Consciousness as an argument against determinism

I dislike determinism as a philosophy. It's not that I think the concept is meritless. To the contrary, cause and effect are how we view the world. It's how time is strung together to create physical existence. It's everything that life teaches us and the basis of science.

But I think determinism oversteps its scientific bounds and into the realm of philosophy and metaphysics by proclaiming itself to be universal when there is really no evidence to support that extrapolation. Determinism does not belong there. For example, using determinism to proclaim that free will is an illusion. This goes against the intuitive nature of consciousness, and it can only make this connection through the tenuous assumption that our consciousness is just another effect of our physical bodies' chemical reactions. There is a huge missing link there. The fact that our senses feed into our brain, and our brain's operation relates to our thoughts is correlation, not causation.

There is no obvious reason that being self-aware should be a requisite effect of the chemical processes of our brains. After all, robots and computers can be built using neural nets and pseudo-biological rules to influence their development and end up looking very much self-aware. On the other hand, if consciousness is just a physical phenomenon, then couldn't computers be conscious in their own inscrutable way? Or any system for that matter? It seems to me that taking sides on this debate is merely a matter of personal taste. There is no evidence either way, but for myself I believe our consciousness is linked to a deeper truth beyond our physical senses.

If we consider determinism objectively, we see that it is a relatively easy conclusion to swallow from direct worldly observation. But since are observations are obviously extremely limited, why should we allow them to be the end all of our beliefs? Some might say because there is no point in debating that which we can never know. Perhaps... but we don't know what we can know. Most scientific advances of the past century are all based on things we can't directly experience, but nevertheless learned to use through their effects.

I find it vaguely irritating to hear free will dismissed so easily on the basis of a flawed logical equation. Choice is intuitive. There is currently no way to prove or disprove free will, we all believe what we want to believe (or what we were destined to believe). Regardless, I don't think it is very scientific to dismiss outright anything outside the realm of physical causality. Real progress is never made through a closed mind.

I think it will be interesting to see where the field of quantum mechanics takes us.

I'm quite certain that whoever's in control around here has a sense of humor. And that means everything is going to be ok

The world came to a screeching halt about noon today. I was sitting in the hospital with the neurologist pushing and pulling on various limbs, shining the light in my eyes and making me follow it, and asking me questions about whether or not I knew where I was and when this all started. I have been in incredible pain the last couple of days, so I went to see the doctor. The symptoms were headaches, muscle fatigue, blurry vision and sudden bloody noses- all the signs of an aneurism. So I set up an emergency appointment and found myself here. And some unaware college DJ is playing "Once" by Pearl Jam. Eddie Vedder croons "I've got a bomb in my temple and it's going to explode", and my mind starts wandering...

Thanks Eddie.

I'll cut to the chase. I figure you're not interested in my responses to questions like 'are you pregnant?' and 'do you have difficulty urinating?' Bottom line is I have a severely inflammed occipital nerve, just above the base of my spinal column. And it's cutting off blood flow to my brain and screwing up my usually abnormally low blood pressure (courtesy of marathon running).

The doctor wants me to bring my life to a standstill. This is all caused by two things: my primary computer is a laptop, granting me poor posture while using it, and the fact that I use it way too much because I've adopted too many pet projects... E2 being one of them.

The result is that my doctor has asked me to stop everything. No summer projects. No long distance offshore yachting. And probably of most import to all of you is no Everything2 or computer use in general. Now get this: he says I need to get out into the real world a lot more in these next three months. I need to spend more time hove to in my cruising J-24 and less time racing on the Maxi 60. I need to spend more time writing letters and postcards and less time writing my code for my postgraduate. I need to spend more time with my family, neighbors and girlfriend and less time in the Chatterbox and Scratch Pad.

In short, I need to get outside, not go outside.

I'll see you in two months, hopefully changed for the better.









HER HUSBAND. SHE SHOT HIM.                         



I just found this in my mailbox. It is dark outside, and I am not sure what to make of it.

I locked my door.

I don't think I have been so scared - ever.

I'm not wanting to any longer be patient - I want my damn baby!

I was thinking that today would of been the day, but it wasn't - a lot of activity from the little guy he's almost a been in her for a year. Hopefully it's not much later because he'll be a nitemare for her to deliver.
I talked to the vet today and since her afterbirth and 'plug' has already come out the baby should of been born shortly following! But nooo this is a stubborn little cria and is protesting his birth. (yes it's called afterbirth but for some reason on alpacas it arrives before the birth.)

Of course there's no way to enduce birth either with out it being too much of an hazard to the mother.

Let's hope for tomorrow, I would be a terrible mother if I was her getting very impatient with the little cria.

Part Two fo the Alpaca Saga: May 20, 2003 - Part One

Sometimes I read all the writeups in a node and I wish it were possible to vote on the whole node. When you add a writeup to a node, you should make it self-sufficient, but you should also pay attention to what's already there. Generally noders do this pretty well, and so as the number of writeups in a node grows, some collaboration between the authors appears. This often makes for a node that is fun to read and informative, even if it's treating a difficult subject.

This brings me to another enhancement I see in the future of E2. (If no one else does it, I will someday.) There ought to be a way to encourage people to go back over their existing work and improve it. Of course, I'm still pretty green, so maybe as I get to know more, I will see that encouragement from other noders (which already happens) is the ideal mechanism for this and it already works perfectly.

For example, if you've voted on a writeup, wouldn't it be cool if you were notified when the author made a change to it so you could go back and see how it changed? Or maybe you'd get this notification for any nodes that you've bookmarked. If noders need motivation to update their previous work, perhaps voters could be given the opportunity to change their vote.

I don't feel these ideas are worthy of the suggestion box just yet. Hopefully noders in the know will msg me with insights that I haven't yet had on my own and I can hone my ideas a bit more. Anyway, enjoy the rest of the day logs and thanks for reading.
God it's hot in here. I sit in the mac lab in the Vancouver Film School, waiting to give my documentary proposal to my prof. The past three weeks have flown by. I've met lots of people, moved, left my family in another town, along with my boyfriend and the place that I grew up in. So much work to do. In my first two weeks here I watched about a dozen documentaries, my favourite of which "Roger & Me" by Michael Moore. So much work. It seems like a year already as each day stretches into infinity until I get home, type out homework for a couple of hours, and then crash on my bed which happens to be a futon in my Grandparent's den.

God is it ever hot up here. Yesterday I got frustrated with the editing exercise and left before I could perfect the scene I was working on. I will finish it today. After my doc proposal I will travel to New Westminster to see whoever runs the big archery store up there. I need more contacts for my doc. I'm directing, by the way, which feels so exciting but also frightening. That is... IF my doc gets chosen... I've got a 50/50 chance. I'd say that's pretty good.

Every morning I wake up at six and am out of bed before ten to seven. I catch the bus and transfer at Phibb's Exchange to get to West Pender street. I walk down to Hastings. This is not a very nice part of town... on my bus ride yesterday I saw police arresting some guy that was cuffed on the ground. But stepping off the bus today into the light rain I did not put up my umbrella. I walked with my face towards the sky all the way to the Film Production building.

The rest of the year is going to go by so fast.

I dislike GTKY nodes as much as the next person but I just needed to write. Hope it's palatable.

Maybe predestination is a good thing. Think about it. What if you had the perfect life all planned out for you? What if your happiness was assurred? Would you throw it all away in favor of free will? How do you know you even have free will in the first place? And isn't happiness what it's all about? You could argue that you'd never be happy knowing that you couldn't make your decisions freely, but let's say you could be happy. Would you choose that over free will? You could say that free will is a higher pure thing, a right deserved by all human beings, but you're parroting someone else. You're taking their word for it. Have you ever thought about it by yourself? What really makes free will so valuable? Does it make you happy? Will it comfort you when you are down? Will it sleep with you? Or is it a famous man who you barely know who stars in movies and has lots of money and all the girls and everything you never had, a man who will have millions of people who never met him attend his funeral, all of them weeping as if they'd just been told their significant other has cancer? Why do you love him? What has he ever done for you? What makes free will so great?

Perhaps we need an application to real life. Perhaps my monologue is unwitty and poorly written. We need a story. Gather round; I'm not going to tell you a story but I've got the next best thing: nostalgia. Think about the best moment of your life. Perhaps it was your first love, perhaps it was you first kiss, perhaps it was your first sexual experience. Perhaps it was birth. Would you give that moment away if you found out you did not commit it out of free will, that instead you were a pawn in some game of intergalactic chess? I bet you wouldn't. You'd fight it for a while, and then realize it still was the best moment you ever had.

The mind is a funny thing. It will try to destroy itself for an ideal just because. But it always eventually gives in. It has to. It's programmed that way.

These thoughts inspired by Brave New World. It's just like your world, except it's Brave and New. How can you turn down an offer like that?

There is an old abandoned building on our street.

Sometimes I watch it from the windows,

expecting to see some pale ghostly face

pressed against a cloudy pane.

The crazy woman across the road hangs clean clothes

on a line between her house and the neighbor’s,

while her son sits with hand on knee on the front stoop.

She drags us into unbearable conversations,

of cats and rain, and parking permits.

I back away slowly as she speaks to us,

until I’m all the way across the street

and she is forced to raise her voice.

I feel at times like the ghost of the neighbourhood -

I peer out of doorways and from behind curtains;

I lean on the window ledge of the top story

and gaze upon the city that stretches forever.

There is a fear that lingers in my mind at times,

that were there ever a ghost to be seen across the way,

peering through dust-covered glass,

confused and lonely and luminous -

she would return my smile, and tilt her head as I do mine,

until I realized with nauseous resignation,

that I’d been looking for myself all this time.

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