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  1. #31
    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Well, I just have to be a little stinker and ask, "Do we actually have free will? Or are all of our choices inevitable and programmed?"

    *cricket chirps in the distance*
    That's something that none of us can know. We can't step outside of the system to observe whether or not free will exists. However, if you believe you have a choice as to whether or not you put a pill in your mouth, then it's consistent to believe you have a choice about other things. If it's an illusion, we needn't worry that we will become disillusioned because we are incapable of knowing.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    What is funny is that -- at least in terms of my Christian understanding -- I think sanctification ("the long tempering/perfection of the human spirit, to conform to God") is actually an ongoing process as opposed to justification, which is "salvation in a moment."

    But I never seemed to attach the same weight of guilt and sin that many people around me have. They still tend to look at it all as this tortured ugly thing, where they had to strive and work and avoid having God's displeasure visited upon them.

    I just looked at it as, "I'm not perfect right now, and sometimes that really bums me out and suffering occurs; but that's okay. I just need to patch up what I break, and continue onwards; and the promise is that I will get better as I go."

    Isn't Christianity supposed to relieve the pressure of internalized guilt for being imperfect, not increase it?
    I believe in progressive sanctification myself, but I am aware that Nazarenes and some of the other Wesley-based groups believe in sanctification (and the removal of sin nature) as a work of grace separate from salvation/justification. For them, it would be consistent to believe humans are capable of drastic changes in nature. For most other groups this is not the case.

    I don't know how Christianity is supposed to work in therms of guilt. I have felt the big internalized guilt thing, but dropped it (mostly) more out of pragmatism than for any other reason. I observed that the more horrible I felt about doing or failing to do something, the more inclined I am to do it. Maybe it's effective for some people. For me it is paralyzing and/or compelling in a bad way. It took some effort to learn how to shut it down or at least mute it some, but I do much better with it than I did.

    I see little value in crying over spilled milk, so to speak. Like you, what matters to me is what happens next. You can't change the past, so why dwell on it except for the purpose of learning and doing better next time?
    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Oh, I can feel the feelings. But they are no longer something that is part of my conscious "me" or a choice I have made. They're just mechanical, triggered in response to something else. i will feel them, but I don't really acknowledge them as mine. Because they did not come from my conscious self; they were not chosen by me; thus they are not reflective of my will and decision-making. Anyone who has the right buttons pressed will have the same emotions. it's mechanical.

    The same with being high. A drug is mechanical. The only choice I get with a drug is whether I put it in my mouth, but the drug's impact on me is still separate from "me." It has nothing to do with definitions of things.
    I think the choice whether or not to put it in your mouth is a pretty big deal. I can, for instance, be attracted to a number of people, not much I can do about that, but among those people, I have chosen who I will love.

    It's not a huge number of options, but it's more than nothing. I cannot choose how certain things make me feel, but I can choose, to some degree what I let myself be exposed to and what I will think about. I choose who I actively allow to press my buttons. I choose to press or not to press certain buttons on others. The conscious choices I make about these things are my own and my self. By choosing those things, I choose my feelings and that makes them my own.
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
    ~ John Rogers

  2. #32
    Glowy Goopy Goodness The_Liquid_Laser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Well, I just have to be a little stinker and ask, "Do we actually have free will? Or are all of our choices inevitable and programmed?"

    *cricket chirps in the distance*
    I can't prove that free will exists. I can only prove that one should believe in the existence of free will. Consider these four options:

    1) There is no free will and not believing in free will
    2) There is no free will and believing in free will
    3) There is free will and not believing in free will
    4) There is free will and believing in free will

    In the first two cases it doesn't matter what you believe. You were predetermined to believe that anyway. In the third case, if free will exists but a person does not believe in it, then they will behave irresponsibly. Because they don't believe they can choose their actions, then they will not take responsibility for the things that they do, and therefore will be potentially dangerous to themselves and those around them. In the forth case, the person will believe that the actions they take come from the decisions that they've made, and therefore will be willing to take responsibility for their actions and will also act responsibly.

    Therefore one should believe that freewill exists regardless of whether or not it really does. Of course I doubt this clears things up for you does it? You want to know what to believe rather than why to believe it. Correct?

    What is funny is that -- at least in terms of my Christian understanding -- I think sanctification ("the long tempering/perfection of the human spirit, to conform to God") is actually an ongoing process as opposed to justification, which is "salvation in a moment."

    But I never seemed to attach the same weight of guilt and sin that many people around me have. They still tend to look at it all as this tortured ugly thing, where they had to strive and work and avoid having God's displeasure visited upon them.

    I just looked at it as, "I'm not perfect right now, and sometimes that really bums me out and suffering occurs; but that's okay. I just need to patch up what I break, and continue onwards; and the promise is that I will get better as I go."

    Isn't Christianity supposed to relieve the pressure of internalized guilt for being imperfect, not increase it?
    It depends on what type of Christianity a person ascribe's to. Although the scripture says things like, "there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus". Relief comes not from knowing the quote, but from believing that it is true.

    Oh, I can feel the feelings. But they are no longer something that is part of my conscious "me" or a choice I have made. They're just mechanical, triggered in response to something else. i will feel them, but I don't really acknowledge them as mine. Because they did not come from my conscious self; they were not chosen by me; thus they are not reflective of my will and decision-making. Anyone who has the right buttons pressed will have the same emotions. it's mechanical.

    The same with being high. A drug is mechanical. The only choice I get with a drug is whether I put it in my mouth, but the drug's impact on me is still separate from "me." It has nothing to do with definitions of things.
    Perhaps this is a case of confusing causation and correlation? If a person feels one way when in love, and feels the same way in the presense of some chemical (or something like chocolate) then are love and the chemical equivalent? No they are two different things that produce the same biochemical response. The feelings are not the love, they are the result of the love.
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  3. #33
    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by athenian200 View Post
    cafe: Great explanation, I'm convinced you're an INFJ now. I was pretty sure before, but now I'm positive.
    Heh, yeah. I'm afraid it's true. I'm glad you liked my explanation.
    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby View Post
    Exactly.

    I know that limiting my choices will make me happy. So I do limit my choices nowadays.

    I know that information overload dims my view of the world, so I do limit how I get my information (I've stopped reading and watching the news, for example)

    Knowing offers control... power... options... it offers a way for us to decide what we want. But it's useless without that step that makes the knowledge impact on your life.

    If knowledge is the end... you reach your goal every day, every minute... and reaching your goals makes you miserable. Why set yourself up for failure? Use knowledge - decide your goal and use the knowledge to achieve it... don't make knowledge the end result. It cheapens everything in life. This applies everywhere - don' study finances to understand them, do it to be secure. Don't study relationship to understand, do it to have a good relationship...

    Meaning first, means second. Knowledge will always be a means.
    Yep. That's kind of how I look at it, too. Life is short, so we have to be a little pragmatic and do what we can to maximize the positive aspects of the experience (tailored to our own subjective definitions of positive, of course).
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
    ~ John Rogers

  4. #34
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Liquid_Laser View Post
    Therefore one should believe that freewill exists regardless of whether or not it really does. Of course I doubt this clears things up for you does it? You want to know what to believe rather than why to believe it. Correct?
    There, that's what I was looking for!

    [I am in this weird position, spiritually, where I believe in the ethics of Christianity, regardless of whether or not is true. I think my actual problem is that it's such an irrational position in regards to trying to explain to Christians who believe because "the Bible says so." I think if I was not around so many Christians and constantly felt as if I had to justify my thinking, I would not even really question it nearly as much.]

    In any case, I liked your rational explanation of the options. And yes, I actually do live as if I have "free will" -- regardless of what my intellectual understanding of it is. I just can't seem to live otherwise; I just couldn't live irresponsibly (for whatever reason).


    It depends on what type of Christianity a person ascribe's to. Although the scripture says things like, "there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus". Relief comes not from knowing the quote, but from believing that it is true.
    Exactly. And "Perfect love drives out all fear." And similar verses.

    I guess I believe all of those things, though, not because the Bible says them per se, but because I believe they are true because of my life experience.


    Perhaps this is a case of confusing causation and correlation? If a person feels one way when in love, and feels the same way in the presence of some chemical (or something like chocolate) then are love and the chemical equivalent? No they are two different things that produce the same biochemical response. The feelings are not the love, they are the result of the love.
    Hmm, that helps a little. I can see what you mean, a bit. I guess, with people though, is there any mechanism aside from the biochemical that results in feelings? Do we ever "Feel" anything aside from a chemical reaction in our heads? And what causes that chemical reaction?

    (This is where I would love to understand neurobiology so much better, but even the experts are still confused as to how it works.)

    It's so confusing, I am still left with only following a behavior pattern of agape love because the source of the feelings cannot be discovered. I know I can only make choices as to how I will treat others, regardless of the nature of things or how I "feel" about them...

    ... and now I'm completely lost as to where I was going. If I remember, maybe I'll write more later. *wanders off in daze*

    ps.. i liked your posts too cafe, i just haven't responded to them right now... but thank you.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  5. #35
    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    ps.. i liked your posts too cafe, i just haven't responded to them right now... but thank you.
    No worries. It's a lot to plow through.
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
    ~ John Rogers

  6. #36
    Glowy Goopy Goodness The_Liquid_Laser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Hmm, that helps a little. I can see what you mean, a bit. I guess, with people though, is there any mechanism aside from the biochemical that results in feelings? Do we ever "Feel" anything aside from a chemical reaction in our heads? And what causes that chemical reaction?
    Well as someone who is often not connected to his own feelings, I often use my feelings to gauge what I really believe about a situation. My basic premise is that actions and feelings are both the result of our beliefs, not only the beliefs that we are aware of, but the ones that we are not aware of as well. For example a person may consciously know that drugs are destructive, but if they still do drugs then they really don't "believe" it. In other words they still see the benefit of doing drugs to outweigh the destructive consequences.

    Likewise when something happens to us our feelings tell us what we believe about the event. If a person we know dies does that make us feel sad, happy, angry, regretful, or etc...? The person's death does not determine our feelings; our beliefs determine our feelings. If we believe the person lived a long, full life then we might be happy. If we believe we should have told this person we loved them before they died, then we feel regret.

    I'm often not in touch with my feelings, so when I do feel something it tells me what I believe. On the other hand I do not have to follow my feelings. If a certain event makes me feel guilty, then there might be a good reason, but it also might simply be social conditioning. I can keep doing the thing that makes me feel guilty until I've trained myself not to be guilty when that event happens.

    (This is where I would love to understand neurobiology so much better, but even the experts are still confused as to how it works.)
    Even with an understanding of neurobiology I'm not sure that my opinion would change. Are the neurons determining my decisions, or are the neurons responding to my decisions? I couldn't be sure, so I'd still have to live as if free will exists, regardless of whether or not it does.
    My wife and I made a game to teach kids about nutrition. Please try our game and vote for us to win. (Voting period: July 14 - August 14)
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  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by athenian200 View Post
    Care to elaborate on that? Which definitions? As far as I know, behavior is followed and/or preceded by neurological activity and patterns, and the behaviors resulting from particular patterns are typically consistent in a given individual.
    That isn't really a scientific explanation, is it? Neurological activity simply means that something is occurring, it isn't a reason for something's occurrence and patterns aren't reasons either. They're aggregations. But that's beside the point. Science can explain the "how" of romantic chemistry. But no one in their right mind would use it to attempt to accurately predict the outcome of a relationship or any of the individual choices people make throughout. Then there's the religious shade of meaning, which is mainly about attitudes and actions.
    I don't wanna!

  8. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    If love is just chemicals and biology, I don't feel any better trying to pretend it's not... because I know that anything I'm telling myself is a lie. So I feel empty anyway. I can't change how I feel, there has to be congruence between the inherent definitions of the world and how I feel about life.
    Why introduce the word "just"?

    What does that mean?

    Is what you're reading on your screen just light from phosphors or a Thin-Film-Transistor?

    Is speech just a bunch of sounds?

    Is a book just a bunch of letters on pages?

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
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  9. #39
    Senior Member Pseudonym_Alpha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    To me, truth is beauty and beauty is truth. I sometimes cry over the truth because it's beautiful. (Or something like that... )

    I can relate, although for me maths does have a truthful beauty.To me, its my version of what you're describing.
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  10. #40
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pseudonym_Alpha View Post
    I can relate, although for me maths does have a truthful beauty.To me, its my version of what you're describing.
    Well, it's like a "Beautiful Mind."

    I tend to need something just a slight bit more personal to get the full effect, but there is definitely a beauty in the complex structure of reality -- the laws of a perfectly balanced, functioning and intricate system. Fractals are beautiful too.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

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