Excuses: A Symptom of Free Will

I read your topic and the first thing that came to mind is I think I am doing *better* than I am capable of doing. That's how low my expectations of myself are. 8)


  • edited December 1969
    We Can Relax - We All Have a Good Excuse!
    Each of us is a product of nature (inherited traits and instincts) and nurture (the shaping of what we inherited by circumstances and environment). So, what part does 'free will' play in our lives? I suspect only a reflective part in our mind - more wishful thinking than reality. We have succumbed to an illusion of free will. Our profound ignorance in such a fundamental area of self knowledge only makes the 'problem' worse. This posses similar difficulties as suggested in chapter 71: [chref=71]Not to know yet to think that one knows will lead to difficulty[/chref]. Thinking we are capable of being more 'responsible' than we really are is no different than jumping off a cliff thinking we can fly. Although that illusion usually takes drugs. If everything is beyond our control, then we all have an excuse for being who we are. Once we see through the illusion of free will we just naturally jump off cliffs less frequently, and relax more.

    How do we know when we are caught up in an illusion of free will? Making excuses is a strong symptom of either an overt, or implied, belief in free will. For example, "I could do it differently but for __(enter your favorite excuse here)__!" Now, when you size up other folks, notice how easy it is to discount their excuse for not satisfying your expectations. Making excuses for our own behavior makes it easier to judge other folks, yet go easy on ourselves. Frankly we all have the same valid excuse for being who we are... we are simple animals [chref=59]following the way[/chref] as best we can. Of course there is a down side to popping this illusion; it makes it nearly impossible to indulge in double standards, i.e., be a hypocrite.

    Other Notes On Free Will:

    Free Will vs. Determinism?
    Least we misunderstand, my challenge to the belief in free will is not framed in that old debate vis-a-vis determinism. Quantum mechanics blew that issue out of the water. The issue for me is free will vs. instinct (biology).

    Simply put, our brain's ability to think evokes in us a sense of free will. Because we can think about doing something, and then proceed to do it, we think we have 'conscious choice'. This conveniently ignores the fact that it is instinct that drives our thoughts, and the emotions behind them, in the first place! Alas, the mind can't easily know itself, just as our eye can't easily see itself. Thus, we can't help thinking and believing we have a faculty for 'pure' thought and free will. This is just another facet of humanity's uniqueness myth, e.g., "Sure we may be animals technically, but we are 'spiritually' aware." And, who is the unbiased judge that voted humanity as the spiritually superior species? This just came to mind... [chref=2]It is because it lays claim to no merit, that its merit never deserts it.[/chref] :lol:

    The World Viewpoint on Free Will
    I've seen no difference between Americans and Europeans on the subject of free will. The West has institutionalized the myth of free will. This is probably the result of the Judeo Christian paradigm. The East, while not as 'individualistic', still pushes an implied free will. We just can't help ourselves. So, that puts my point of view on free will outside the common worldwide view. Just call me Don Quixote! :P
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