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Theglasshouse

Choice as more than just a Powerful Word

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I was thinking today from daydreaming ideas on what it means to have a choice, and here is a short sort of profound post on why political policies should be studied from that standpoint.

I always thought choice, was the magic word that had profound implications for freedom of will. If anything, to choose how to live and to choose maybe the reasons on why to live a certain way. Who determines that? No one does, that is why I think people should have choices to choose from. There are so many questions regarding freedom of will, one can not help think choosing for other people can be bad. There are those who have had their lives chosen by them, and it was detrimental. Like some common issues of the day. Marriage and all its ilk, abortions, sexual orientation. That is not determined by a moral authority. But perhaps one day if we could detect people's feelings since the law is a deterrent it makes me think the world needs an educational institute for the moral sciences, that could educate the masses. If not philosophy loses a lot of power without being a governmental branch that makes law. I've been wanting to voice this opinion and decided to share. We shouldn't think less of people. It goes back to the constitution of the united states and other countries encouraging freedom of will. Which has not been studied as it should? Personality is almost always studied. Why can't society wisen up, and accept the challenge that people should decide in the name of good moral consequences? Anyways I am intrigued by the idea and just decided to share not exactly thinking people will get any sort of remorse for my bad decisions and choices made. But it helps to be unbiased, and the political system has flaws because of this I am convinced. Whether a family as an entity should be studied as regards to its policies since every institution can have laws that help put them in line for committing egregious mistakes.

Those who seek the truth are often blinded by mistakes. Do we need a map of our desires, and wishes, and to know if they are truly morally guided? Or just let everything run its course.

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Updated September 30th, 2018 at 07:50 PM by Theglasshouse

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  1. Theglasshouse's Avatar
    This was post was originally intended for Smith on the forums. I did a quick copy and paste. Who writes a lot of philosophy blogs but I decided to steal some of his thunder, and post a snippet of what I think is wrong with the world today. Too bad I can't edit it since it is a blog post. I did make this into a blog post as a result. Think deeply is there such a thing as a law you don't agree with it? It happens. Just that society or lawmakers should be held responsible for what they decide when making the law. Racism can be stated as a law if it does not violate the right of the constitution of a country. I am not saying fate is what happens to people. We have to make choices, but sometimes people make the wrong choices. Research, sociology, and statistics can determine that.
    Updated September 27th, 2018 at 07:33 PM by Theglasshouse
  2. dither's Avatar
    Tg,
    choice, I think, can be a dangerous thing. How many of us are well enough informed to make what many would consider simple life effecting choices?

    Right now, I , in my twilight years would happily trade some, if not all, choices with a regime that would keep me safe from harm and well fed.

    Why CAN'T you edit?
    Don't you have that yellow pencil icon by the blog title?
  3. Winston's Avatar
    It's comforting to tell ourselves that we are the masters of our own destiny. But are we?
  4. Theglasshouse's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by dither
    Tg,
    choice, I think, can be a dangerous thing. How many of us are well enough informed to make what many would consider simple life effecting choices?

    Right now, I , in my twilight years would happily trade some, if not all, choices with a regime that would keep me safe from harm and well fed.

    Why CAN'T you edit?
    Don't you have that yellow pencil icon by the blog title?
    I finally know how to edit the blog. Thanks for that Dither. I am arguing, freedom of will exists, and the choices one makes early in life are detrimental for later life. I believe since children are shaped by the environment mostly, it comes to show that choice should be regulated by making us choose is a no-brainer, but sometimes we cannot choose. Some people don't know between right and wrong. That's why they should we make a philosophy for everything. Freedom of will is an American philosophy made by an American philosopher. How can we solve the problems society has? By making people proactive with their choices. The right choices can influence government policy without taking away freedom by providing incentives. The law can doesn't always have to be for right and wrong but should enable us to make the right choices, because it forces us to challenge the dominant expression. Language creates a false belief system that is culture. Philosophy ought to create changes that are sweeping because of how it can impact children. I'd be in favor of someone determining the law, if the consensus was there, in a philosophical institution which has ethics. That way we can dream of a better world, that is less greedy. Philosophers would be in demand too. Why not prohibit bad choices, and promote good choices? I know I am dreaming, but which should take away greedy intentions, unfair competition, in a world dominated by rich elite societies. Influence should not be based on money but rather by a family that wants the best citizens possible. We do not have a moral education. It's about time we did. Society needs thinkers like in the era of Aristotle, Plato, and Socrates to make a better world based on philosophy. The greek way of thought brought a revolution off the government that European thinkers later would study because of them in the enlightenment.

    Winston thanks for reminding of the blog and commenting. I like the fact that you might agree with this. Maybe that's a very good sign that it clicked and made sense. Too bad, wish I was back at the university to write essays just like this one.
  5. dither's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Winston
    It's comforting to tell ourselves that we are the masters of our own destiny. But are we?
    Comforting?
    It can be scary.
    Nice to have some-one to blame sometimes I think.
    And as you ask, are we?
  6. Smith's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by dither
    Comforting?
    It can be scary.
    Nice to have some-one to blame sometimes I think.
    And as you ask, are we?
    Free-will's comforting if you've ever taken hardcore pre-determinism to its logical conclusion. In that worldview, nothing you do is an "action". They are all "reactions". You're about as responsible for what you do as chemicals are for interacting with one another.

    "You" are nothing more than an observer stuck in a head, along for the ride. A puppet pretending to be an actor following a script, when in reality you're being forced to follow the script regardless of what you think. Everything is orchestrated and can be traced back in a series of causes and effects to the first cause.

    This is incredibly depressing. The only reason to live is out of curiosity. To find out what happens. But it's not like you have a choice of whether to commit suicide or not anyway. It steals that agency away from you as well.
    Updated October 3rd, 2018 at 05:41 AM by Smith
  7. Smith's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Theglasshouse
    This was post was originally intended for Smith on the forums. I did a quick copy and paste. Who writes a lot of philosophy blogs but I decided to steal some of his thunder, and post a snippet of what I think is wrong with the world today. Too bad I can't edit it since it is a blog post. I did make this into a blog post as a result. Think deeply is there such a thing as a law you don't agree with it? It happens. Just that society or lawmakers should be held responsible for what they decide when making the law. Racism can be stated as a law if it does not violate the right of the constitution of a country. I am not saying fate is what happens to people. We have to make choices, but sometimes people make the wrong choices. Research, sociology, and statistics can determine that.
    I believe philosophy would be a great, *required* addition to public high-school. Society should be more exposed to such ideas, and people encouraged to create a conception of self-improvement for themselves and then pursue it.

    I'm not sure if philosophy's place is being the sole arbiter of legislation. I don't know if that's what you're advocating or not, so I apologize if I'm accidentally straw-manning you, but I'm interpreting this as a sort of "philosopher king" scenario like Marcus Aurelius.

    Putting philosophy and morality into law has always been a weird one for me. Gives me a headache. You can't derive an ought from an is. Science can't create a perfect, objective morality. Also, right and wrong is predicated on your ability to choose either one. Bringing the force of law into the equation might make a person more likely to act a certain way, but it doesn't make the person moral.

    Therefore as you increasingly legislate more and more on the grounds of philosophical morality (and it's worth mentioning there are a variety of different, opposing philosophies, so it isn't self-evidently clear which philosophy you'd kneel to), you increasingly muddy the waters between moral people being moral, and immoral people pretending to be moral.

    This is part of the reason why tyrants become so paranoid. They reach a point where it isn't clear who obeys them because they want to obey them, and who is a two-faced liar disguised as a true believer, but will stab the tyrant in the back at any minute.

    Having said all that, I can't reconcile with the fact that I think laws against murder and theft are necessary, because I believe there should be consequences for wrong-doing. Resorting to wild-west anarchy and letting people solve their own problems isn't a tenable solution, because you're looking at revenge killing and what not. So I still have a lot of thinking to do.

    At the end of the day, it could be nice if legislators were held to a high standard and had backgrounds in philosophy, psychology, etc. Admittedly I don't know what law school is like, and what a lawyer learns in their time at college. But anyway, it's no guarantee that it would improve things. Just think, a person can become a psychotherapist to help people, and a person can use all the same knowledge of psychology to make manipulative advertisements and propaganda, and use psychology as a weapon.

    Or to put it another way, books like 1984, Fahrenheit 451, Brave New World, are all simultaneously blueprints and warnings. Just depends on the person.
    Updated October 3rd, 2018 at 06:14 AM by Smith
  8. dither's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Smith
    Free-will's comforting if you've ever taken hardcore pre-determinism to its logical conclusion. In that worldview, nothing you do is an "action". They are all "reactions". You're about as responsible for what you do as chemicals are for interacting with one another.

    "You" are nothing more than an observer stuck in a head, along for the ride. A puppet pretending to be an actor following a script, when in reality you're being forced to follow the script regardless of what you think. Everything is orchestrated and can be traced back in a series of causes and effects to the first cause.

    This is incredibly depressing. The only reason to live is out of curiosity. To find out what happens. But it's not like you have a choice of whether to commit suicide or not anyway. It steals that agency away from you as well.
    Sad but true.
  9. Smith's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by dither
    Sad but true.
    True in a theoretical sense, yes. I'm a believer in free-will myself, partly because hardcore determinism is so unbearably nihilistic.
  10. bdcharles's Avatar
    Hardcore determinism has, to me, a degree of comfort to it, I think. Everything's determined so relax. But I don't believe in it, simply because I see no evidence for it. It's so simplified as to be bordering on unworkable as an idea. But I also don't entirely believe in free will either. I mean, it exists, sure, but it's not a straightforward matter of making a choice. The weight of desire, of experience, of our nature, of everything else that has happened beforehand, and everything else that could, informs our every decision. My belief as to how the world operates have it more akin to partially-managed (or mis-managed) chaos, because that's genuinely how things appear, and also because as a hypothesis, it makes sense. Also chaos is sexy, which really seals the deal as a worldview.
  11. dither's Avatar
    Not sure that I'd call chaos sexy bd. Would go along with interesting but hey ho. Different strokes.
  12. Smith's Avatar
    I'm more of a compatibilist as well, bd.

    And the reason why I don't like hardcore determinism is because the only reason for carrying on is nothing more than curiosity, since you can't alter the course. (Actually, that probably wouldn't be true, since that curiosity was pre-determined.) You're just the observer of an interactive movie, and no amount of pretending will change that fact. I can't see a reason to hold anybody responsible for anything anymore than incriminating water for evaporating. The person who committed the crime isn't the real culprit, but the Big Bang is, since it's the cause of every crime ever done. But the Big Bang isn't a person, so what, you're supposed to pay for the wrong that an impersonal force of nature over ten billion years ago forced you to do?

    I quickly find myself in a circle. Commit suicide since my choices aren't choices and don't matter? That's what I was pre-determined to do. Don't commit suicide and suffer in slavery? That's what I was pre-determined to do. There's no way out of it, and I really, really don't like that. You get caught in an infinite loop like that (which you were also pre-determined to get caught in).

    If it didn't make you sick to your stomach and give you a headache and make you want to have a mental breakdown, I applaud you. But I'd rather believe that I can be an autonomous agent in the world, and do good *not* because it was pre-determined and out of my control, but because I willed it. So I can say I could've done wrong and made the world a worse place but chose not to, compared to I couldn't have done wrong anyway so don't bother with praise or rewards or acknowledgement; I just got lucky and the universe destined me to do this whether I liked it or not.

    I prefer an element of freedom than absolute cosmic enslavement. I irrationally justified free-will to myself and my mental health's been better off. Of course, you could just undermine that and say "you were pre-destined to irrationally justify free-will to yourself" and I could refute your claim with one for free-will, and then we'd just fall all the way down with the turtles. That's also part of why I'm a compatibilist.

    Plus, if you keep going back, what was the cause of the Big Bang? And what caused that? And then that?

    One might say it's an infinitely repeating loop, but what created the loop then? What does the loop exist inside of?
    Updated October 4th, 2018 at 01:50 PM by Smith
  13. Theglasshouse's Avatar
    While I don't agree with everything you said Smith I respect your opinion and still read your posts with interest as you study and read philosophy. It was interesting to say the least as I was partly educated by your posts. I wouldn't describe myself as a hardcore determinist, there is room for morality if the law can be controlling. Took me a while to get here, since I keep forgetting it exists. It's my first blog. Sure this is more an exercise in trying to explain what is wrong with the world. If we truly believe in the greater good we have got to have an authority on moral issues. I know there are philosophy degrees for staff at hospitals, a person who has such a degree is Michelle Obama (who studied law). But some issues as you said need to be clarified. Where there is a clear moral right or wrong for each situation can we draw on the experience of people who study crime. Yet they don't write the law. They enforce it in the case of the police. They carry it out. What I am saying is people are not always sensitive to issues. This creates problems because we don't live in a world where there is objectivity and subjectivity. We should strive to be more perfect since if families can do what they want and states in the USA for example. Why not teach by example? The penalties don't have to be severe. I believe determinism can do some good. Provided people still have choices. The population is immature most of the time and we live in a chaotic world. To prevent long-lasting damage to people making choices that are erroneous in judgment that is my perspective. Policies if not laws is what I want to see change the world. The government determines many people's futures already. They exert control to a certain level. I think it is a myth to say that taking away choices is bad. The experiment hasn't been done. But it would be a social experiment. Not that the USA has done many to my knowledge. What I am saying is I don't think is a fair example of communism. It is just being smarter about the choices we make that can harm others. We need leaders in any country and they should be held accountable. They are anyways in places where they can be sued. Unless the person we are talking in an example is about is a corrupt president with immunity I doubt they can get away with it. Everyone is a tabula rasa, the sense of ethically right and wrong increases with the amount of knowledge. That's why many will make the wrong choices.
    Updated October 5th, 2018 at 09:06 PM by Theglasshouse
  14. Smith's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Theglasshouse
    While I don't agree with everything you said Smith I respect your opinion and still read your posts with interest as you study and read philosophy. It was interesting to say the least as I was partly educated by your posts. I wouldn't describe myself as a hardcore determinist, there is room for morality if the law can be controlling. Took me a while to get here, since I keep forgetting it exists. It's my first blog. Sure this is more an exercise in trying to explain what is wrong with the world. If we truly believe in the greater good we have got to have an authority on moral issues. I know there are philosophy degrees for staff at hospitals, a person who has such a degree is Michelle Obama (who studied law). But some issues as you said need to be clarified. Where there is a clear moral right or wrong for each situation can we draw on the experience of people who study crime. Yet they don't write the law. They enforce it in the case of the police. They carry it out. What I am saying is people are not always sensitive to issues. This creates problems because we don't live in a world where there is objectivity and subjectivity. We should strive to be more perfect since if families can do what they want and states in the USA for example. Why not teach by example? The penalties don't have to be severe. I believe determinism can do some good. Provided people still have choices. The population is immature most of the time and we live in a chaotic world. To prevent long-lasting damage to people making choices that are erroneous in judgment that is my perspective. Policies if not laws is what I want to see change the world. The government determines many people's futures already. They exert control to a certain level. I think it is a myth to say that taking away choices is bad. The experiment hasn't been done. But it would be a social experiment. Not that the USA has done many to my knowledge. What I am saying is I don't think is a fair example of communism. It is just being smarter about the choices we make that can harm others. We need leaders in any country and they should be held accountable. They are anyways in places where they can be sued. Unless the person we are talking in an example is about is a corrupt president with immunity I doubt they can get away with it. Everyone is a tabula rasa, the sense of ethically right and wrong increases with the amount of knowledge. That's why many will make the wrong choices.
    Regarding an authority on moral issues, I think we need to be careful what we wish for. Morality isn't objective, so the authority you're going to get is one that is subjective. That's too much power to put in the hands of a few humans. This is part of the reason why I think this is more a never-ending matter constantly being ironed out thanks to freedom of speech and democracy that every single one of us get to have a say in.

    I would like to refer to a quote by C.S. Lewis: "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep; his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."

    In essence, this is evidenced by Hitler's regime. The eradication of the mentally ill, the genetically defected, and so on were all justified by compassion. In the Nazi worldview, they were acting righteously and morally. "For the good of its victims", "with the approval of their own conscience", are bullet proof justifications for even the most nefarious and malevolent of acts.

    Here is the empty promise implicit - if not made explicit - of every tyranny that has ever existed: utopia.

    On the subject of mistakes I would like to start with a couple quotes, a strange combination of J.S. Bach and Thomas Jefferson.

    "If I decide to be an idiot, then I'll be an idiot on my own accord." - J.S. Bach

    Admittedly I am not familiar with the original context that this quote is from. However, as it stands alone, I agree with the notion. I'll smoke if I want to smoke. I'll drink if I want to drink. The government is too big as it is in my opinion. The last thing I need is for some appointed individual who I didn't approve of putting a gun to my head and making me pay fines or serve prison sentences for what I do to my own body, especially when it doesn't result in the physical injury or obstruction of others.

    Otherwise, instead of people growing up and becoming independent adults who deal with the consequences of their actions, you have perpetual children. First children of the parents, then children of the nanny state.

    And so, "I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it." - Thomas Jefferson

    Minimum government interference, and relying on the government as little as possible, is my guiding principle. It protects our freedoms and rights, and does not encroach on them. It provides only the necessary services that are in accordance with those universal freedoms and rights. But the adult citizenry cannot abdicate their personal responsibilities to the government, and cannot make excuses for themselves.

    I believe a night-watchman state (or minarchism) fosters liberty and stoic values. What do I mean by the latter? Well, every great civilization is born stoic and dies epicurean. Those are the paraphrased words of Will Durant. When you look at crumbling nations you tend to find an indulgence into pleasure (hedonism), comfort (security), junk values (greed). When those three factors inform the evolution of a nation's culture, legislation, and science, you run into trouble.

    The one thing from your comment that I disagree with most is that people are blank slates. They are *not*, and that's a fact, not my opinion. This is such a dangerous and scientifically unfounded claim. Read a little bit of biology and psychology and it will say as much. This idea that people are blank slates is a lie that the cancerous social sciences and social engineers want to spread, because it basically means, "we can teach everybody to think and act in exactly the same way and we'll usher in the utopia". It's insane.

    People confuse "tabula rasa" with neuroplasticity.
    Updated October 5th, 2018 at 11:41 PM by Smith
  15. Theglasshouse's Avatar
    I agree with the tabula rasa comment as I can see why it can lead to dangerous thinking. Thanks for the comments, it was more than I could have hoped to receive as a response. Since this is a subject that is constantly discussed by alumni in universities, I understand I can't make an argument that sounds convincing. Thanks for sharing your opinion and take care of your problems the way you would agree for them to be solved. Maybe I am wiser for this discussion pointed some irony. Anyways I hope they make at least some policies, not the law that promote some kind of moral opinion if not on a governmental level. Too bad the answer I seek is probably elusive. Thanks smith for the response.
    -glasshouse.
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