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Author Topic: Free Will (Poll)  (Read 274 times)

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Offline Potatoes

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Free Will (Poll)
« on: March 03, 2014, 04:16:21 PM »
Do we have Free Will? It's almost a paradox in my book.

I don't personally think we do. I'll gladly elaborate... but I'm curious as to what those think.


Voice your opinion and I'll change the World.
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Offline anxiousartist

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Re: Free Will (Poll)
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2014, 06:03:01 PM »
We do and we don't.

Bill Gates was asked what's the most important reason you were successful, and he said, "luck."

He said he had the right skills at the right time. Of course Bill Gates couldn't chose the time he lived in, so in that sense, he did not have free will.

On the other hand, he quit university and instead spent hours in his garage tinkering on his invention. In that sense, he had free will.

 :happy0151:
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Offline GenSec

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Re: Free Will (Poll)
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2014, 09:20:22 PM »
I think we do have free will, albeit limited: our room for manoeuvre is constrained by circumstances. Some inherited from the past (such as a child inherits the socio-economic status of its parents), and from our environment. Whether these external constrains are social, political, or cultural in nature i guess depends on where we live. For instance a person living in the USA has alot more room for manoeuvre in their life to exercise free will than a person in North Korea.

A young teenage girl living in a shack with her mother who both work a 12 hour day 6 days a week earning a dollar a day in a factory in India making clothes for Western stores has inherited the socio-economic status of her parents and is locked in a generational cycle of poverty which will severely constrain her ability to exercise free will over her life. She has no opportunity to be the next Bill Gates. She has neither the time, the finances, the contacts, nor the education. If her circumstances improve it will most likely be due to general macroeconomic forces way beyond her control. Despite the myth propagated by media trumpeted rags-to-riches stories, studies have shown that social class is largely an inherited, fixed, generation to generation affair... social mobility is not as fluid as we like to think, even in the West. We like to console ourselves by trying to shift blame for poverty on to the  moral failures or laziness of the individual rather than taking a look at the deeper structural, systemic reasons. The reality is that capitalism needs an underclass; it creates an underclass. It can never make us all middle class, let alone rich. The odd handful of feel good rags-to-riches stories doesn't change that reality. And ever since the era of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher wealth has been trickling upward toward those already at the top of the socio-economic scale, not downward... the average disparity in income is increasing in our society, and with it the constraints on the ability of millions to exercise free will in their lives. One can talk philosophically about free will but for millions on our planet it is a very real cold hard fact that confronts them in their lives every day.

Meanwhile, some constraints are shared by a group collectively in common whilst some are specific to the circumstances of the individual.

I do think that we tend to believe (or perhaps reassure ourselves) that we exercise more free will in our lives than we really do.
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Online tinam7

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Re: Free Will (Poll)
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2014, 08:33:14 AM »
There is man's intrinsic nature (out for Self) and Nature's urge to reproduce and survive.

This does not answer the poll because I would need to put the question into some context. A lovely discussion.
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Offline GenSec

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Re: Free Will (Poll)
« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2014, 09:23:36 AM »
I'm not seeking to deny that poverty has always existed - thats not what the topic of discussion is here. But my statement about the poverty gap widening since the 1980's is valid. Previous to this the gap in income disparity was decreasing. The period after WW2 was the height of the so-called 'American Dream' for this very reason. There were greater economic opportunities for Americans in general. That period came to an end in the 1980's and since then economic disparities are increasing. Social mobility is declining (even Republicans who so love the current "system" do not deny this fact). That has consequences for the free will of millions.

I see little preposterous in what was written. Actually, you have misjudged me; i am not seeking to legitimise the system. I do not see it as inherent, natural, nor inevitable. I am certainly not seeking to justify a "system". What i am doing is describing the system that exists whether you like it or not. It exists. We live in it. That is the reality. We can wake up one morning and in our infinite genius decide that the system no longer exists, that if i wish it away and see through it then its gone; but you tell that to someone who labours in a sweatshop in Bangladesh for dollar a day. For them the system is VERY real and they are trapped in it. No amount of intellectual flights of fancy will free them from it nor wish it away. To attempt to do so would really be to delude oneself or, to use your words, to be "divided from reality".

Quote
all the land and food man can find is his by birth-right.

Again, we must not confuse what we want to see with the reality of our current circumstances. I'm afraid that this is nothing more than an ideal you've expressed. Try to put it into practice and you'll soon realise the very real reality of "the system".

It also seems to contradict your earlier comment on poverty being the reality of man's existence since the days of Babylon... after all, if we did live according to this ideal you've expressed of all land, property and the requirements for life being everyone in common equally by inherent birth-right, would we have poverty? According to Karl Marx and his later followers, no.

We don't have to like 'the system'; we don't have to agree with it. But whether we like it or no, its a very real force in our lives that affects our ability to exercise free will in our own personal lives. It is our current reality, not an invented one.

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this is the prerequisite to enslaving a species

Purely out of curiosity, if a species is enslaved then there must be a slave owner... so who do you reckon is attempting to enslave us? :winking0008:
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Offline GenSec

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Re: Free Will (Poll)
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2014, 09:39:33 AM »
There is man's intrinsic nature (out for Self) and Nature's urge to reproduce and survive.

This does not answer the poll because I would need to put the question into some context. A lovely discussion.

This too should make us ask how much free will we really have in our lives. ::)

With so many people getting married, having children, even that little joy seems to be biologically preprogrammed into us. :laugh3: The only exercise in free will we make is to either buck the trend, or in our choice of mate. But it seems that even love if not an exercise in free will.

Perhaps choosing not to have children is the ultimate defiance of nature's hold over us, haha. Although even if we manage to overcome our biological impulses we then we have to face the judgement of wider society in exercising that particular choice - this is particularly the case for the ladies. Despite living in a free society its still taboo in many social circles even today to opt never to marry nor have kids, even though there is no shortage of humans on the planet and what we do with our own personal lives should be entirely our own business. Even the unspoken social norms and taboos which most people unquestioningly live their lives so as to 'fit in', so as to avoid the dreaded label of 'loser' from their peers so that we can claim to have successfully 'made it' in life impacts on our ability to exercise free will.

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Offline Lunatone

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Re: Free Will (Poll)
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2014, 10:49:13 PM »
From our point of view, both states would appear identical.
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Offline Potatoes

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Re: Free Will (Poll)
« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2014, 12:52:50 PM »
But what would account for free-will... just the act of free thought or the action of following through with it? When I said that it doesn't exist, I suppose it is limited free-will. I could state that I wanted to fly right now, but I'm not going to flap my arms and defy gravity, so is that an infraction on free-will? We are in within limitations of those who govern us, but the guy who sit in the big chair at the top of the chain, does he in-fact have free-will when he has the pressure of everyone else in his position?

This is deep. when I have time i want to read through everyones posts! Thanks.
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Centuries are what it meant to me,
A cemetery where I marry the sea.

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