Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Fate, Luck, and Divine Will

I've always been troubled by unambiguous statements about "God's will," as if it could be no different than human will, or as if we could know it.

For one thing, although human beings can surely will, they can never know why they will, at least not completely. You may will, but you cannot will whatever you wish.

For example, all the will power in the world will not make you attracted to people or things that don't attract you. Or, if you do will it, you will just be running roughshod over parts of the psyche that want other things. Man is usually at cross purposes with himself, but could this be true of God? It seems impossible that there could be one part of God that wants one thing, and another part that wants something else. There are distinctions in God, but no divisions.

Being that we are in the image of the Creator, there must be some manner in which our will is analogous to God's. Perhaps it is just that we possess free will at all, conflicted though it may be. All other animals may will, but they do not will freely. They do not consciously entertain choices, much less between good and evil.

But there is a part of man that transcends this or that choice of action, and chooses between them. It would be extremely problematic to attribute this kind of free will to God -- as if there is an array of choices before him, and he chooses this or that one.

To the extent that freedom exists, it comes from above, not below, for the converse is impossible. The higher we travel up the vertical, the more freedom; the lower down, the less. In all of creation, human beings obviously possess the most freedom, at least until the left vanquishes the last remnant of it.

Since the source of our freedom is above, this would imply that God is absolute freedom. But what could absolute freedom mean, and how is it to be distinguished from complete arbitrariness? In other words, absolute freedom seems to devolve to absolute nihilism, which is one of the central points of the existentialists -- that man is condemned to freedom.

John Duns Scotus concluded that "Because God is absolutely free, everything that He does and effects has the character of nonnecessity, of being in a particular sense 'accidental' (contingent)" (Pieper). In other words, since God is radical freedom, there can be no "necessary reasons" for anything he does, which begins to sound more like madness than divinity.

Indeed, as Pieper says, the word "arbitrary" is "almost too mild a term for this will, which is conceived as being completely unconditioned by 'grounds' in the sense of reasons." God is radically spontaneous, like a free jazz musician, with no chords and no melody and no fans.

This then comes close to the Islamic view of a God that is completely beyond any human ability to know, and who simply "doeth what he will." Perhaps not surprisingly, this also comes close to a description of the ontology of psychosis, in that for the psychotic person, each moment is a kind of catastrophic novelty that comes out of "nowhere" and never ends. In other words, it is "eternal catastrophe," if such an oxymoron may be permitted.

To a large extent, this is the dilemma that Thomas attempted to resolve, for ultimately it comes down to how we may reconcile the vertical and horizontal, faith and reason, heaven and earth, transcendence and immanence. For a brief historical moment, the cosmic center "held" in the synthesis of Thomas, only to fly apart again shortly after his death.

This has led to the general situation of, on the one hand, fideism without intelligence, and on the other, intellectualism without intellect -- or, to the needless polarization of scientism and religionism. This is the great battle of the concrete and literal-minded for the soul of man. Little do they know that they are pulling on the same end of the rope civilization is at the end of.

Dennis Prager's most recent column discusses the element of blind luck in one's life. He writes that the older he gets, the more he appreciates just how large a role it plays:

"Let's begin with life itself. Whether one lives to 62 -- or to 92 (my father's age) -- and whether in health or in sickness is largely a matter of luck. I strongly believe in taking care of one's health, but for most people, living long and in good health is a matter of good luck. My wife's sister died of cancer at 35. The brother of my radio show's producer died of a brain tumor at 57. Friends of mine lost their son at the age of 13."

For some reason, many religious people are uncomfortable with the idea of luck -- one will often hear the banality that "everything happens for a reason," or that "there are no accidents." If there were no accidents, then we couldn't know it, because we would be programmed like robots, with no freedom to even entertain that possibility. Conversely, if God is radical freedom, then there is no reason for what he does -- or certainly no reason man could understand, and we're back wid' allah 'dat nonsense.

"As a religious person myself, I reject this outlook. Are we to believe that God chose every one of Mao's 75 million victims to die? That He willed the deaths of 6 million Jews in the Holocaust? That every person who suffers from Lou Gehrig's disease or Multiple Sclerosis was chosen by God to suffer until death?

"That may indeed be the case. But for those of us who do not believe in such a God -- and I respect those who do -- all these people simply had terrible luck. I am alive because my grandparents came to America instead of staying in Eastern Europe, where they would have almost certainly been murdered in the Holocaust. They were lucky . And if one insists that they were wise rather than lucky, that somehow they realized that calamity awaited them in Russia and Poland, then my parents and I were lucky that they were wise" (Prager).

To be continued....

71 Comments:

Blogger Rick said...

As usual lately for me, the word luck probably doesn't mean what I think it means. Or it's just the best word we have for "it" which is probably a pretty wide category.

8/03/2010 09:04:00 AM  
Blogger Gandalin said...

Dear Bob,

Many aspects of the world are paradoxical, and there is no way for those of us whose essential natures include a significant horizontal component to understand it.

According to our tradition, human souls -neshamas- have free will. (I think that the nefesh, or animal soul, also has free will, albeit within horizons much more limited than the free will enjoyed by the neshama.) But at the same time, when a hurricane strikes, the damage it causes is not due to luck, nor accident. Not only is it specified which leaf will be torn from a tree, but how many times it will tumble in the air, and where on the ground it will fall.

Everything that happens is according to plan, and everything is for good.

At the same time, the wicked are fully responsible for their crimes.

It is paradoxical. And it doesn't make sense. But nothing makes sense otherwise.

Gandalin

8/03/2010 09:24:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

It seems to me that for free will to be meaningful, luck and chance must predominate. If bad things only ever happened to bad people, then to choose the bad would be to choose suffering. It would not be a choice at all.

But there is a part of man that transcends this or that choice of action, and chooses between them. It would be extremely problematic to attribute this kind of free will to God -- as if there is an array of choices before him, and he chooses this or that one.

Herein is a big distinction between creature and Creator. Free will and chance are necessary circumstances for the creature to be able to exist as something individual and separate from the Absolute. Without them, there can be no true separation, no Communion, no love and ultimately no thing, period. The Absolute does not need these conditions in order to be; we do.

I wonder if freedom is ultimately an apophatic idea, inasmuch as to even describe the Absolute that way is to constrain it within a human concept that simply cannot have meaning from an Absolute perspective?

8/03/2010 11:02:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"To the extent that freedom exists, it comes from above, not below, for the converse is impossible. The higher we travel up the vertical, the more freedom; the lower down, the less."

Absolutely, from the inwardly, outwards & upwards. Not nothing, but onlything, would follow from the other direction.

8/03/2010 11:09:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"This has led to the general situation of, on the one hand, fideism without intelligence, and on the other, intellectualism without intellect -- or, to the needless polarization of scientism and religionism. This is the great battle of the concrete and literal-minded for the soul of man. Little do they know that they are pulling on the same end of the rope civilization is at the end of."

I wonder how much whether or not the twain should meet... is a matter of chance?

8/03/2010 11:56:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Nagarjuna,
if we actually knew everything that makes us choose as we do, our knowledge would of necessity be infinite and absolute. We would have to know not only the immediate circumstances, but all influences external and internal, environmental and biological. And that's just on the horizontal plane. We would also, of necessity, need to know of any vertical influences informing the decision. This would not, however, make us more free. It would instead confine us to a mechanical existence bereft of possibility, creativity, or imagination.

Instead, we are given the gift of ignorance combined with curiosity, and allowed to develop as we choose. The fact that we may choose things for reasons we do not understand does not negate the freedom.

Van,
I would say chance and will. Chance, in that it may be a stroke of luck that anybody would think or learn that the two might have a happy confluence somehow; and will, in that having the knowledge that such is possible is not enough. One must then choose to pursue it.

8/03/2010 12:04:00 PM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

Actually, people very often choose to suffer. If we worry about things we cannot possibly change, for instance, we choose suffering. If we desire what we cannot (or should not) have, we choose suffering. If we nurse grudges against those we cannot correct, we choose suffering. There is a lot of this going around.

We cannot choose what the world throws at us, but we can choose what we throw at the world. But most people, most of the time, don't even choose this. Just as the world just happen to them, they just happen to the world. That is a disturbing way to live indeed, and to the extent that we don't know or don't care, this just goes on and on.

Not that I have any revelation about the Divine will or anything. I have enough with my own for a long time to come, I suspect.

8/03/2010 01:27:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Julie, yeah, I got interrupted by pesky works stuff. I was about to agree with Gandolin... on his points,

""According to our tradition, human souls -neshamas- have free will. (I think that the nefesh, or animal soul, also has free will, albeit within horizons much more limited than the free will enjoyed by the neshama.)"

, but then the last,

"But at the same time, when a hurricane strikes, the damage it causes is not due to luck, nor accident."

, that gives me pause. When a hurricane strikes, it's due to the physical laws of nature, and if humans are caught up in it, it's due to choices made to be there, or happenstance resulting from previous choices, etc. BUT, I pull back at this,

"Not only is it specified which leaf will be torn from a tree, but how many times it will tumble in the air, and where on the ground it will fall."

, something in it causes me to pull back. Maybe there will eventually be discovered a 'unifying law' that conclusively explains how the effects of cosmic rays, reflecting off a stray asteroid, contribute to the level of humidity in the Carribean, and so make it all as predictable as releasing a spoon causes it to drop to the floor... but... there's a niggle at the back of the head that says, no, there's a certain wild randomness inherent in the Cosmos, which says that while such ultimate principles may yet be discovered to explain what has happened, a chance chaos will always remain which makes it impossible to predict what will happen... even from the point of view of omnicience.

I could be wrong... but I doubt it. The Freedom thing seems too much of an ultimate factor & value in the whole ball of wax.

wv:hazinado
Not sure what it means, but it's too cool of a word to let pass.

8/03/2010 01:37:00 PM  
Blogger Roy Lofquist said...

Omniscience and free will are mutually exclusive.

Why would our creator bring forth a puppet show? Is He a dilettante amusing himself by manipulating the pieces to a foregone conclusion?

I think he is curious. He created man in his own image - aware, reasoning, unpredictable and certainly not omniscient. We are all along for the ride in the great mystery.

8/03/2010 02:19:00 PM  
Blogger rsj said...

To roy

Curiosity, yes, I can see that but I think there is more. Loneliness.

Creator(?) is looking for the equivalent of someone to come round and schmooze a bit over a cup of joe, or bottle or two of homebrew.

Start a sea-monkey colony and watchas it grows and evolves and wait patiently to sit and ask "cream and how many sugars?"

8/03/2010 02:26:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Magnus - when I said earlier that people wouldn't choose to suffer, I was speaking of a hypothetical world in which bad things happen only to bad people. And of course, people are much more complex than I'm probably giving them credit for. But if you knew for certain that doing what you shouldn't would result in something bad happening (which would also be a sign to everyone else that you had done wrong), odds are there wouldn't be much temptation to sin.

In reality, of course, there are circumstances like you just gave, and there are also times where one might choose to suffer for a higher good. Christ comes to mind, just for instance. Suffering can often be a grace, if we let it, but again how it is received is a matter of free will.

Nagarjuna - Therefore, it is not "free" to be otherwise. And if it's not free in this sense, I don't understand in what other sense it can be.

Here I disagree. If we knew all of that, it would be literally inconceivable to act differently. But we don't, and so we can act with a certain amount of randomness. I'm reminded of recent news about the Human Genome Project:

"Venter: Exactly. Why did people think there were so many human genes? It's because they thought there was going to be one gene for each human trait. And if you want to cure greed, you change the greed gene, right? Or the envy gene, which is probably far more dangerous. But it turns out that we're pretty complex. If you want to find out why someone gets Alzheimer's or cancer, then it is not enough to look at one gene. To do so, we have to have the whole picture. It's like saying you want to explore Valencia and the only thing you can see is this table. You see a little rust, but that tells you nothing about Valencia other than that the air is maybe salty. That's where we are with the genome. We know nothing."

IMO, there is so much happening within and influencing an individual life that it is virtually impossible for much of it to be predetermined, and I think that's by design.

Of course, if I'm wrong I was programmed to say all of that ;)

8/03/2010 02:39:00 PM  
Blogger Dianne said...

It seems impossible that there could be one part of God that wants one thing, and another part that wants something else.

For one thing, God is not influenced by evil or the darkness, when man is.

In retrospect, I notice that dealing with adversity made me grow in confidence and awareness, and also hardships allowed me to see the "interventions" of "luck" in my life.

I think that's why rich, famous people go crazy. They've lost the ability to see grace work in their lives and they see themselves as gods, but still have that disconnected feeling.

Altho, when I'm in the middle of a crisis I start mumbling about how philosphy is bullshit. :)

The thing about all the suffering and death of mankind on earth, the Bible says the rain falls on the just and the unjust. These are manmade crises. If God intervened to save us from ourselves and lefty tools, it wouldn't be allowing mankind free will - and whatever plan he has. For all we know, all those millions who died through the mass murder of mad men, went someplace a lot more pleasant than where they were.

It seems that man is more bent on taking away each other's free will than God is.

Anyway, I agree with Gandalin and Magnus, and Julie has some good points too.

8/03/2010 03:25:00 PM  
Blogger Dianne said...

Hmmm.... I don't know... saying that you don't see how anyone can say you have free will, is like giving up and letting life and other people choose for you. That's still a choice.

You can choose to grow, or you can choose to give up.

It's more about what have you done with the pennies you were given for investment?

We don't know what the destination is. And I'm pretty sure we're not all going to end up in the place. The choices you make on earth with your life may define your destiny. Choices - free will.

8/03/2010 03:41:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Diane, although Nags seems to be wearing his sandals today (no socks...), if you go back to aug of 2006, you'll find that he's 'asking', lamenting and stating the very same things as we was then.

He's learned nothing in the meantime, and intends to learn nothing - he's gotta skill and he's staying with it - by choice.

8/03/2010 03:53:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Van - true, but it's a nice break from arguing with anonymayerhole...

8/03/2010 03:59:00 PM  
Blogger Dianne said...

Van, I see what you mean.

8/03/2010 03:59:00 PM  
Blogger Tigtog said...

Some observations.

Freedom is the anti dote to causality. The presence of acausality proves that we are not in a machine. Those that fall to the spell of the horizontal believe all things can be understood in some massive spider web of cause and effect. This is silly and does nothing but stoke the ego, thus killing ones ability to contact the larger truth (we are all connected).

Suffering is SOP. We don;t get to choose our suffering but we clearly do get to choose how we will view our circumstances. Positive Mental Attitude makes a huge difference and is the beginning of grace. There really is no return on investment if you choose despair, other than deeper despair and depression (negative equity). This is a Dean Wormer life choice for the Flounders.

Bottom line - change what we can, accept what we can't change, and be of good humor regardless the situation. Harmony achieved within ourselves radiates positive waves to the lost. Throw a bloke a rope once in awhile.

BTW, nobody said you get to live forever, so enjoy the ride.

Of general interest: Who is this banana scold?

8/03/2010 04:01:00 PM  
OpenID kaffepaus said...

Must there not be a distinction made between what God wills and what God allows to happen (for some reason we don’t know, and can’t know about)? God had to allow the Holocaust (for some reason), but he certainly did not want it to happen. On the other hand, God has the possibility to use a thing like the Holocaust for the greater good in the end.

I think Alfred North Whitehead had some good point about the relationship of deterministic rules in the physical world and freedom, but I can’t give you the details, maybe Bob will look into it later (freely of course)?

With Nagarjunas reasoning about freedom, who will be able to judge anything or anybody? Will even God be able to judge anybody? There must be, to some extent, a free will to choose between options. Should I steal, or should I not, for example. Then there maybe circumstances etc… Only God can know the whole picture.

On the bottom line we either stick to the rules of the cosmos, which are decline and death – or we side with God’s will as good as we can, meaning that we try to unite with God, knowing that we will never be able to do that completely since we are a fallen species. But then we all do that, a completely different story will take place.

And why did God create? Nobody can know for sure of course, but that love is part of the picture is obvious – otherwise creation can’t be anything freely created.

/Johan

8/03/2010 04:04:00 PM  
Blogger Dianne said...

Dianne, my question goes much deeper than why God allows the "rain" to fall on everyone after the fact of creation.

Nagarjuna,

The answer to your deeper question is that we are not fully formed. We are still in the process of becoming. That's why we're here instead of There. And these hardships and choices we have to make contribute to our growth toward what we are supposed to become.

God is a Creator.

8/03/2010 04:07:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Tigtog, re. the banana, I followed it back to its lair. Some furriner whose language has a lot of umlauts. I'm guessing it was a kneejerk reaction based on little more than the post's title, but since I don't speak its language who knows?

8/03/2010 04:08:00 PM  
Blogger Dianne said...

Freedom is the anti dote to causality. The presence of acausality proves that we are not in a machine.

Tigtog, it seems exactly that lefties (the darkness), want to create the type of causality that makes man a machine, instead of a divine inspiration.

They attack the freedom of our society that allows such thought, and slowly take away our freedoms, while pretending it's the other guy who's doing it.

Just like the nonsensical, constant assault on Jewish people.

Completely crazy.

8/03/2010 04:20:00 PM  
Blogger Dianne said...

Johan, I agree.

8/03/2010 04:26:00 PM  
Blogger Tigtog said...

To Dianne re: Leftards

"They attack the freedom of our society that allows such thought, and slowly take away our freedoms, while pretending it's the other guy who's doing it."

They attempt to attack our freedom, but remember, freedom is the wild card. The phenomena of "I don't need no stinkin badges" is an active and powerful spirit not easily placated when aroused. Every now again the Modern Engineers amongst us get a serious ass kicking from their inferiors. Thats the nice thing about freedom, you either respect it or it will kick your ass. To respect freedom is to respect the personage and property of other men. One would have to conclude that freedom is God given. It would have been much easier to create a clockwork world. A lot more boring too.

8/03/2010 04:46:00 PM  
Blogger Tigtog said...

In re: Suffering is SOP.

I should note, you can only suffer if you have loved something. If you do not wish to suffer, then never fall in love. I believe this goes to attachment theory and the creation of sociopaths. Does anyone think sociopaths actually suffer?

8/03/2010 04:51:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Tigtog, re. freedom

8/03/2010 04:58:00 PM  
Blogger Dianne said...

I think sociopaths suffer, but about different things.

For example, I had a neighbor who let his sister move in with him when she got out of prison. As I was leaving to go to the store one morning, she waylaid me and asked if she could ride along because she wanted to get some eggs for breakfast.

So I let her come with, and I ran in and got my stuff, went back out to the car and waited, and waited, and finally she ran back to the car with no groceries (but I'm suspecting drugs), and jumped in like it was all in a day's work. Let's go home.

So on the way home, she confided in me that she had just got out of prison. I murmered something untelligble, that I hoped sounded empathetic. Then she went into detail. Some ho had slept with her man, and what was she to do. She knifed the bitch.

"What would you do?" she asked me. I said, I don't know, that's a tough one.

8/03/2010 05:07:00 PM  
Blogger Tigtog said...

To Dianne re:

"Some ho had slept with her man, and what was she to do. She knifed the bitch. "What would you do?" she asked me. I said, I don't know, that's a tough one."

I am not so sure you example is a sociopath. She clearly seeks retribution by knifing the bitch. She certainly seems to have suffered an injury (loss of manly affection). The fact that she chose to knife the bitch rather than her wayward "man" might just be her way of saying "I really love you man".

When I say sociopath, I am talking about the dead eyed zombies that want to kill just for the thrill.

8/03/2010 05:15:00 PM  
Blogger Tigtog said...

To Julie re: Freedom

I enjoyed the presentation, but I recognize the dilemma facing blacks today; tribal unity versus individual freedom. An interesting drama seems to be unfolding among the Congressional Black Caucus; the ethics investigations into Rangel and Waters. Both represent founding members of the CBC, but both backed Hillary in the primaries. While their ethical lapses are plain to see, what I think is going on within the CBC is analogous to the "Night of the Long Knives'. I could be wrong, but I do believe the CBC is culling the weak sisters to build a more uniformed front for the future. I don't think this argues well for an epiphany of individualism within black America.

8/03/2010 05:36:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Tigtog, sadly I have to agree.

wv suggests there are a whole lot of agnis ahead.

8/03/2010 05:42:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Note to readers tempted to respond: Nagarjuna doesn't like the idea of free will, because it means that his own choices are responsible for his life, and that only he can change this sad state of affairs. Leftist determinism always appeals to self-defeating members of society, as it explains away their own failings and relieves them of responsibility for their present and their future.

If anyone doubts the power of freedom, just look at how much better off people and societies are who cherish in it.

8/03/2010 06:00:00 PM  
Blogger Tigtog said...

Correction re:

"Every now again the Modern Engineers amongst us get a serious ass kicking from their inferiors."

Should read "Post Modern Engineers."

I actually hunger for the Modern spirit, its the pissy post moderns I find repulsively effeminate and cowardly. A little pride and confidence is good for the soul now and again.

Cosmic WV: untati

8/03/2010 06:01:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Nagarjuna doesn't like the idea of free will, because it means that his own choices are responsible for his life, and that only he can change this sad state of affairs.

The horror. I find it sadly amusing that he still can't quit you, Bob.

8/03/2010 06:18:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

He has no choice.

8/03/2010 06:19:00 PM  
Blogger Tigtog said...

To Gagdad and Julie re:

"The horror. I find it sadly amusing that he still can't quit you, Bob."

He love you long time Bob.

8/03/2010 06:20:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

the Horror!

8/03/2010 06:30:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Wow! Lots of excellent Raccoon comments within this excellent post!

Rather than "chaos" or what we may perceive as chaos, wouldn't it be more accurate to say complexity?

As in complexity theory, somethin' the gorebull warming climate change end-of-the-worlder useful idiot left cult always fails to recognize?
Complexity theory would apply to the vertical as well as the horizontal, I think.

Certainly there must be within the Mystery a complexity that we struggle to comprehend.

Surely luck would be a part of complexity theory, and by luck I don't mean the random chance of chaos that Darweenie's embrace (and attempt to create).

I don't get too caught up in thinkin' about luck all that much, 'cause the point is, as many Raccoons have already pointed out, what we CHOOSE to do regardless what kind of luck befalls us.

Paradoxically, it seems, there is a divine order in the Mystery/complexity theory/luck/"chance", but we only perceive it as paradox because we don't completely realize it.

I say this in light of this (and what Bob said): divine providence can't possibly be at odds with divine proidence.

8/03/2010 06:36:00 PM  
Blogger Tigtog said...

I wonder how Nagarjuna explains the presence of so many different people and opinions given none of us have choice? If we had no choice, why would there be blogs? What would we discuss, our favorite color? Blue, no Green! Shoosh.

8/03/2010 06:41:00 PM  
Blogger Tigtog said...

To Gagdad re: Earl Bostic

Gagdad, have you ever listened to Earl Bostic? An in-law was recalling him from the late 50's. I have never heard his stuff.

8/03/2010 06:59:00 PM  
Blogger Tigtog said...

To Nargajuna re:

"My question has simply been: In what meaningful sense are they "free" to be other than they are given who we are, what the universe is, and the ultimately inseparable relationship between the nature of ourselves and the nature of the universe?"

I take it from your blog name that you are a Buddhist. Your question or questions seem a bit circular (being a Buddhist this is not surprising). If I may, you seem to be asking whether we as humans are predestined to run the material maze in predictable patterns due to our provenance. The answer is surprisingly yes. There are only so many turns possible in any 3D maze. The amazing thing to understand is each will transit his maze similar to the other but all together differently from the other. This is possible only because time is personal and relative. Its not completing the maze that counts but rather what was learned during the voyage.

I sense that you are in search of a Cartesian Popeye moment of self realization (I Yam therefore I Yam). The moment awaits your choice. Choose to be all that you can be (credit to USARMY). While Buddhism is interesting, its goal is to disappear from the maze rather than to complete it and learn from it. This may be the problem.

8/03/2010 07:52:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Tigtog - re. mazes. Background here and here.

8/03/2010 08:15:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Tigtog:

I don't think I've heard much Bostic. I'm pretty sure he played mainstream small group swing or R & B, which wouldn't be my jazz bag.

8/03/2010 08:16:00 PM  
Blogger Tigtog said...

To Julie re:

"Meaning that it is impossible to share your map with another. It can’t be done. But it doesn’t mean that you won’t try."

Eerily familiar, no?

Okay WV is I Ching spooky: manize

8/03/2010 08:24:00 PM  
Blogger Tigtog said...

To Gagdad re: Earl Bostic

I had never heard of him. You are right, he was a R&B combo guy. My in-law was a sailor in CA during 50s and had strong memories of Bostic, especially one recording. Trying to help him locate a copy of the recording. Its not on any of the albums. Might have been only a 45. Those guys used to switch hit from one recording studio to the next which makes the discography a little more difficult.

8/03/2010 08:31:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

As for Nags, he's not a Buddhist, only a nihilist. And he just just has a persistent mental block that causes him to imagine that the existence of bottom-up causation precludes top-down causation.

8/03/2010 08:36:00 PM  
Blogger Tigtog said...

To Gagdad re:

"As for Nags, he's not a Buddhist, only a nihilist."

I wonder why he chose a Buddhist moniker? Do you think he is a Keanu Reeves groupie or something? Worse yet, a Richard Gere sycophant?

Funny WV: hyphool

8/03/2010 08:45:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Tigtog said-
"Choose to be all that you can be (credit to USARMY). "

Plus, it's not just a job, it's an adventure (credit to US Navy). :^)

8/03/2010 08:56:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Nagarjuna said...
Whether causation is "bottom-up" or "top-down" or both, isn't it still causation? That is, doesn't something CAUSE us to will as we do such that we are not "free" to will otherwise at the time?"

In your case that is no doubt true.
Unfortunately, it need not be that way. The choice is yours...including the choice not to recognize you have a choice, because the truth doesn't fit your tiny container.

8/03/2010 09:00:00 PM  
Blogger Tigtog said...

To USS BEN USN re:

"Plus, it's not just a job, it's an adventure (credit to US Navy). :^)"

From the Few, the Proud and the Brave, ahoy there matey!

8/03/2010 09:02:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Nags:

I'm sure this explanation will elude you, but "top down" causation means caused by oneself.

8/03/2010 09:03:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Ahoy! Always good to have a jarhead onboard! :^)

8/03/2010 09:07:00 PM  
Blogger Tigtog said...

To Nags re: circular jerking

I would suggest a test of your thesis(?) or conundrum (?). I recommend you go to "I Ching Online" and ask one of your questions and see what the I Ching answers. Warning, I Ching is an Oracle, which means it will answer you with multiple possible answers, requiring you to contemplate the best fit. BTW, there are only 64 possible answers. Try it and get back to us. I would seriously like to know what happens.

8/03/2010 09:11:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Nihilist? Say what you will about the tenets of national socialism, Dude, at least it's an ethos!

8/03/2010 09:39:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

OT:
New bumper sticker:

"Post-racial means never having to say you're post-racial."

Thank you for you're support. Continue..

8/04/2010 04:04:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Nothing you just wrote contradicts the self-evident existence of free will. Why not just be honest and say you don't believe in free will, rather than trying to prove an absurdity?

Oh, right. You have no choice.

8/04/2010 06:39:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

I haven't seen this, no video at work, but this title from one of our local St. Louis Tea Party folks promises loads of fun:
Great Video: Deepak Chopra Gets Owned!

BTW, I put up a post this morning on our election in Missouri yesterday:
Show Me State to ObamaoCare: Get Outta Town!

First in the nation, but certainly not the last, there are 40+ other states with measures and amendments coming down the pike.

8/04/2010 06:49:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

it is not an either/or. As I will explain in today's post, some people clearly have less free will than others. I don't doubt your subjective sense that you are imprisoned by various causes beyond your control. But that hardly means others are in the same boat. Contrary to your odd view of psychology, the very purpose of psychotherapy is to liberate you from the intrapsychic forces that constrain you.

8/04/2010 07:23:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Tigtog said-
"Choose to be all that you can be (credit to USARMY). "

Ben said "Plus, it's not just a job, it's an adventure (credit to US Navy). :^) "

Ryan would have said "... to fly, fight, and win ... in air, space, and cyberspace.”, but he's been busy for the last couple days somewhere outside of Spokane WA getting tortured & beaten in order to prepare for the experience.

Yeah... parent-hell time.

8/04/2010 07:27:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Since nags has, and probably can have, nothing new to say, I'll serve 'em up a repaste from 4 years ago,

"Have someone tickle your nose, and then try to think deeply about whether to scratch your nose with your left hand or your right hand... you can labor on such a "decision" all day long like Buridan's Ass (that starved to death mid way between two piles of hay, unable to choose which to eat), but all things being equal, eventually you'll have to actually choose to scratch it with one or the other."

Or on the bright side, it might keep you so occupied that you gift us with another extended absence.

8/04/2010 07:34:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Psychology is not a science at all in sense you are using the word. Or, there are psychological approaches that are materialistic, others that aren't. It's a diverse field. But truly, there can be no "science of the subject," since it is the subject who does the science.

8/04/2010 08:25:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Van-

SERE training (if it's still called that) is tough.
I'm certain Ryan will get through it stronger than ever before.

It's also hard for parents. When our youngest was learning how to jump outta perfectly good airplanes
I would be lyin' if I said I wasn't a bit on edge.

Not much help I reckon for me to talk too much about SERE, so I'll shut up and pray.

8/05/2010 01:43:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Why not just admit that you agree with this pretentious boob, and let it go?

8/06/2010 08:08:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

5) Galen Strawson is a cosplayer.

I'm going with 5.

Kidding!

8/06/2010 08:08:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

I'm not a psychologist.
??

8/06/2010 08:43:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

It sounds like this philosopher puts into words what it feels like to be you. How is this nonsense? And if you believe that his point absurdly applies to everyone, would it not be the case that I have no choice but to reject it? So go away and continue not getting a life.

8/06/2010 08:47:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Regarding the fauxossifier Strawson, I couldn't get any further than this,

"...Strawson doesn’t think much of free will..."

too difficult to read while laughing that hard, and besides, it's just not appropriate behavior at work.

8/06/2010 09:32:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Proselytezing against free will - can there be any more pointless endeavor?

8/06/2010 09:55:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

The phrase "go fuck yourself" comes to mind...

8/06/2010 10:01:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

I need to remember not to drink coffee before reading your comments...

8/06/2010 10:08:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Truth and error are not reconcilable, much less to one who lacks the freedom to reject the latter.

8/06/2010 12:00:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Of course.

8/06/2010 01:06:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Only you can make that most spiritually consequential choice of choices, upon which all else hinges. Either you are free and therefore responsible; or unfree and therefore irresponsible. Choose wrongly and you have wasted your life. But sophistry can prove anything, especially to a bitter crank, so no one here is surprised at your poor choice.

8/06/2010 02:47:00 PM  

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