Free Will

Do you have a conversation topic that doesn't seem to fit any of the other conversations? Here is where we discuss ANYTHING about Joseph Campbell, comparative mythology, and more!

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Post by Cindy B. » Sun May 23, 2010 10:35 am

Image


:mrgreen:
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Post by jonsjourney » Sun May 23, 2010 11:13 am

Thanks Cindy! Hilarious!
Firstly the quantum phenomena we observe are very real. -rom
Just for fun...a little thought experiment that popped into my head. What if quantum phenomena hides itself just as nature hides itself? Like a deer in the grass, or a stick bug on branch, or flounder on the sea floor, ect, ect...on and on. Right? We can accept that in nature things are quite capable of camouflaging themselves from being easily observed by us, predators, or both.

Now, everything is nature, essentially (this has been debated here before, but let's work from this proposition), so there is really no reason to think that quantum physics is necessarily any different. The core nature of quantum phenomena and the observer/observed effect could be disguising itself from us and we have not yet figured out what is the "figure" and what is the "ground" (to use some Gestalt terminology).

Of course this does not imply that we cannot discover the nature of quantum physics, just that we may assume that what we are seeing is "real" (the numbers may work, but it seems that often numbers are made that will make things work) when in fact what we are seeing is the illusion of reality.

Just a little aside, for fun, that popped into my head from reading BG and Rom's quantum exchange. :)
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Post by romansh » Sun May 23, 2010 7:14 pm

jonsjourney wrote: Just for fun...a little thought experiment that popped into my head. What if quantum phenomena hides itself just as nature hides itself?
OK I like thought experiments ... no need to get my hands dirty. :roll:
jonsjourney wrote: Like a deer in the grass, or a stick bug on branch, or flounder on the sea floor, ect, ect...on and on. Right?
You give two very different examples of hiding here. "Obviously" both are driven by evolution, in some form or another. But the deer in the grass example may involve a much higher level of self awareness. A flounder does not choose to evolve into a particular shape, the environment does that for the flounder. Similarly for the stick insect.
jonsjourney wrote: We can accept that in nature things are quite capable of camouflaging themselves from being easily observed by us, predators, or both.
Again you are alluding heavily to evolution. But the thought that comes to mind is, are things like zebras - plainly not camouflage for hiding, the male peacock. There's camouflage for predation as well. I'm a fan of anthropomorphization - helps communication - but sometimes can lead us down blind alleys.
jonsjourney wrote: Now, everything is nature, essentially (this has been debated here before, but let's work from this proposition), so there is really no reason to think that quantum physics is necessarily any different.
No problem here.
jonsjourney wrote: The core nature of quantum phenomena and the observer/observed effect could be disguising itself from us and we have not yet figured out what is the "figure" and what is the "ground" (to use some Gestalt terminology).
Could be, but "observer" and "measurer" are (might be) anthropomorphizations that lead us down the wrong slippery slope just as easily.
jonsjourney wrote: Of course this does not imply that we cannot discover the nature of quantum physics, just that we may assume that what we are seeing is "real" (the numbers may work, but it seems that often numbers are made that will make things work) when in fact what we are seeing is the illusion of reality.
I look at it the same way as Newton's Laws of Motion, ultimately they may not be a perfect description of reality, but what the hell, I use them quite happily on the way to work every day.
jonsjourney wrote: Just a little aside, for fun, that popped into my head from reading BG and Rom's quantum exchange. :)
Taking your thought literally, evolution has almost certainly, shaped the hiding as it helps replication of the information embedded in the genes. Now you must postulate how hiding (in the same way) helps replication of information embedded in the quantum phenomena!

Anyway just as an aside this puts you in the determinist camp with respect to quantum phenomena. :roll:
Last edited by romansh on Tue May 25, 2010 12:23 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Post by romansh » Sun May 23, 2010 7:16 pm

Cindy B. wrote:Image
:mrgreen:
ahh that may or may not be cute.
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Post by boringguy » Sun May 23, 2010 9:44 pm

Of course this does not imply that we cannot discover the nature of quantum physics, just that we may assume that what we are seeing is "real" (the numbers may work, but it seems that often numbers are made that will make things work) when in fact what we are seeing is the illusion of reality. - jj

:)

From Sir James Jeans (1877-1946) mathematician, physicist, and astronomer.
The essential fact is simply that all the pictures which science now draws of nature, and which alone seem capable of according with observational fact, are mathematical.

Most scientist would agree that they are nothing more than pictures-fictions, if you like, if by fiction you mean that science is not yet in contact with ultimate reality, Many would hold that, from the broad philosophical standpoint, the outstanding achievement of twentieth-century physics is not the theory of relativity with its welding together of space and time, of the theory of quanta with its present apparent negation of the laws of causation, or the dissection of the atom with the resultant discovery that things are not what they seem; it is the general recognition that we are not yet in contact with ultimate reality. To speak in terms of Plato’s well known simile, we are still imprisoned in our cave, with our backs to the light, and can only watch the shadows on the wall. At present, the only task immediately before science is to study these shadows, to classify them and explain them in the simplest possible way. And what we are finding, in a whole torrent of surprising new knowledge, is that the way which explains them more clearly, more fully, and more naturally than any other is the mathematical way, the explanation in terms of mathematical concepts. It is true, in a sense somewhat different from that intended by Galileo, that “Nature’s great book is written in mathematical language”. So true is it that no one, except a mathematician, need ever hope fully to understand those branches of science which try to unravel the fundamental nature of the universe—the theory of relativity, the theory of quanta, and the wave-mechanics.

The shadows which reality throws onto the wall of our cave might a priori have been of many kinds. They might conceivably have been perfectly meaningless to us, as meaningless as a cinematograph film showing the growth of microscopic tissues would be to a dog who strayed into a lecture room by mistake. Indeed, our earth is so infinitesimal in comparison with the whole universe, we, the only thinking beings, so far as we know, in the whole of space, are, to all appearances, so accidental, so far removed from the main scheme of the universe, that it is a priori all too probable that any meaning that the universe as a whole may have, would entirely transcend our terrestrial experience and so be totally unintelligible to us. In this event, we should have had no foothold from which to start our exploration of the true meaning of the universe.
Later in the same work;
Today there is a wide measure of agreement which, on the physical side of science, approaches almost to unanimity that the stream of knowledge is heading towards a nonmechanical reality; the universe begins to look more like a great thought than a great machine. Mind no longer appears as an accidental intruder into the realm of matter, we are beginning to suspect that we ought rather to hail it as the creator and governor of the realm of matter—not, of course, our individual minds, but the mind in which the atoms out of which our individual mind have grown exist as thoughts.
Ahh yes, pursuits of our nature as to our Nature, but then on other days I’m inclined to just recall Eddington;
Verily, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a scientific man to pass through a door. And whether the door be barn door or church door it might be wiser that he should consent to be an ordinary man and walk in rather than wait till all the difficulties involved in a really scientific ingress are resolved.
:)


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Post by nandu » Mon May 24, 2010 2:47 pm

Romansh,

I am out here on the fringes, have still not entered into the topic: hope to do so soon.

Nandu.
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Post by romansh » Fri May 28, 2010 1:48 am

Thought I'd give this a bump.

One of the questions I asked originally was did Joseph Campbell express an opion on free will? I have only read two of his books, but unless there were really cryptic references to this subject in PoM and Pathways to Bliss I definitely missed them.

So those of you who are better read wrt Campbell, what was his opinion on free will?
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Post by CarmelaBear » Fri May 28, 2010 2:20 am

boringguy wrote: From Sir James Jeans (1877-1946) mathematician, physicist, and astronomer.
Today there is a wide measure of agreement which, on the physical side of science, approaches almost to unanimity that the stream of knowledge is heading towards a nonmechanical reality; the universe begins to look more like a great thought than a great machine. Mind no longer appears as an accidental intruder into the realm of matter, we are beginning to suspect that we ought rather to hail it as the creator and governor of the realm of matter—not, of course, our individual minds, but the mind in which the atoms out of which our individual mind have grown exist as thoughts.
bg
As an analogy, the thought notion is helpful. However, it is hard to imagine our experiences of the physical world as something so ethereal as "thought". On the non-quantum level, in the world of Newtonian physics, our imagination is the only door that opens into a universe governed by thought. Otherwise we're stuck with what we can sense in the usual ways that we are accustomed to knowing the world.

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Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
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Post by Andreas » Fri May 28, 2010 5:10 am

So those of you who are better read wrt Campbell, what was his opinion on free will?
Romansh if there is no free will why do we even ask the question?

I think the answer Campbell would give is "follow your bliss" and it doesn't matter if there is free will or not. :lol:

By the way that is an assumption on my part, I am not really sure anyone knows what Campbell would say. The truth is that Campbell spoke of this free will concept (problem?) through Schopenhauer, I think.
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Post by Neoplato » Fri May 28, 2010 12:55 pm

Andreas Wrote:
I think the answer Campbell would give is "follow your bliss" and it doesn't matter if there is free will or not.
Here's a thought for you guys to consider. Is "Follow your bliss" the same thing as "Do what thou wilt"? :?:
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Post by Clemsy » Fri May 28, 2010 1:37 pm

Here's a thought for you guys to consider. Is "Follow your bliss" the same thing as "Do what thou wilt"?
Neo, It's interesting how often this question arises. It probably takes up a good portion of the Bliss Forum. The answer to it is, "How would Campbell answer it?"
“To find your own way is to follow your bliss. This involves analysis, watching yourself and seeing where real deep bliss is -- not the quick little excitement , but the real deep, life-filling bliss.”

“Any life career that you choose in following your bliss should be chosen with that sense — that nobody can frighten me off from this thing. And no matter what happens, this is the validation of my life and action.”

"Follow your bliss. If you do follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while waiting for you, and the life you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in the field of your bliss, and they open the doors to you. I say, follow your bliss and don't be afraid, and doors will open where you didn't know they were going to be. If you follow your bliss, doors will open for you that wouldn't have opened for anyone else. ~Joseph Campbell
As far as I'm concerned the question of free will is like asking how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. Following one's bliss entails being aware of who's driving. Mommy? Daddy? Society?

In order to follow one's bliss, one needs to be in the driver's seat.

Cheers,
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Post by romansh » Fri May 28, 2010 3:54 pm

Andreas wrote: Romansh if there is no free will why do we even ask the question?
The conclusion I have come to is, "why?" is a strange question.
I woud sooner ask what are the causes?
Andreas wrote: I think the answer Campbell would give is "follow your bliss" and it doesn't matter if there is free will or not. :lol:
If we come to the conclusion (or even accept the possibility) that free will is an illusion, then it should change our attitudes to good and evil, people we like and dislike ... it's an eye opener. :shock:
Andreas wrote: By the way that is an assumption on my part, I am not really sure anyone knows what Campbell would say. The truth is that Campbell spoke of this free will concept (problem?) through Schopenhauer, I think.
Schopenhauer was not a proponent of free will I gather.
Clemsy wrote:As far as I'm concerned the question of free will is like asking how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. Following one's bliss entails being aware of who's driving. Mommy? Daddy? Society?
I would agree with the list; but, I would add the foods and chemicals (Guinness) we eat and imbibe, our greater environment, genetics and evolution.
Clemsy wrote:In order to follow one's bliss, one needs to be in the driver's seat.
I know what you mean, but I could easily argue we can follow our bliss when we become aware there is no "driver"?
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Post by Andreas » Fri May 28, 2010 5:00 pm

The conclusion I have come to is, "why?" is a strange question.
I woud sooner ask what are the causes?


What's more important might be, that the cause, of the causes, is the impulse to ask the question.

Or how do you know that the causes are not driven by the question?

:)
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Post by CarmelaBear » Fri May 28, 2010 9:50 pm

Clemsy wrote:

In order to follow one's bliss, one needs to be in the driver's seat.

Cheers,
Clemsy
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Post by Neoplato » Fri May 28, 2010 10:56 pm

I know what you mean, but I could easily argue we can follow our bliss when we become aware there is no "driver"?-Romansh
How is this different from the antique cars at the amusement parks? The cars are set on a track that can't change. Does that mean you think "destiny" rules all? :?:
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