Freely willed (but is Willy Freed?)

Wed, 1 Jun 1994 00:28:13 -0400

Fellow Anthropoids,
Little did I know that I would be returning to find on the list such a
rich and wondrous topic as free will.
I didn't catch the beginnings of the 'debate,' but it seemed to do
something with the links between QM, determinism, and free will.
Well, since the topic is near and dear to me (so many are), I suppose
I'll have to weigh in. (I've also got more free time on my hands thanks to
I rather like D. Read's model, except that it seems to ratify
determinism, in suggesting that brain processes on the second level
(symbolic/cultural) are just as deterministic as those on the first level
(biological/environmentally driven), but perhaps simply more sensitive to
initial conditions, e.g. chaotic.
I say this much on the matter. Human beings are choosing animals; this
is a fact of their existence. The parameters of their choices can be rather
easily defined, predicted, and determined. But, as an existentialist (of
sorts), I ultimately believe that the outcome of those choices (when made
authentically, rather than in 'bad faith') cannot... because if there is
anything apparent about the human condition, it is that humans always
choose the unexpected.
I would put it this way: human choice is subject to so many variables
(levels of programming, if you will), and entwined in so many feedback
loops, that it is effectively free - free from deterministic prediction. It
isn't random, like the action of the Z particle/weak force, but then, it
isn't linear-causal like Newtonian action-reaction either (hence the
fallacy of behaviorist stimulus-response analysis.)
Like Sartre, I happen to think that most humans would react to horror
to total freedom. I think most of us are glad that our choices are limited
rather than infinite. Fortunately, theologically speaking, only One Being
has to deal with that problem... we have "free will" only insofar as we are
free to make choices between outcomes, but all kinds of things can
intervene to make various choices unavailable...

Seeker1 [@Nervm.Nerdc.Ufl.Edu] (real info available on request)
CyberAnthropologist, TechnoCulturalist, Guerilla Ontologist, Chaotician
Matrix Master Control Node #3, Gainesville, Fl.
"I slept with Faith & found a corpse in my arms upon awakening/ I drank and
danced all night with Doubt and found her a virgin in the morning." --