Take the Free Will Challenge and Win

128 is low, but probably passable. 256 is certainly better, 512 nice but not necessary. I have 1024, but I do audio/video editing and multimedia stuff, etc., and games.

Upping your ram won't increase your download speed. Probably. You never know with computers, but . . .

If you wanted to increase your ram, you would need to buy a "stick" of it. Which kind depends on your motherboard. Or you could ask a geeky friend to do it.

RealPlayer: don't recommend it. Avoid. Quicktime or Windows Media Player is the way to go.

Hey Buddy, do me a favor: go to http://www.numion.com/YourSpeed/. Make sure "Measure your speed to websites in: " is set to "The World", and then click on "Start!" Then give me the "Throughput" numbers. FYI, my numbers were:

Throughput: 58386 Bps / 467 kbps


  • edited August 2005
    Here is a little experiment / survey for anyone interested in investigating their personal life in order to either affirm or negate the existence of free will. This project fits right in with Buddha's path as it will require right mindfulness, right attentiveness, right effort, and right concentration. To either affirm or negate what is happening at moments of decision requires a moment-to-moment awareness of the flow of life - meditation! This challenge also requires the suspension of preconceptions in order to evaluate the evidence evenly. I said it was a challenge! :)

    We're able to imagine scenarios and options that we can take or leave. We're also able to imagine ourselves choosing the 'best' one and doing it.

    We assume that these two abilities are real. We prove they are through experience. For example, I can imagine wanting a glass of water and going to the kitchen to get it. If I now stand up and do this, I have proven to myself I can freely choose. Multiply this scenarios countless times throughout a lifetime and it is little wonder that we assume free will is real. However, is it that simple?

    What about those times when, despite our intentions, we fail to carry through and act accordingly? This could indicate that we have free will sometimes, but not always. Why not always? When we are unable to actually carry out our 'best' choices, we find excuses - the devil, karma, desire, insanity, drugs, laziness,... whatever. I suppose this implies that if it weren't for these hindrances, our actions would conform perfectly with our 'best choices'.

    My personal observations reveal that the only time action conforms to 'best choice' is when need is driving the intention. It is not enough for me to simply 'know better' and imagine doing it. Imagination without an underlying emotional need is impotent.

    Thus, in my view, free will requires emotional energy to activate 'choice'. Without this, our 'choices' remain unfulfilled dreams. This brings us to the next question: do we have control over our emotions. Can we snap our fingers and extinguish the feeling of anger, hate, love, lust, thirst, fear, jealousy, ambition, aggression, and so on? Likewise, can we snap our fingers and invoke these emotions that are presently absent?

    Well, can we? While doubtful, we can manage these emotions to some extent. For example, let's say I'm angry and feel like hitting you, but I also fear being arrested for assault and battery. I'm feeling two opposing needs - one to hit, one to avoid jail. What will I 'choose' to do? My strongest emotional need will 'choose' what I do. If I need to hit you more than I fear going to jail, I'll hit you. If I fear going to jail more than I need to hit you, I'll refrain. Isn't it as simple as that? Take the challenge and see.

    The Challenge - Step I
    First, see how these four statements sit with you by answering true or false.

    1) The only time action conforms to 'choice' is when need is driving the intention. It is not enough to simply 'know better'. Intention without need is impotent.
    [true] [false]

    2) We cannot snap our fingers to either extinguish or evoke real feelings of need, hate, love, jealousy, lust, thirst, anger, fear, ambition, aggression, or contentment.
    [true] [false]

    3) Given two needs, the strongest one determines action.
    [true] [false]

    4) Given two differing needs of rather equal strength, 'choice' becomes nearly impossible.
    [true] [false]

    Challenge - Step II
    The balance of emotions, needs and fears, determine action, as the statements above indicate. In my view, anyone can either prove or refute this by carefully noticing the moment to moment flow of their life's activities, both large and small. So here you go...For one day, one hour, or even just 15 minutes, evaluate each 'choice' you make by answering the following questions:

    1) Was there a need that motivated the action? What was the need?

    2) If you experienced two needs at the same time, try to go with the lesser need. Were you able to?

    3) During the time period, did you do anything that had no need behind it? What was that? Is there really no need attached?

    4) Right now can you arouse the following emotions toward our current president: hate, love, jealousy, lust, anger, and fear? Can you stir up enough emotion to need to do something like send him fan letter and/or some hate mail?

    5) Number 4 was difficult! Here's an easy one - make yourself feel thirsty. Can you stir up enough thirst to need to get a drink? Do you feel enough need to actually get up and drink?

    Any Conclusions?
    So what do you think? I'd love to hear the results from anyone courageous enough to attempt this challenge! I'm only half kidding about the courage part. It does take courage to watch ourselves honestly.
  • edited December 1969
    The Origin of Free Will - (I thought I'd move this over here to put all the free will stuff in one place )

    There certainly is will. For example, I will keep writing this until I've made myself clear. Ha, Good luck! I could also say it this way... I must or need to keep writing this... etc. Furthermore, the days will grow shorter and the birds will fly south.

    Where does free enter into this? If I am choosing what I need to do, how is that free? What does free mean anyway? Ok, the dictionary put it this way... free > adj. 1. not under the control or in the power of another. Another what? A person or natural force, like need? There are about 9 other definitions, but they all agree with the first. If free is meant as nothing more than not under the control of another person as in slavery, then, end of discussion. I can go along with that. But, of course it doesn't end there!

    Taken more broadly, free will implies that we are not under the control or in the power of ... let's say need. So, if I ever do something that I don't feel I need to do, then I'm using free will, eh? But, I have never experienced that phenomenon. Every action I take has a certain degree of need driving it. I need to scratch my nose, I need to vote for so and so, I need to eat less, I need to practice, be careful, sleep, wake up... need, need, need drives it all. So, there is something else going on with the free angle on will? Allow me muse...

    1. We can imagine what we could, should, or might do, and assume that this imagined ideal can, in fact, be implemented. This assumption gives us a certain sense of control over life, while those dumb animal are all just being driven by instinct. Aren't we special 8) . This helps boost this assumption into a firm belief, I suppose.

    2. We can reflect back on what we did and think about how we should, could, or might have done differently :oops:. Seeing the possibility makes it so in our belief, I suppose. Seeing is believing.

    3. The projection of what we think (need) others should, could, might do :idea:. We give advice, for example, "All you need to do is just say NO!" It is incredibly easy to notice other peoples actions and imagine the 'ideal' alternative for them. Being in this position of 'superior wisdom' boosts our ego. We know better than they do, but they can come up to 'snuff' if they choose to. This allows us to feel superior, while at the same time acknowledging 'they' can do it too, if they choose to. Just, snap your fingers and bingo!

    4. Then, of course, free will is an essential part of the Judeo-Christian-Islamic paradigm. God created us in his image and gave us free will to choose between 'right' and 'wrong' :?.

    Thinking, and by extension speech, sure plays a large role in our notions about free will :!:. Ok, now tell me where I'm going wrong here... :lol: (besides using too many little faces)
  • edited December 1969
    Is no one's taking the free will challenge? Is it that tough? :shock:
    Anyway, I'll add three recent observations to what may become my 'free will blog' page... :lol:

    * A belief in 'free will' is essential in order to claim merit for our [chref=34]accomplishments[/chref].
    Free will not only allows us to claim [chref=24]merit[/chref] for the good that we believe we do, but also affords us the means to condemn others for the [chref=2]bad[/chref] we believe they do. Without free will, we are reduced to taking the [chref=61]lower position[/chref], and becoming [chref=22]One [/chref] (with Nature) like the rest of earth's [chref=51]myriad creatures[/chref]. The irony here is that becoming One with [chref=39]the One[/chref] is a universal ideal. :?

    * The Profit and Loss Incentive Of Free Will.
    The profit incentive helps drive the myth of free will. The benefit we gain is a boost in pride, and social merit. The flip side is our fear of losing same. If I praise your good work, I am implying that you are in control. If I blame you for your mistakes, I am implying that you are in control. The myth of free will is a cog in the machine of social interaction.

    This fundamental social function of free will lends itself to financial and political profit. If I want you to 'buy' my solution to your problem, I need you to believe that you have the power to choose to implement my solution. If I promise you change for the better, I need you to believe that you have the power to bring that change about. How popular would my advice be if I were to tell you that [chref=70]my words are very easy to understand and very easy to put into practice, yet no one in the world can understand them or put them into practice [/chref]

    As with all myth, there is an sliver of truth behind it. For example, if I build a better mouse trap, and you buy it, it will work. Tools empower us to do what we could not otherwise do. Subliminally this leads us to feel we have more real control than we do. A motorcycle exemplifies this well. It conveys to the rider a sense of power and control. I imagine this illusion of power and control will only increase as technology advances.

    * The belief in free will props up the illusion of self.
    Galileo's difficulties with the Church were caused by the disconnect between what people believed and reality, e.g., earth was not the center of the universe. In the same way, the quest to extinguish the illusion of self (i.e., Buddha's Third Noble Truth), is hindered by a belief in free will. The more you believe your 'self' can choose, the harder it is to 'punch through' the illusion of self. Obviously, we can't have it both ways, just as the earth and the sun can't both be at the center.

    More broadly, a deeper perception of eternity, God, or what ever we want to call the 'mystery' that haunts our psych is hindered by preconceptions - beliefs - of what that 'mystery' is... or isn't. In this regard, the Taoist 'disclaimer', [chref=1]the name that can be named, is not the constant name[/chref], is most helpful. Thus, I suppose we could say, "the free will that can be spoken of is not the constant free will". Now that I can accept.
  • edited December 1969
    Time to ring the 'free will bell'. I deleted that recent free will post. Just toooo long....

    Complete Conformity
    The illusion of choice binds us to choice. I can only really feel I'm flowing with the tao when I give up choice, and my will to choose. Only then does following what 'is' become possible. As long as I want to choose my way, my will blocks the way. Giving up choice (free or otherwise?) allows me only one 'choice' - being natural, natural being. [chref=65]Only then is complete conformity realized.[/chref]

    This is an unappealing proposition for us, for we seem to be instinctively driven to want to have it both ways. You know,... to have our cake and eat it too. Yum yum. :wink:
  • edited December 1969
    Sometimes ideas pop up in the middle of the night. Frankly, I rather keep on sleeping :| . Anyway, this 'popup' paraphrases chapter 71, replacing "to know" with "to have free will". I like the little twist it gives on free will. What do you think?

    To have free will yet to think that one does not have it is best;
    Not to have free will yet to think that one has it will lead to difficulty.
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