Is there an absolute Will?

My friend Geir Isene has written this article ‘On Will.’

According to this article the idea of will essentially depends on the idea of choice. But what is not clear is who or what is this thing called ‘I’, which makes the choice. The whole logic of this article depends on the underlying assumption that there is a spiritual element called ‘I’, which is absolute, permanent and independent in itself.

That is an assumption, which I do not see challenged in the western philosophy. But I do see it challenged in the Eastern philosophy. If there is no absolute, permanent and independent ‘I’ then there is no absolute, permanent and independent power to make choice; and there is no absolute, permanent and independent will – even potentially.

According to Buddhist philosophy, what we call a ‘being’ or an ‘individual’, or ‘I’ is only a convenient name or a label given to the combination of ever-changing physical and mental forces or energies. They are all impermanent, all constantly changing. They are not the same for two consecutive moments. Here A is not equal to A. They are in a flux of momentary arising and disappearing.

One thing disappears, conditioning the appearance of the next in a series of cause and effect. There is no unchanging substance in them. There is nothing behind them that can be called a permanent Self, individuality, or anything that can in reality be called ‘I’. But when these physical and mental aggregates which are interdependent are working together in combination as a physio-psychological machine, we get the idea of ‘I’. But this is only a false idea of self. There is no other ‘being’ or ‘I’, standing behind these aggregates.

There is no unmoving mover behind the movement. It is only movement. It is not correct to say that life is moving, but life is movement itself. Life and movement are not two different things. In other words, there is no thinker behind the thought. Thought itself is the thinker. If you move the thought, there is no thinker to be found. Here we cannot fail to notice how this Buddhist view is diametrically opposed to the Cartesian cogito ergo sum: ‘I think, therefore I am.’

Everything in the physical universe is relative to each other. According to Buddhism, this is the case with everything in the spiritual universe as well. There is nothing absolute… not even the soul.

The Absolute Truth is that there is nothing absolute in the world, that everything is relative, conditioned and impermanent, and that there is no unchanging, everlasting, absolute substance like Self, Soul, or Ātman within or without. – Buddha

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Comments

  • vinaire  On July 11, 2012 at 8:55 PM

    It is amusing for me that I just finished reading the book SECOND FOUNDATION of the Foundation Series once again after 40 years, This science fiction story deals with the question of Free Will in a very entertaining way. I like Isaac Asimov.

    It seems that Isaac Asimov looked at ‘Will’ as being relative. That is how Buddha looked at it too.

    .

  • Chris Thompson  On July 11, 2012 at 9:05 PM

    You have not mentioned Unknowable for a couple articles now. What have you done with it? Have you made a decision in that direction or dropped it out for another reason?

    • vinaire  On July 11, 2012 at 9:14 PM

      Unknowable is there as “there is no absolute.”

      Nothing can be known absolutely. Absolute is the unknowable.

      .

  • Chris Thompson  On July 11, 2012 at 9:13 PM

    To make your arguments more palatable and to invite readers and acceptance of the salient points of your discourse, if you drop out the Eastern and Western geographical references as irrelevant to your arguments, I believe it will be an improvement. I’ve been meaning to mention this for a while now but we’ve had other contentions and i didn’t want to load up my comments with implied criticisms.

    • vinaire  On July 11, 2012 at 9:18 PM

      Eastern and Western are more than geographical references. They are convenient labels when discussing philosophy. Please check it out on Internet.

  • Chris Thompson  On July 11, 2012 at 9:15 PM

    Teaching your version of Buddhism as an evidence that your arguments are sound doesn’t seem very convincing as arguments go. Why do you do this?

    • vinaire  On July 11, 2012 at 9:20 PM

      I don’t understand what you mean by that. You seem to be assuming something.

      .

      • Chris Thompson  On July 11, 2012 at 9:42 PM

        Well, I am reading your posts and you are making points, but then instead of just stating your opinions you digress into your understanding of Buddhism as though that Buddhism reference trumps the argument. You can teach religion, I do not object, but your arguments are couched in religion for reinforcement which is unnecessary as I would read and consider your words more interestedly without the religious references.

        Your cogent arguments well laid out are interesting. The religious teaching is not so interesting to me.

  • Chris Thompson  On July 11, 2012 at 9:47 PM

    Regarding will are you seeing more choices than a single dichotomy of “will v. determinism?”

    • vinaire  On July 12, 2012 at 5:16 AM

      To me, everything is a relative phenomenon to be observed and studied. There is nothing absolute. This article by Geir assumes ‘I’ to be some absolute spiritual element. I question that.

      I shall be studying this article in more detail and will point out inconsistencies as I come across them.

      .

  • vinaire  On July 12, 2012 at 9:04 AM

    I don’t think we can say that with absolute certainty if the universe as causally deterministic, or if it is random.

    Any black and white thinking tends to be absolutist. I don’t think that absolutes exist.

    .

  • vinaire  On July 12, 2012 at 9:17 AM

    There is no will that is absolutely free. There is will only in a relative sense.

    Wave breaking randomly on the sea shore can be said to have will in a relative sense.

    .

    • Chris Thompson  On July 12, 2012 at 12:05 PM

      Yes, I would call your wave breaking on the sea shore the “will of determinism.” Studying NKS (New Kind of Science) has had me looking at the capability of the math of cellular automata to create “randomity.” For some months now, I have experienced consternation regarding this phenomena. As in, “It looks random, but it’s the result of a math.”

      Your little math showing how .999… = 1.0 has provided some relief for this consternation. Understanding this inconsistency of math is leveled by a semantic device such as “…” helps relieve the tension I was feeling by this mathematical inconsistency.

      I think it is safe to say that in a universe of endless possibilities, there are endless possibilities! So when confronted with “either / or” questions, I don’t let myself get hung up on a dichotomy just because a person or situation has presented me with one. I am tending to question questions which ask for absolute answers.

  • vinaire  On July 12, 2012 at 9:19 AM

    We need to look at what is being assumed in the current definition of will, and define the word ‘will’ more accurately.

    .

    • Chris Thompson  On July 12, 2012 at 12:07 PM

      I agree and tend to think we should let the door be open to many possibilities and not unknowingly create “hidden standards” by which to judge.

      • vinaire  On July 12, 2012 at 12:20 PM

        These are the definitions that are being applied to the understanding of ‘will’. Can you spot the “everyone knows” type assumptions.

        will noun

        1. the faculty of conscious and especially of deliberate action; the power of control the mind has over its own actions: the freedom of the will.

        2. power of choosing one’s own actions: to have a strong or a weak will.

        3. the act or process of using or asserting one’s choice; volition: My hands are obedient to my will.

        4. wish or desire: to submit against one’s will.

        5. purpose or determination, often hearty or stubborn determination; willfulness: to have the will to succeed.

        6. the wish or purpose as carried out, or to be carried out: to work one’s will.

        7. disposition, whether good or ill, toward another.

        8. Law .
        a. a legal declaration of a person’s wishes as to the disposition of his or her property or estate after death, usually written and signed by the testator and attested by witnesses.
        b. the document containing such a declaration.

      • vinaire  On July 12, 2012 at 2:10 PM

        ‘Will’ is associated with a living ‘I’ and not with a mechanical or electronic device. This brings up the question of how we draw the line between what is alive and what is not, or are we simply looking at a gradient where any such differentiation between alive and not alive is simply a matter of degree.

        .

        • Chris Thompson  On July 12, 2012 at 3:44 PM

          Yes. I often consider whether things in nature are alive from people to stars.

  • vinaire  On July 12, 2012 at 12:54 PM

    Ido, thank you for your appreciation of this essay. I read about you on your blog and I understand where you are coming from. Hope you enjoy what I have on my blog.

    .

  • vinaire  On July 12, 2012 at 6:13 PM

    Action or trait is the outcome of a system. That system may be regarded as the person, his tools, and his environment, or a group of persons, etc.

    The accountability for any action can only be assigned to a system. There is no single, permanent ‘spiritual’ element that can be held accountable. ‘I’ itself is a system of physical and mental forces and energies.

    .

    • Chris Thompson  On July 12, 2012 at 11:24 PM

      So in this context, would you class the “I” as a subsystem of a larger group system? And if so, what do we make of the larger class of system holding the subclass of system (the “I”) responsible for its performance.

    • Chris Thompson  On July 12, 2012 at 11:25 PM

      . . . and then just like the word “will” we need to take a close look at the word “responsibility” as it may need to be re-thought as well.

    • vinaire  On July 13, 2012 at 6:08 AM

      Yes. With the better understanding of ‘I’, both the words ‘will’ and ‘responsibility’ have to be re-thought. One looks at the whole system, such as this universe, and looks at which part of that system is producing a certain action. That part could be a country, or an organization, or a group, or an interaction of several environments or individuals, or just an individual aided by some tools. When one thinks of an individual, one thinks of a body with a mind, and thinking going on in that mind. But that mind has all kinds of inputs from external and internal sources, and there are all kind of nerve pathways on which nerve impulse travel, combine or split and recombine etc., and be interpreted in some way.

      So, as Buddha said, ‘I’ is only a convenient name or a label given to the combination of ever-changing physical and mental forces or energies. We simply get stuck with that label and that becomes the ego.

      So, what is ‘will’? According to Buddha, it is an aggregate of mental formations that appears as ‘volition’. The exertion of this volition may be termed as Attention, Will, Determination, Confidence, Concentration, Wisdom, Energy, Desire, repugnance or hate, Ignorance, Conceit, Idea of self, etc. (52 of them). Simply put, considerations are generated out of this volition, and a combination of such considerations may be called ‘will’.

      What one is addressing through KHTK, or through any other form of therapy or non-therapy, are CONSIDERATIONS, how they are combining, and how they may be readjusted and recombined. There are infinity of considerations, and infinity of ways they may be recombined. Thus, there can be an infinity of wills, and other classes of volition..

      So, what is ‘responsibility’? It is isolating the elements of a system involved in producing a certain action, and clearly understnding their roles. There is no blame or praise here. There is only understanding of how the system is operating, or how the considerations are being generated and then how they are coming together. Here ‘I’ is out of the equation, because it is too gross a concept.

      .

  • vinaire  On July 12, 2012 at 7:35 PM

    It seems that ‘will’ needs to be defined more accurately. WILL seems to be the property of a combination of physical and mental forces and energies at any instant, since there is no single, permanent ‘spiritual’ element to exert it.

    How those forces and energies combine that way at any instant is determined by how they were in the immediately previous instant. The WILL seems to follow a curve determined by some equation. There seems to be a calculus of WILL. How does the path of WILL come about would be an interesting subject to research.

    .

    • Chris Thompson  On July 12, 2012 at 11:45 PM

      Maybe, but it may not require a calculus. This ground may already been broken by NKS and Wolfram’s “Mathematica.”

      • vinaire  On July 13, 2012 at 6:41 AM

        That’s excellent. I am glad to see other people looking scientifically and mathematically at this area.

        .

  • vinaire  On July 12, 2012 at 7:44 PM

    The sense of responsibility would be a vector similar to the vector of WILL. If you carefully look at your ‘will’ and your ‘sense of responsibility’ from moment to moment, you may be able to trace these vectors. But this would require LOOKING that is totally non-judgmental, and which is not employing any filters of ideas, beliefs, assumptions, etc. These are just phenomena. They are what they are. No further significance need to be added.

    .

  • vinaire  On July 12, 2012 at 8:12 PM

    What is the difference between living and non-living, between real and artificial intelligence? The only difference seems to be that of understanding. The ‘living’ and the ‘real’ seems to consist of so many variables that seem to be beyond or understanding. But the ‘non-living’ and the ‘artificial’ seem to consist of variables that are manageable.

    .

    • Chris Thompson  On July 12, 2012 at 11:54 PM

      So would you class “consideration” and “making a consideration” as resulting from something like the machine language represented by “cellular automata?”

      • vinaire  On July 13, 2012 at 6:44 AM

        That is the way it has started to look… isn’t it!

        .

  • vinaire  On July 12, 2012 at 8:30 PM

    The moment a consideration is made and held in place, it would influence and/or limit the next consideration in areas that overlap. Then these two considerations shall influence and/or limit the next consideration in areas that overlap. And so on with subsequent considerations. So here we have a very basic law that applies to considerations. I am sure some day somebody would work out some mathematics for it.

    .

  • vinaire  On July 13, 2012 at 7:01 AM

    Physical and spiritual are not different from each other like black and white. That would be absolutist thinking. In actuality there are all kinds of shades of grey in between. Therefore, physical and spiritual may be considered as two different ends of the same scale, with many transitional gradients in between.

    Power of choice cannot be separate from the physical/spiritual universe. It has meaning only within the framework of the universe. Space, energy, matter and time cannot be thought of in some absolutist way. They have their gradients too. And, therefore, freedom of choice also has its gradients.

    Will, or free will, cannot be thought of in some absolutist manner. It has its gradients. It is also relative.

    The problem with Geir’s article is its absolutist tendency to look at will and other things.

    .

    • isene  On July 13, 2012 at 7:39 AM

      The article “on Will” makes it very clear that there is indeed a gradient scale of free will. There is no absolutes in reality. So, we fully agree on this 🙂

      • vinaire  On July 13, 2012 at 1:41 PM

        Geir, does your article consider randomity as an indication of ‘will’ among non-living things?

        That would be a gradient of will, won’t it?
        .

        • isene  On July 13, 2012 at 1:58 PM

          Randomness per definition is not will. Will has direction/intention. Randomness is “ungoverned”. Will is governance.

        • Chris Thompson  On July 14, 2012 at 12:32 AM

          Vinaire is angling for a radical new approach to cause and effect where these two words and an entire host of dichotomies become . . . irrelevant? — anyway very different reality than our Western “everybody knows” think. I am trying to stay with him on this to see where it goes.

          Vin is quite the kook, but so am I and I was already going down this road on a parallel vector by studyng Wolfram’s NKS, hence my reluctance to give his wild ideas the brush-off. I was already doing this research on cellular automata and discovering “randomity” generated by machine code which has been a little bit stressful for me and so I naturally have to follow to see where THAT goes. Then Vin came in spouting Buddhist propaganda in a new and fresh way so I got hooked.

          I have to try to understand a couple things: What does the fact of randomity generated by mathematics mean? Why the seemingly unsolvable paradox of the dichotomy of free will vs. determinism? Shouldn’t we be able to come up with a thought experiment which proves or falsifies one or the other?

          I didn’t get far enough along in my studies and so haven’t commented on your article “On Will” which I have admired since first reading it. “On Will” seems solid when considering its major premises of cause and effect to be the extant reality of our world. But if there are other possibilities, more than “free will vs determinism,” then I need to see whether there is something there.

          So far, I am seeing the possibility of “no prime mover unmoved.” I cannot be succinct here because my thoughts are swirling a bit. My inclination is not to turn toward determinism for a resolution to my confusion but to begin to rethink the entire cause v. effect construct.

          . . . and I like the mental tension.

        • vinaire  On July 14, 2012 at 1:55 PM

          Random numbers are nothing in themselves. Random numbers are a represenation of some stimuli. If the stimuli is random then the numbers representing it would appear random. Random numbers are governed to the degree that stimuli is governed.

          Will may appear directional depending on the viewpoint closely associated with that will. But if one takes a non-attached viewpoint as that of a Martian, and looks at the wills on earth, they will appear quite random. If these wills are represented by numbers, they will generate random numbers.

          Will is basically random because anything may be chosen arbitrarily. Where the droplets fall when a wave crashes on the shore is also random. But a viewpoint can always be found from which a living will may appear directional. And a viewpoint can also be found from which randomity of wave could be regarded directional as well, such as, all droplets fall toward earth because of the law of gravity. It is incorrect to think that will is governed and randomness is ungoverned. Anybody who thinks that way is simply being inconsistent in their viewpoint.

          Is will something that governs? I don’t think that one can make that statement without first defining will scientifically. Will may be the outcome of a process that has to be understood better. Will of living things is not fully understood. There may be spiritual laws governing the scope of will, just like there are physical laws governing scope of randomness.

          Thus, will may span over the whole spectrum from living to non-living. There is randomity and governance throughout the spectrum.

          .

        • vinaire  On July 14, 2012 at 2:02 PM

          We may associate probability with randomness of location where the droplets from a crashing wave may fall. Here the direction is provided by the Law of Gravity, Newton’s Law of Force, etc.

          Similarly, we may attach probability with the directions that a will may take. Here the direction may be provided by some Law of sexual attraction, Law of Karma, etc.

          This can be treated mathematically. Please see Normal distribution

          .

      • vinaire  On July 13, 2012 at 4:05 PM

        Then, in my opinion, we have absolutist think about alive (will) and not-alive (randomness).

        I am not disagreeing with your definitions. These definitions come from the present culture, which is absolutist in its thinking and not very philosophical.

        .

        • isene  On July 13, 2012 at 4:11 PM

          But Vin, this is in the definitions of will and randomness. If you want to redefine the language, then you have quite a job in front of you.

          [Please note that I edited a sentence out of your input because I feel that unnecessary emotions simply create distraction from the actual discussion. – Vinaire]

          .

        • vinaire  On July 13, 2012 at 5:23 PM

          The idea of God in this culture is the result of absolutist thinking too.

          I have no plans to redefine the language. The language may or may not redefine itself. Either way it is fine with me. But I see ‘will’ as I stated. I may change my view based on further observations. Please see clarification of my present understanding here.

          https://vinaire.wordpress.com/2012/07/11/is-there-an-absolute-will/#comment-3738

          .

        • vinaire  On July 14, 2012 at 5:20 AM

          There wouldn’t be any philosophy if one agreed with all the existing definitions. Such absolutism would be the death of philosophy.

          One must examine the existing definitions for natural consistency per the scientific method.

          This exchange has inspired the following essay:

          Absolutism and Philosophy

          .

        • isene  On July 16, 2012 at 7:44 AM

          Unnecessary emotions? There were absolutely no emotions in that sentence I wrote. It made a very valid logical point. With this level of censorship here on your blog, open discussions are stiffled and explorations of new viewpoints are hindered.

        • vinaire  On July 16, 2012 at 8:06 AM

          The sentence that was censored was the statement about Vinaire being condescending rather than agreeing. It was censored because it was focusing on the participant and not on the discussion. It was a distraction.

          Normally I would censor the post, such as above, completely for the same reason. But I will leave it there for now as an example of what would be censored.

          .

        • vinaire  On July 16, 2012 at 8:10 AM

          Any post that treats the subject scientifically and with care and respect is welcome.

          All emotional outbursts that put attention on participants and distract from the subject shall be censored.

          .

        • isene  On July 16, 2012 at 8:19 AM

          I suggest you actually post that sentence so that people may view just what you censored instead of talking about a sentence that nobody are able to judge.

        • vinaire  On July 16, 2012 at 8:43 AM

          I deleted that sentence and it is gone. It could have meant that I am agreeing out of being condescencing, or something of that sort. In any case, that sentence was directed at a participant and it was not about the subject matter. Such distractions shall be censored simply to keep focus on the subject. I am sorry if this appears harsh.

          The purpose of this blog is to enhance research into knowledge. Any comments directed at the personality or behavior of the participants in a discussion, or any speculations about the motives behind their criticism, is not encouraged on this blog.

          If one disagrees with some criticism, then one may clarify why that criticism is not right, and/or request further explanation of what led to that criticism. Criticisms are very common in scientific and philosophical circles. One should be able to address criticisms in a mature manner without becoming accusatory, emotional and combative.

          .

    • vinaire  On July 13, 2012 at 11:36 AM

      Physical to spiritual is a gradient.
      Non-living to living is a gradient.
      Artificial to real is a gradient.
      Power of choice is a gradient that depends on how many considerations are in play.
      There is ‘will’ in how a wave breaks on a shore.
      Randomity is an indication of ‘will’ among non-living things.
      That is how I see ‘will’.

      .

  • vinaire  On July 13, 2012 at 7:28 AM

    It is easy to assume, “You can choose. It is up to you. You can change the course of events. You are accountable for your actions and are ultimately responsible.” But this is no more than a conjecture. It cannot be called a theory.

    The above assumption contains other assumptions. It does not define what “you” is. And until that is defined properly, all we have is just a wishful thinking. This is not scientific at all. It is just a bunch of assumptions.

    The LAW OF CONSIDERATION described above applies.

    COMMENT 3700

    .

  • Chris Thompson  On July 14, 2012 at 4:34 PM

    I feel that it is a mistake to censor your blog. Each tangent or even dead end is a record which I feel is useful to save in its original form. I understand what you think you are doing but I feel it is not having the effect that you intend and is a mistake…

    • vinaire  On July 14, 2012 at 9:11 PM

      I didn’t know if anybody is censoring my blog. I get plenty of hits. This blog is primarily an open record that I wish to keep.

      I don’t know what you are assuming, but I am quite happy the way this blog is coming along.

      .

    • vinaire  On July 21, 2012 at 8:08 AM

      This blog is about knowledge. Anybody who will censor this blog will do so because of
      (a) Their ego that they know it all
      (b) Their attention on Vinaire and not on knowledge.

      .

  • Chris Thompson  On July 15, 2012 at 6:45 AM

    So where are we? The vacuum of space equates to desire? Gravity equates to want? Inertia equates to will?

    • vinaire  On July 15, 2012 at 7:21 AM

      Well, that is one way to start looking at it, but I doubt if there is an absolute will. A will is always conditioned by something else.

      .

      • Chris Thompson  On July 15, 2012 at 12:37 PM

        What I mean by this is :
        1. Stop thinking like I understand will.
        2. Begin observing “will” in action around me including everything around me.
        3. Redefine and begin attributing movement to will in all its gradients.
        4. Now observe what a paradigm shift this engenders for me.
        5. Now blow brains out (just joking, this step is further down this list!) and attribute this act to determinism.

        Is there a difference between what you propose that Buddha proposed, in other words, what you proposed and determinism?
        .

        • vinaire  On July 15, 2012 at 12:51 PM

          There is nobody determining anything. It is all just a play of things coming together and interacting with each other. This is how I see it.

          .

        • Chris Thompson  On July 15, 2012 at 1:56 PM

          Yes, the word is determinism. Everything is determined and interacting according to the only possible behaviour of what we call particle physics and chemistry. In motion and interacting — billiard balls bouncing as they roll across the table.

          Just so we are clear. Intelligence is now defined as a specialized electrical and chemical and physical reaction. Memory is now an imprint — a doppleganger of a previous chemical reaction . . . not the reaction itself, but a specialized mock-up of a representation of a perception which the electro-chemical-physical phenomena can recognition.

          Recognition? Not sure what to equate that word to.

          If we are still good, then lets carry it on out to see how far we can run it out . . .

        • vinaire  On July 15, 2012 at 2:52 PM

          Yes. We are still good. This may sound “materialistic” but I feel that word is not quite appropriate. There is more to be understood here.

          .

          .

        • Chris Thompson  On July 15, 2012 at 10:21 PM

          Agreed, but once again, I am backing down and starting over to observe what is most obvious…

          For instance, according to your writing here, Chris the body, and everything to do with what makes me into an identity is the sum total of being. Starting from there I am trying to not make this into more or less and to explore that beingness for what it is. Not as things that I cannot see but also not negating things because I cannot see them. Not making assumptions about my beingness that aren’t easily obvious — to become more sensitive to this regimen and see what new paradigm this might help evolve or evoke.

        • vinaire  On July 16, 2012 at 11:26 AM

          That’s wonderful, Chris.

          It is assumption that prevents one from seeing what is there.

          .

  • isene  On July 16, 2012 at 7:48 AM

    Just for the record: The following sentence in this blog post is false:

    “The whole logic of this article depends on the underlying assumption that there is a spiritual element called ‘I’, which is absolute, permanent and independent in itself.”

    For those interested – read the article and see for yourself. Vinaire makes an assumption here that is a leap of logic.

    However, due to in-line censorship on this blog, I would recommend readers here to post their comments on my blog.

    • vinaire  On July 16, 2012 at 9:04 AM

      Please see

      Comment-3786

      It is noteworthy that only one sentence from Geir Isene has been censored so far. Nothing else has been. If Geir is so concerned about that one sentence, he may post it here for everyone to see. I shall allow it this one time.

      .

      • isene  On July 16, 2012 at 9:07 AM

        Only one sentence censored – out of around 10-15 that I have contributed in total…

        You removed it, you put it back. Courtesy.

        • vinaire  On July 16, 2012 at 9:26 AM

          This is enough of distraction. Any more of such distraction shall be censored.

          .

    • vinaire  On July 16, 2012 at 8:06 PM

      Ref: Discussions and what needs to be censored

      Point (3) of the above reference applies to the following post by Isene:
      comment-3782

      I shall certainly appreciate if Isene clarifies his conception of ‘I’. At least he may point to the page and paragraph of his article where he clarifies it.

      He may clarify it here on this blog, or on his own blog. Either venue is fine with me.

      .

  • lizabeth  On July 16, 2012 at 8:50 AM

    I really enjoyed your article about being an observer. That is only a consideration? Don’t I have the will in degrees to observe or not to observe something? Do I share all my observations with the world or the universe? I have to look at these things in simple terms. Thank you 🙂

  • vinaire  On July 17, 2012 at 9:16 PM

    A choice should be defined as one of many alternatives. It is not known how a choice comes into play. It seems that there is an ‘I’ that chooses, but this is just an assumption. That is not always the case anyway.

    In a random environment, the alternative that comes into play is mostly unpredictable. However, in a structured environment, the alternative that comes into play may be predicted. Random and structured would be properties of environments. The enviroments are relative to each other.

    Thus, a choice coming into play is likely to be a variable, which would be dependent on the properties of its environment.

    .

  • vinaire  On July 17, 2012 at 9:56 PM

    If selection of a choice is the outcome of ‘will’ being exercised, then ‘will’ would be some kind of a mechanism or agency tied to the predictability property of the environment.

    In the question, “Do you really possess free will?” the word ‘you’ would most likely be the environment, whose characteristics induce choices to come into play. This environment may be called called ‘I’ or ‘you’. It would be relative to other such environments. It would not be something unique and absolute.

    This line of thought negates the idea of God being absolute. If there is a phenomenon called God, then that would be a relative phenomenon only.

    .

  • vinaire  On July 18, 2012 at 7:18 AM

    Ability to choose, or the will, shall then depend on the very nature if the environment. ‘I’ or ‘you’ may best be described as such an environment.

    Will is something black and white as Isene puts, “You either have potential free will or no free will.” Every ‘I’ or ‘you’ will have some gradient will depending on the nature (composition) of that ‘I’ or ‘you’.

    .

  • vinaire  On July 18, 2012 at 8:23 AM

    No free will would mean that that an environment is totally structured. This is not possible in the absolute sense. Even when events are determined by the laws of physical universe, some play among them is still possible per the principle of Uncertainty.

    It is not possible to know the state of the universe at any given time and all the laws that govern it, with total certainty, even when the astrophysicist Steven Hawking speculates upon it.

    .

    • Chris Thompson  On July 18, 2012 at 12:20 PM

      “Even when events are determined by the laws of physical universe, some play among them is still possible per the principle of Uncertainty.”

      Tolerance among physical laws is an assumption on your part. Uncertainty is a principle regarding my inability to predict more so than a variation in physical law.

      • Chris Thompson  On July 18, 2012 at 12:31 PM

        When I am trying to pinpoint both velocity and location, I can get closer to one while getting further in accuracy from the other. This is because pinpointing location precisely lowers both velocity and time to zero and is an argument for a Discrete Universe.

    • vinaire  On July 18, 2012 at 12:47 PM

      Here is a nice Wikipedia article on Uncertainty Principle. It puts it differently from what you are saying.

      Uncertainty principle

      “Historically, the uncertainty principle has been confused with a somewhat similar effect in physics, called the observer effect,[4] which notes that measurements of certain systems cannot be made without affecting the systems. Heisenberg himself offered such an observer effect at the quantum level (see below) as a physical “explanation” of quantum uncertainty.[5] However, it has since become clear that quantum uncertainty is inherent in the properties of all wave-like systems, and that it arises in quantum mechanics simply due to the matter wave nature of all quantum objects. Thus, the uncertainty principle actually states a fundamental property of quantum systems, and is not a statement about the observational success of current technology.[6]. It must be emphasized that by measurement is not meant a process in which a physicist-observer takes part. By measurement, in quantum mechanics, is meant any interaction between classical and quantum objects independently of any observer. [7]”

      .

      • Chris Thompson  On July 18, 2012 at 1:09 PM

        That’s a good article and it reinforces what I am saying that uncertainty is within us. Explaining our inability to calculate accurately because of variations in the physical universe is just an admission that we are uncertain of what we are observing. The article explains that the variations are “out there.” That has a superstitious foundation and Godel’s proves it. What I am saying is that our inability to calculate is underlain with some false major premises of how the universe works.

      • vinaire  On July 18, 2012 at 1:57 PM

        Here is some more data:

        Observer Effect

        It seems that a complete system would include both the observer and the observed, as well as the intrument used to observe. We cannot assume these things to be totally indenedent of each other. They would influence each other in some respect. That mutual interaction is more visble at Quantum levels.

        I see a totally deterministic system to be a completely structured system with no options available. In this system, the observer would be structured with observed and no interaction between them would be possible. Since absolutes are unattainable, I don’t think a totally deterministic system is possible.

        On the other hand, I see a totally random system as a completely free system with no structure at all. Everything in it would be an option. There wouldn’t by any identifiable differentiation between the observer and the observed. The two may freely interchange into each other. Since absolutes are unattainable, I don’t think that a totally random system is possible either.

        Here I am making no differentiation between physical and spiritual. Both these aspects would be part of the system. The observed may be identified as physical. The observer may be identified as spiritual.

        It is the configuration of such a system that would possess properties, such as, beingness, awareness, space, energy, matter and time. The configuration would be in a flux, and so would be all its properties,Thus, ‘I’ would simply be a property of this system and not some external and independent influence.

        Also see,

        THE NATURE OF EXISTENCE

        .

        • Chris Thompson  On July 18, 2012 at 2:17 PM

          Well if I read you correctly you are now saying that the observer and observed are part of the same system and therefore complete. Then back the other way…
          So it is seeming obvious that our system defies precise definition. We can say the reason for this is because of the inconsistencies or completeness of our systems or there is another possibility that we are chasing wild geese down blind alleys.

          All I am doing is wedging my mind open so that I don’t become too sure of my paradigms. Thank you for all the material with which to jam it open.

        • vinaire  On July 18, 2012 at 8:32 PM

          This discussion is giving me new insights. All is well.

          .

        • Chris Thompson  On July 19, 2012 at 1:28 AM

          Agreed. Your assertions provide the traction that I need to push against to shake out and then level the inconsistencies in my own considerations. This is very stimulating.

        • vinaire  On July 19, 2012 at 5:16 AM

          A proper discussion should be that way for all participants. There is no one-up-man-ship.

          Discussions and what needs to be avoided

          .

        • Chris Thompson  On July 20, 2012 at 1:53 PM

          I know we have friction from time to time but for me that is only a physical result of and in direct proportion to the degree if inconsistencies rubbing up against each other. I am only interested in leveling my inconsistencies.

        • vinaire  On July 20, 2012 at 2:50 PM

          You seem to be taking the discipline regarding discussion on this blog well. I am very happy for that.

          Thanks for putting up with me.

          .

        • Chris Thompson  On July 20, 2012 at 11:24 PM

          Well I got used to you and you’ve gotten used to me and each little thing is no big thing . . . 😀

        • vinaire  On July 21, 2012 at 5:18 AM

          Yes. It is the discussion that is important and not the consideration of self. 😀

          .

        • Chris Thompson  On July 21, 2012 at 1:24 PM

          ah but I thought we established that any discussion was a discussion of self! haha

        • vinaire  On July 21, 2012 at 4:48 PM

          Oh! For sure… you naughty boy!

          .

  • vinaire  On July 18, 2012 at 9:03 AM

    Randomness is always there where alternatives are present. Will is something underlying the choice of which alternative will come into play. There is this idea that everything in the physical universe is pre-determined and no alternatives are possible.

    This absolutism is not possible even if the brilliant French scientist Pierre-Simon Laplace endorsed it. We have Gödel’s incompleteness theorems to contradict that endorsement.

    • Chris Thompson  On July 18, 2012 at 12:26 PM

      In a deterministic universe, “random” is just another word for there being possibilities, and also unpredicted consequences — not choices. Choice is a word describing choice between possibilities and something choosing. Choice is a meaningless word in a deterministic universe.

      • vinaire  On July 18, 2012 at 2:20 PM

        I think that we are getting our definitions mixed. ‘Random’ is not a subset of ‘deterministic’. These are two different characteristics of a system. They can exist side by side. The more deterministic a system is, the less random it would be; and vice versa.

        .

    • Chris Thompson  On July 18, 2012 at 12:41 PM

      . . . AND Godel’s alerts us to a Root Mean Misunderstanding (RMM) of quantum physics. His beautiful work points the way and describes the paradox that we must question until we get the question right. Written another way, there are false major premises at the root of our understanding of quanta. Godel points the way, so we should continue while understanding that we are definitely looking for not just new discoveries about Nature, but a definite misunderstanding about Nature. My hypothesis is that resolving this will consequently resolve Godel’s Uncertainty.

      • vinaire  On July 18, 2012 at 8:09 PM

        From the reference I gave above (Gödel’s incompleteness theorems):

        “The first incompleteness theorem states that no consistent system of axioms whose theorems can be listed by an “effective procedure” (e.g., a computer program, but it could be any sort of algorithm) is capable of proving all truths about the relations of the natural numbers (arithmetic). For any such system, there will always be statements about the natural numbers that are true, but that are unprovable within the system. The second incompleteness theorem, an extension of the first, shows that such a system cannot demonstrate its own consistency.”

        Basically, it seems to say that to understand a system completely you need a datum of comparable magnitude. A system cannot be understood fully within itself. If we apply this to a deterministic system, we cannot say if a system is totally deterministic in itself. If we compare it with something else, we can get only a relative idea about that system.

        .

        • Chris Thompson  On July 19, 2012 at 1:16 AM

          And what in the physical universe would be of comparable magnitude to it?

          The physics of this universe encompasses such diverse orders of magnitude as to be incomprehensible to the human mind, and really, I think these diverse orders of magnitude are the root source of obfuscation of understanding of this universe and the root source of the facts of brilliant observations such as Godel’s.

        • vinaire  On July 19, 2012 at 5:09 AM

          NOTHING.

  • vinaire  On July 18, 2012 at 9:52 AM

    Isene’s Deterministic model has some randomness in it due to the Principle of Uncertainty. So, in truth, we have just the Random Model. A random model provides alternatives. Which alternative will be chosen, or come into play, shall depend on the nature of the environment. That environment could by physical, or it could be the spiritual ‘I’.

    There is no absolute boundary separating physical from spiritual. It is an error to think of spiritual ‘I’ as some influence “external” to physical. Both physical and spiritual are parts of the same universe.

    .

    • Chris Thompson  On July 18, 2012 at 12:45 PM

      This type of randomness only points to our uncertainty and not necessarily to arbitrariness in the extant universe.

      • vinaire  On July 18, 2012 at 8:16 PM

        Randomness needs to be there for an alternative to be brought into play (will to be exerted). If there is no randomness, then no alternative can be brought to play, and no will can be demonstrated.

        Therefore, randomness and will go hand in hand.

        .

        • Chris Thompson  On July 19, 2012 at 1:24 AM

          Considering the current works in mathematics demonstrating “unpredicted randomness rooted in iterated mathematical calculations” I see no reason to think that randomness needs to be considered as any going any deeper in meaning than “unpredicted illusion.”

        • vinaire  On July 19, 2012 at 5:12 AM

          That will do. Yes.

          .

  • vinaire  On July 18, 2012 at 11:17 AM

    Isene puts forth Objective Theories of (1) Deterministic Model, and (2) Random Model, but a closer examination (see above) shows that the Deterministic Model is a subset of the Random Model. Thus, we only have the Random Model as part of the Objective Theory.

    Isene then goes on to say, “In the Objective Theories, there is no will that can cause anything.” The truth is that there is no absolute cause either objectively or subjectively. Isene seems to be saying that there is no absolute cause objectively. But then there is no absolute cause subjectively either.

    But there are relative causes both objectively as well as subjectively. Thus, there is will both objectively and subjectively. It is an error to assume that ‘will’ can only be subjective.

    .

  • vinaire  On July 18, 2012 at 11:50 AM

    As shown above, the Objective theory demonstrated through Random Model, does not seem to deny ‘will’. There is will in the physical universe, just as there is will in the spiritual universe. Will is defined here as that property of the environment (whether physical or spiritual), which brings certain alternatives, or choices, into play. ‘I’ and ‘you’ simply represent a spiritual environment, and not some elemental entity that is absolute.

    The accountability for any action can only be assigned to the environment, which induces it. ‘I’ and ‘you’ are environments created by physical and mental forces and energies. There is no single, permanent ‘spiritual’ element that can be held accountable. Awareness would also be a property of this environment. This viewpoint shines a new light on our concepts of self, responsibility, control, awareness, etc.

    .

  • vinaire  On July 18, 2012 at 9:14 PM

    As long as there is an environment, either physical or spiritual, and there are alternatives in that environment, then there shall be a ‘will’ present, because one of those alternatives is in play. It will be so because of the particular constitution of that environment at that moment, and that would be its will.

    One should look at self as a sort of an environment, and a physical environment as sort of a self. There is never a situation when there is no will, because absolutes are unattainable. There will always be a certain gradient of will. So, any speculation about the conditions when there is no will is superfluous.

    .

  • vinaire  On July 18, 2012 at 9:42 PM

    Responsibility would be determined by tracking actions back to the originating configuration of the environment. Thus, a certain constitution of the self would be responsible for a certain action. Any wrongness and rightness is a consideration added to what is there. Wrongness and rightness are add-ons.

    Being objective may be defined as seeing things as they are without any add-ons. An observation may be considered subjective to the degree there are add-ons. But objective and subjective have been defined in many other ways.

    .

  • Chris Thompson  On July 19, 2012 at 12:59 AM

    So attachment to the body is the source of suffering, and yet the body is all there is, so this presents a problem.

    • vinaire  On July 19, 2012 at 5:07 AM

      It could be attachment to body…
      It could attachment to the physical universe…
      It could be attachment to the mind…
      It could attachment to the mental universe…
      It could be attachment to spirit…
      It could attachment to the spiritual universe…
      It could be any attachment.

      What is attachment? It is fixation. One doesn’t need to be fixated on life in order to enjoy life. Let it come and go. Appreciate each moment.

      .

  • vinaire  On July 19, 2012 at 7:18 AM

    Free will is governed by laws, whether these are the ‘Laws of Consideration’ or the laws of the physical universe. These laws bring about a certain constitution to the self, or certain configuration to the environment, to induce certain actions (an alternative among many possibilities)..

    The ‘Law of Consideration’ may be described as follows:

    The moment a consideration is made and held in place, it would influence and/or limit the next consideration in areas that overlap. Then these two considerations shall influence and/or limit the next consideration in areas that overlap. And so on with subsequent considerations. So here we have a very basic law that applies to considerations.

    .

    • Chris Thompson  On July 20, 2012 at 2:07 PM

      . . . Yes Vinaire, and for me seems to be described in all the variations of fractal mathematics. I am saying that your statement is consistent with what the view becomes when running these mechanical iterated processes. Nothing in my experience of growing up and education has clicked in quite this way. Granted, I have had some similar enthusiasm and hope in the past upon embarking on each philosophical and scientific path. This a new level of consistency for me.

    • vinaire  On July 20, 2012 at 2:53 PM

      🙂

  • vinaire  On July 19, 2012 at 10:04 AM

    Isene’s article states:

    “The power of choice must at least in part be separate from the physical universe in some way. And only if it can potentially be completely separate can it potentially be fully free. Free implies free from space, energy, matter and time. It does not suggest that free will is somehow physically located outside the universe as that would still subject the will to physical laws and hence it would not be free.”

    Free does not imply free from space, energy, matter and time. These four components span the whole gradient of which physical and spiritual are different aspects. These components characterize anything that is manifested. Please see

    THE NATURE OF EXISTENCE

    When Will is manifested, it is subject to the laws that represent space, energy, matter and time.

    .

  • vinaire  On July 19, 2012 at 11:24 AM

    Isene’s article states:

    “Let’s explore a theory of free will: You can choose. It is up to you. You can change the course of events. You are accountable for your actions and are ultimately responsible. This assertion can be labeled a Metaphysical Theory or a Subjective Theory.”

    I look at this differently. Self is not a constant that wills and intends. It is the constitution of self, which manifests as will and intention. This constitution depends on the physical and mental forces and energies that are organized as self.

    To get what it desires the self shall have to continuously adjust its very make up starting from considerations and all the way down to matter.

    .

  • vinaire  On July 19, 2012 at 11:52 AM

    Isene’s article states:

    “Free will introduces the observer into the universe, an element that seems to fit well with quantum mechanics. Lee Smolin, in the book The Trouble with Physics, lists the five great problems facing the science of physics today. The second problem reads: “Resolve the problems in the foundation of quantum mechanics, either by making sense of the theory as it stands or by inventing a new theory that does make sense”. The external observer possessed with free will seems to resolve the problems in the foundation of quantum mechanics, as will be explored later in the article.”

    There cannot be an observer possessed with free will that is external to the universe. That would be self-contradictory because, by definition, the universe encompasses all manifestations. There cannot be any manifestation, such as, observer or will, that is not part of the universe.

    .

    • Chris Thompson  On July 22, 2012 at 7:45 AM

      Your bold-typed statement makes sense; however, now we need to re-ask or rephrase the question having to do with the wave collapse.

      • vinaire  On July 22, 2012 at 8:09 AM

        It seems that it is a matter of really understanding what attention and awareness is actually!

        .

  • vinaire  On July 19, 2012 at 11:57 AM

    There is considered time, consisdered space, considered energy and considered matter.

    Considered matter is what we call consideration.

    .

  • vinaire  On July 19, 2012 at 12:48 PM

    Axiom #1 should be:

    “THERE IS NOTHING BESIDES THIS UNIVERSE.”

    All that there is constitutes this universe. That includes you, your thoughts, your visualizations, and anything that you can be aware of, and the awareness itself.

    Any speculation on NOTHING is also part of this universe. There is no escape. There is only facing up to what is there.

    The first step of facing up to it is seeing things as they are and recognizing what is what.

    The second step is recognizing any and all fixations (attachments) and dissolving them.

    Then you’ll be there resonating with this universe in every respect. That would be really living life.

    .

    • Chris Thompson  On July 22, 2012 at 8:08 AM

      I am in a grumpy mood this morning. I stayed up late doing calculations by hand trying to frame up the concept of a Planck second in terms that the human mind can wrap itself around and failed. The orders of magnitude are too greatly different. There there are no two things within the human experience which prepares the mind to allow for these two orders of magnitude to sit side by side. When I try to increase the scales bringing the Planck second up to an SIU second of duration, or even compare it to a millimeter in length; The upper end of the scale leaves the universe behind.

      Therefore, this discussion of human being within and only within the subset of the universe seems correct. Also, in this context, the thought that man’s will exists outside this set seems to come from some sort of mental malfunction — a megalomania. Some virulent spinning off tangent like a fractal that drifts off into infinity. Unstable. Detached yet derived from the seed equation. I’m having nightmares just worrying about it . . .

      Maybe there is something to this. Maybe something to understand in this example.

      • vinaire  On July 22, 2012 at 8:47 AM

        The unknowable strikes again!

        It is better to start with the knowable and work our way backwards toward the unknowable rather than speculating about the unknowable, as people on Geir’s blog seem to be doing.

        .

  • vinaire  On July 19, 2012 at 1:57 PM

    Isene:
    “As free will lies outside the realm and laws of the physical universe and acts as an external influence, it cannot be directly proven or disproved in and by the physical universe. Any proof can only be circumstantial. For that reason, the weakness of this theory is that it cannot be proven to those who will accept only direct physical proof of a phenomena.”

    Vinaire:
    Physical and spiritual are parts of the same universe. It cannot be said that the spiritual universe is external to the physical universe and influences it, without being influenced back.

    There is no need to prove anything to anybody. Only a procedure needs to be provided through which one may experience it for oneself if interested.

    .

  • vinaire  On July 19, 2012 at 2:11 PM

    Free will, or will, does not exist outside the laws of this universe. It does not supersede time. Free will is created and destroyed just as beingness is created and destroyed.

    ‘Free will’ is limited by its own constitution, which is made up of considerations. It is subject to the Law of Consideration.

    There are no subjective or objective theories of FREE WILL. Looking at the fundamentals, WILL may be defined as that aspect of the physical environment or spiritual constitution, which brings certain alternatives, or choices, into play.

    .

  • vinaire  On July 19, 2012 at 6:23 PM

    WILL shall always exist as long as there are alternative possibilities, and one or the other comes into play. The factors, which bring a possibility into play could be given the label WILL. WILL could be of any form from simple to sophisticated. It resonates with what comes into play.

    The mysterious factor seems to be the SELF. It is a feeling that there is something that is choosing, commanding, or being at effect. It is like the center of consciousness analogous to center of mass (or gravity) of an object.

    Thus, SELF is a simple and convenient way of looking at a more complicated phenomenon.

    .

  • vinaire  On July 19, 2012 at 6:44 PM

    Isene:
    “1. For a system to be deterministic, its underlying rules must be consistent.
    2. For a system to be deterministic, its underlying rules must be complete.
    3. No system of rules can be both complete and consistent per Godels Incompleteness Theorems.
    4. Thus, no system can be deterministic.”

    .

    Vinaire: (Please see…)

    Gödel and Determinism

    .

  • freebeeing  On July 22, 2012 at 7:05 AM

    “Thought itself is the thinker.”

    How so? This does not make sense to me.

    • vinaire  On July 22, 2012 at 7:24 AM

      Take a good look at what is behind thought that thinks. It is really up to you to find out.

      .

    • Chris Thompson  On July 22, 2012 at 7:39 AM

      Like a bubbling brook. For the purpose of this example, there is no bubbling brooker.

  • freebeeing  On July 22, 2012 at 1:43 PM

    What is observing the thought?

    • vinaire  On July 22, 2012 at 2:35 PM

      It’s either the thought itself, or it is unknowable. What is your thought about it?

      .

  • freebeeing  On July 22, 2012 at 7:47 PM

    Thought can observe thought. But one can also observe that thought is observing thought. The Spirtual Being is the ultimate observer – it is not thought, it is the source of all things

    • Chris Thompson  On July 24, 2012 at 11:34 PM

      @ freebeing: With respect, that is the standard declaration however hard to prove. As your personal reality, if that is workable for you and gives your mind ease, then congratulations. As an objective reality, not so much. Subjective declarations, no matter how artistic, remain in the realm of subjective reality and do not seem to bleed over into the objective universe except that they come out of the mind in unbreakable steps — “no shortcuts allowed” seems to be the mantra of the physical universe.

  • vinaire  On July 22, 2012 at 8:14 PM

    We have been discussing what a spiritual being is, for a while, on this blog. It is not something that is permanent.

    The being or SELF seems to be a label for ‘center of consciousness’ which is similar to the ‘center of gravity’. Please see

    https://vinaire.wordpress.com/2012/07/20/godel-and-determinism/#comment-3873

    So this abstract idea of being actually refers to a resultant of mental and spiritual energies and forces. It is nothing in itself. Please see here for details.

    THE STRUCTURE OF “I”

    .

    • freebeeing  On July 22, 2012 at 8:57 PM

      “There is no unmoving mover behind the movement. It is only movement. It is not correct to say that life is moving, but life is movement itself. Life and movement are not two different things. In other words, there is no thinker behind the thought. Thought itself is the thinker. If you move the thought, there is no thinker to be found. Here we cannot fail to notice how this Buddhist view is diametrically opposed to the Cartesian cogito ergo sum: ‘I think, therefore I am.’”

      What proof of this do you have? This is “belief” or speculation on the part of Buddhists and yourself.

      Permanent – is a time-based concept. Time is an illusion.

      Certainly identity is always changing. Vinaire will die, the being that is being Vinaire never dies. Why do you even bother with such pursuits if you are just a temporary thought?

      You deny spiritual existence?

  • vinaire  On July 22, 2012 at 9:13 PM

    I have no proof. You have to follow your own intuition. Please see,

    Absolutism and Philosophy

    Well, I disagree that the being that is being Vinaire never dies, because, according to my understanding, any beingness is in a flux. Nothing permanent passes one moment to the next.

    I do not deny spiritual existence. I simply think that physical and spiritual are different aspects of the same system.

    .

  • vinaire  On July 25, 2012 at 10:24 AM

    Geir Isene:
    “While the physical universe is total effect, free will is cause. Although free will makes choices by its own volition, its choice may be swayed by its experiences, which are the result of its choices.”

    Vinaire:
    I do not think so. Physical universe and free will seems to be part of a single overall system. They do not seem not to be independent of each other.

    .

  • vinaire  On July 25, 2012 at 10:37 AM

    Geir Isene:
    “A feedback mechanism is then seen as free will chooses its own experiences and is then affected by them. This may lead to free will apparently losing control of its will by association with the physical universe and believing it has less free will. It will then act less free, less cause. To change this feedback mechanism, free will can be persuaded, perhaps by another free will, to believe it is more cause and less effect and thereby bring the situation under the power of will once again.”

    Vinaire:
    Persuasion is simply an attempt to reconfigure the constitution of the self. Reconfiguration of constitution of self is possible only through looking, recognizing and leveling the inconsistencies. No belief would work.

    .

  • vinaire  On July 25, 2012 at 10:57 AM

    Geir Isene:
    “Any persuasion masked as a solution will do as long as free will believes the solution presented will work and as long as the solution aligns with physical universe laws to the degree that the individual believes in those laws. This may explain how many people are helped by a wide plethora of practices aimed at bettering the individual. It may also explain the placebo effect.”

    Vinaire:
    There would never be any permanent solution based just on belief. The situation would inevitably revert. This is because belief acts as an additive. It does not dissolve the inconsistencies.

    .

  • Rizwan  On September 20, 2013 at 12:01 AM

    Vinay, I may be too late to reply on this blog that is over a year old. But I would like to say that it is disheartening and discouraging from more than one viewpoints to know that there is nothing permanent as “I”.

    1. The immediate message one receives from this is that he/she is mortal – He/she ceases to exist in any form at some point – I am not sure if it is at body’s death or later.

    2. This implies that emotions of people don’t matter at all. There are only emotions, there is no one behind who feels them. What we think we feel is an apparency or just a manifestation of something “happening”. This also implies that there is nothing wrong with people with unfortunate conditions in their lives. There is nothing to be sorry about them.

    3. There is no motivation to be good or ethical person, nor there is any motivation to keep from unethical acts (sins). Just as there is no thinker behind the thought, there is no doer behind the deed. This opens the door for the sinners to commit their sins with no regrets.

    4. This also does not explain the fact that Buddha himself had recalled his life in previous bodies.

    Are there more articles further in this series that may answer my questions? Or have I misunderstood this concept of “impermanence of I”?

    • vinaire  On September 20, 2013 at 5:19 AM

      I agree that it is very disheartening to discover an argument that goes totally against what one has firmly believed all one’s life. It was a shock to me to discover that there is no permanent ‘I’. But, then, I got to see it as the truth.

      This is similar to the truth of “uniform motion.” One cannot say that with certainty what one’s uniform velocity is. Whether it is ‘0’ or ‘c’, no differentiation can be made.

      These things are counter-intuitive because generally one does not look at them closely enough. Let’s take up your points one at a time.

      (1) One wants to be immortal. What does that mean? What is that element that you wish to persist? The universe is always changing, yet the universe also seems to have been persisting for ever. As long as something exists, regardless of what it is, the universe also exists. It is a matter of how one views oneself – as the universe, or as an impermanent part of it. Please keep in mind that both physical and spiritual are apects of this universe.

      (2) Happiness and misery are conditions that keep changing. Good and bad are opinions that also keep changing from person to person. Things like emotions matter but only from a relative point of view. Space and time matters only when there is perception of relative motion. When there is no relative motion there is no perception of either space or time.

      (3) When one is living in the relative world there is definitely the motivation to be a good or ethical person because one suffers from one’s sins. All perception depends on relativity. Please don’t confuse the apathy in the relative world with the freedom that comes from knowledge. From the absolute viewpoint of knowledge the ideas of ethical and unethical vanish because one is always acting with mindfulness.

      (4) If a memory persists from one life to another, just like karma (incomplete cycle of action) persists from one life to another, that does not mean that ‘I’ needs to persist. Please see

      https://vinaire.me/2012/09/30/souls-between-lives-dark-energy-matter/

      .

  • Rizwan  On September 20, 2013 at 11:48 PM

    Thanks, I went through “SOULS, BETWEEN-LIVES, DARK ENERGY & MATTER” as well. I see that one point of conversation here leads to many branches of questions in each cycle of question/answer. So I will stick to only those points that stand out in this context of my previous questions.

    1. I view myself as spiritual part of the universe, not as the universe. I thought that spiritual part is permanent.

    2. Here I was actually thinking about an example of people whose lives are not happy due to physiological birth defects, not just mental. Since the soul is impermanent (in fact it doesn’t even exist – its existence is an apparency) such individuals are not going to experience life in a good body again ever. It is someone else who may have a good body with their memories. I feel like an eternal injustice here.

    However, from “… Between-Lives…” article, if the soul of a person is discrete, though dissolved in space, then it seems to me like it is the same individual in another body when he takes another body. That satisfies me because the identity is preserved. But if it is to be thought of as a mixed pool of indiscrete “souls”, a piece of which adopts a new body, then the new body potentially has a pieces of souls of multiple individuals at the same time, and could inherit partial memories of multiple different people. Then the new identify is not the same as the identity of the souls inherited. Points 11, 12 and 13 of this article seems to point this is the case.

    3. “… One suffers from one’s sins.” But we know there are many people in the world who do not suffer from their sins. They are happy with it (unless you say that their suffering is not apparent to us). My question is if “I” is impermanent, if one suffers due to the deeds of past life, who suffers due to whose sins? That is again injustice – unless you say that the one who suffers feels that he is the same identity as the one who committed sins in a past life (assuming the sufferer can recall his past life), in which case the suffering is justified.

    4. “… memory persists and karma persists from one life to another, and “I” does not persist.” Let me say this: As per your hypothesis, which started making sense to me, I does not exist in the first place in order to persist. What exists is only the apparency of I in one life, and apparency of another I in the next life, and the two “apparencies of I’s” seem to be the same for the next life person due to carried over memories and carried over karma.
    ———–
    Would like to share my experience when my grand father died. I remember a deep thought that ran through my mind – “Where could my grandpa be right now?” I looked into the open space with trees and mountains and up in the sky and thought to myself, “Grandpa is spread in this whole space.” I had this thought despite the religious indoctrination we had that a person remains in the grave and experiences heaven or hell until the Day Of Judgement. Your article reminded me of this incident. Seems like what is inherent in the human mind can’t be erased by indoctrination.
    ————

    Though I did not yet read all your articles, much of it makes sense to me. The impermanence of I also makes sense, but I don’t like the fact that “I” is not living when not in a body. Does it at least have thoughts when not in a body, I wonder.

    • vinaire  On September 21, 2013 at 9:22 AM

      (1) The univrese is a single reality. Any categorization of it as ‘spritual’ or ‘physical’ is there for the purpose of understanding. But that categorization is arbitrary and not something permanent. There is no spirit that is separate from the body. A feeling of exteriorization is just that… a feeling in a live body.

      (2) Justice is an expectation. When that expectation is thwarted then there is a cry of injustice. Animals do not expect justice nor do they cry against injustice of the jungle. They make the best out of the situation they are in. They are usually very sane. Humans have created God out of their expectations. They are primarily influenced by their expectations.

      The “between lives” article basically looks at the fact that a new body is made up of existing atoms and molecules. It therefore posits that a new soul is made up of existing pictures and considerations. Here pictures and considerations are being looked upon as “atoms and molecules” in the mental and spiritual realm.

      (3) I believe that the law of Karma is always active. A karma is an incomplete cycle of action that is waiting to be completed. The consequences of an incomplete cycle of action are always there. I see happiness and suffering as certain configurations of mental and physical forces and energies. ‘I’ is like the “center of mass” of these mental and physical forces and energies.

      (4) ‘I” exists like the ‘center of mass’ exists. If the object changes in its configuration, its center of mass may also shift accordingly. Thus, the ‘I’ is shifting from moment to moment as there are changes in mental and physical forces and energies associated with it. So, ‘I’ persists while also changing from moment to moment. There may be a big shift in ‘I’ from life in one body to life in another body. It is not the same ‘I’.

      Thank you for sharing your memory of the event of your grandfarther passing away. The whole purpose of mindfulness is to overcome past indoctrination.

      .

      • Chris Thompson  On September 22, 2013 at 1:10 AM

        This is quite a good synopsis.

      • Rizwan  On September 22, 2013 at 8:39 AM

        Thanks Vinay, I am still swaying back and forth though the ideas here make sense.

        “Justice is an expectation” – ok, that sounds right and feels right. (You put things in a shockingly simple way, I like that.) But doesn’t Karma come into picture here? If one, say X, had a “problem-body” to live with his whole life, and he wished for a normal body like others, wouldn’t that be an incomplete cycle of action in his mind?

        After X dies, and Y is born in a “good-body”, assuming that Y has X’s memories. If Y recalls those memories, would he feel like he was X in the past life? (though we know the soul that was in X is not the same as the soul that was in Y.)

        If he does, It looks like X’s wish is fulfilled. However, it bothers me that Y is not the same individual as X. But, if Y has all the mental energies and forces from X, then it sounds to me like the Y has the same soul that X had. But if Y has partial mental forces from X and partial mental forces from another individual Z, then it may not be the same soul.

        • vinaire  On September 22, 2013 at 3:16 PM

          Karma is essentially a very complex cycle of action that is moving forward towards its completion in slow motion. There is a sense of inevitability associated with it. If that cycle is hindered then all kind of repercussions result from it. Again those repercussions force the movement of that cycle toward its completion.

          For example, a person borrows some money. To complete that cycle the debt needs to be discharged. If it is not discharged as it was agreed upon then various repercussions come about. This cycle continues to influence all those associated with it, one way or another, until that debt is discharged.

          Parents raise their children with care. Children owe their parents for that care. When parents are old and vulnerable they need care. Children have to pay that debt to their parents to complete the cycle. If that doesn’t happen, and such cycles start to build up. then the social order starts to break down.

          The example you provide conatins expectations and the idea of injustice. That is not the true cycle. The actual cycle is that of variations in the chromosomes that bring about a certain person. If you look objectively, there are physical atoms and molecules that go into the construction of the body. Then there are also spiritual “atoms” and “molecules” that go into the construction of the soul. There are infinite number of permutations and combinations in which all these factors combine to produce a person.

          So, a person is what he is. His memories are what they are. Memories are part of the current configuration of body and soul. One has to make the best out of the cards dealt to him, rather than trying to figure out why he is the way he is. Is this the result of some karma? Yes. But that karma is beyond that one person. It is a karma at a much larger, universal level.

          So, what can a person do about it? Can he straighten out the universal karma? It is like saying, “Can a cell straighten out the whole organism?”

          I think the answer is yes. I think that was what Buddha was trying to do. It is like a cell straightening out itself and the other cells around it, and this action then spreading out like a chain reaction reaching the level of the whole organism.

          For Buddha this “straightening out” was “mindfulness.” Mindfulness helps round up cycles toward completion. As smaller cycles get completed, the bigger cyles, of which they were a part, get completed, and then still bigger cycles get completed and so on. The universal karma is a very complex cycle.

          I came up with the above observation just now, so I have to look at it more thoroughly. But I hope this makes some sense.

          .

    • Chris Thompson  On September 22, 2013 at 1:05 AM

      Rizwan, I hope you continue in this direction of discovery and that you come to pleasing terms with yourself on these issues you are describing. ~Chris

  • Rizwan  On September 21, 2013 at 6:58 AM

    Vinay, Another question that comes up is this:

    When a person attains the knowledge of spiritual progress towards Nirvana, the freedom from cycles of birth and death, he has an inherent urge to share it with every one in the world to help them, which is what Buddha did and other philosophers did which gave rise to groups of thousands of people practising their methods.

    My imagination was that, as each individual attains Nirvana, or moves closer to Nirvana, the world becomes a better place due to the fact that it increases the ratio of number of “cleared” minds on the planet (or in the universe) to the number of “uncleared” minds. This should give rise to the entire planet becoming more and more ethical gradually and at one point, not needing any police, law and order, to maintain peace among all the populations in the world. The world becoming united is a possibility in such conditions.

    If the souls just vanish once they get Nirvana, none of those things can happen and it is not of any good for the people on earth that anybody attains Nirvana. So this doesn’t go well with the fact that they just don’t exist after Nirvana. How can this be explained?

    • vinaire  On September 21, 2013 at 9:54 AM

      Buddhas have attained nirvana. They are no longer there. But the knowledge they gave us will continue to be there, as it is part of the very fabric of this universe.

      • Rizwan  On September 22, 2013 at 8:56 AM

        So what we are left with is the knowledge the buddhas gave us. We have that knowledge for 2500 years (or may be even longer than that, that I don’t know of).

        Isn’t Desire one of the components of Dukkha, that keeps one from attaining Nirvana? If so, can anyone attain absolute Nirvana as long as they have a desire to make this world a better place, or a desire to make sure the knowledge is introduced into all the minds. So how can they just attain Nirvana and vanish away when the rest are still suffering here. Their attaining Nirvana does not improve the conditions here – that is my point. We had the knowledge before their Nirvana, and we have the knowledge after their Nirvana – there is no difference there.

        So my imagination is that the buddhas can go extremely close to Nirvana with the exception of a desire to help everyone else along the path, even if takes many, many generations for that to happen. Thus improving the conditions here.

        • vinaire  On September 22, 2013 at 3:51 PM

          Dukkha is as defined by Buddha in THE FIRST NOBLE TRUTH.

          The first Noble Truth of Buddha points to dukkha as something that needs to be understood. The term dukkha contains the ordinary meaning of ‘suffering’, but in addition it also includes deeper ideas, such as, ‘imperfection’, ‘impermanence’, ‘emptiness’, and ‘insubstantiality’. The way to happiness starts with a complete understanding of this term dukkha.

          The arising of Dukkha is defined by Buddha in THE SECOND NOBLE TRUTH.

          “As long as there is this ‘thirst’ to be and to become, the cycle of continuity (samsāra) goes on. It can stop only when its driving force, this ‘thirst’, is cut off through wisdom which sees Reality, Truth, Nirvāna.”

          So, the reason for Dukkha is much more specific than what you are alluding to in your post.

          .

  • Rizwan  On September 25, 2013 at 11:18 PM

    Thanks Vinay, I went through the two Noble Truths a couple of times. So the cause for Dukkha is not just desire, but desire to be, or become something, or derive sense-pleasures. And I was referring to the desire to help others on the path of Nirvana.

    However, I find it hard to accept that a buddha would just attain Nirvana never to return back though I am sure the buddha has the desire that everyone walk the same path – which is why I had asked that question.

    • vinaire  On September 26, 2013 at 5:33 AM

      What do you mean?

      Buddha is there in the person who is being mindful and following the eight-fold path.

      .

      • Rizwan  On September 26, 2013 at 10:04 PM

        Yes, now I get it.

        All the while, when I had accepted the statements that there is no soul behind the mental forces and energies, due to habit of old thinking there is a soul, I had been asking why buddhas don’t return. Well, there is nothing to return!

        This is how I get it now. A person IS a combination of all those 5 aggregates. (He doesn’t HAVE a combination of the aggregates.) Upon erasing mental formations (or As-Ising them), the aggregates vanish. If the individual is a combination of those aggregates, it is the person himself that is being vanished piece-by-piece by as-ising the mental formations. This is how I had understood before. But it is the habit of old thinking that made me wonder why buddhas don’t return. Is my understanding now correct? Close to being correct? Or far from being correct?

        By the way, with this understanding of a human being, a person, I think the word “individual” cannot be applied to a person, because he is a combination of many other ‘components’. Those components may not be individuals either.

        • vinaire  On September 27, 2013 at 1:20 AM

          A person is as individual, as the ‘center of mass’ of an object is “individual”.

          .

        • Chris Thompson  On September 27, 2013 at 2:28 AM

          I surely do like your model and analogy of center of mass.

          You bringing up the time scale a few times lately got me thinking that there may yet be some mileage to get from EMR as tone. Maybe not just in thescientology way, but in the disturbance in space, condensate etc.

        • Chris Thompson  On September 27, 2013 at 2:30 AM

          I like that I thought to use the word molt. LOL

    • Chris Thompson  On September 26, 2013 at 7:15 AM

      It is difficult to discuss attaining Nirvana with ambition. Desire to help others see one’s own correct, true path is ambitious and is where religion begins. Relaxing and letting our minds run without hindrance – possibly through practicing KHTK – can help demonstrate this to ourselves. It seems to me that we can try to help others relax but I do not think we can help them “attain Nirvana.” For instance, when my children go to bed, I do not tell them to sleep, I tell them to think nice thoughts and remember something nice that happened that day or think about something nice that they hope will happen tomorrow.

      • vinaire  On September 26, 2013 at 7:26 AM

        Beautiful and practical!

        .

      • Rizwan  On September 26, 2013 at 10:19 PM

        That sounds correct, Chris. “Desire to help others see one’s own correct, true path is ambitious and is where religion begins.” That is how every religion in history was created. I need to make some time for KHTK in my life.

        Though I understood the facts here, I still don’t like the fact that those who attain Nirvana don’t exist any more to return. I have not come to terms with it yet.

        • Chris Thompson  On September 27, 2013 at 2:23 AM

          Thank you Rizwan. Molting is not a comfortable process, but neither has been learning to play the guitar. But what we practice at we get better at and so it goes. When it becomes apparent to me that a thought or new idea is making me uncomfortable, I try to welcome that discomfort and embrace it. I seem to learn the most about myself at times like that.

          I sure do wish you well as you ask yourself hard questions.

    • vinaire  On September 26, 2013 at 7:30 AM

      Buddha was a Teacher. He was not a Pusher. He let the knowledge be out there. He let his knowledge be known. Those who came to him he provided guidance through teaching.

      Ultimately, it is up to a person to improve himself or herself. If a person wants to improve he or she can find the knowledge of Buddha to achieve that purpose.

      .

    • vinaire  On September 26, 2013 at 7:34 AM

      Hubbard was a Pusher. He was not a thorough researcher and reliable teacher. He did not make himself available to answer people’s questions.

      .

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