illusion

In our complicated lives choice may have become an evolved decision making ability being essential to living in harmony with our surroundings.
Think about what you are saying there?

Are you actually implying that hunter-gathers had less “complicated” lives - less demand for constant “choice” making - than you do?

 

Or determinism is the result of a mathematically functioning universe.

Even though the future is probabilistic based on local variables in a dynamical (chaotic) environment,

every individual physical action is guided by mathematical logarithms,

with possible exception of “quantum” superposition.

I believe that relativity is part of the measurement of Free Will.

 

What is a free choice of one (a donation to a good cause), may well be a forced choice by another (an extortion by a criminal).

Both actions are not really from Free Will, but are caused by an internal or external compulsion causal to the expressed action.


It’s all luftgeschäft, notions piled on other notions.

Not a mention of Homeostasis.

Not a mention of a creature interacting with an environment.

 

It’s all intellectualizing, and going at the problem from an information processing perspective.

I mean its one thing to wonder at math being able to describe our universe - it’s quite a different leap of faith to claim that the universe is math.

 

Absolutely trapped within the Mindscape, oblivious to the physical world and Evolution that simply is - thus doomed to irrelevant.

I mean what can a human possibly do with all that information you shared up there.

 

On the other hand, taking the time to learn to appreciation what Solms, Damasio have discovered and its implications, now that will give you information that fits into real living, with pragmatic relevance within your day to day reality. But, that requires looking inside of ourselves and taking responsibly for being a physical creature, a product of a long line of evolution.

Question: "In the first video “Agency” is likened to “Free Will”. Would you agree the two are different - agency being the capacity to make decisions and act accordingly, consciously or otherwise, and arising from causal chains of thought which in turn, are the product of brain biochemistry; and free will being a more abstract concept carrying some implication of moral judgment? Actually, does free will even exist?"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B7Xe52fGrHg

 

Taking it back a step and the tie-in to Homeostasis:

Question: I would like to know more on how the seven basic emotions were arrived at. Play is serious business, think of sports and the global power messages at the Olympic games when ranking countries’ medal achievements. What led to the understanding and it being seven rather than another number of emotions?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2mhnBru_y04

I came across something this evening that’s slightly off topic, but not really.

Sleep Evolved Before Brains. Hydras Are Living Proof.

By Veronique Greenwood, May 18, 2021, quantamagazine.org

Studies of sleep are usually neurological. But some of nature’s simplest animals suggest that sleep evolved for metabolic reasons, long before brains even existed.

It appears that simple creatures — including, now, the brainless hydra — can sleep. And the intriguing implication of that finding is that sleep’s original role, buried billions of years back in life’s history, may have been very different from the standard human conception of it. If sleep does not require a brain, then it may be a profoundly broader phenomenon than we supposed. …

. . . Studies by a team in South Korea and Japan showed that the hydra periodically drops into a rest state that meets the essential criteria for sleep.

On the face of it, that might seem improbable. For more than a century, researchers who study sleep have looked for its purpose and structure in the brain. They have explored sleep’s connections to memory and learning. They have numbered the neural circuits that push us down into oblivious slumber and pull us back out of it. They have recorded the telltale changes in brain waves that mark our passage through different stages of sleep and tried to understand what drives them. Mountains of research and people’s daily experience attest to human sleep’s connection to the brain.

But a counterpoint to this brain-centric view of sleep has emerged. Researchers have noticed that molecules produced by muscles and some other tissues outside the nervous system can regulate sleep. Sleep affects metabolism pervasively in the body, suggesting that its influence is not exclusively neurological. …


I guess my point, besides sharing another amazing insight that science has achieved, is that the big revolution of the past couple decades is that answers to all those onetime unanswerable questions, about consciousness and origins and uniqueness of humans - are to be found within us and down into deep-time from and evolutionary perspective.

Not from within mind experiments. Today’s philosophical tenets (Chalmers, Hoffman, et al) are offshoots of religious thinking, an approach blinded by egocentricity.

Studying icky squishy biology and Deep-Evolution, now that’s the ticket to substantive clarity. ???‍♂️

 

I guess my point, besides sharing another amazing insight that science has achieved, is that the big revolution of the past couple decades is that answers to all those onetime unanswerable questions, about consciousness and origins and uniqueness of humans – are to be found within us and down into deep-time from and evolutionary perspective.
I agree completely.

This is the hypothesis of Anil Seth. He proposes that all neural and non-neural functions are evolved survival mechanisms, by process of natural selection. It is as simple as that, because that’s all there is for everything. Self-organizing patterns being tested for utility (ability to do work) by natural processes. A single celled paramecium already has ability to swim, navigate, and capture prey it needs for life sustaining energy.

That does not mean that the existence or absence of neural networks can be easily traced. As previously posted, the current synapses of the human brain outnumber a thousand Milky Way sized galaxies!!!

My personal conviction is that the ultimate answer will be found in the self-organizing “micro-tubules” which are fundamental to all Eukaryotic life and even before then in Prokaryotic life in a simpler form.

Have a look at this marvelous nano-sized data processor. Note the polarity which makes it an ideal transporter of EM as well as chemical signals.

Microtubules are polymers of tubulin that form part of the cytoskeleton and provide structure and shape to eukaryotic cells. Microtubules can grow as long as 50 micrometres and are highly dynamic. The outer diameter of a microtubule is between 23 and 27 nm[2] while the inner diameter is between 11 and 15 nm.[3] They are formed by the polymerization of a dimer of two globular proteins, alpha and beta tubulin into protofilaments that can then associate laterally to form a hollow tube, the microtubule.[4] The most common form of a microtubule consists of 13 protofilaments in the tubular arrangement.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microtubule

Human neural networks consist of trillions of microtubules, tirelessly processing data , including mytosis (cell division).

 

write4u said: In our complicated lives choice may have become an evolved decision making ability being essential to living in harmony with our surroundings.

But if we look at all other animal life (except hominids), it is apparent that decision making rests mainly on evolved survival mechanisms and most animals seem perfectly capable of dealing with everyday challenges that come their way, without need for consideration of alternative actions, other than fight or flight.

ccv3 said: Think about what you are saying there? Are you actually implying that hunter-gathers had less “complicated” lives – less demand for constant “choice” making – than you do?
Did you miss the second paragraph? No, just that the choices are simpler and deal with immediate survival. rather than human ability for long term planning which is still deterministic in that it addresses a perceived need or goal and is therefore still a coerced decision.

While I am at it, it occurred to me that most choices are similar to a quantum superposition. A certain threshold is breached and the “choice” becomes a deterministic event and so it may be with any choice which may appear as decided from FW. The reality is that all choices are based and made on a perceived coercive necessity.

This is nicely illustrated by Stuart Hameroff , who is collaborating with Roger Penrose in the development of a solution to the phenomenon of consciousness itself, not only in humans but in all organisms possessing neural networks, which employ quantum mechanics.

Figure 4. A ‘spacetime qubit’, with four-dimensional spacetime geometry depicted as a two-dimensional sheet. Left: A particle and its equivalent spacetime curvature oscillate between two positions. Right: quantum superposition of the particle in both locations is equivalent to alternative, separated spacetime curvatures.

https://www.interaliamag.org/articles/stuart-hameroff-is-your-brain-really-a-computer-or-is-it-a-quantum-orchestra-tuned-to-the-universe/

Consider ORCH OR

Orchestrated objective reduction (Orch OR) is a controversial hypothesis that postulates that consciousness originates at the quantum level inside neurons, rather than the conventional view that it is a product of connections between neurons. The mechanism is held to be a quantum process called objective reduction that is orchestrated by cellular structures called microtubules. It is proposed that the theory may answer the hard problem of consciousness and provide a mechanism for free will.[1] The hypothesis was first put forward in the early 1990s by Nobel laureate for physics, Roger Penrose, and anaesthesiologist and psychologist Stuart Hameroff. The hypothesis combines approaches from molecular biology, neuroscience, pharmacology, philosophy, quantum information theory, and quantum gravity.[2][3]

https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Orchestrated_objective_reduction

 

Are you actually implying that hunter-gathers had less “complicated” lives – less demand for constant “choice” making – than you do?
Of course, that's why humans have evolved a much larger brains in order to deal with a much grander scope of coping with the environment.

Example: After a flood , we decide to build a new and much larger dam in anticipation of a future flood. Animals cannot control their environment to the extend humans do.

Note : I am not saying that humans are better at specific sensory abilities adapted for optimum survival strategies. Most non-humans are much better than humans in specific survival mechanisms and strategies. An octopus can make itself invisible by shape-shifting it’s body to blend completely with it’s enviroment. Is that from FW or just a deterministic survival mechanism?

Of course, Octopus may well be as smart as humans, just tuned to a deep ocean environment. A giant squid’s eyes may have a 12 cm diameter

The team used a length of string to measure the circumference of the eye. The eyeball is about the size of a soccer ball, and has a diameter of about 30 cm, 2014. Te Papa

https://www.tepapa.govt.nz/discover-collections/read-watch-play/science/anatomy-colossal-squid/eyes-colossal-squid#

Not a mention of Homeostasis.
I have addressed Homeostasis several times in other threads. Homeostasis is a subconscious process of the brain. It does not need conscious decision making because it is an autonomous part of the brain which controls the body's organic functions necessary for optimum performance and conscious awareness is not necessary for that function, except when something goes wrong. (Anil Seth). You have to watch that lecture several times to grasp the full scope of what he is presenting. The longer version of that lecture goes into more detail explaining than the Ted Talk abbreviated version, but close attention to the content will open many mental doors and deeper understanding.

One might compare homeostasis to a thermostat which automatically switches heat on or off in various sections of the house. Homeostasis does not require conscious decision making, except when the system sends an alarm in the form of pain to warn that something is wrong and needs conscious attention.

Not a mention of a creature interacting with an environment
Of course I have . But you are only focusing on higher order animals . Completely unconscious decision making already occurs in single celled paramecium. The microtubules that drive the "cilia" can reverse their motor action when the organism bumps into an object causing the cilia to react and reversing the microtubule ion cycle momentarily, before resuming it's normal rhythm. In fact it appears that the paramecium is able to learn from repeatedly running into an obstacle and adjust its course. This is a single celled organism already responding and making necessary adjustments to navigation of its environment. IMO, this is the proto form of motivated decision making and evolutionary processes constantly refined this prpocess in accordance to more complex organism's environmental needs, until we get to humans which have the most sophisticated form of consciousness and are able to contemplate the universe itself.

The range of awareness of environmental conditions which require corrective action in order to survive starts at the very beginning of life and increases in complexity with the expanding range and scope of environmental control exercised by the individual, the family, or the hive.

Did you miss the second paragraph? No, just that the choices are simpler and deal with immediate survival. rather than human ability for long term planning which is still deterministic in that it addresses a perceived need or goal and is therefore still a coerced decision.
I think you need to learn more about hunter gather life. That coming winter demands a heck of lot more planning that immediate survival, etc., etc., etc.

I’ll admit on a social level specialization has allowed us to seem incredibly smart, but how many would be able to start a fire without matches, or to think about that stash you’d better build to get through the winter.

On a totally different level, snakes, I watched an amazing battle between two bull snakes today. One was trying to eat the other, but predator had the head sideways. I watched for about a half hour as the one snake wrestled with the other, who did not want to go. You could actually watch the hopeful killer strategizing on how to maneuver so that he could get a straight shot at the head. Even to maneuvering the other’s body, as though they were high school wrestles. But the pray, resisted every step of the way. I’d finally had enough and left them to get back to chores. Came back twenty minutes later and found killer snake with his head wrapped around a mouse trap. Which I took away, extracted the soggy dead mouse and returning it to the snake. Not sure if it ate it, since I went off to my shed for the water bottle. They hate that, but it’s one way to get them to leave.

The point being that watching that wrestling match, probably put that snake in unique situation that it had to figure it’s way through. The Ego-centrist “instinct” as little more than stimulus reaction doesn’t do it. More is going on even, as in calculations, with a snake. And even lower on down.

 

Much more to say on this topic, but days have been very hectic and tomorrow I leave for Mesa. First solo drive since before the COVID days. The precious little bundle is a precious little kid now, turned two a couple weeks back.

I have watched Seth’s longer talk. Though not since my Solms, Damasio discoveries.

So I looked into Orch OR.

Well, that went down hill in a hurry:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1571064513001188

Consciousness in the universe: A review of the ‘Orch OR’ theory
Author links open overlay panel StuartHameroffa 1 RogerPenroseb 2

“Orch OR links consciousness to processes in fundamental space–time geometry.”


'nuf said.

Balderdash!

You’ll never get an answer to consciousness assuming it’s something coming in from the outside.

The stimulus comes from outside, the process, consciousness and learning comes from inside.

I don’t care how accomplished the philosopher physicist one is.

It still comes down to ego and having fallen too in love with one’s own genius, and then forgetting (or simply ignoring) all about the wet icky biological reality we were formed out of. Which is where these answers are to be found.

Consciousness is a biological process!!! Not a cosmic one.

And this one did nothing to improve the situation

"‘Orch OR’ is the most complete, and most easily falsifiable theory of consciousness" Stuart Hameroff Pages 74-76 | Received 02 Sep 2020,

www_tandfonline_com/doi/full/10.1080/17588928.2020.1839037

… Indeed, Orch OR may also help explain other mysteries including how anesthesia works, the origin and evolution of life, free will, the flow of time, memory, dreams, and how general relativity relates to quantum mechanics. (and that’s not all folks, it’ll cure all that ails you)

Conclusion
Spanning disciplines and scale, with high explanatory power, Orch OR is the most complete theory of consciousness. But if quantum interference in microtubules (‘Orch’) cannot be demonstrated, or if demonstrated, proves insensitive to anesthesia, Orch OR will be falsified. Orch OR is the most complete, and most easily falsifiable theory of consciousness.


We’ll see how this unfolds.

CCv3 said: You’ll never get an answer to consciousness assuming it’s something coming in from the outside.
I don't think that is the argument being made. I believe it means that a sort of quasi consciousness exists in all matter that responds to physical interaction in a mathematical fashion, except perhaps for Chaos, but even there mathematical patterns form spontaneously from even the most subtle changes.

The butterfly effect starts at quantum level, which means directly after the inflationary epoch with the self-formation of elements, from just three fundamental particles in various flavors (values).

Perhaps consciousness is an inevitable product of evolutionary logical processes. The Fibonacci sequence is observable throughout the universe. This is not a consciously motivated function, but a result of mathematical evolution of cause/effect, action/reaction, balance, symmetry, fractality, etc.etc.

IMO, natural selection is the greatest scientific test of adaption to the environment. Invention by stochastic trial and error produced life and there is no reason why the same process should not produce consciousness and eventually a hierarchy of intelligence, perhaps with an ultimate result of FW.

i.e. Conscious intelligence acquiring a certain autonomous quality which overrides purely deterministic processes with the ability to make choices with varying degrees of freedom. In a dynamical environment there is never perfect deterministic pattern forming, only approximations.

deleted for duplication

 

Did you say,

The Fibonacci sequence is a result of mathematical evolution of cause/effect, action/reaction, balance, symmetry, fractality, etc.etc.
?

. In Life, free will is a reality … The birds are utterly free … as men can be. But men, is afraid … because … with freedom, mind shallownees shall disappear totally. He has to be a rebel, fighting for what he Loves, regardless the circumstances … He has to be a rebel; one with the whole … an oneness.

. In society, though, free will is an illusion …

@anandhaqq

In society, though, free will is an illusion …

In religion, it’s a thing that people allegedly have, but yet it still doesn’t exist, despite the religious insistence it does. One doesn’t have free will if they are threatened with things like hell fire and damnation for not complying with said religious sect’s delusional ideas of salvation. It makes mass hysteria look like nothing.

When we study more about Evolution, the Body Mind connection and all that, it turns out that Free Will is a real thing, though it would be better described as a FREE WON’T, because what it is, is the complex mind intervening, to think a little, that is slowing down natural reflexes and trying to imagine the future, then deciding on a course of action influenced by memories of past events, seeking better outcomes.

Much of the philosophical talk about the non-existence of “Free Will” is contrived and exaggerated and another excellent example of how intelligent people get mesmerized by their own thinking abilities and lost within their mindscape. As opposed to focusing on the observing and understanding physical reality.

Turns into a big semantics game, with everyone choosing their own definition of Free Will and too few actually trying to define what it’s supposed to be.

We do live in an ocean of predetermining factors, but that doesn’t rule out a degree of free will.

 

For more details, do some googling for Dr. Mark Solms and the Mind Body Problem, origins of human agency, and such. He’s the pro, who can explain it in details and with an authority this onlooker could never hope to.

Free Will.
I’ll ruin the topic but, free of what?

Will isn’t fully free: Will isn’t “free” of existence it does exist and therefore is bound by it. Will isn’t “free” of causality and therefore is determined.

But I guess the question is more about the understanding of ones Will, its demystification, and some potetial “fear” of it?

To put it poetic: seems like a process of enlightement about one owns Will.

. Totally agree with you …

. Every religion talks about Love, but fight for war. I do agree totally with Bertrand Russel about this aspect. Once he said: “If Man was happy, then all religions would fade away”. All religions are born out of fear and despair … and … surely … the priests exploit people’s fear; exploit people’s despair; exploit people’s weakness …

. It’s a strange game, if you see it deeply. First the priests create the disease in Man’s mind, that you’re not good; that you were born in sin … first they create the neurosis … and then self-proclaim as the messengers of God; they try to purify you from your original sin. I don’t see why a bioproduct of God, should be seen as a sin! Even if God exists, why do the priests still continue to emphasize that Man is born out of sin? Then who is the creator? If the biproduct is sin, then he must be even a bigger asshole …

. Priests are the most cunning Man in the world. They have been deceiving Man and themselves for 5,000 years …

?

 

I would say it is we are born into a system and beliefs that we never agreed to some are forced on us others we choose. We are conditioned from childhood to enter it. I’m not saying it good or bad its just how it is. Its basically the same system thats always been in place thats continually evolving. Human society .You can go hide in a cave but its pretty hard to find a cave nowadays they are all full of tourist.

Couldn’t agree more. The funny thing is, as a Christian I’ve never believed in free will either. I’ve asked if God has it and never got an answer (including from Him).