James, when the statement is made, “Jess and Jenny are going to do what Jess and Jenny want to do.” What is being suggested or implied by the statement?
1. Is this implying that J and J have some way of transcending the fully caused physical beings that they are?
2. Is this implying that when J and J experience a “want” (a feeling/sensation/perception bubbling up from unconscious processes) then each of them has a magical way of escaping the drive to strive (like the big-brained animal they are) to satisfy the want?
3. Are you suggesting you strive not to satisfy your wants but J and J strive to satisfy their wants?
4. Are you implying, for example, that when you want to play ping-pong but your wife wants you to take her out-of-town to visit a friend in the hospital, and of course, you WANT to satisfy your wife’s WANT more than you want to play ping-pong, that nevertheless you can and do act contrary to the most powerful WANT being experienced?
I’m confused. Please clarify the meaning of the statement, “Jess and Jenny are going to do what Jess and Jenny want to do.”
Here are some questions to ponder when you reply to me:
Is neural activity that the thinker is wholly ignorant of stimulated into existence by conscious thought? In other words, does conscious thought precede non-conscious brain processes?
Can a person function while in a non-conscious state, such a black-out from over-intoxication?
Can a person function without the physical brain?
Can drugs or physical damage (or disease) to the physical brain causally effect the individual’s thought in any way?
Can thought exist without the physical brain? Now, if you think so, please answer the question above and clarify.
Bear in mind, you can reply to me by recording, providing you don’t want to type a reply. (I assume you still have the voice recorder or still have a microphone hooked up to your computer.)
I personally think many people make statements without giving the matter much thought. You told me Peggy’s brother, when you give him a ride to church, often starts talking apparently under the assumption that you are aware of what he is talking about. And likewise you seem to assume my thought is in tune with yours.
For someone to say to me that person “X” is going to do what she wants to do is the same as saying person “X” has freckles. In both cases the phenomenon is the result of physical causality. If I am mistaken, I would truly like to understand the reasons why. That is, you might be interested in what causes freckles but I go one step further: I am interested in the causal factors involved in thought and behavior. And for anyone to say I am mistaken or involved in misleading inquiries without providing proof or sound reasons is unacceptable.
By the way, I suspect that you are merely expressing frustration as a result of J and J not seeming to want what you want. Or you are expressing frustration because they don’t seem to be acting in a way you think would be better for themselves and others. But, of course, they don’t have your brain. They can’t think exactly like you even if they WANTED to.
On the most basic level, the brain is analogous to a snowflake. Both are unique in the world and both developed as a result of physical processes.
Your ex-wife was really an angry person. She found fault in many people. When she was not on her medication–or sometimes even when she was–she would get really offended and upset when people did not act like she thought they ought to. But, of course, they did not have her brain to think and act with. Yet, for you to be around her for so many years, trapped into listening to her expressions of resentment and anger, possibly had an effect on your thought “development.” Take that possibility into consideration when J and J start acting or seeming to think in ways different from yourself.
Naturally, I realize that living life and not having time to escape from the-reality-of your situation results in you not having opportunity to give the matter much thought. Too bad every individual can’t spend a few years away from the cares of the world in order to be able to think deeply on a subject. The individual who retires from the rat-race or who goes into a monastery or who is sent to prison, sometimes can have opportunity to think outside the box. But even most of them are too busy socializing or pursuing religious duties or taking part in programs or worrying about family, status, or money that such thought is impossible, just like it probably is for you.
Of course, I realize I’m a bit of a hypocrite. I doubt anyone exist who isn’t. What I’m trying to say is that when you get angry at J and J it is illogical because they are fully caused physical beings, in the same sense that the stinging nettles in the back yard at Jarrod were fully caused. Nevertheless, no matter how illogical, I get upset, just like you, when a stinging nettle injects a bunch of microscopic needles into me. My contention though is that playing the blame game will never rectify any situation. Your ex was probably locked into her world of playing the blame game and never thought outside that little black box.
When I was a teenager I was ranting on and on about some woman who went to the same church we went to. And mom called me to the carpet. She looked at me with those solemn eyes of hers and compassionately stated, “Son, you really don’t know what circumstances has caused that lady to think and act the way she does.” Those words have come back to haunt me.
Pondering on what circumstances a person had been exposed to in order to try to understand the causal factors involved in the-development-of that individual’s personality and perspective (and thus thought and behavior) is the key to understanding. But playing the blame game is a little like blinding yourself to reality and instead living in fantasy. J and J have developed into who they are as a result of factors that preceded their conscious awareness. And when one tries to change his/her-self because of having developed the perspective that change is necessary or advisable, it is a little like a cat chasing its tail. The perspective couldn’t be held until after it developed. And the development wasn’t a choice but the result of previous circumstance.
The baby starts out amoral. Now if God causes the baby to develop morals, then God is responsible for the morals the child develops. But if parents, peers, preachers, teachers, movies, video games, and culture in general are the factors that instill the child with morals, then those circumstances are responsible for the morals the child develops. At no instance can we justifiably hold the child responsible for moral development.
Belief is basically another word for perception. (This is an insulting notion to the atheist who thinks that somehow he is magically superior to the believer.) Perception means to become aware of via the senses. Of course, some believers may have developed the conception that religious belief extends beyond the senses. However, I’d like to know how anything can be learned or known without the senses. Anyway, perception starts developing before conscious awareness and thus as a result of circumstance, a little like morals are. This means that to hold J and J responsible for the perception that they have developed is as silly as holding a baby responsible for moral development.
You are a Believer. Yet, as a result of information overload, you probably have contradictory notions that you hold and not realize the contradiction. For instance, I assume you believe God to be all-knowing. He would know when your great-great-grandchild would be born and when he would die. And God would also know everything in between. This means that no choice could ever be made by your great-great-grandchild that would deviate from what God already knew would happen. This means that free will may have the appearance of being true, but it could never be true under such circumstances.
Of course, the next question to arise is how could a just and loving God punish someone forever if that someone’s choices were predestined by God’s absolute knowledge? (We won’t ask how never-ending torture can be justified for any reason whatsoever.) Information overload. Befuddle and beguile. Fear is a very powerful subjugater and motivator. (We’ve all heard stated, “Better safe than sorry” many times.) Thus you believe in free will, even though it is a direct contradiction to reality and to the belief in an All-Knowing God.
But anyway, I digress. I’m human just like you. I make mistakes just like you. I get upset, just like you–even though my awareness of causality tells me that getting upset over something that was causally determined is just plain silly. Well, at times I’m just plain silly. I’m human just like you.