Home (theory of the ego death and rebirth experience)

No-Free-Will, Determinism


No-Free-Will 1

Free Will as a "Myth"?. 2

Freewill world vs. Fated world. 3

Determinism.. 3

Categories of Will 6

Priority of freewill problem over consciousness problem.. 6

Clarifying better version of no-free-will; writing for a ready audience. 7

Even bad postings are predetermined. 9

Nietzsche's complex view of freedom.. 9

Fatal Necessity. 10

Fate, necessity, inevitability, deja vu, sync'y. 11

Why don't philosophical and theological determinism converse?. 13



>>Determinism is the sum total of each and every condition, once placed upon life, that has been given a will by a mind that believes it can do so.

>>If you want to blow your mind, beyond what any entheogen can do, just ask yourself, how can a mind that believes it has no free will, give a will, to, and as a result of, a 'condition'.

The above usage of the word 'condition' is unclear, in "condition... placed on life, given to a will, or given a will".  The overall posting is too short to be clear, to communicate.

"If you want to blow your mind, beyond what any entheogen can do, just ask..." asserts a false dichotomy.  Entheogens are especially strong and well suited as a trigger and method of asking questions about what it means to blame and criticise other no-free-will agents who labor under the delusion of freewill.  How can a real gnostic, who knows there is no free will, blame and criticize other people, deluded people?  The real ultimate meaning of "blow your mind" is none other than *combining* entheogens *with* investigations about no-free-will.

A real gnostic really doesn't blame other people, in a certain sense; a common rational solution is to metaphorically postulate two gods, the high and Good god of the no-free-willists, versus the low and non-Good god of the deluded believers in freewill.  Evil doesn't come from agents who have freewill, since no agent has freewill.  Then where does evil come from?  From the demiurge.


Maudlin: Excessively sentimental; mawkish.maudlin, hand-wringing.  Alteration of (Mary) Magdalene, who was frequently depicted as a tearful penitent.  Effusively or insincerely emotional; a bathetic novel; maudlin expressons of sympathy; mushy effusiveness; a schmaltzy song; sentimental soap operas; slushy poetry, bathetic, mawkish, mushy, schmaltzy, schmalzy, sentimental, slushy.

>> A real gnostic really doesn't blame other people,

>>>Who is there to blame anyone.....It can become a sad thing when words of expression are placed within an arena of debate, rather than an open vista of sharings.  I have learned that for as long as there is something that must be won, then there is something that must be lost....

It's just words: the gnostic, if anyone, realizes that words have meaning only within networks of word meanings.  People do exist, and don't exist, depending on which network of word meanings you choose.  We must take some responsibility for which meanings we see and retrieve from sets of words.

Do people exist?  Yes and no; it all depends on meanings.  Assuming things must be either an "arena of debate" or an "open vista of sharings" is, or can be, a false dichotomy.  It's all discussion, in any case.

"Winning" and "losing" is largely what you choose (or assume) to make of it.  No one can truthfully blame me for what is actually their own readings and interpretation.  My goal is to win simple and clear truth and lose delusion; this is accomplished by carefully keeping track of word meanings, such as what the right meaning is when saying "A real gnostic person is a person who really doesn't blame other people". 

People exist; the issue is what is the nature of personal existence.  A gnostic person (initiate, enlightened person) exists in a different sense than a non-initiate.  The issue is, in what sense?

Free Will as a "Myth"?

>the term "myth of free will" ... I don't see "myths" as being either "good" nor "bad". 

Free will, as conventionally experienced and assumed and conceived, is a 'myth', in the sense of a common illusion taken as literal reality.  The conventional idea of freewill moral agency assumes that the future doesn't exist, and is open, and you as agent have the power to establish what the future will be. 

There is a whole network of associated assumptions and perceived feelings regarding this; common 'free will' must be defined as an entire network and worldmodel -- not as simply one metaphysical issue in isolation.  It involves concepts and feelings/senses, together.  In the intense mystic altered state, the accustomed sense-perception or feeling of freewill is typically replaced by the sense-perception or feeling of timeless block-universe determinism. 

It's a "single-state fallacy" to say "I experience myself as metaphysically free, and the future as open."  That experience only reflects the normal-state, tight-cognitive-binding mode of cognition or experience.  Our experience also includes the mystic altered state, in which we characteristically experience ourselves as timelessly frozen and bound into spacetime, without the kind of agency, self, and freedom with respect to time, that would be required to establish or alter the future. 

We can then experience "there's no time for metaphysical freedom".  We conceive of experiences and we experience conceptions -- the mystic state strongly affects both experiencing and conceptions together.  Anyone who says "I experience the sense of freedom" is uninformed by the intense mystic altered state.  They ought to say "In the default state of consciousness, I experience the sense of freedom."

A myth in the proper sense is a metaphorical description of insights and experiences encountered in the intense mystic altered state.  The definition of 'myth' as 'falsity' is inferior and degraded, because it originates from a failure to comprehend the meaning of mythological description of the mystic state.

When the term 'myth' is read as "expression of mystic experiencing", it is a contradiction in terms to say "the myth of free will", because the point and message of myth is that there isn't free will; myth serves to report the experience and insight of the nonexistence of freewill.  The phrase "the myth of no-free-will" makes sense this way: myth is *about* no-free-will; mythology expresses and reports no-free-will as insight and experience -- the phrase would be expanded "mythology expressing no-free-will".

No-free-willists need to awaken to the connection between no-free-will and myth-mysticism-religion.  The main concern of Hellenistic philosophy-religion-myth-mysticism was to experientially encounter and somehow transcend no-free-will (fate, cosmic determinism, heimarmene).

>Whatever works for you.  My experience is that free will exists. In my reality model, we each choose/create our individual experience.

The freewill assumption and sense crashes and short-circuits and fails to work during the intense mystic altered state.  Then, timeless determinism with preexisting future "works", conceptually -- but is problematic for practical self-control stability.  To return to the sense of freewill and self-control, the initiate commonly experiences rescue by divine ideas, by the divine idea of transcending reason about determinism.  The sense of freewill returns, now taken by the mind as essentially illusory. 

"What works" changes depending on the mind's cognitive state:

o  Before initiation (loose cognition), the assumption of freewill works.

o  At the peak of loose cognition, the assumption of timeless determinism works.

o  After the peak, the concept of transcending reason and transcending determinism works.

Freewill world vs. Fated world

Merker wrote (paraphrased):

>>How can you ever gain *true* freewill if your own birth/entry into the world

Just as one must always read the term 'death' in classic writing as 90% referring to ego death and only 10% referring to literal bodily death, so should we remember to read the term 'birth' as 90% referring to the rebirth after ego death and only 10% referring to literal bodily birth.

>>is utterly beyond your control with no chance in hell of ever reaching that high a level of control, first-order control, as an ego-agent.

>>What you actually have is some semi-control *inside* this semi-freewill world; that is, freewill in a certain limited sense or of a certain limited type.  But your will is part of creation, not lying outside of it

Unless we leap way up like Dionysius (http://www.google.com/search?q=Dionysius) into talking speculatively and mystically about some radically mysterious and transcendent aspect of one's will lying outside the universe.

>>*True* freewill would mean the *first-order* ability to decide, without *any* higher order overarching and controlling that kind of ability to decide.  The born man-animal is at best second-order -- it may as well be seventh-order; it makes no real difference, because if you are not first-order 'free', you simply do not have *true* freewill.

The construct "first-order" and "second-order" is clear and useful.  The construct "*true* freewill" is not the most useful: it just begs the question; it's too indirect.  Useful because specific are the opposed constructs 'metaphysically free will' and 'practically free will'.

It is so strange the paradigm-based blindness of modern, non-mystical, philosophical determinists who praise the principle of determinism as removing guilt feeling, and think they've found some new insight that stands against the spirit of the Christian religion, when what they've done is attribute to determinism precisely what Jesus is primarily said to effect: removing the moral sin from the world and perfectly forgiving everyone who believes in him. 

Jesus as remover of sins and king of the hidden kingdom *is* the principle of determinism.  In running against Jesus, they've run into Jesus, but are too dense and blind to even realize it.


>>The main revelation of Christianity is that our assumed control agency and power to decide or change the future is wrong.

Pepla wrote:

>Determinism is a highly problematic doctrine. ... looking at the lives lived in terms of the days of those lives, a lot is going on... a lot of decisions are being made.... too many to be explained by the doctrine of determinism, even if you allow the doctrine to bootstrap itself to a successful conclusion by using "motives" as an acceptable engine of determinism.

>In a person's life, there are too many decisions being made to be explained by the doctrine of determinism.

The viability of a deterministic worldmodel is completely independent of the number of decisions that are made by a person.  Whether you make ten decisions or a quadrillion, the doctrine of determinism -- or better, timeless frozen-future fatedness -- says that any and all decisions are already pre-set and frozen into the spacetime block.  The future and the rest of time contain many decisions, but the point is, the decisions do not change.  They are fixed and frozen with respect to the time axis.

Someone argued with me, saying that the November 2000 election disproved determinism because the outcome kept changing.  The whole point of determinism is that change and decisions exist, and in great quantity, but are illusory in that there is no metachange.  The future does not change.  Decisions do not change the future -- they manifest and bring about the future, or are part of the path that leads into the future. 

Decisions lie along the path; the path along time is composed of decisions.  The decisions are frozen into a deterministic block universe, according to the doctrine of determinism or Necessity.  Quantity of decisions has nothing to do with their metaphysical quality of frozenness in spacetime.  Quality is completely independent of quantity. 

When you have a million times as many cars, they do not become boats.  When you have a million times as many decisions and changes of plan, they do not become free; the future remains fixed and metaphysical freedom remains illusory.  Ten million ghosts do not constitute a living person.  Upping the quantity of decisions is a futile and desperate way of attempting to produce the ever-elusive quality of metaphysical freedom, as though by running faster you could outrun determinism. 

It's the determinism that creates and engenders all the decisions in the first place.  Fate creates the decisions and creates their outcomes, so the *last* entity that could destroy the reign of Fate is decision itself.  If I create ten million virtual autonomous agents on my computer screen instead of creating only ten, do they thereby become true autonomous agents through a miracle of quantity?

Fate, conceived thusly, is not disprovable by lack of coherence.  Its coherence is an inescapable trap and is the direct path to the ultimate experience of ego death.  The labyrinth of the Minotaur is nothing other than a giant Fate-trap for the controlling ego.  Children enter, are killed by the Minotaur, and adults exit the labyrinth.  Fate or determinism is unimpeachable, unconquerable; metaphysically victorious over ego.  Freewill, however, is highly vulnerable and susceptible to quickly collapse when put to the test.


Determinism is worth hating.  Delusion is also.  Determinism is lower thinking, which is practical: for example, through lower thinking, the social world is kept orderly.  When the higher mind arises, there are grave new challenges, like how to be ethical now that moral legalism has been transcended.  A higher "law of love" is needed; compassion-based morality rather than punishment- and reward-based morality.  These insights are experienced concretely and alarmingly urgently in the mystic altered state.  I am not inventing philosophy here, but using philosophy and theological symbols to *report* what was experientially shown to the higher mind.

From the song Lessons:

   I'll be there

   When I teach

   What I've been taught

   And I've been taught

When the chains of accustomed moral thinking fall away, mental instability results, at least initially.  This is a challenge for the mind, being thrust up above the egoic freewillist moral thinking of the animal-child-mind.  Revealing the Mysteries of Initiation is considered "dangerous" because it is *experienced* as dangerous.

>-----Original Message-----

>From: uragoblin [mailto:tjo~at~rocketmail.com]

>Sent: Wednesday, February 27, 2002 1:11 AM

>To: egodeath~at~yahoogroups.com

>Subject: [egodeath] I hate determinism

>I came back to the group to post a message about what me and my friend had talked about the whole night. Egodeath, the nature of reality and the quality of realness to a conscious being the meaning of life and the quality of meaning to a conscious being. Can quality exist without consciousness? We can say that this stone looks like different from the other but does that intrinsically change it's quality? If it does, how can quality be defined? This is something that Pirsig pondered about but I can't remember what he ended up with. Is that something we can never understand logically because our brains and minds are not up to the task but only through intuition and/or momentarily experience the essence of quality. Are there any way to make certain that this experience is or isn't valid? If there aren't, am I really talking about enlightenment and seeing through maya when I'm talking about the essence of quality?

>I wasn't supposed to post this particular message. I have no idea whether I will screw this message too like the last one I wrote just before trying to SAVE it to prevent accidentally wiping it off the screen. Before I wrote the message I thought to myself that perhaps my message will lead to something interesting in the minds of other fellow humans. After the message disappeared I wondered if there was a meaning for that greater than just clumsiness. Perhaps it was to signal me to learn a lesson. About what? How fear gives me a lot of trouble in life but then how the real trouble is just clinging to the experience of trouble and it's "troublesomniness" (here we go again...) Perhaps not. Perhaps there was no big reason. I guess I'll never know.

>I feel it can be dangerous just to think everything is predetermined. Like there's no morality in zen right? I don't believe in karma so to me it is perfectly possible that you could go and kill a hundred people and claim that you believe that those people were used as an energy source for selfish beings with consciousnesses but no body, for example and that you wanted to be good and not give the selfish beings the chance to use these as their batteries. So egoic interest excluded, would our socio-biological hardware (meaning all the brain areas that affect our social functioning) be the only thing that would make us not consider killing seriously for very long even if we had a strong sense of this behavior as our "mission" and fate.

>Is it really so that what happens, had to happen because it happened. Is society and the laws it sets AND efforts to make them more just therefore a dynamic part of determinism, a ying-yang sort of thing? Could Ken Wilber have it all wrong about existence progressing to look at itself from the mirror? What if suddenly the human race is wiped out because of some quickly spreading, deadly and incurable virus? Then all the things he has said in his books becomes obsolete because The Master of Puppets would not have it any other way. Maybe there are other life forms in the Universe but they never developed consciousness. It was something that fit the set & setting for some time but then the chaos principle changed the direction of evolution once again. Why is it so difficult for scientists to accept the possibility that we could be the only conscious species in the universe? Haven't they read from their HGTTG about the Infinite Improbability Drive (or whatever it's called in the English edition).

>Who knows, maybe "some rules can be bent, while others can be broken" can be extended to apply to the rules of physics. Or, perhaps certain changes in the quantum (or is it "morphological") fields in consciousness could suddenly cause the engaging of a previously undiscovered self-extermination mechanism of the whole planet? I know this is pretty wild but first, remember I haven't slept at all and second, that this is still pretty much down to earth compared to the sum of the things we talked through.

>How do you use Occam's razor in a world that could already at the same time exist and not to exist? It is possible to "cheat" time relative to the age of people on Earth by going deep and fast enough to the space. I see a rule bent here. And most scientists don't even know about ego death. Then there is the Hedonistic Imperative arguing for the use of medicines, genetic therapy and mind machines for the spreading of mood improvement. Are there any reasons why the two (cleaning the contact lenses of perception) and efforts to accelerate emotional evolution with technology and increasing knowledge about the limbic system could not be paired? It's strange how many people are against the use of mood elevating drugs. Do they simply happen to represent the memes that hold society together? And the ones who advocate personal freedom to use or NOT use drugs (Ritalin and other ADHD-meds are a dangerous example of Brave New World mentality) are seen as escapists or as people playing with fire (more like the unknown and feared). People in power, who decide about the legislation, can say using drugs is stupid but yet use in private. They can be afraid of ending their political career or of the consequences to the society at large. The thing people fear in improving one's mood over the "normal" line (which is pretty relative) is the feeling of unconditional acceptance or, as people come to call it, love because the change would not come overnight. They could not trade the love of money for real love in a tight schedule because that would probably require a majority of people and government backing.

>Perhaps sometime after our fight-or-flight nervous system would have been slightly updated to reflect the changes in our environment (much less REAL danger) could the minds of an increasing number of people to be ready for experiencing ego death. This quote from the Bible is very fitting: Luke 9:23-24 (NIV) Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it." It will take a lot of time for people to understand this and face both their fear of material death and the death of their sense of self. The result will be more a world that has more to offer than just an empathy box like in Philip K. Dick's "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep". We have substances that make you feel real good and allow you to relief yourself of the things you've tried repress (like ecstasy). But raves and clubs as noisy environments are most often not the places for deep healing because one doesn't feel safe enough to come open about one's really Dark Side. I believe that we storage our repressed pain in some way similar to the COEX-systems described by Stanislav Grof. In a good set & setting people can let go off some of their pain and probably rewire their brain somehow so that they become more honest and feel better about themselves and others even permanently.

>The current psychedelics may be adequate for most people to experience ego death in a way that benefits them most (timewise, visually, etc.). In the future designer psychedelics might, for example, allow people to have similar experiences if that's what they would like to do.

>What is the relationship between ego death and emotions? The fear of loosing the ego certainly involves powerful emotions and can trigger repressed memories. Afterwards the center of awareness may change from oneself and from yesterday to everything and the immediate moment. Increasing good feelings (something like empathetic contentment) on the other hand could make dealing with the unconscious and superconscious easier.

>The change from a deeply traumatised and wounded humanity to a much humane world with ego death experience perhaps regularly to remind of the pragmatic nature of ego. It might take a long time because there is so much to heal even when there are good tools, knowledge and support available.

Categories of Will

>>I really like this part of egodeath.com:

>>When the mind grasps its potential for control instability, the thinker trembles from the cybernetic instability and is shakingly disrupted and thrown off balance. The ego's accustomed virtual power is cancelled by overly vivid awareness of how one's thoughts and actions could very well be pre-set by the underlying block universe. Virtual moral agency collapses when the illusory aspect of the ego's power is vividly understood. In pursuit of truth and self-understanding, it is tempting to make a serious sacrifice of one's deepest values in order to reflect one's consciousness of one's true nature. Given the inherent insecurity of self-control over time, due to the inability to reach across time and due to the fact that one's future actions are already defined at all future points in time, one might begin to urgently wish to secure self-determination to forcefully extend self-control over one's near-future actions.

>>It feels like a trap, when fully confronting that there is logically no way, no possible move, that would forcefully extend self-control to restrain one's near-future actions. Stable self-control inherently requires distorted thinking, which obscures one's nature as a product of the completely predetermined block universe. Self-control can be stabilized by looking away from the radical potentials of one's near-future actions in the stream of control, by stopping the apprehension of them. One inherently cannot trust one's own near-future actions, which are beyond one's present control. Dissociative cognition combined with advanced rationality leads to the conscious experience of one's permanent situation of being a puppet of fate, a complete slave of the block universe.

That is wonderful that you spotted that passage, which is perhaps the most intense and difficult and meaningful passage at the site, and that you were able to make some sense of it.  It is most central and most difficult to write about.

Priority of freewill problem over consciousness problem

I treat the problem of the freedom of the will as completely distinct from the problem of the nature of subjective consciousness.  It's certain that there is subjective, point-in-time consciousness -- which I call "present here & now awareness (PHNA)".  There might not be "empirical evidence" for consciousness, but there is phenomenal evidence for it.

In some sense, we perceive free will.  In some sense, during the mystic state, we perceive no-free-will as a revelation.  The latter perception is a vision-logic perception; the mind discovers a way of focusing to bring the block-universe model into awareness as a viable and coherent conception of self, will, and world.  Does the mind perceive no-free-will as a fact?  No, more as a logical, rational conclusion that has a persuasiveness like seeing an object. 

Knowledge isn't a matter of absolute certainty so much as soundness and plausibility.  A no-free-will revelation is a discovery of an unfamiliar deeply alternative way of thinking that yet carries impressive plausibility.

The problem of free will is solved.  The solution isn't the standard causal-chain determinism, but rather, block-universe determinism.  All objections by freewillists can be coherently answered.  There are two competing systems, best understood as a morality-driven freewill-assumption system that's inherently hazy, against a very specific no-free-will system (frozen-time block-universe determinism).

The problem of the freedom of the will is easy, tractable, determinate, and amenable to solution through clear thinking that is essentially ordinary -- though loose cognition perfectly helps to see the problem from another perspective.  In contrast, the problem of consciousness is truly difficult, and not simply a matter of clarifying confused thinking.  Researchers may try to apply entheogens as a tool to study consciousness. 

However, they will find that a prior problem looms first, the problem of the strange loop of personal self-control, which is conceptually solved -- and practically solved? -- in the Theory of Ego Death. 

To arrive at using entheogens to research the problem of consciousness, you must first pass through the gate of the problem of self-control and freedom of the will -- essentially a mandatory, practical philosophy/religion question that thrusts itself forward as the first order of business, a prerequisite to using these tools to study the nature of consciousness.  We must pass through religion before we can pass through to focusing on the problem of consciousness. 

High philosophy is concerned with the freewill problem rather than the consciousness problem, because the freewill problem is tractable and entheogens reveal the solution, whereas the consciousness problem is truly difficult even with entheogens.  The freewill problem is also more standard and central in high philosophy than the consciousness problem, because the freewill problem looms up faster, more forcefully, and more urgently than the problem of the nature of consciousness. 

This order of business is comparable to the idea of the Buddha refusing to answer subtle metaphysics problems, favoring the practical problem of salvation or liberation or cessation of reincarnation into the egoic thinking-system ("the body").


>When Consciousness Matters : a critical review of Daniel Wegner's The Illusion of Conscious Will

>Eddy Nahmias

>In The illusion of conscious will, Daniel Wegner offers an exciting, informative, and potentially threatening treatise on the psychology of action. I offer several interpretations of the thesis that conscious will is an illusion. The one Wegner seems to suggest is "modular epiphenomenalism": conscious experience of will is produced by a brain system distinct from the system that produces action; it interprets our behavior but does not, as it seems to us, cause it. I argue that the evidence Wegner presents to support this theory, though fascinating, is inconclusive and, in any case, he has not shown that conscious will does not play a crucial causal role in planning, forming intentions, etc. This theory's potential blow to our self-conception turns out to be a glancing one.

Clarifying better version of no-free-will; writing for a ready audience

ppan1031 wrote:

>The great 20th century protestant theologian referred to this precision as "terminological rigor", "cognitive rigor", "conceptual clarity".

>I began reading postings here last summer.  There is one area of discussion about which I continue to ask myself:  "Do I understand what's being discussed?  Am I missing something?"  And that's in the discussions about free will.

>Perhaps in the near future I will re-read and grapple with what has been said about free will and will try to articulate what it is about the discussion which leaves me un-clear.  (or maybe it's not a lack of clarity but a discomfort about the implications for practical living).

American Buddhists love "no-separate-self" but assume that they can still hold onto individual free will.  The presumed-separate self is exactly the illusory entity which wields the scepter of free will.  They want to dissolve virtually sovereign self, while retaining sovereign power; they want to retain individual power while eliminating that exact individual ego who appears to weild the power. 

Ego = free will.  When the sense of ego is suspended, and insight about ego's illusory aspect arrives, so too with free will.  I cannot, though, leverage today's level of philosophy discussion in the free will debate, because the type of no-free-will put forth is always in-time, causal-chain determinism.  Watts writes -- but just in a footnote, that is his major weakness -- that mystics reject the notion of individual free will.

There is no important objection against no-free-will that's worth my attention -- my task instead is to define a better definition of no-free-will, and to place it at the center of mystic experiencing and mystic-state insight. 

Enough theologians and philosophers and scientists already believe no-free-will; it's *them* that I need to communicate this better, different version of the idea to, as timeless, preexisting-future, frozen block-universe determinism rather than conventional causal-chain determinism with a not-yet-existing future. 

Mine is a different conception of no-free-will than in the modern philosophy books; it comes from reflecting on the experience of mystic timelessness rather than from in-time logical theorizing.

My audience to write for is people who already agree with me on individual axioms but want a more sound, integrated framework, with commensurate adjustments to each axiom.

Some people agree that there's no free will, and that religion is purely and essentially mythical allegory for the mystic psyche, and that entheogens are of top importance in religious history, and that the world including religious insight is rational -- yet such people still don't have the coherent, systematic, integrated framework I've found and am formulating.

*That* is my audience -- not skeptics; it would be too big a project and would be a waste of my limited time to start from ground zero arguing each axiom against hardcore skeptics.  The way that will be a greater gain is to assume as audience that is very close already.  Really I just need to portray the framework clearly; the logical arguments for it will then be obvious.

It is better for me to criticize other nearby thinkers and show how they have come very close but have missed the overall target in their domain.  For example, Earl Doherty has a perfect defense of no-historical Jesus, as good as possible short of understanding mystic insight and experiencing and allegory: it is worth my time to clarify to him the difference between his no-historical Jesus theory and my views on that topic.

It's a waste of time to debate and defend among an audience who is trying to prop up free-will moral agency.  Not that they are a lost cause; it's just that I can do them a greater favor given limited time, by focusing on clarifying the end-result framework.  Convincing people with a very different view is a very peripheral, low-priority topic.  It's more effective to provide a solid island for them to leap to, rather than trying to construct a continuous floating bridge to a less solid island.

Once the island is solid enough, people will discover the implicit persuasive arguments easily; there is no need to step through each gory detail of the arguments; just define a stable, solid paradigm, and people will convert themselves to it.

I'll never spend time "defending" no-free-will, but I will strive to *clarify* the best version of it, and the broader framework in which it sits best.

>I think my foundational work will be in gathering together some of the terminology, seeing how they fit together for me and trying to express the questions/musings/wonderings which the discussions evoke for me.

>Part of my work may also bring me to try to compare what's being discussed about free will here with the one prior discussion about free will which I gave quasi-serious attention to in the past, and that is found in the book "My Search for Absolutes" by Paul Tillich (in think no longer in print, but probably available in some libraries).

Even bad postings are predetermined

There is no relationship between the truth or falsity of freewill and one's posting characteristics.  To speculate that there is is to indicate confusion over what the position of determinism asserts -- that's an ungenerous point, but a useful idea that explains much miscommunication and cross-arguing where one party mis-aims at the other due to misunderstanding the position and claims of the other. 

Determinism is the reality underlying all postings -- short, long, frequent, infrequent, posts that assert freewill, and posts that assert determinism.  Metaphysically, all our transgressions are forgiven when we consciously realize this, and all our credit for brilliance is lost as well.

Determinims si evne si teh realiyt underlyign postinsg thta haev careless spellign.

>>I have no control but I can avoid by leaving the group.

If you are determined to stay, you cannot leave the group.

Nietzsche's complex view of freedom

Nietzsche's view of freedom might be close to my model of timelessly frozen, pre-existing future, block-universe determinism, especially if one emphasizes a positive transcendent freedom in addition to metaphysical unfreedom.  He seems to loathe the hypothesis of causal-chain determinism as much as I do, in addition to rejecting the hypothesis of metaphysical freedom that underlies responsible moral agency.

>Adam Mathes

>November 10, 1998

>Freedom and Eros in Philosophy and Art


>>...Nietzche presents a complex, seemingly incoherent presentation of the value and feasibility of human freedom in Twilight of the Idols, V, 3 and The Genealogy of Morals I, 13. In the first he suggests that attaining "freedom of the will" is possible and valuable, but in the second passage he seems to contradict this by suggesting that freedom of the will is a farce, simply an unattainable illusion.

>>what he believes freedom is can resolve contradictions and make his position coherent. In rejecting traditional conceptions of free will, causation, and will itself, Nietzche rejects Platonic-Christian metaphysical freedom, and instead advocates a very different kind of freedom based on a complex understanding of the universe and one's place within it, thus freeing humanity from the guilt of existence.

>>he believes free will to be a fundamentally flawed concept. He describes it as a "causa sui," a "rape and perversion of logic."

>>nothing can be the cause of itself. In this sense, being responsible for causing one's own actions, freedom is impossible.

>>"The error of a false casualty." ... "There are no mental causes at all." ... the folly of the causal relationship between motives effecting will, leading to actions. According to Nietzche, traditional understanding of will, motives, ego, the "inner world" are false, simply a tool to foster "responsibility" for one's actions.

>>"free will" was only invented by the priests in order to create guilt; it is not real. "Men were considered `free' so that they might be judged and punished—so that they might become guilty: consequently every act had to be considered as willed…" ... guilt and morality to be harmful social constructs created by the priests, and in rejecting their conception of freedom, he also rejects their conception of good, evil, and guilt.

>>`the doer' is merely a fiction added to the deed—the deed is everything." This too seems to rule out "free will" in the traditional sense. Nietzche is once again challenging results stemming from the fundamental errors of traditional thought:

>>the popular conceptions of freedom and free will are flawed. Humans are not free to "will" things all by themselves. Paradoxically, Nietzche rejects the seeming opposite of free will, determinism, as well.

>>go beyond the concept of "unfree will," as it is simply a misunderstanding of cause and effect. ... cause and effect are merely human made-up concepts and that it is impossible to force the real world into these imaginary concepts. Cause and effect are merely "conventional fictions," only fit to be used for designation, not deep explanations of the real world. Determinism, this notion that man is simply floating in a casual stream whose destination was known from the "first cause" that set it in motion, is merely a symbolic human construct with no meaning in reality because cause and effect have no real meaning in reality. You can't force reality into a deterministic, causal theory. In the real world, things do not break down into simple causes and effects, leading to other causes and effects.

>>"free will" and "unfree will" ... are deeply rooted in basic human errors, false causality, logical fallacies and other make believe rubbish. ... The free will is simply a tool of the priests to foster guilt; the unfree will is simply an error built on deeper errors.

>>...Nietzche wants to reframe the debate into something more real, something that is rooted in reality. ... strength. ... strong and weak wills.

>>It would be a gross over-simplification to simply say Nietzche rejects traditional "free will" and in its place considers strength as freedom, weakness as slavery.

>>What is Nietzche's doctrine ... idea of liberation and freedom? ... "…one is in the whole; there is nothing that could judge, measure, compare, or sentence our being, for that would mean judging, measuring, comparing, or sentencing the whole. But there is nothing besides the whole. ... nobody is held responsible any longer ... that alone is the great liberation; with this alone is ... innocence ... restored."

>>This liberation is at the heart of Nietzche's conception of freedom.

>>they are not free in the "superlative metaphysical sense" so they are "responsible" for themselves and can have guilt. Nor are they grasping a piece of driftwood, simply floating down the casual stream of reality. ... this understanding must lead to a deep rejection of Christian values of responsibility, guilt ... by denying his existence [God as first cause in causal or perhaps causal-chain determinism], can one move beyond ... an "unfree" deterministic world-view. "We deny ... the responsibility in God; ... thereby do we redeem the world."

>>Nietzche's conception of liberation and freedom is diametrically opposed to traditional viewpoints of it. ... it requires rejecting traditional ideas of free and unfree will, as both are rooted in fundamental errors. It entails a rejection of God, [as causal prime mover; I think he's really essentially rejecting conventional causal-chain determinism -mh] responsibility as a mean to Christian guilt, and an embracing of the wholeness of the world.

A common mystic style of expression is that "motion is an illusion, horizontal across-time causality is an illusion, timeless vertical causality is real, time is an illusion, individual freewill is an illusion."  But to say something is "unreal" or an "illusion" is woefully inadequate.  These statements are mainly *descriptions* of *sensed experiences* first of all; they are not speculation except in the grand Platonic sense of "speculation" as high intellectual *observation* in the mystic state of consciousness.

Fatal Necessity

The concept of Fated Necessity ties into the Cross symbol in two ways: pierced heart means inevitable death, and being hung from the cross is a "death by eventual inevitability".

The ideas 'fatal' and 'fated' are closely related.  Fatal necessity and fated necessity are synomyns, and 'fate' and 'death' may be closely related.  You abandon an infant "to its fate", which we would say "to its death".  Death (bodily death) is the fate in store for all of us; we merely lack knowledge of its time (something like this was said to gladiators in the movie Gladiator).

A fatal wound, often by poisoned blade, especially means that one is still alive and in command of oneself, but inevitably fated to soon die.  A recovery would be a miracle in a classic sense. 

Recovery from the state of powerless ego death is a classic kind of miracle; stable personal control is returned to the mystic for no comprehensible (logical, tangible) reason; stable controllership is now experienced as a pure generous gift descending upon the mind from the transcendent realm.  This idea is reflected in the idea of compassionate generous protector deities throughout world religion, including taking refuge in the Buddha.

If the mythic godman idea restores stability and new, lasting integrity to the psyche during ego death, so may we allegorically say through parallelling ego death and bodily death, that the godman gives us new, lasting integrity and eternal life after bodily death.  Also, heros are divinized and perpetually remembered and thereby made immortal after bodily death -- living in memory as divinized.

Fate, necessity, inevitability, deja vu, sync'y

Bob wrote:

>Back in 1984 I had a kind of near-death experience which lasted on and off for 6 months.  It was a grand ego death which was infinitely more intense then any entheogen bad trip. This event culminated into an enlightenment experience which was brought about by the knowledge of fate through an almost nonstop series of synchronicities.

One theory of schizophrenia is that it is a chronically high release of the brain's own DMT.

What is the relation between Fate, inevitability, and synchronicities?  How does synchronicity suggest inevitable Fatedness?  Does the experience of synchronicity feel the same as the experience of Fatedness?  Also important is the sense of familiarity, the sense of divine, uncanny, or metaphysical deja vu.

Axiomatic assumptions of mine are that there is no ESP, no precognition, no remote viewing, no independent intelligent spirit-beings contacted during the ordinary or altered state.

Bob wrote:

>This knowledge led to the realization of a higher outside intelligence at work.

We cannot directly perceive and be certain of a higher outside intelligence.  Of course, some kind of uncertainty permeates practically all our knowledge and experience, including insights and new perspectives about ego death, personal control, will, and time.

Bob wrote:

>In my innocent years I had many ecstatic entheogen experiences with little glimpses of enlightenment. I guess it took a more dramatic event to get me over the hump. It was a painful experience but I now look back at it with much awe and wonder.  I don't regret taking any psychedelics; it helped, if only in a superficial way.  Illumination is a gift which can be bestowed on someone while doing such mundane things as doing the laundry.

Illumination is more conveniently and reliably bestowed by reading the concise set of concepts I've gathered in the Introduction article and reflecting on them while using entheogens, which provide loose cognitive binding and allow deep-level re-indexing of mental construct association matrixes.

Related terms derived from dictionary entries, rewritten with my commentary mixed in:



Synchronicity is the coincidence of events that seem to be meaningfully related, conceived in Jungian theory as an explanatory principle on the same order as causality. 

Note that since Hume, the entire concept of causality has been called into question -- we can be sure of conjunction of "cause" and "effect", but we can't see the causality from the cause to the effect.  So causality itself is an "explanatory" principle that enables us to feel we understand the world, but raises deep metaphysical questions.  Causality is spooky, like synchronicity.


Deja vu

Deja vu is the illusion of having already experienced something before, when that event is actually being experienced for the first time.  It is an unexpected impression of having seen or experienced something before.


Fate, Fatedness

Fate is the supposed force, principle, or power that predetermines events, or the inevitable events predestined by this force.  It is a final result or consequence; an outcome, often an unfavorable destiny; doom. 

The Fates in Greek & Roman Mythology are the three goddesses, Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos, who control human destiny and who in ancient times were considered to command the gods:  "Beyond and above the Olympian gods lay the silent, brooding, everlasting fate of which victim and tyrant were alike the instruments." -- Froude.

Fate is a prophetic declaration, oracle, what is ordained by the gods, destiny, fate, from 'fari', to speak: Related to Fame, Fable, Fay, Fairy.  Fate is a fixed decree by which the order of things is prescribed; the immutable law of the universe; inevitable necessity; the force by which all existence is determined and conditioned.

Here is a denial of the power of Fate:  "Necessity and chance Approach not me; and what I will is fate." -- Milton.

Fate is one's appointed lot; allotted life; arranged or predetermined event; destiny; especially, the final lot; doom; ruin; death.

The great, th'important day, big with the fate Of Cato and of Rome. --Addison.

The contest between the power of our will and the power of fate: "Our wills and fates do so contrary run That our devices still are overthrown." -- Shakespeare.

The whizzing arrow sings, And bears thy fate, Antinous, on its wings. --Pope.

Fate is the element of chance in the affairs of life; the unforeseen and unestimated conditions considered as a force shaping events; fortune; especially, opposing circumstances against which it is useless to struggle; "Fate was against him" or "The Fates were against him."

Here is an allusion to the cybernetic steersman or helmsman: "A brave man struggling in the storms of fate." --Pope.

Sometimes an hour of Fate's serenest weather strikes through our changeful sky its coming beams. --B. Taylor.

The Fates are the three goddesses, Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos, sometimes called the Destinies, or Parcae who were supposed to determine the course of human life.  They are represented, one as holding the distaff, a second as spinning, and the third as cutting off the thread of life at a particular time.

"Among all nations it has been common to speak of fate or destiny as a power superior to gods and men -- swaying all things irresistibly.  This may be called the fate of poets and mythologists.  Philosophical fate is the sum of the laws of the universe, the product of eternal intelligence and the blind properties of matter.

Theological fate represents Deity as above the laws of nature, and ordaining all things according to his will -- the expression of that will being the law. --Krauth-Fleming.

Fate is destiny; lot; portion; doom; fortune; chance.  One's appointed and designated allocation or allotment, not yet actualized.

Fate is an event or course of events that will inevitably happen in the future, like destiny.  It is the ultimate agency that predetermines the course of events (often personified as a woman); "We are helpless in the face of Destiny/Fate".  Fate is a decree beforehand.


The inevitable

The inevitable is that which is impossible to avoid or prevent.  It is the invariably occurring or appearing; as in astrology; predictable: the inevitable changes of the seasons.  It is that which is impossible to be avoided or shunned; inevitableness.



Necessity is the condition or quality of being necessary.  It is dictated by invariable physical laws.  An inevitable consequence; necessarily.  It is the quality or state of being necessary, unavoidable, or absolutely requisite; inevitableness; indispensableness.

Necessity is that which makes an act or an event unavoidable; irresistible force; overruling power; compulsion, physical or moral; fate; fatality. 

It is the negation of freedom in voluntary action; the subjection of all phenomena, whether material or spiritual, to inevitable causation; necessitarianism.  Of necessity, by necessary consequence; by compulsion, or irresistible power; perforce.

'Necessitarianism' is the doctrine of philosophical necessity: the doctrine that results follow by invariable sequence from causes, and especially that the will is not free; determinism.  However, I reject time-asymmetric, forward-moving, domino-chain determinism; the future is fixed because of the nature of time (time is timeless) and tenseless time and because the future can be considered to be single, closed, and already eternally existing.


The Certain

The certain is the definite; fixed.  It is sure to come or happen; inevitable: certain success.  It is established beyond doubt or question; indisputable: "What is certain is that every effect must have a cause."   The certain is that which is capable of being relied on; dependable; confidently assured.

'Certain' is from Latin certus, to determine.  It is the inescapable, inevitable, sure, unavoidable -- that which is impossible to avoid or evade: soldiers who knew they faced certain death; facts that led to an inescapable conclusion; an inevitable result; sudden but sure retribution; an unavoidable accident.

The certain is that which is determined, fixed, from 'cernere': to perceive, decide, determine; to decide, (separate) and concern, critic, crime, riddle a sieve, rinse.  The certain is assured in mind; having no doubts; free from suspicions concerning.

The certain is that which is actually existing; sure to happen; inevitable.

"Death, as the Psalmist saith, is certain to all." --Shak.

The certain is unfailing; infallible.  It is fixed or stated; regular, determinate, assured, bound, sure, true, undeniable, unquestionable, undoubted, plain, indubitable, indisputable, incontrovertible, unhesitating, undoubting, or fixed.

Why don't philosophical and theological determinism converse?

There is a prominent, leading school of thought in Christianity that is essentially deterministic; Calvinist, Augustinian, anti-Arminianism.  Yet these Calvinist books never, ever acknowledge the existence of the deterministic school within Philosophy.  Why not?

Book list: Reformed/Calvinist theology and determinism


And it seems natural for Philosophical determinists to ignore the burgeoning camp of Theological determinism because it's taken as a given that Theology can't have anything to contribute to modern Philosophy.  So we have two highly active determinist camps, completely ignoring the very existence of the other.  It's a strange situation.  I would expect them to cite each other. 

It's remarkable to see academic cloistering taken to such an absolute extreme that two approaches to determinism would blacklist the very existence of the other and forbid citing their works.  The Calvinist theologians probably fear that acknowledging the existence of Philosophical determinism will bring more disadvantages than advantages, introducing vulnerabilities. 

A warfare model may shed some light.  There is a parallel war going on in Philosophy and in Theology, and for one camp of determinists to acknowledge the other would be to promote a doubling of the battleground -- not a welcome proposal.


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