>From the Devo song Freedom of Choice:
"In ancient Rome
There was a poem
About a dog
Who found two bones
He picked at one
He licked the other
He went in circles
He dropped dead
Freedom of choice
Is what you got
Freedom from choice
Is what you want"
Thinking about the relationship between choice and freedom, and how there
is a difference between voluntary and mandatory choice. Even in freedom
there is bondage when that freedom is tied to significant consequences. The
appeal of recreation, of gaming, and drugs has to do with the disjoining
the connections along the axis of meta-choice>choice>consequences.
On vacation, we seek a state of ease which is accomplished primarily by
increasing our meta-choice. Our power to exercise our preference over
whether or not we exercise our preference. A cruise offers the exemplary
condition for this - many choices are offered: excursions, activities,
passive entertainment, private relaxation, and of course food. At any given
time we can engage in a huge number of voluntary choices or we can opt not
to choose anything at all and nobody will bother us for lingering in a
lounge chair on deck for a week. This is leisure and ease. If we were only
allowed to stay on the lounge chair, or if we had to accomplish a certain
number of activities, then it would be a prison or at least a kind of work.
So far, no machine has been made that can tell the difference between work
and leisure or leisure and play. Playing involves forgoing the meta- aspect
of choice by presenting the opportunity to play the game. Once we
voluntarily choose to play a game, we have given up our pure leisure state
(our native superposition if you will) and collapsed into a state of
unqualified choice making. A game gives us pleasure despite causing us the
need to make choices, because the choices are disjoined from real-world
consequences for the most part. It can be argued that sport and further
professional sport represent a progressive undoing of the game aspect,
becoming an activity which can be both better and worse than work or play.
All of this is yet another attempt to show the very limited
conceptualization of free will which has been used to prop up determinism.
In a deterministic universe, there really could not plausibly be any way of
disjoining choice from consequences, work from play, or leisure from
choice. The number of 'choices' executed by a program, and the sequence in
which they are executed are all that can matter. A branching logic tree can
be looped and accelerated indefinitely with no complaint from the computer.
A computer's Groundhog Day can have no difference between day three of a
Caribbean cruise and day 400 of trench warfare, as long as the number of
opportunities are the same, the computational cost would be the same.
Why then do we care about the difference between freedom of choice and
freedom from choice, and how can we even conceive of it in the first place
if the universe of our minds were truly deterministic? I think that the
answer is obviously that our minds are not truly deterministic but rather
heavily impacted by the significance of our interaction with the real
world. All games are created equal, but games which have real world
consequences are not games. This of course maps to the simulation argument
- where all simulations are interchangeable with each other, but none of
them are interchangeable with the fundamental non-simulation. Digital fire
can burn down a simulated house in the game or a meta-simulatied house
within a game within a simulated house, but it can never burn down a real
house outside of all of the games. Games are easy, reality is harder.
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