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Can We Break The Spell Of Free Will?
Posted: 07 April 2012 06:16 PM   [ Ignore ]  
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Harris, Sam (2012-03-06). Free Will (Kindle Locations 638-641). Simon & Schuster, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

“It may seem paradoxical to hold people responsible for what happens in their corner of the universe, but once we break the spell of free will, we can do this precisely to the degree that it is useful. Where people can change, we can demand that they do so. Where change is impossible, or unresponsive to demands, we can chart some other course. In improving ourselves and society, we are working directly with the forces of nature, for there is nothing but nature itself to work with.”

 

 


Sam suggests that we can change our circumstances by adopting a different perspective concerning free will.
This seems to be an implication that we can use a facility that doesn’t exist to change our view of something that doesn’t exist.
I am not saying that we have free will.
I’m saying that we don’t…....and there is nothing we can do about it.
As a matter of fact, without free will…..the we that we think we are,.......doesn’t even exist.

And that’s a hell of a how’d you do!

 

 

[ Edited: 08 April 2012 10:16 AM by toombaru]
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Posted: 22 April 2012 04:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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I agree with you and think Sam probably realizes this too but doesn’t say it that way in his writing because he wants to sell books that the majority of the population can read without becoming severely depressed and/or suicidal. 

Most people can’t or don’t want to admit this truth but let’s face it:  the real “we” is completely powerless.  Any change that happens is a fluke as far as the real “we” are concerned because the real “we” is not actually DOING anything, only WITNESSING!  All the DOING is totally beyond our control.  It’s hard for me to even describe, because no matter how I describe it I’m going to come off as making it seem like we have at least the slightest bit of control over our lives, when in reality, we have zero control.

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Posted: 22 April 2012 04:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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I’ll add that I hope Sam’s next book, which he claims is going to be about “the illusion of the self,” addresses this and other related ideas.

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Posted: 22 April 2012 08:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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clfst17 - 22 April 2012 04:20 PM

I agree with you and think Sam probably realizes this too but doesn’t say it that way in his writing because he wants to sell books that the majority of the population can read without becoming severely depressed and/or suicidal. 

Most people can’t or don’t want to admit this truth but let’s face it:  the real “we” is completely powerless.  Any change that happens is a fluke as far as the real “we” are concerned because the real “we” is not actually DOING anything, only WITNESSING!  All the DOING is totally beyond our control.  It’s hard for me to even describe, because no matter how I describe it I’m going to come off as making it seem like we have at least the slightest bit of control over our lives, when in reality, we have zero control.

 

Even suicide is not a choice.
LOL
There is an up side.
There can come with this understanding a great sense of peace.
Life becomes enchanting when there is no longer a psychological center to claim ownership.
A strange easy sense of being accompanies the loss of personal responsibility.

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Posted: 22 April 2012 08:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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clfst17 - 22 April 2012 04:21 PM

I’ll add that I hope Sam’s next book, which he claims is going to be about “the illusion of the self,” addresses this and other related ideas.

 

There are currently a number of books out that completely undermine the belief in self.
None of them are best sellers.
Not many people want to spend their hard earned money to hear that they don’t exist.

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Posted: 23 April 2012 07:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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toombaru - 22 April 2012 08:39 PM
clfst17 - 22 April 2012 04:21 PM

I’ll add that I hope Sam’s next book, which he claims is going to be about “the illusion of the self,” addresses this and other related ideas.

 

There are currently a number of books out that completely undermine the belief in self.
None of them are best sellers.
Not many people want to spend their hard earned money to hear that they don’t exist.


True.  So then is it better (luckier?) to go through life never realizing (accepting?) the fact that we don’t exist?  I mean, Sam Harris and Susan Blackmore both insist that their belief in no free will has probably improved their lives, but has it really, or are they mistaken?  Or are they just saying that to sell their ideas?  Or some other reason?

I want to believe that knowing the truth makes life better, but I’ve wanted to believe a lot of things that turned out to be way off…

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Posted: 23 April 2012 08:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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clfst17 - 23 April 2012 07:26 PM
toombaru - 22 April 2012 08:39 PM
clfst17 - 22 April 2012 04:21 PM

I’ll add that I hope Sam’s next book, which he claims is going to be about “the illusion of the self,” addresses this and other related ideas.

 

There are currently a number of books out that completely undermine the belief in self.
None of them are best sellers.
Not many people want to spend their hard earned money to hear that they don’t exist.


True.  So then is it better (luckier?) to go through life never realizing (accepting?) the fact that we don’t exist?  I mean, Sam Harris and Susan Blackmore both insist that their belief in no free will has probably improved their lives, but has it really, or are they mistaken?  Or are they just saying that to sell their ideas?  Or some other reason?

I want to believe that knowing the truth makes life better, but I’ve wanted to believe a lot of things that turned out to be way off…

Language is so saturated with the consensus delusion (it IS the delusion) that it is almost impossible to speak of these things.
Here the understanding that there is no free will makes life a whole lot less complicated.
The personal identity knows that if there is no free will, there is no self.
No longer is the persona obsessed with improving its (imaginary) existence.
No longer are people seen as agents of their own actions.
The desire to “make things right” has lost its urgency.
The mind here is a lot less judgemental concerning the actions of itself and others.
It simply reacts the only way it can and knows that others are doing the same.
It goes through the day as if it had free will…..choosing this…....choosing that….all the time knowing that there is no personal agent choosing.
No longer does the seeker’s mind stumble through book stores, hoping for the right combination of words that
soothe for a moment the burning need to know.
It knows that no one knows.
It knows that nothing can be known.
It never grasped that all of its searching was an attempt to validate its own dreamscape and all that time it was the searching.
The conceptual mind emerges within, and is sustained through, its own tension.
Now the brain’s perceptual input is simply observed with a strangely familiar detachment.
No longer does the mind feel separated from its own perceptions.
The edges that used to separate and define now are acknowledged for convenience and the mind seems to understand that it is what it perceives.
These days I have more in common with my one year old grand daughter than my peers.
Yesterday we picked wild flowers together and got lost in the mystery of crows and tree bark.

 

 

 

[ Edited: 24 April 2012 11:42 AM by toombaru]
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Posted: 24 April 2012 11:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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toombaru - 23 April 2012 08:34 PM
clfst17 - 23 April 2012 07:26 PM
toombaru - 22 April 2012 08:39 PM
clfst17 - 22 April 2012 04:21 PM

I’ll add that I hope Sam’s next book, which he claims is going to be about “the illusion of the self,” addresses this and other related ideas.

 

There are currently a number of books out that completely undermine the belief in self.
None of them are best sellers.
Not many people want to spend their hard earned money to hear that they don’t exist.


True.  So then is it better (luckier?) to go through life never realizing (accepting?) the fact that we don’t exist?  I mean, Sam Harris and Susan Blackmore both insist that their belief in no free will has probably improved their lives, but has it really, or are they mistaken?  Or are they just saying that to sell their ideas?  Or some other reason?

I want to believe that knowing the truth makes life better, but I’ve wanted to believe a lot of things that turned out to be way off…

Language is so saturated with the consensus delusion (it IS the delusion) that it is almost impossible to speak of these things.
Here the understanding that there is no free will makes life a whole lot less complicated.
The personal identity knows that if there is no free will, there is no self.
No longer is the persona obsessed with improving its (imaginary) existence.
No longer are people seen as agents of their own actions.
The desire to “make things right” has lost its urgency.
The mind here is a lot less judgemental concerning the actions of itself and others.
It simply reacts the only way it can and knows that others are doing the same.
No longer does the seeker’s mind stumble through book stores, hoping for the right combination of words that
soothe for a moment the burning need to know.
It knows that no one knows.
It knows that nothing can be known.
It never grasped that all of its searching was an attempt to validate its own dreamscape.
The conceptual mind emerges within, and is sustained through, its own tension.
Now the brain’s perceptual input is simply observed with a strangely familiar detachment.
No longer does the mind feel separated from its own perceptions.
The edges that used to separate and define now are acknowledged for convenience and the mind seems to understand that it is what it perceives.
I have more in common with my one year old grand daughter than my friends.
Yesterday we picked wild flowers together and got lost in the mystery of crows and tree bark.

 

 


Hahaha yes!  At least children (if they’re young enough) don’t try to take responsibility for every little thing they do like most adults do.  Drives me insane.  And the older I get, the more it gets beaten into me.  It’s no wonder so many people become suicidal.

They have no choice though.  I have no choice.  It’s all completely meaningless.  And I’m fine by that.  But I might as well not be fine by that.  Wow…now I’m starting to understand what you mean when you say nothing can be known.  Words can’t even describe it.  It’s just impossible to express through language.  Total meaninglessness. 

 

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Posted: 24 April 2012 12:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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clfst17 - 24 April 2012 11:45 AM
toombaru - 23 April 2012 08:34 PM
clfst17 - 23 April 2012 07:26 PM
toombaru - 22 April 2012 08:39 PM
clfst17 - 22 April 2012 04:21 PM

I’ll add that I hope Sam’s next book, which he claims is going to be about “the illusion of the self,” addresses this and other related ideas.

 

There are currently a number of books out that completely undermine the belief in self.
None of them are best sellers.
Not many people want to spend their hard earned money to hear that they don’t exist.


True.  So then is it better (luckier?) to go through life never realizing (accepting?) the fact that we don’t exist?  I mean, Sam Harris and Susan Blackmore both insist that their belief in no free will has probably improved their lives, but has it really, or are they mistaken?  Or are they just saying that to sell their ideas?  Or some other reason?

I want to believe that knowing the truth makes life better, but I’ve wanted to believe a lot of things that turned out to be way off…

Language is so saturated with the consensus delusion (it IS the delusion) that it is almost impossible to speak of these things.
Here the understanding that there is no free will makes life a whole lot less complicated.
The personal identity knows that if there is no free will, there is no self.
No longer is the persona obsessed with improving its (imaginary) existence.
No longer are people seen as agents of their own actions.
The desire to “make things right” has lost its urgency.
The mind here is a lot less judgemental concerning the actions of itself and others.
It simply reacts the only way it can and knows that others are doing the same.
No longer does the seeker’s mind stumble through book stores, hoping for the right combination of words that
soothe for a moment the burning need to know.
It knows that no one knows.
It knows that nothing can be known.
It never grasped that all of its searching was an attempt to validate its own dreamscape.
The conceptual mind emerges within, and is sustained through, its own tension.
Now the brain’s perceptual input is simply observed with a strangely familiar detachment.
No longer does the mind feel separated from its own perceptions.
The edges that used to separate and define now are acknowledged for convenience and the mind seems to understand that it is what it perceives.
I have more in common with my one year old grand daughter than my friends.
Yesterday we picked wild flowers together and got lost in the mystery of crows and tree bark.

 

 


Hahaha yes!  At least children (if they’re young enough) don’t try to take responsibility for every little thing they do like most adults do.  Drives me insane.  And the older I get, the more it gets beaten into me.  It’s no wonder so many people become suicidal.

They have no choice though.  I have no choice.  It’s all completely meaningless.  And I’m fine by that.  But I might as well not be fine by that.  Wow…now I’m starting to understand what you mean when you say nothing can be known.  Words can’t even describe it.  It’s just impossible to express through language.  Total meaninglessness. 

 


What is the meaning of a hummingbird or the moon?
The mind searches for meaning where there is none.
I imagine to some that understanding can be depressing.
It could be interpreted by the mind as helplessness.
There can be a flip side once the appeception percolates down through the synapses.
Here it is exhilarating.
The feeling is akin to free flight without a rudder.
Conflict and tension arise when reality doesn’t coincide with the mind’s preconceptions.
There is great joy in unknowing.
Life flows along easily, unimpeded by wants and wishes.
Everything is ever-emerging….fresh and new.

 

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Posted: 27 June 2012 04:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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toombaru - 07 April 2012 06:16 PM

Harris, Sam (2012-03-06). Free Will (Kindle Locations 638-641). Simon & Schuster, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
Sam suggests that we can change our circumstances by adopting a different perspective concerning free will.
This seems to be an implication that we can use a facility that doesn’t exist to change our view of something that doesn’t exist.
I am not saying that we have free will.
I’m saying that we don’t…....and there is nothing we can do about it.
As a matter of fact, without free will…..the we that we think we are,.......doesn’t even exist.

And that’s a hell of a how’d you do!

I don’t see this as a problem at all.
Our bodies and our choices are controlled by our brains, just in the same way that your brain controls many other aspects of your bodies function.  Free will is an illusion.
Fully understnding the concept of free wiill as an illusion does indeed change your perspective on life. However, the choice is not yours to do this. That choice is your brains and it does it based on what I believe are three factors.

1. Your DNA. This controls your brain functions, emotions, hormones and all other genetically driven functions.
2. Past experiences. Your brain builds memories of events in your life and then uses them as the basis of future choices.
3. Your brain’s ability to formulate new solutions to problems.

Your choices are the result of a combination of the above factors. Whatever choice you make, it is determined specifically by these factors. This concept brings massive change to the aspects of personal responsibility, feelings of guilt, anger, hatred, as well as issues of equality, the justice system and most importantly the benefits of education,
While we can use drugs to alter the possible affects of points 1 and possible 3, by far the most influential factor is number 2, specifically concerning education. The best way to ensure that you have the best possible existence is to provide the highest levels of education possible to the largest number of people. This will aid in them being able - note I said able - to make the best decisions.

Even providing information and education on matters, the possibility that one person’s choices may still not be what others would consider the best possible choice, can be the result of factors 1 and 3. Perhaps they are missing the capacity for particular behaviour or they are incapable of processing the data to make more sensible choices. There are many, many other reasons for this lack of change, however, The point here is that education on the illusion of free will can change the perspective of people, and indeed affect their choices.

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Posted: 27 June 2012 06:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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Geeseman - 27 June 2012 04:46 AM
toombaru - 07 April 2012 06:16 PM

Harris, Sam (2012-03-06). Free Will (Kindle Locations 638-641). Simon & Schuster, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
Sam suggests that we can change our circumstances by adopting a different perspective concerning free will.
This seems to be an implication that we can use a facility that doesn’t exist to change our view of something that doesn’t exist.
I am not saying that we have free will.
I’m saying that we don’t…....and there is nothing we can do about it.
As a matter of fact, without free will…..the we that we think we are,.......doesn’t even exist.

And that’s a hell of a how’d you do!

I don’t see this as a problem at all.
Our bodies and our choices are controlled by our brains, just in the same way that your brain controls many other aspects of your bodies function.  Free will is an illusion.
Fully understnding the concept of free wiill as an illusion does indeed change your perspective on life. However, the choice is not yours to do this. That choice is your brains and it does it based on what I believe are three factors.

1. Your DNA. This controls your brain functions, emotions, hormones and all other genetically driven functions.
2. Past experiences. Your brain builds memories of events in your life and then uses them as the basis of future choices.
3. Your brain’s ability to formulate new solutions to problems.

Your choices are the result of a combination of the above factors. Whatever choice you make, it is determined specifically by these factors. This concept brings massive change to the aspects of personal responsibility, feelings of guilt, anger, hatred, as well as issues of equality, the justice system and most importantly the benefits of education,
While we can use drugs to alter the possible affects of points 1 and possible 3, by far the most influential factor is number 2, specifically concerning education. The best way to ensure that you have the best possible existence is to provide the highest levels of education possible to the largest number of people. This will aid in them being able - note I said able - to make the best decisions.

Even providing information and education on matters, the possibility that one person’s choices may still not be what others would consider the best possible choice, can be the result of factors 1 and 3. Perhaps they are missing the capacity for particular behaviour or they are incapable of processing the data to make more sensible choices. There are many, many other reasons for this lack of change, however, The point here is that education on the illusion of free will can change the perspective of people, and indeed affect their choices.

The sense of self cannot choose to improve its circumstances by acquiring a better education anymore than it can choose coffee over tea.
It is merely reactive machinery that contains no person.
The person is an illusion.
It is an imaginary phantom that emerges in the brain of the physical organism.

 

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Posted: 27 June 2012 09:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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That’s probably an extreme view.

While my consciousness cannot choose, my brain does.

Presenting my brain with different options allows it to make different choices. Hence, education is the most important tool here to generate change.

Even education on the illusion of free will allows the brain to choose differently to how it once may have chosen given a situation.

For example, for me I find that I now feel and choose to be less angry at people who have affected me in my life full well knowing that there was no conscious intent in their actions. I don’t choose to feel or think this way, my brain does, but it wouldn’t have been able to do so (I believe) without the education I have received on the concept of free will and personal responsibility.

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Posted: 28 June 2012 09:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
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Geeseman - 27 June 2012 09:05 PM

That’s probably an extreme view.

While my consciousness cannot choose, my brain does.

Presenting my brain with different options allows it to make different choices. Hence, education is the most important tool here to generate change.

Even education on the illusion of free will allows the brain to choose differently to how it once may have chosen given a situation.

For example, for me I find that I now feel and choose to be less angry at people who have affected me in my life full well knowing that there was no conscious intent in their actions. I don’t choose to feel or think this way, my brain does, but it wouldn’t have been able to do so (I believe) without the education I have received on the concept of free will and personal responsibility.

s

The fact that you call them “my consciousness ” and “my brain”  exposes the erroneous ground upon which your beliefs are founded.
They are not yours at all simply because you as as a separate autonomous entity do not exist.
If you believe that education is the answer, get to know some of the professors at a local university.
You will be shocked at their inability to think outside of their field.


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Posted: 28 June 2012 09:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
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Geeseman - 27 June 2012 09:05 PM

That’s probably an extreme view.

While my consciousness cannot choose, my brain does.

Presenting my brain with different options allows it to make different choices. Hence, education is the most important tool here to generate change.

Even education on the illusion of free will allows the brain to choose differently to how it once may have chosen given a situation.

For example, for me I find that I now feel and choose to be less angry at people who have affected me in my life full well knowing that there was no conscious intent in their actions. I don’t choose to feel or think this way, my brain does, but it wouldn’t have been able to do so (I believe) without the education I have received on the concept of free will and personal responsibility.

It appears to be an extreme view because it is an extreme view.

The fact that you call them “my consciousness ” and “my brain”  exposes the erroneous ground upon which your beliefs are founded.
They are not yours at all simply because you, as a separate autonomous entity, do not exist.
If you believe that education is the answer, get to know some of the professors at a local university.
You will be shocked at their inability to function outside of their field.


[ Edited: 28 June 2012 10:48 AM by toombaru]
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Posted: 28 June 2012 03:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]  
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toombaru - 28 June 2012 09:24 AM

It appears to be an extreme view because it is an extreme view.

The fact that you call them “my consciousness ” and “my brain”  exposes the erroneous ground upon which your beliefs are founded.
They are not yours at all simply because you, as a separate autonomous entity, do not exist.

Not at all. I know it is my consciousness because it feels qualia that is unique to me. Sights, sounds, tastes, feeling, and smells verify my existence within my body. My brain also constantly generates thoughts that are unique to me.
The fact that I do not have control over these processes does not mean that my ‘self’ does not exist. The reality is that this is a deterministic world and in that world I can’t be expected to have control. However, I can experience qualia that enables me to know that I do exist and that these experiences are part of a unique ‘me’.

toombaru - 28 June 2012 09:24 AM

If you believe that education is the answer, get to know some of the professors at a local university.
You will be shocked at their inability to function outside of their field.

Of course education is the answer. It has been the responsible driving factor of the moral landscape of humans. Our genetic altruism can only guide us so far before our brains need to use external qualia to help build a better moral landscape.
Look at the movement of the moral landscape over the past 2000 years, from the time of the early christians. Biological evolution can’t be responsible for such changes. It is primarily the result of our brains creating a better moral landscape based on our increasing knowledge of the world around us and using language to pass that information on. It’s almost certain that the most immoral places in this world are also the least educated.

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Posted: 28 June 2012 06:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]  
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Geeseman - 28 June 2012 03:36 PM
toombaru - 28 June 2012 09:24 AM

It appears to be an extreme view because it is an extreme view.

The fact that you call them “my consciousness ” and “my brain”  exposes the erroneous ground upon which your beliefs are founded.
They are not yours at all simply because you, as a separate autonomous entity, do not exist.

Not at all. I know it is my consciousness because it feels qualia that is unique to me. Sights, sounds, tastes, feeling, and smells verify my existence within my body. My brain also constantly generates thoughts that are unique to me.
The fact that I do not have control over these processes does not mean that my ‘self’ does not exist. The reality is that this is a deterministic world and in that world I can’t be expected to have control. However, I can experience qualia that enables me to know that I do exist and that these experiences are part of a unique ‘me’.

toombaru - 28 June 2012 09:24 AM

If you believe that education is the answer, get to know some of the professors at a local university.
You will be shocked at their inability to function outside of their field.

Of course education is the answer. It has been the responsible driving factor of the moral landscape of humans. Our genetic altruism can only guide us so far before our brains need to use external qualia to help build a better moral landscape.
Look at the movement of the moral landscape over the past 2000 years, from the time of the early christians. Biological evolution can’t be responsible for such changes. It is primarily the result of our brains creating a better moral landscape based on our increasing knowledge of the world around us and using language to pass that information on. It’s almost certain that the most immoral places in this world are also the least educated.

 


Of course you feel real.
That is the great consensus delusion.
You emerged within the conceptual-mnemonic apparatus within the frontal cortex of the brain.
You congealed as your tribe programmed an objectified overlay into the synaptic-interface.
You are the psychological center of an imaginary pseudo-reality.
To you the world that you experience during your night-time dreams appears to to be real.
But it all appears as a collage constructed from your personal collection of memories.
There is no difference between your night-time dream and your day-time dream.

You are a program whose function is to increase its host’s chances to survive and reproduce.
The program evolved to seek ways to make the organism’s life better.
It is not really interested in becoming more educated so it can make more moral decisions.
It merely desires to relieve the fear and stress that comes from the innate fear of its own impending doom.
The persona can never see its own peculiar circumstance simply because it IS the circumstance.
The one being dreamt can never have access to the dreamer.
There is. however,  a most peculiar perspective that occurs when the sense of self gets a peek up its own skirts that cannot be articulated simply because the arena out of which it emerges is the objectified overlay.
It’s a hell of a problem…...that doesn’t even exist.

 

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