Free will question?

alkhemst

Dagobah Resident
So what I understand about what I've read here about Gurdjieff is how I'm in mechanical mode most of the time. So I'm running via my own programs and I can only stop doing that when I recognize a program or an aspect of one. So at the point of seeing this program in myself, I activate my free will because the realization of the existence of that program itself is not part of that programming and neither is choosing another course of action based on that realization.

So then the realization is one part of free will but acting on that solidifies and demonstrates the extent of that realization or in other words makes it real. So then free will is born out of the realization but doesn't end there because my programming can catch up with that as it might feel too hard or I'm afraid and I'd go back into denial of this realization and that in itself is like a self regulation mechanism of programming anyway. So free will is actually fulfilled by action that is taken despite the control mechanisms of fear for example. And so with such actions taken and seeing that the things we perceived would occur, don't (in the exact way we feared they would), we overcome fear because we see that it is not real. And so action also circumvents the control / regulation mechanisms of our programs.

While I acknowledge my limited knowledge in this area, would you say that's right or makes sense?

Feedback very welcome and appreciated, thanks!

(no debating from me this time)
 

shijing

The Living Force
alkhemst said:
So what I understand about what I've read here about Gurdjieff is how I'm in mechanical mode most of the time. So I'm running via my own programs and I can only stop doing that when I recognize a program or an aspect of one. So at the point of seeing this program in myself, I activate my free will because the realization of the existence of that program itself is not part of that programming and neither is choosing another course of action based on that realization.

In my current understanding, that would be correct. Awareness of a program is one form of knowledge, which always increases your range of options (freedom).
 

SeekinTruth

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Yeah, that sounds about right to me too. It doesn't make it any easier to do, but with more and more realizations and more and more efforts, it does seem to become somewhat easier over "time."
 

Nienna

SuperModerator
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Alkhemst, maybe you would find this interesting about free will? It's from the Cassiopedia.

The question of free will has many levels. At the level of the universe, we could say that the only reason why anything exists is free will. The creative will of the All mediates between the thought centers of being and non-being, creating a dance of all possible forms.

As the initial impulse of creative will descends from the unconditioned realms of creation towards materiality, it gets diluted, more mechanical and determined at each level.

Tradition, as transmitted by Gurdjieff and Mouravieff, even as reflected in the Bible, suggests that the logos or creative will of the Absolute is the impulse behind all which is. The Cassiopaeans and Ra define free will as the first universal principle.

Strict determinists are the only ones who completely deny free will.

The concept of free will becomes much more ambiguous when applied at the human level. We could postulate that anything with some degree of consciousness somehow retains some spark of the uncreated, primordial free will. If this were not so, we could not define concepts of responsibility, which after all are central to any ethics. For this reason, pretty much all religious systems recognize some degree of free will, no matter how they otherwise may tend to restrict this.

Gurdjieff's description of the default state of man is nearly behavioristic, involving next to no free will. Still, Gurdjieff's whole work strives towards opening a window through which this free will might manifest. In this sense, Gurdjieff is diametrically and fundamentally opposed to any deterministic school of thought.

The greatest problem for manifested free will at the human level is that man is not one: One I wills, another does not, a third is not even aware of the whole question.

In Life Is Only Real Then When I Am, Gurdjieff introduces the dictum 'I Am, I Can, I Wish.' From the book:

'Only such a man, when he consciously says "I am"-he really is; "I can"-he really can; "I wish"-he really wishes. When "I wish"-I feel with my whole being that I wish, and can wish. This does not mean that I want, that I need, that I like or, lastly, that I desire. No. "I wish." I never like, never want, I do not desire anything and I do not need anything-all this is slavery; if "I wish" something, I must like it, even if I do not like it. I can wish to like it, because "I can." I wish-I feel with my whole body that I wish. I wish-because I can wish.' [End quote]

Free will has nothing to do with desires, it is unconditioned, it is for its own sake, yet it is not arbitrary or random, it may have a direction which is a reason unto itself. The free will possible to man in this sense is far from the possibility of arbitrary indulgence which is often the only thing modern Western discourse understands with freedom.
 

Laura

Administrator
Administrator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
Usually, spotting a programmed response (realizing that System 1 is in charge) doesn't necessarily make it easy to do anything differently - not at first. You have to spot it a number of times, learn its nuances, and build up a certain force that comes with seeing it in order to do otherwise. It's kind of like the idea of practicing shooting baskets in the mind helping the actual physical action. You spot the program/reaction, and each time, you go through in your mind what it is, where it comes from, what it does, how harmful it can be (all of which has to be worked out over time), and what would be a better way to react/perceive. Then, one day, you actually catch the program/perception before it begins... and consciously decide to do/be otherwise.

Like: "every time that topic comes up, I know that I get tense and reactive, I feel angry and defensive, and I start talking too much and say things that make people angry at me." So, if you've gotten that far, the next step would be: "Oh, there is that topic that I always react to but I think I'm going to pass on reacting this time and just observe how it makes me feel to say nothing..."

That sort of thing.
 

bngenoh

The Living Force
Laura said:
Usually, spotting a programmed response (realizing that System 1 is in charge) doesn't necessarily make it easy to do anything differently - not at first. You have to spot it a number of times, learn its nuances, and build up a certain force that comes with seeing it in order to do otherwise. It's kind of like the idea of practicing shooting baskets in the mind helping the actual physical action. You spot the program/reaction, and each time, you go through in your mind what it is, where it comes from, what it does, how harmful it can be (all of which has to be worked out over time), and what would be a better way to react/perceive. Then, one day, you actually catch the program/perception before it begins... and consciously decide to do/be otherwise.
Yes this is exactly how it is happening in my case.
alkhemst said:
So then the realization is one part of free will but acting on that solidifies and demonstrates the extent of that realization or in other words makes it real. So then free will is born out of the realization but doesn't end there because my programming can catch up with that as it might feel too hard or I'm afraid and I'd go back into denial of this realization and that in itself is like a self regulation mechanism of programming anyway. So free will is actually fulfilled by action that is taken despite the control mechanisms of fear for example. And so with such actions taken and seeing that the things we perceived would occur, don't (in the exact way we feared they would), we overcome fear because we see that it is not real. And so action also circumvents the control / regulation mechanisms of our programs.
What i put in bold above is what i am going to comment on based on my observations of the subroutines that make up the programming in my mind. What i have noted is that the programs in and of themselves cannot create anything, they are limited to material that has been experienced. The predator uses the remembering self's inner narrative to subtly change the "trajectory" of intentions and data from within and without, into thought loops, wishful thinking, etc.

When you have noted it's machinations, you realize that habits of thought are really what distinguishes humans from each other. This foreign installation has a limited set of tricks, no matter the superficial facade that it tries to use to mask itself, it does not and cannot learn any new tricks osit. So the more you SEE this dynamic, and consciously strive to give what is asked for by a lie, the truth the more you can and do SEE. Thus the greater one's freewill, ie the less mechanical, that is habitual one's thoughts become. It actually gets pretty fun, it's like a game, you learn to sense "it" beginning to move, it's clunky and heavy machinery starting up. Depending on how far along one is, one can stop it at this point if one so CHOOSES.

But that is the point of your post isn't it. Freewill = The ability to choose
 

mb

The Living Force
Laura said:
Usually, spotting a programmed response (realizing that System 1 is in charge) doesn't necessarily make it easy to do anything differently - not at first. You have to spot it a number of times, learn its nuances, and build up a certain force that comes with seeing it in order to do otherwise...

That describes what I have experienced as well. Non-judgmental "spotting" seems to work best. You just notice it.

I am seeing some possible connections that the books have not highlighted, at least not that I recall. The book How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer brings out the role of emotion in making decisions. People that don't experience emotion due to a neurological condition can't make decisions either. I suspect that there is a decision component to the "spotting" process, and that the cues may be emotional in nature. The decision lies in recognizing a pattern and acting upon that recognition, something the book deals with extensively.

If the emotional response is a "visceral" one, that could especially interesting. I believe Lehrer does discuss this type of cue, but I am also thinking that "visceral" probably means a feeling communicated by the vagus nerve. Where that would lead, I don't know. But just starting to notice how my decision making process is emotionally triggered is a revelation to me, and I think it might reveal something about how to spot one's own behavior patterns. It's an interesting book.
 

bngenoh

The Living Force
Megan said:
That describes what I have experienced as well. Non-judgmental "spotting" seems to work best. You just notice it.

I am seeing some possible connections that the books have not highlighted, at least not that I recall. The book How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer brings out the role of emotion in making decisions. People that don't experience emotion due to a neurological condition can't make decisions either. I suspect that there is a decision component to the "spotting" process, and that the cues may be emotional in nature. The decision lies in recognizing a pattern and acting upon that recognition, something the book deals with extensively.
Exactly Megan,

Emotion seems to be at once the substrate, and origin state of what is translated into thought. Which the preadator vectors into it's structure, producing thought loops, which lead to habits of thought, which become actions. Then the inner narritive takes this as "you," osit. This brings to mind the importance of EE, to release, heal, and uncover traumas that have happened to us.
Megan said:
If the emotional response is a "visceral" one, that could especially interesting. I believe Lehrer does discuss this type of cue, but I am also thinking that "visceral" probably means a feeling communicated by the vagus nerve. Where that would lead, I don't know. But just starting to notice how my decision making process is emotionally triggered is a revelation to me, and I think it might reveal something about how to spot one's own behavior patterns. It's an interesting book.
What you said about visceral and being communicated by the vagus nerve is very interesting because that is one of the observations i have made. More data gathering through observation and analysis will tell the meaning if any of this.

The book sounds interesting, maybe you could do a review for the forum with excerpts that you find particularly worthy, as i am not in the financial position to buy purchase anything at the moment and there are probably others in the same position. Only if you are able though.
 
G

Gertrudes

Guest
Megan said:
I am seeing some possible connections that the books have not highlighted, at least not that I recall. The book How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer brings out the role of emotion in making decisions. People that don't experience emotion due to a neurological condition can't make decisions either. I suspect that there is a decision component to the "spotting" process, and that the cues may be emotional in nature. The decision lies in recognizing a pattern and acting upon that recognition, something the book deals with extensively.

If the emotional response is a "visceral" one, that could especially interesting. I believe Lehrer does discuss this type of cue, but I am also thinking that "visceral" probably means a feeling communicated by the vagus nerve. Where that would lead, I don't know. But just starting to notice how my decision making process is emotionally triggered is a revelation to me, and I think it might reveal something about how to spot one's own behavior patterns. It's an interesting book.

Daniel Goleman also explores the role of emotion in decisions. He has a couple of books on emotional intelligence, and there is a thread, The Amygdala Hijack and more, that starts with a link to one of his talks.

One thing that I remember having stood out for me at the time I watched it, was an example he gave of a patient of another colleague of his who, due to an accident, had a damaged connection between the amygdala and his pre frontal cortex. The amygdala is associated with our emotional centre in the brain, and this patient was completely unable to make a decision, even on the most random matters. Because he lacked that emotional component everything was analytically measured, and he simply couldn't decide what to follow, since again, he lacked what seems to prompt decision: a connection to his emotions. I'm unsure now of whether he actually felt emotions and simply couldn't interpret them, or whether they had become absent.

SeekinTruth said:
Yeah, that sounds about right to me too. It doesn't make it any easier to do, but with more and more realizations and more and more efforts, it does seem to become somewhat easier over "time."

I agree, it seems to build strength like a muscle that is exercised.
I would also add what seems to me to be a very important step, the fight against the wants, needs, desires of whatever our first and most immediate impulses dictate (and that most often have no resemblance whatsoever to our real aims). In other words, doing the opposite of "it" wants.
 

mb

The Living Force
bngenoh said:
...The book sounds interesting, maybe you could do a review for the forum with excerpts that you find particularly worthy, as i am not in the financial position to buy purchase anything at the moment and there are probably others in the same position. Only if you are able though.

It is interesting. The author draws upon other author's materials, but I found his presentation very helpful. He does go into details of brain function, which I appreciate, but I don't recall that he says anything about the vagus nerve. Researchers often don't seem to think about the system as a whole -- there seems to be a bias toward thinking that everything important happens in the "thinking part" -- the brain. And the polyvagal theory with all its implications has yet to catch on with a lot of them.

The reason I don't review books more often is that my eyesight is poor and I do most of my reading using audiobooks. To prepare a review in a reasonable amount of time I would have to buy a Kindle copy (if available) in addition to the audiobook and I read a lot of books, so I don't do that often. Actual "print" books are a big problem, and I am just very glad that some of them like The 5th Option are printed using a decent font size!
 

mb

The Living Force
Gertrudes said:
...Daniel Goleman also explores the role of emotion in decisions. He has a couple of books on emotional intelligence, and there is a thread, The Amygdala Hijack and more, that starts with a link to one of his talks...

That is interesting too. There seems to be some overlap with Mark Goulston's Just Listen. Goulston discusses the amygdala hijack and how to steer around it when dealing with stressed out people. He perhaps borrows the term from Goleman or some other source.

If you have issues with the amygdala hijack -- and I have experienced them a number of times in the past -- you have to learn to see it coming and head it off before it actually happens. Once hijacked, it is almost too late -- you can no longer reason normally. I say "almost" because there is something -- I don't know what -- that can be used to at least restrain the hijack while it is in progress, but it is dangerous territory to be in nevertheless. There has to be some part of you that isn't "hijackable" and I suspect that perhaps not everyone possesses or can command that resource.
 

SeekinTruth

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Megan said:
Gertrudes said:
...Daniel Goleman also explores the role of emotion in decisions. He has a couple of books on emotional intelligence, and there is a thread, The Amygdala Hijack and more, that starts with a link to one of his talks...

That is interesting too. There seems to be some overlap with Mark Goulston's Just Listen. Goulston discusses the amygdala hijack and how to steer around it when dealing with stressed out people. He perhaps borrows the term from Goleman or some other source.

If you have issues with the amygdala hijack -- and I have experienced them a number of times in the past -- you have to learn to see it coming and head it off before it actually happens. Once hijacked, it is almost too late -- you can no longer reason normally. I say "almost" because there is something -- I don't know what -- that can be used to at least restrain the hijack while it is in progress, but it is dangerous territory to be in nevertheless. There has to be some part of you that isn't "hijackable" and I suspect that perhaps not everyone possesses or can command that resource.


Yes, I agree -- I've had similar experiences in the past. It's gotten SO much better with EE, the diet, and the Work. I'm wondering if the diet was the missing link in terms of hormonal imbalances, etc. that made it so much harder in the past?
 

Menna

The Living Force
How can one catch a program (Completely) before it begins. Wouldn't that be the equivlent of not having any programs? how do you prevent, recognize or stop something before it begins how do you know THAT is what was going to begin?

I think you can lesson the frequency of the programs through objective awareness of what is/knowledge but If you notice a program then it has already begun. It is at the very least taking your attention away from the present moment because you are noticing it you are noticing something in your inner world that takes part of yur perception away from the outer world...You arent catching it before it begins it has begun.

This is my experience. I would love to be told. "O no you can prevent them completely" if thats the case point me in that direction.
 

Laura

Administrator
Administrator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
Menna said:
How can one catch a program (Completely) before it begins. Wouldn't that be the equivlent of not having any programs? how do you prevent, recognize or stop something before it begins how do you know THAT is what was going to begin?

First you acquire some level of knowledge about what programs are, what they look like, how they work. That is the knowledge in the books we recommend here. Then, you accept theoretically, that you are little more than a series of programs and routines that run mechanically and you begin to observe yourself until you begin to see this in yourself. Indeed, some people never can because they don't appear to have an "observing part" of the self that is necessary for this work. As Gurdjieff puts it, some people are machines with no "essence." The Cs describe them as Organic Portals.

Some of the psychology books we read and discuss may assume nothing but mechanical actions exist - "Thinking, fast and slow..." for example, where he divides the self into System 1 and System 2, and proposes that both are basically mechanical. Doesn't matter, the information he gives about how the systems work can be very useful to you in understanding how little actual control you have of your thinking/emotions/reactions.
 

Menna

The Living Force
I will have to admit I have been able to gain control over the action part. I think about something, feel the emotion (thats when I recognize its a program) and then I DON"T react to that emotion or try to react in a different way then I feel (don't know if its better to just not react let it pass). But what I ment before is that the thinking./emotion part is part of the program and if more knowledge and growth in being will enable me to be at a level where I get to the point where I can notice the thinking and not allow the emotion to come up or not think about it at all then thats great news as when I feel the emotion and the effort it takes to not react to it is draining its a draining process. So to even have the possibily of awareness where you can notice yourself and catch yourself before a thought starts is great news

Next book I buy will be Daniel Kahneman's Thanks
 
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