On Oct 18, 3:15 pm, benjayk <benjamin.jaku...@googlemail.com> wrote:

> >> Complete control over anything is simply impossible. Control is just a
> >> feeling and not fundamental.
> > It depends what you mean by complete control. If I choose to hit the
> > letter m on my keyboard, am I not controlling the keyboard to the
> > extent that it is controllable?
> You can control everything to the extent that it is controllable for you,
> obviously.
> But you can't have control over the individual constituents of the keyboard
> all at the same time in the exact way you want it.

Not sure what you mean. The keyboard registers each keystroke that I
intend. What more is there to control?

>For the keyboard, you
> don't need to, but the brain has no lever which you can use to make it do
> what you want, because, contrary to the keyboard, it has not been designed
> for that task - it is a holistic system, if you control a part of it
> (sticking a electrode into you brain for example), it still won't do what
> you want it to, as a whole.

I agree that whatever you seek to control may have unintended
consequences that would have to control with a second order of
control, and so on, but the brain has millions of levers to make it do
what you want. Pharmacology, political science, neuroscience,
advertising, law enforcement, etc have identified many reliable
methods of controlling the brain, either directly or indirectly.

> So to control it, you'd have to do it on a broad scale and a fundamental
> level. But we can't do that, and if someone could, the brain would just be a
> puppet steered by a puppeter and as such it wouldn't be a brain as working
> system, but rather a mass of flesh that is being manipulated.

Right, that's what my Overlords Gambit is about. What are the
mechanics of manipulation and what happens when they themselves are

> Craig Weinberg wrote:
> >> The closest one can get to controlling the brain is to make it
> >> dysfunctional. It's a bit boring, but the most realistic answer is that
> >> both
> >> would fall unconscious, as that is the only result of exerting excessive
> >> control over a brain.
> >> It's the same result as if you try to totally control an ecosystem, or an
> >> economy. It'll destroy the natural order, as control is not a fundamental
> >> ordering principle.
> > I generally agree. The thought experiment is to make people consider
> > the fallacy of exclusively bottom up processing. I don't think that
> > you could actually control a brain, I'm just saying that if you could,
> > how do you get around the fact that it violates the assumption that
> > only neurons can control the brain.
> I don't think that many people would claim that. You probably mean that the
> neurons control your behaviour,

Controlling your behavior begins with controlling your brain. The
people I have been debating with here do claim that neurons alone
control brain as a whole, while I maintain that control is shared from
the top down as well. The psyche can voluntarily control entire
regions of the brain, and does so routinely. The neurons which make up
the brain reflect that voluntary will rather than assemble an illusion
of will through the mechanics of their biology.

> but I don't think many people believe that,
> either. Materialist would rather claim that the neurons are the physical
> cause for behaviour, and consciousness arises as a phenomenon alongside.

Not the people I've talked to. They mostly all consider consciousness
an epiphenomenon or emergent property of neurological function.

> I don't see how this is any problem with regards to control, it just is a
> claim of magic (mind coming out of non-mind, with no mechanism how this
> could happen) that is not even directly subjectively validated (like the
> magic of consciousness that we can directly witness).

Some people argue that will is an illusion caused by neurological
function. I'm showing that the neurological function can also be made
into an epiphenomenon of conscious control. It has to be bi-

> >  The point was to show that bottom up exclusivity fails,
> > and that  we must consider that our ordinary intuition of bi-
> > directional, high-low processing interdependence may indeed be valid.
> Yes, I guessed that this was your point, but I am not sure that your thought
> experiment helps it. Neurons making thought is quite meaingless from the
> start, I don't see how it is affected by what controls what.

It's not about thought per-se, it's just the idea of supervenience
doesn't stand up to this thought experiment. If the brain is nothing
but predictable,  controllable, emulable  functions, then what happens
when we turn that control on itself? What happens when we, as the
deterministic puppets of our neurology, control someone else's
neurology. Whose puppet do they become then?

> >> It seems like you think of control or will as something fundamental, and
> >> I
> >> don't see any reason to assume that it is.
> > That's a reasonable objection. If it's not fundamental, what is it
> > composed of, and why is there an appearance of anything other than
> > whatever that is?
> It is not composed of anything (I am not a reductionist). Rather it arises
> like other feelings/perceptions, for example being hungry (it is just more
> essential to our identity).

Doesn't that make it fundamental? If it's real yet has no reducible
precursor, then it's primitive, isn't it? I could agree that it is
just like any other feeling or perception, or that it has ontological
efficacy. Either way it's the same really. It makes no difference,
both possibilities invalidate pure determinism in my opinion.

> The reason for its appearance is simply as a feedback mechanism, it shows us
> that "we" are the source of the actions,

Why should we want to be shown that if we aren't the source of the
actions really? A feedback mechanism would be just as effective
without any feeling/perception at all.

> which bring attention to our
> actions (which is obviously quite useful). As such it is not more
> fundamental than other such mechanism (like pain, which shows us something
> is wrong in our body).
> Also, in a state of "enlightenment", the feeling of being in control
> vanishes (together with the ego that is supposed to be the controller), and
> people still function normally, which shows that it can't be that
> fundamental.

If by fundamental you think I mean that it is of some kind of
superlative phenomenon underlying all others, then no, I don't think
that. I just think will is a part of the sensorimotive experience of
living organisms.

> It is an artifact of seeing yourself as a person, seperate from
> your environment, and intervening in it. Actually it is quite a crude tool,
> as many times we feel to be in control when the main cause lies in something
> else (like gambling), and often we don't feel in control of essential
> interventions into our environment (like reflexes).

Oh sure, I agree that the mundane level of ego awareness is crude and
not-what-it-appears to be. I'm not getting into will in the
philosophical-moralistic sense at all, I'm talking about just
volitional efficacy as an elemental phenomenon. It would be a gross
simplification to consider the thin superficial layer of conscious
intellect to be what governs the psyche. There are many influences,
subconscious, unconscious, and conscious which contribute to what the
one small part which notices it would consider control.

> >>Honestly I that we think that we
> >> have "free", independent will is just the arrogance of our ego that feels
> >> it
> >> has to have a fundamentally special place in the universe.
> > I used to think that too, but now I see that it's every bit as much of
> > an egotistical arrogance to De-anthropomorphize ourselves. It's an
> > inverted, passive aggressive egotism to perpetually look to other
> > processes above and below our native level of individual cohesion to
> > give credit or blame, while all the while hiding invisibly behind the
> > voyeur's curtain.
> I understand where you coming from, but I don't see the necessary
> relationship to will. We can be the genuine free source of our actions,
> whether our will is free or not.

Sure, it's never free in the sense that our will is only a
relativistic means to an end which is already defined by sense. We are
presented with 'the good choice' and 'the bad choice', so there really
is no free choice about it. We will choose whatever we think is better
(even though determining that isn't always easy - sometimes we prefer
what might be seen as the 'bad choice') or more appropriate. But the
fact that we experience this formality of decision shows that the
universe is not mere automation.

> That we place so much attention on our will, is due to us seeing us as mere
> doers. Actually we are much more (conscious beings with rich inner life), so
> if anything it is humanizing to give more attention to that, than mere will.
> It is important that we *are* free, not that we can decide "freely" what we
> do in particular, if you ask me.

Oh, absolutely. As far as personal philosophy goes, I generally let my
will evaporate whenever possible. I'm down with the wu-wei my friend,
believe me. My motto is "never do anything".Human beings instead of
human doings. I second that motion completely. This thought experiment
is much more primitive than that. I'm just showing how low level
processes must be susceptible to control from high level processes as

> >  To think that we have no free will is to think that
> > we cannot think one way or another that we have free will.
> >  It's circular, self-negating reasoning. "I think that I don't really
> > think,
> > because I think that I can explain that it's not necessary for
> > thinking to happen at all". Doesn't really make sense if you step out
> > of the system and observer your thinking, opinionated, controlling
> > self pronouncing that it controls nothing, thinks for no reason, and
> > has opinions for...for what again? What is an opinion doing in a
> > cosmos which has no free will? Literally. What does an opinion do? Why
> > are you here talking to me? What is making controlling you to do this
> > more than you yourself? Should I imagine that my neurons care what I
> > think?
> We can think different things, without this being fundamentally being
> related to our will. We are just free to think, regardless whether we will
> it to be so or not.
> I think you are confusing free will and freedom. Your will can be an
> expression of your freedom, but more often than not, we use our will to do
> something which keeps us in bondage.

You are looking at a whole other sense of free will than I am. I'm
just dealing with basic sensorimotive dynamics as it relates to brain

> When I say that your will is not really free, I am not saying that you are a
> puppet that is controlled by your brain. An opinion is valuable to you,
> whether you just have it, or you claim to use your will to have it.
> The cosmos does not need free will, as it is free without a will. It just
> does what it does, including having opinions, talking to interesting people,
> etc... Why is all of that nothing worth if there is no controller of them?

Why isn't just doing 'what it does' free will?

> I mean, it is natural to want to be the owner of things (these are MY
> actions), but we can also "learn" to transcend this, or rather, see that
> there is no owner in the first place (just the appearance of one). I find
> this liberating, not dehumanizing.

Right, but that's a whole other conversation. I'm just talking to the
functionalists among us who claim that there is nothing to want to own
anything in the first place. That it can all only be functions
satisfying microcosmic physical laws.

> >> That is not to say that we are predetermined by a material universe,
> >> rather
> >> control is just a phenomenon arising in consciousness like all other
> >> phenomena eg feelings and perceptions.
> > Sure, but that's all that it needs to be. As long as we get the
> > sensory feedback that we expect from our motives, then we might as
> > well have free will. It just seems violate parsimony unnecessarily.
> > Why does it make sense for consciousness to be completely dominated by
> > the experience of control in a universe where that would be utterly
> > meaningless? How would such an illusion even work in the sense of how
> > does a feeling of will get invented in the first place? If you keep
> > throwing dice long enough they will start hallucinating that they are
> > an organism with a conscious will? Why? How? It's totally nuts and
> > explains nothing.
> OK, I agree with you that it is not a meaningless by-product, certainly not.
> That doesn't make it fundamental, though. It is fundamental to our
> self-image, but that doesn't say much (money or fame is also, for some
> people). Self-image is important in the development for consciousness, so it
> makes sense it uses the feeling of being in control. But ultimately we don't
> want to idolize an image, but actually be directly aware (of)/as the Self
> (it seems to me there is just one).

I think we are on the same page, I didn't intend to say that free will
was a super important feature, just that it's appearance suggests
quite a bit more flexibility in the universe than determinism would
predict or allow.


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