Archives for posts with tag: Free will
For John Locke and his followers “what makes a person identical with herself over time is her remembering or being able to remember the events to which she was witness or agent.” (According mostly to the followers. What Locke actually said is something else, to which I’ll come back shortly)
Jesse Prinz has another opinion.


In this video Prinz seems to advocate that we maintain the continuity of our selves by sticking to a set of values. But this is only ‘skin deep’.
He didn’t actually say ‘what keeps us ‘together’ over time but ‘what people think that is ‘keeping us together’ as time passes’.
These two are not necessarily the same thing.
The way I see it memories are just the ‘resource’ from which our identity is continuously being built and the ‘values’ we stick to are the ‘blue-prints’ we use/update during the process but that the ‘driver’ behind all this is our self-awareness/free willing soul.
All three are interdependent.
As Locke observed, without our memories we would be like balloons drifting in a cloud of deep fog. We wouldn’t even be able to determine whether we were moving or not.
As Prinz said, without our values we’re like ships which have lost their ‘compass’.  Just imagine a boat sailing during a starless night or in a cloudy day. There are ways that experienced sailors can use to determine whether the ship is moving – relative to the surrounding water – but not even Black Beard nor Magellan would have been able to reach their destinations without ever seeing the Sun, some stars or using a compass.
Not to mention the fact, sorry Jesse, that without our memory we wouldn’t be able to remember today what set of values we had been using yesterday.
Finally, but not lastly, without our self-awareness/free willing soul we would be like perfectly sea-worthy ships which have been abandoned by their crews. Adrift in the middle of the sea, at the mercy of the elements. Elements themselves being not merciless but amoral…
 I’m sure that by now you have already figured out what I mean.
It is “we” that ‘compares’ and ‘considers’ things, that forms “ideas of identity and diversity”, that sees “anything to be in any place in any instant of time”, that is “sure” of anything (or not)… and so on and so forth…
Without this “we” no discussion about memory nor values would have ever been possible
Without memories the “we” would go ‘hungry’. Or nuts.
Without values the “we” would be ‘toothless’. Or antisocial/in jail.
And all these have already been mentioned, albeit in different terms, by both Humberto Maturana and Stephane Lupasco.
Don’t tell me that none of you have ever thought, however passingly, of the other meaning of ‘stool’.



Yesterday I went to the French embassy in Bucharest and lighted a candle in mourning for the people killed during the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack.

I, an agnostic, using a religious symbol in remembrance of a group of people killed by a couple of (intolerant self proclaimed) defenders of religious values for poking tasteless fun at some religious symbols.

Je suis Charlie

While there I noticed a mother who brought her very small child to a ‘shrine’ build in the memory of people who authored such extreme works of art that some of them cannot be shown, under any circumstances, to underage audiences.
(I really do consider that what those people created were indeed works of art. Only not all art is contemporary with the moment of time when it was created so, maybe, it should be saved for ulterior audience… and, hence, shown to a very limited selection of the people currently roaming the Earth.)

It is up to us to decide how we put traditional precepts into practice!

islamic law about marriage

And what is there to stop the father from accepting her choice except for his ego or self serving interests?

Click on the picture, watch the video and then tell me what ‘higher instance’ forced any of those people to do what they did, to make the choices they made..
All individuals featured in this video belong to the Afghan people and, presumably, to the Muslim faith. Yet their attitudes cover the entire spectrum. Don’t tell me there is no such thing as free will and individual responsibility.

What forced the father to give away his daughter as compensation for his son’s “sins”?
Peer pressure?!? (‘Relatives’ that may become belligerent if their demands are not met.)
But who are these ‘peers’ if not human beings themselves?

When are we going to understand that we can not quell yesterday’s conflict by inflicting fresh sufferance?
This just doesn’t work!

This video is funny as hell and more than half true.

Unfortunately Carlin belongs to that group of people (religious as well as un and anti religious) that confuse ‘religion’ with those who ‘administer’ (use) religious passions of the people in order to reach their personal goals.

‘Religion’, per se, is nothing but a set of convictions held in common by the members of a community, convictions that have been accumulated in time and represent the affective memory of the community that partakes in those convictions.
‘People’, on the other hand, are individual members of the community who have been influenced all their lives by the afore mentioned convictions – regardless if a particular individual currently holds  those convictions or not – and who lead their lives negotiating continuously inside their minds, consciously or unconsciously,  about how to apply those convictions in their daily lives.

In this respect every ‘bullshit’ – perpetrated in the name of religion, against it or having nothing directly to do with it – is the ‘work’ of ‘people’ – who have ‘free will’ (= personal autonomy) – not the direct result of ‘religion’.

Christian teachers tell us that god works through man, never directly. Same thing applies to religion.
That’s why blaming ‘religion’ for anything is logically equivalent to blaming god for everything.

Not a very ‘atheist’ attitude, is it?

A FB friend of mine shared this picture on her wall:


I tend to agree but not entirely.
The last sentence is based, subliminally, on the assumption that there is a more or less proportional link between pain and someone’s willingness to effect/accept change.
In reality that link is not at all linear, oftentimes the effects are contrary to those expected by the ‘pain dispensers’ or even the connection fails altogether.
And the explanation is simple. We are humans. ‘Pain’ is, or better said should be, treated as a signal that has to be interpreted before acted upon and not as cue – as it happens in the animal world.

Besides that change happens regardless of whether any of us, individually, want it, are prepared for it or scorn it. All we can do is make the best of it.

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