Is Neuroscience the Death of Free Will? by Eddy Nahmias
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Please read this important update on the human physics of Free Will. Eddy Nahmias is an associate professor at Georgia State University in the department of philosophy and the Neuroscience Institute. He is the author of many articles, including “Scientific Challenges to Free Will” and “Intuitions about Free Will, Determinism, and Bypassing.” He is the co-editor of the book, “Moral Psychology: Historical and Contemporary Readings,” and is currently writing another, titled “Rediscovering Free Will.”
"You have just crossed over into the twilight Zone."
Magic Boson Mass
(Upon reading in Wikipedia about Higgs Bosons)
(In honor of the people of Libya, 08-21-2011)
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You are not clay for my hands
I am not clay for yours
I can not write a constitution to make you clay for me
I can not make a law to make you clay for me
I can not incorporate to make you clay for me
I can not create a clever strategy to make you clay for me but
If you are willing
I can pretend you are clay for me long enough
To convince you long enough
To hurt you
If you are willing
I can hurt you long enough
To convince you long enough
To give up
Despots rise from us
We create them
From the power we use
To create heroes
Whatever is done and said
You are not clay
I am not clay
The Maker who made us
The Dervish galaxy spinner
The Boson magic mass maker who
Made foolish clay manipulators
Made clever clay to manipulate clay manipulators
Even made more clever clay to refuse to be clay
There will always be
Fools paying attention to despots
Fools fighting despots
Lots of fighting fools
Good ideas bleeding in to clay
In India wearing homespun
In Memphis on the mountaintop
Good clay just trying to learn from the children
Good clay just trying to lead the children
Who will rise again from the clay some day
With magic boson mass some day
To be the power
We already are
HUMAN PHYSICS 09-20-2011
When my plans aren’t working… the problem is that I am continuing to use plans that aren’t working. All humans are built to improve plans… NOT to keep using plans that aren’t working.
My plans that aren’t working… may not be working because I am using old plans that no longer fit current realities.
My plans that aren’t working… may never have worked and I am loyal to them for early childhood reasons, or trauma reasons, or fear reasons, or guilt reasons, or shame reasons, or loyalty reasons or co-dependence reasons. Humans often use plans that didn’t work well for their parents, their families and their cultures. Trauma, fear, guilt, shame, loyalty and co-dependence glue us to plans that may never have worked or may keep us glued to plans that got us through an emergency but have not worked since.
My plans that aren’t working… may not be working because I am using old information to base my plans upon or because I am basing my plans upon faulty assumptions. Humans often do not look at the consequences we get when we use a plan or we misinterpret the consequences or we are not honest with ourselves about the consequences. Sometimes we even forget that we are using plans… or we forget that we are choosing to use the plans we are using. Sometimes we forget that we can change any plan any time.
My plans that aren’t working… may not be working because I am forgetting to use the new information my body keeps offering me about my current feelings and needs.
My plans that aren’t working… may not be working because my plans may interfere with the free will of other humans. I cannot fool all the people all the time. I may be able to fool myself more often.
My plans that aren’t working… may not be working because my plan lacks respect for the realities of human development, human feelings, human physiology, human interrelatedness, human spirituality, human physics or human frailty.
Good therapy or good mentorship or good pastoral counseling reminds humans how all humans, excluding no one, have the ability to value and be aware of the current physical wisdom, mental wisdom and spiritual wisdom our bodies and our spirits are always trying to give us to improve our plans.
And genuine humility is always a good idea when making a plan. This is very hard for every human to do.
As fragile as we are, it is fruitful to remember that, at any given time, most of our unconscious and conscious plans are working. If most of our plans were not working, at any given time, we would not be living humans.
It is a good plan, at any given time, for me to be willing to be affirmative, for me to be willing to be aware, and for me to be willing to be honest with myself.
I am vulnerable with God
The risk is infinite
Mortality is real and time is mysterious
I am vulnerable with my children
The risk is unavoidable
Their perspective is opaque to me even though I am myself a child
I am vulnerable with other humans
I can sometimes limit the risk by limiting contact
But I am a fool and I need a part to play
I am vulnerable with my Beloved
When I love you no protection is possible
I am a fragile and brave explorer and no one can help me
2011 Canoe Journey – Paddle to Swinomish “Loving Caring and Sharing Together”
I submitted this to the Skagit Valley Herald 08-01-2011:
For a couple of years our amazing Swinomish neighbors have been preparing to host the massive, 2011 Canoe Journey – Paddle to Swinomish “Loving Caring and Sharing Together” event that climaxed Sunday night when the hosts presented their Protocol to the visiting Canoes and other attendees.
I have lived in the Skagit Valley for 22 years and have never been to a local event approaching the size, complexity, attendance and magnificence of Paddle to Swinomish. As virtually the whole Swinomish tribe danced into the center of the huge tent the size of a city block already filled with thousands, everyone stood and shouted with joy. The presence of the elders, the stamina of the drummers, and the skill of the dancers, young and old, filled the room and seemed to lift the huge tent.
It numbs the mind to think of the community effort required to create this success. Each tribal member must have gone through a personal peak experience as the events of the week unfolded. The visitors were well housed, well fed and all were inspired by the model of their hosts to take care of each other. It was astonishing to be there.
I passed a middle aged tribal woman as I was entering the big tent. Her shirt said, “THRIVE” on the front and “TALK TO ME” on the back. I want to say to her, the Swinomish People and to all the People of the Salish Sea who attended, “My hands are up to you!”
SLEEP AND LONG TERM MEMORY (From “The Sleep Doctor”)
Here’s a fact that might surprise you: we really do not know why we sleep. Of course, we sleep because our bodies demand it; we know we require sleep for our survival. But we’ve yet to discover the why of sleep, to determine the physiological purpose that sleep serves. Sleep is one of our most elemental functions, essential to life, and the purpose of sleep remains something of a mystery.
That’s why this news is so exciting, and potentially important: a new study has found a direct link between sleep and the creation of long-term memories.
Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine have discovered a cluster of cells in the fruit-fly brain that controls sleep. By manipulating those cells, scientists were able to establish long-term memories in fruit flies by controlling their sleep habits. How did they accomplish this? First, the researchers bred genetically modified fruit flies to sleep on demand. Using their ability to control the fruit flies’ sleep, the scientists tested the insects’ ability to learn — and retain — information. Here’s how they did it, and what they found:
As a test, researchers exposed male fruit flies to other male flies that had been engineered to smell like female fruit flies.
After a few unsuccessful mating attempts, the flies learned not to court these female-in-disguise flies.
Without sleep, the fruit flies retained this knowledge of the pretend-female flies for a short period of time, amounting to a few hours.
Scientists put their fruit-fly subjects to sleep after the courtship training. With sleep, the fruit flies were able to retain the same information for several days. Sleep enabled the fruit flies to convert short-term knowledge into long-term memory.
We’ve long known that there was a relationship between sleep, memory and learning. You don’t have to be a scientist to have a sense of this. Think about your typical state of mind — and your inclination to retain new information — at the end of a long, busy day.
The science behind your end-of-day brain fatigue is also what the results of this new research appear to confirm: a theory called synaptic homeostasis. Like all animals, fruit flies included, our brains are engaged in processing information every moment we’re awake. The synapses in our brains are a key component of this process. Synapses create communication pathways in the brain that enable us to retain information. The theory of synaptic homeostasis suggests that sleep functions like a filter, to help us weed out and relax the synapses we develop over the course of a day, in order to start fresh the next day. Our brains use sleep as the time to determine what information can be discarded, and what is useful enough that it should be stored as longer-term memories.
In their fruit-fly subjects, researchers discovered:
Flies in stimulating, learning-rich environments created more synapses than flies kept in isolation.
During sleep, these synapses were reduced in size and number, essentially clearing out the clutter in the brain to prepare for another round of learning.
So, what are the implications for us humans? A sleep-inducing switch for our brains sounds like the stuff of science fiction, and its safe to say we’re a ways away from this. But this is a dramatic step toward developing an answer to that elusive question of why we sleep. The more we understand about the underlying reasons for sleep, the better able we’ll be to explore and develop safe, natural solutions to sleep problems.
Michael J. Breus, Ph.D.
The Sleep Doctor™
“Everything you do, you do better with a good night’s sleep”™
Find Dr. Breus on Twitter @thesleepdoctor, and on Facebook at:
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN IMPULSE AND INSTINCT?
Ideas or Actions based upon assumption or worry or a manipulative idea to attempt to get someone or something or some situation to take care of me. Impulse is usually complicated or creates complication and it usually doesn’t work. Impulse based plans only work by chance. It is very hard to learn to make better and more effective plans when I am being impulsive. I will generally be choosing short term and long term negative consequences when I act on impulse.
Ideas or Actions based upon actual physical Feelings (Sensations). (“Like, “I need to go the bathroom.” or, “I need to get out of the street NOW!”) Instinct is usually very simple, and it usually works. Plans based upon instinct usually work because they are based in physical reality. It is easy to learn how to improve my plans when I am making decisions based upon physical reality. I can remember that I AM NOT my impulses. I will generally be choosing better short term and long term consequences when I act on instinct. I can remember that every act includes risk.
OVERLAPING VALUES 05-10-11
Each of you have values of your own. These value overlap to a certain extent. To a certain extent they do not overlap. When you try to make agreements with values that you don't share (values that don't overlap) you will fail every time.
When you two choose both to be honest within yourself and honest with each other making it possible to arrive at a plan through listening to and hearing each other share feelings and needs, listening for anything that comes from values you both share (that overlap) and then agreeing on a plan, and then doing the plan as agreed... the boy's anxiety will be reduced over time. Their acting out will then reduce over time.
The purpose for the meeting with your older son is for me to respond to his courage in seeking the meeting by listening to and hearing what he has to say. Once I have heard what he has to say I may choose to be done with the meeting. If he chooses to sign a release I may be able to talk you two about the session. His choice.
Depending on how things go, I may choose to use the opportunity of the session to talk about the nature of and the danger of impulsive choices and the nature and danger of manipulation. He may not want to listen to such talk. His choice.
Your family contains a mother, a father an older son and a younger sons. Each of you have free will. Each of you deserves separate respect from me. Each of you deserves separate respect from each other.
That is how I will operate.
Let me know what plan you agree to proceed with.
Good job communicating so far.
SELF CARE HYGIENE
THE WAY IT IS FOR MOST PEOPLE NOW…
• We awaken from sleep into anxiety, impulse and disorientation.
• Of course we have to take our shower, brush our teeth and comb our hair, eat, drink water, and get enough rest.
• In modern life we are invited to think that we can simply wake up, start our day and succeed in taking care of all the needs of everyone who depends upon us. We act as if we are just supposed to be able to wake up and proceed with the day without preparation.
• We are surprised as the days wear on to feel more and more anxious, impulsive and disoriented. What we choose to do does not work. What others choose to do frustrates us or angers us. We feel that we may be moving toward danger or failure. The more anxious, impulsive and disoriented we become, the more we feel frustrated and abandoned. If we keep going like this, we will become increasingly frustrated, then angry, and then rageful.
• In modern life we are invited to think something is wrong with us when we feel anxious or sad or we don’t have success or feel successful.
WHAT HUMANS USED TO KNOW…
• Of course when I choose to take a shower, brush my teeth and comb my hair, eat, drink water, and get enough rest… I feel better.
• When the current plan is not working or I feel increasingly anxious, sad, frustrated or angry, there is nothing wrong with the equipment. I just need a new plan to take better care of my own feelings and needs.
• That everyone has weakness and enough strength. I need to check in with my self to monitor whether I am using my weaknesses or my strengths to make the decisions of the day. If I am self abusive I am using my weakness to make plans. This will not work. Power struggles create stand-offs and stagnation, not success in meeting needs and taking care of feelings.
• When I awaken, and during each day, I need to attend to my body with self-care. Humans do better when we focus on what our own body feels and needs right now instead of focusing outside ourselves on what others feel and need or what the world feels and needs. My body is already aware of the environment. The questions needing answers are, “What do I feel? What do I need? And what strengths do I have to successfully take care of these feelings and needs? Once I feel safe and calm I have a chance to provide safe and calm care and attention to those I love or those for whom I feel responsible or to problems or challenges I am facing.
• Through the day I may feel like I have been thrown off course, or I may feel that something is wrong, or I might become aware that I am confused or that I don’t know what to do. My body is trying to tell me every minute of each day if I am going a safe direction with my decisions or if I am going in a direction that will create increasing anxiety, frustration, anger, panic and rage. If I listen to and hear my own feelings and needs I will know the smartest thing to do right now. If I keep listening and hearing my feelings and needs I will be able to keep correcting my course as things change around me. I am aware that nothing is wrong with me.
• When I do these things I feel less anxious, less impulsive and less disoriented. I feel less abandoned.
SAMPLE OF EFFECTIVE DAILY SELF CARE HYGIENE
• I can choose to take a shower, brush my teeth and comb my hair, eat, drink water, and get enough rest.
• I can choose to pray to a Higher Power for help in noticing my impulses and my self-abuse. (Five times each day.)
• God, please help me notice my impulses.
• God, please help me interrupt my impulses.
• God, please help me replace my impulses with affirmations.
• I can choose to NOTICE, INTERRUPT and REPLACE my impulses. (As needed.)
• I can choose to replace my impulses with AFFIRMATIONS. (Five time each day and as needed.)
• I can choose to call a FIVE STEP SELF TIME OUT whenever I notice I am focused on something that makes me feel more frustrated, anxious or impulsive. I can choose to focus on and listen to my own feelings and needs and then I can choose to make a plan to take care of my own feelings and needs. (As needed.)
• I can choose to give thanks to the Higher Power and praise myself for doing a good job of self-care.
• When I choose to do these things I will gradually feel less frustrated and less abandoned and less disoriented.
ONE POEM BY ROBERT FROST 04-03-2011
I have been thinking much recently of the differences between “Choice”, “Duty”, and/or “Obligation”. This poem by Robert Frost from www.internal.org haunts me and is somehow relevant to the difference. CMB
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of the easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
THREE POEMS BY CARL SANDBURG 04-03-2011
When I read these three poems in HARVEST POEMS1910-1960 by Carl Sandburg, (Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc. 1960. I thought to myself how timely and how revolutionary they are as three poems with three ideas especially when they are put together. CMB
FREEDOM IS A HABIT
Freedom is a habit
and a coat worn
some born to wear it
some never to know it.
Freedom is cheap
or again as a garment
is so costly
men pay their lives
rather than not have it.
Freedom is baffling:
men having it often
know not they have it
until it is gone
and they no longer have it.
What does this mean?
Is this a riddle?
Yes, it is first of all
in the primers of riddles.
To be free is so-so:
you can and you can’t:
walkers can have freedom
only by never walking
runners too have freedom
unless they overrun:
eaters have often outeaten
their freedom to eat
and drinkers overdrank
their fine drinking freedom.
UNDER THE CAPITOL DOME
There are those who speak of confusion today
as though yesterday there was order
rather than confusion.
There are those who point to confusion today
as though if given a chance
they could tomorrow transform it into order.
There are those who find benefits in confusion
and make it a labor of delight
to render any confusion more confounded.
There are those who expect today’s confusion
to be followed by another tomorrow,
these two confusions being different from each other.
The confusions of being born are followed
by the confusions of how to live
until a final moment when a stilled heart
holds release complete and absolute
from all former and earlier confusions.
When one confusion transforms itself into another
there has been a death and a birth
though the newborn confusion
becomes known only across time and silence.
When a confusion results
from seeing what is not all there
it is an identical twin of the confusion
to follow the hearing of what is not all there.
When a witness says
there was confusion in what he saw
and he can’t therefore be sure of what he saw,
he may be a strictly honest witness.
A fine sunrise or an elegant sunset
achieves moving colors and masses of changing light
in a properly organized confusion.
The orderly marches
of the night stars and constellations
when looked at by powerful telescope
hold flagrant and flaming confusions.
WAS EVER A DREAM A DRUM?
Was ever a dream a drum
or a drum a dream?
Can a drummer drum a dream
or a dreamer dream a drum?
The drum in a dream
pounds loud to the dreamer.
Now the moon tonight over Indian
is a fire-drum of a phantom dreamer.
THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT IDEA AND A GREAT POEM.
IHe gives us many examples of how we frame issues in odd ways with our language and our attitudes. Taylor Mali manages to show us how we bamboozel ourselves by the way we tell our storys. He points to how we can choose to create more clarity for ourselves by being more aware of our attitudes and our language choices.
MY LUCK RUNS OUT 01-31-2011
My luck runs out when I make plans that can work only when I am lucky.
Quote From: “Angel’s Game” 01-03-2011
Nothing makes us believe more than fear, the certainty of being threatened. When we feel like victims, all our actions and beliefs are legitimized, however questionable they may be. Our opponents, or simply our neighbors, stop sharing common ground with us and become our enemies. We stop being aggressors and become defenders. The envy, greed, or resentment that motivates us becomes sanctified, because we tell ourselves we’re acting in self defense. Evil, menace —those are always the preserve of the other. The first step for believing passionately is fear. Fear of losing our identity, our life, our status, or our beliefs. Fear is the gunpowder and hatred is the fuse. Dogma, the final ingredient, is only a lighted match…
…One of the functions of our villain must be to allow us to adopt the role of the victim and claim our moral superiority. We project onto him all those things we are incapable of recognizing in ourselves, things we demonize according to our particular interests. It’s the basic arithmetic of the Pharisees. I keep telling you, you need to read the Bible. All the answers you’re looking for are in there.
© All Rights Reserved
Chuck Britt, MA, LMFT and Connie Bonner-Britt, MA, LMHC
Serve the following Skagit County areas:
Anacortes 98221, Concrete 98237, Lyman 98263, Rockport 98283, Bow 98232, Conway 98238, Marblemount 98267, Sedro Woolley 98284,
Burlington 98233, Hamilton 98255, Mount Vernon 98273, Clearlake 98235, La Conner 98257, Mount Vernon 98274