The illusion of free will - Sam Harris

Jeremy F Kreuz

Dagobah Resident
I watched a presentation by Sam Harris on the illusion of free will - based on his recent book ´free will ´ and thought it had many points in common with the points being discussed on the forum on cognitive science.

the presentation can be watched here:

http://keentalks.com/illusion-free-will/
 

Kisito

Jedi Council Member
I was always sad with the free will, Laura's readings tended to put this obvious fact suspends it. Because I was persuaded that the past was determined and that it was enough of time so that the future finds itself in past and what it becomes definite. I had concluded that from it the future gave us the illusion of a free will because we don't know it. Yet(now) in time everything comes out and the future was determined to become past, thus determined. However Sam Harris's thesis specialist in neurosciences leaning on this science doesn't prove either that the free will doesn't exist.

Observations made by means of the magnetic resonance imaging determined this: the cervical machine makes "its" decision from 300 milliseconds till 10 seconds before it reaches(affects) the conscious level. Harris concludes that from it " our decisions are not of our manufacturing ". Of billion information never reach(affect) our consciousness... It effectively would question the free will, if we leave the postulate which the man has only a body. Except what we call consciousness, is only a level little raised(little brought up) by our consciousness, because according to chakras for some we shall possess seven bodies and seven states of consciousness, and it not very probable that we become aware of the last one. Place where the real decisions of the free will would be taken...
 

Artex

Jedi
I'm late to this particular party, as I'd set aside contemplating free will. I just assumed I had it, until I read Harris's book. Even then it remained a concept, until the "choose a city/movie" thought experiment. Pick any city or movie title, and realize that any title or city you know that didn't occur to you to choose means you were not free to choose it. Why would some names occur to you and not others? Is this really evidence that we don't have free will, or does our freedom happen "above" our conscious state? Is our higher self practicing free will and we simply aren't aware of it until we "wake up?"
 

Joe

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I'm late to this particular party, as I'd set aside contemplating free will. I just assumed I had it, until I read Harris's book. Even then it remained a concept, until the "choose a city/movie" thought experiment. Pick any city or movie title, and realize that any title or city you know that didn't occur to you to choose means you were not free to choose it. Why would some names occur to you and not others? Is this really evidence that we don't have free will, or does our freedom happen "above" our conscious state? Is our higher self practicing free will and we simply aren't aware of it until we "wake up?"

That simply means that the amount of free will you have is determined by the amount of information you have and then your ability to apply it which turns it into knowledge. So we can ditch the term free will and replace it with information/knowledge. So Harris' idea that we have no free will (it's not really his of course, and has been pondered for millennia) is the same as saying we do not have unlimited information/knowledge, which isn't exactly a ground-breaking statement, but rather self-evident. Of course, it doesn't mean we have NO information/knowledge, just that it's limited, and we can gain more through effort. So saying we have no free will is actually totally wrong, we have limited free will, which isn't a fundamentally bad thing, because the whole point of growing is growth in knowledge. If you already had unlimited knowledge, you might not be motivated to do much.
 

Artex

Jedi
I have come here seeking knowledge. :) I have begun applying the Cs distinction between information and knowledge starting several months ago. What a difference that makes!

I agree that having unlimited knowledge would be much like having the cheat code for a video game. Without a struggle, you learn more slowly, while at the same time, if one has unlimited knowledge it may indicate that one is hanging out in the wrong density.
 

Cosmos

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It is kind of ironic to me that Sam Harris, one of the most outspoken/famous atheist out there, is similarly outspoken about the fact that he likes to meditate a lot and recommends it also to pretty much everyone around, including many high profile and hard core atheists, many of whom seem to derive many benefits from it.


Jordan Peterson take on many "atheists/materialists"comes to mind right there, in that they don't act and behave like atheists at all, even though they think they do. Many act and behave as though they truly believe that "god", something "higher" or "spiritual" exists, even though they deny it as hard as they can.

I'm sure Harris and others like him explain their fascination and benefit they derive from meditation on purely physical brain/body based actions. Guess what, maybe not!
 
I think the same concept about Thruth fits on Free Will.

Truth is Relative.
Free Will is Relative.

.. I was persuaded that the past was determined and that it was enough of time so that the future finds itself in past and what it becomes definite.

This is Ok from karmic point of view, because the past have a bag full of (Experimented) experiences while about future (counter-part) the bag is empty, so the (quality and quantity of bag full) Past determine the complementary opposed (bag empty) to fix karma and become (balanced) dharma.

Worth to add that it's (very) rare a individual walk through this straight line, as he usually is unaware of the unexplored (empty) areas. Master direction is determined by polarizing accumulated karma, but the path to be followed is never wholly or exclusively a straight line, so free will is relative.

That simply means that the amount of free will you have is determined by the amount of information you have and then your ability to apply it which turns it into knowledge.

The Bag Full == amount of information you have + ability to apply it.

This (Joe) quoted post was very nice. Individuals are micro-parts of Cosmic Macro-Mechanism so (being individuals), none of them have all the information about the Macro-Cosmos, because they are (specialized evolutionary) micro-parts (of Cosmos). So that, the individuals Free Will is Relative (to individuals).

be aware of this individuality is the aim of each (soul) consciousness, so from the perspective of individuals, in itself they aim to be micro-cosmos aware of itself, to (everybody) fill the Macro-Cosmos (of itselves).

The Truth of Cosmos (or micro-cosmos) its Relative to (knowledge of) each one, so Free Will must be analog approach.

The tricky is (cosmos) Universe is always changing, so Its Relative.
 

Windmill knight

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This is the only thread I found about Sam Harris, so I'm posting this here. Harris had a recent interview and he made some stunning remarks in there that have gone viral. And when I say 'stunning', I mean he sounds like a total idiot. I admit I used to have some sympathy for his 'rational atheist ethics' (though not share it), having watched him on debates with Jordan Peterson. Now it seems that whatever rationality he had, it's deteriorated badly. I mean, when I first read the headline I totally thought he was being sarcastic - turns out he wasn't. My wife says he sounds like he's high or something. He reminds me of Richard Dawkins as well. Harris actually said something in the interview about Heaven not existing 'because you can't find it with a telescope'. And for a 'rational' guy, he's a totally anti-Trump fanatic. He's the 'dumbest smart person' out there, as Jimmy Dore put it.

I guess this just proves that one cannot have a solid ethical stance (and rationality) and keep it without any sort of spiritual basis.



Here's his self-defense:

 

100c

Jedi
If our "conscious" decisions reach our awareness after they've already been initiated, then what can we conclude about that?
A) free will doesn't exist
B) our "conscious" selves aren't the ones making the decisions but perhaps our higher selves or something else.
C...) there are many other possible conclusions to this set of observations...
 

Alejo

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A perfect depiction of what Andrew Lobaczewski calls a paramoralism, the most upsetting things is that Harris comes out and pretends to be super objective and have no bias, but he's clearly left leaning.

But he's so intelligent, that he's able to honestly say to himself that he wouldn't care if Hunter Biden had corpses of children in his basement, and he would ignore that story IF it meant that doing so would ensure a Trump defeat.

That is, justifying a crime, or an immoral act, in the name of defeating the declared enemy.

And the interviewers simply look like "thank you for saying that!! yes Trump sucks!", awful.
 

mkrnhr

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Harris is a perfect illustration of what it is to be articulate but unintelligent, or in other words high-IQ and stupid. It looks like most of the so-called neo-atheists fall into this category for some reason. In fact, listening to him is painful. I've seen somewhere that he was fully on-board with the covid injections and the global warming agendas, and given the shallowness of his thinking (and the scientism he disguises as science), it wouldn't surprise if he starts endorsing transhumanism or some nonsense of that nature any time soon.
 

Glenn

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Yep. Thing is, I know people that repeat all of their arguments practically verbatim. They appeal to a certain type that wants simple answers to these complex issues. Another one that I hear quoted a lot is Neil deGrasse Tyson. He seems to be serving the same purpose.
 

Henchman 21

Jedi Master
I’m speaking out of my depth or out of my pay grade as the saying goes, but I wonder if his arguments for free will being non existent are basically true from his perspective as he may have forfeited much of his free will in favor of more or less being a bot. His unhinged rant certainly leads me to believe that he is incapable of simple thought but whatever program he is running can sure take up hours of pseudo intelligent ramblings. 🤣🤮
 

United Gnosis

Jedi Council Member
I wonder if his arguments for free will being non existent are basically true from his perspective as he may have forfeited much of his free will in favor of more or less being a bot.
well, by definition, the more one defines themselves as a strictly rational being, the more they make themselves into a bot.

In Harris' case, just like in Dawkins' case imho, or that WEF henchman who spoke of humans as programmable machines - it's not that they're wrong, it's that they only know what's within their own purview.
 

Yupo

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Harris is a perfect illustration of what it is to be articulate but unintelligent, or in other words high-IQ and stupid. It looks like most of the so-called neo-atheists fall into this category for some reason. In fact, listening to him is painful. I've seen somewhere that he was fully on-board with the covid injections and the global warming agendas, and given the shallowness of his thinking (and the scientism he disguises as science), it wouldn't surprise if he starts endorsing transhumanism or some nonsense of that nature any time soon.
Nassim Taleb has an expression for these people: IYIs (intellectuals, yet idiots). He goes on about them (and their systems) in a lot of his books, says he feels free to do so only because he has independent sources of wealth. He wrote Antifragile, Skin in the Game and The Black Swan. Nassim Nicholas Taleb - Wikipedia
 
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