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How am I going to do my job without free will?

 
Serculis
 
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Serculis
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25 March 2018 15:25
 
nonverbal - 25 March 2018 01:24 PM

Have you brought up this conundrum with the people in charge of granting you whatever diploma or certification you might be working on? My best guess is that chances are, your thesis advisor (or whoever) will look at this as a departure from what might be considered rational. Sorry if that sounds harsh.

I haven’t. My guess is that they would be formal and polite about considering my view, but would pretty much consider it an opinion and not a fact. Then they would tell me it’s harmful to others and that I best keep my view to myself.

 
GAD
 
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GAD
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25 March 2018 16:00
 
Serculis - 25 March 2018 03:23 PM
GAD - 25 March 2018 12:36 PM
Serculis - 25 March 2018 12:27 PM
GAD - 25 March 2018 12:05 PM

That just made it worse.

Your reply to my first wording was “You had no freewill yesterday when you dealt with them so why should tomorrow be any different.”

It was completely unrelated to my problem. You seemed to have assumed I was having a crisis about living knowing that I wasn’t truly in control of my actions. This isn’t the case, maybe my post title misled you.

My revision gave the example of people who become unstable due to long-term revenge fantasies, where learning about the truth of determinism could solve their problem of wanting revenge on someone. I then stated that as ideal as this is, it can lead to bad consequences if a person refuses to change their beliefs and labels me an apologist. I asked the forum how to deal with this dilemma.

Do you understand it now?

I got it the first time. If you think that telling people they can’t hold other people accountable for murdering their children is going to help them I think you need help, try pot, lots and lots of pot.

You clearly did not get it the first time as you said “You had no freewill yesterday when you dealt with them so why should tomorrow be any different.” which beared no resemblance to the topic at hand.

Actually, I heard of a guy whose daughter was raped and murdered. He was full of revenge for years on end, discovered Sam Harris’s work and slowly began to accept that people aren’t accountable for their actions and admitted that he would do the exact same, had he been in the person’s shoes. He described finding a new love and compassion for all human beings ever since.

Of course, not everybody is going to react like that. That’s why I asked the question in the first place. I wasn’t planning on just saying “oh btw the person who killed your child has no control over their actions therefore you can’t hold them accountable okay bye” .... When I say a whole lecture, I would be mirroring Sam’s talks.

GAD - I’m curious, have you told any close friends or family about your view? Or are you unlucky enough to be around people who wouldn’t believe it?

Yeah, there’s always a guy; there was this guy who was unhappy and left society to live in a cave and eat crickets for 10 years and now he is happy… So we should all do that? How many people is that going to make happy? “there was this guy” is a sales pitch for a product or opinion.

Friends and family know my views but are mostly theists so we don’t discuss it anymore so we can stay friends and family. The two or three atheist friends I know are very much aligned with my views.

 

 
 
Serculis
 
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Serculis
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25 March 2018 16:20
 

GAD, I have another question for you.

Someone comes to you saying that they were abused as a child, and specifically asks you if you believe whether people can freely choose their thoughts and actions.

They specifically want you to answer your view on determinism/free will.

Do you say the truth? Or do you lie?

Saying the truth will easily get you in trouble. There’s a very high chance they would call you a child molester apologist. Any attempt at explanation would be ignored. This isn’t guaranteed, but there’s a high chance.

Saying a lie is very convenient and avoids trouble, yet there’s a lot of philosophical problems with lying. There’s also the problem that some determinists suffer where they feel horrible for having to constantly lie and pretend they believe in free will. Or, you’re a JBP fan like me and value integrity over expediency, and lying causes you great distress because you’re going against your own philosophy of life.

You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. That’s why I asked the question, should I lie to my clients, or be truthful. There are consequences either way.

 
GAD
 
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GAD
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25 March 2018 18:43
 
Serculis - 25 March 2018 04:20 PM

GAD, I have another question for you.

Someone comes to you saying that they were abused as a child, and specifically asks you if you believe whether people can freely choose their thoughts and actions.

They specifically want you to answer your view on determinism/free will.

Do you say the truth? Or do you lie?

Saying the truth will easily get you in trouble. There’s a very high chance they would call you a child molester apologist. Any attempt at explanation would be ignored. This isn’t guaranteed, but there’s a high chance.

Saying a lie is very convenient and avoids trouble, yet there’s a lot of philosophical problems with lying. There’s also the problem that some determinists suffer where they feel horrible for having to constantly lie and pretend they believe in free will. Or, you’re a JBP fan like me and value integrity over expediency, and lying causes you great distress because you’re going against your own philosophy of life.

You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. That’s why I asked the question, should I lie to my clients, or be truthful. There are consequences either way.

I would tell them they were as free to choose as I am in holding them accountable for their actions.

I am a determinist and I was abused (tortured really) by my stepfather and I held him accountable and wished he would die a terrible death, and he did (made me think maybe there was a god at the time). So there, now I’m “that guy”.   

 

 
 
Serculis
 
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26 March 2018 03:49
 
GAD - 25 March 2018 06:43 PM

I would tell them they were as free to choose as I am in holding them accountable for their actions.

I am a determinist and I was abused (tortured really) by my stepfather and I held him accountable and wished he would die a terrible death, and he did (made me think maybe there was a god at the time). So there, now I’m “that guy”.   

 

That’s a pretty smart way to answer the question.

Oh fucking damn…. I hope the scenario I mentioned didn’t replay any bad memories.

Can I ask if determinism has helped you heal in any way over your trauma? Don’t answer if you don’t want to

 
GAD
 
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26 March 2018 09:20
 
Serculis - 26 March 2018 03:49 AM
GAD - 25 March 2018 06:43 PM

I would tell them they were as free to choose as I am in holding them accountable for their actions.

I am a determinist and I was abused (tortured really) by my stepfather and I held him accountable and wished he would die a terrible death, and he did (made me think maybe there was a god at the time). So there, now I’m “that guy”.   

 

That’s a pretty smart way to answer the question.

Oh fucking damn…. I hope the scenario I mentioned didn’t replay any bad memories.

Can I ask if determinism has helped you heal in any way over your trauma? Don’t answer if you don’t want to

No worries, it was a long time ago. I was a kid so god seemed real since everyone said so, so I prayed, he died about 10 years later after we left him, by then I was a soft atheist, hard atheism, freewill and determinism came another 15 years after that.

 
 
Serculis
 
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26 March 2018 13:04
 
GAD - 26 March 2018 09:20 AM

No worries, it was a long time ago. I was a kid so god seemed real since everyone said so, so I prayed, he died about 10 years later after we left him, by then I was a soft atheist, hard atheism, freewill and determinism came another 15 years after that.

I know it sounds dismissive/insensitive as hell and I promise I’m not trying to be like that (sorry for so many questions), but does knowing he couldn’t physically choose not to do what he did, make you forgive him entirely? Or at least significantly more than if you held him accountable for his actions?

I’m sure that some determinists who’ve been through some horrible shit can’t find it in them to fully forgive someone’s actions. This is where the philosophy has its limits and psychology is much more appropriate to help. One of my best friends for example can’t forgive the people he hates after accepting determinism. He knows it technically doesn’t make logical sense, but says emotions trump logic in a lot of cases for him, which is completely understandable.

 
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26 March 2018 18:25
 
Serculis - 26 March 2018 01:04 PM
GAD - 26 March 2018 09:20 AM

No worries, it was a long time ago. I was a kid so god seemed real since everyone said so, so I prayed, he died about 10 years later after we left him, by then I was a soft atheist, hard atheism, freewill and determinism came another 15 years after that.

I know it sounds dismissive/insensitive as hell and I promise I’m not trying to be like that (sorry for so many questions), but does knowing he couldn’t physically choose not to do what he did, make you forgive him entirely? Or at least significantly more than if you held him accountable for his actions?

I’m sure that some determinists who’ve been through some horrible shit can’t find it in them to fully forgive someone’s actions. This is where the philosophy has its limits and psychology is much more appropriate to help. One of my best friends for example can’t forgive the people he hates after accepting determinism. He knows it technically doesn’t make logical sense, but says emotions trump logic in a lot of cases for him, which is completely understandable.

I’m like your friend, we are just not free to forgive smile

Technically determinism is correct, you just can’t get around it, billions of man years have been spent trying, but accepting it really hasn’t change much about how I feel or live. 

 

 
 
Serculis
 
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Serculis
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27 March 2018 03:02
 

I guess that’s why I created the thread!

I didn’t have others’ views on how determinism changed them so I thought it had a similar effect on others that it had to me, like:

1) stop feelings of revenge permanently
2) feel no hatred towards anyone or ruminate about the distress they’ve caused me
3) have ultimate patience for those who are irrational/illogical
4) be resistant to insults
5) never feel guilty for anything in general
6) be able to think with clarity in an emotionally charged atmosphere
7) stop wasting time feeling jealous of other people’s successes, and learn to imitate them instead
8) never feel stupid
9) being surprised about people’s change of behaviour is hugely reduced

that’s a list I wrote when I first watched Sam Harris’s lecture on free will, and I’m lucky enough I got all those benefits. I assumed a lot more people were changed in the same way, but now I’m starting to think it’s because I’m deeply into psychology + self improvement that I accepted determinism after a one hour lecture and had my mindset permanently changed. If I was never into psychology, and just read some old dry deterministic philosophy and thought “well…. I guess it’s technically correct” then I bet it wouldn’t change me.

This makes me reconsider who I tell about determinism, because even though it should hypothetically improve their mindset, it can have no effect or even the opposite.
.

 
nonverbal
 
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27 March 2018 07:21
 
Serculis - 26 March 2018 01:04 PM
GAD - 26 March 2018 09:20 AM

No worries, it was a long time ago. I was a kid so god seemed real since everyone said so, so I prayed, he died about 10 years later after we left him, by then I was a soft atheist, hard atheism, freewill and determinism came another 15 years after that.

I know it sounds dismissive/insensitive as hell and I promise I’m not trying to be like that (sorry for so many questions), but does knowing he couldn’t physically choose not to do what he did, make you forgive him entirely? Or at least significantly more than if you held him accountable for his actions?

I’m sure that some determinists who’ve been through some horrible shit can’t find it in them to fully forgive someone’s actions. This is where the philosophy has its limits and psychology is much more appropriate to help. One of my best friends for example can’t forgive the people he hates after accepting determinism. He knows it technically doesn’t make logical sense, but says emotions trump logic in a lot of cases for him, which is completely understandable.

A Petersonian (via Jordan Peterson) angle warns you to tread lightly when it comes to making suggestions about how people can best be counseled with some brand of cognitive therapy.

Societies and their mores evolve slowly and it can be risky to carve things up too drastically without first making sure that alternative supports are well positioned to take up whatever slack occurs from a resulting displacement of ethics. You don’t want to leave yourself open to lots of unanticipated negative results. For instance, current mores where I live teach us to forgive, but to forgive in a certain way, which is not necessarily 100%. If you convince people whose mores have guided them for eons to adopt new mores that slice certain things apart. . . I don’t know. I’d be cautious. It might seem trivial to mess around with bits and pieces of established ways, but unanticipated consequences here would probably include people being taken advantage of due to a newly formed but naive understanding of forgiveness cognition.

 
 
GAD
 
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27 March 2018 07:43
 
Serculis - 27 March 2018 03:02 AM

I guess that’s why I created the thread!

I didn’t have others’ views on how determinism changed them so I thought it had a similar effect on others that it had to me, like:

1) stop feelings of revenge permanently
2) feel no hatred towards anyone or ruminate about the distress they’ve caused me
3) have ultimate patience for those who are irrational/illogical
4) be resistant to insults
5) never feel guilty for anything in general
6) be able to think with clarity in an emotionally charged atmosphere
7) stop wasting time feeling jealous of other people’s successes, and learn to imitate them instead
8) never feel stupid
9) being surprised about people’s change of behaviour is hugely reduced

that’s a list I wrote when I first watched Sam Harris’s lecture on free will, and I’m lucky enough I got all those benefits. I assumed a lot more people were changed in the same way, but now I’m starting to think it’s because I’m deeply into psychology + self improvement that I accepted determinism after a one hour lecture and had my mindset permanently changed. If I was never into psychology, and just read some old dry deterministic philosophy and thought “well…. I guess it’s technically correct” then I bet it wouldn’t change me.

This makes me reconsider who I tell about determinism, because even though it should hypothetically improve their mindset, it can have no effect or even the opposite.
.

Why would it change their mindset? If determinism is correct, and it is, then we are no more free to not hate people who do bad things then they were in doing them. What you got from determinism is what was determined by the causal chain that lead up to you seeing Sam Harris.

 
 
Serculis
 
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27 March 2018 08:39
 
GAD - 27 March 2018 07:43 AM

Why would it change their mindset? If determinism is correct, and it is, then we are no more free to not hate people who do bad things then they were in doing them. What you got from determinism is what was determined by the causal chain that lead up to you seeing Sam Harris.

Because if you found out someone hurt you not because they freely chose to, but because there were XYZ factors they weren’t in control of that caused their actions, you’re more likely to forgive them. Sam Harris used the example of comparing a crazy person to a bear. You can worry about them and defend yourself and contain them for everyone’s safety, but you can do so without attributing free will to it. A bear is just being a bear, it’s hard to find anyone who takes its actions personally. After I found out that humans are no different, I have no reason to take their actions personally. They are the result of a trillion atoms chemically reacting together, and any action they perform is a result of a complex interplay of genes and the environment.

When Sam Harris says rejecting free will allows you to take more control over your life, the reality is, he means you are more statistically likely to change after hearing what he has to say. Me? I didn’t freely choose to change my mindset, but it still changed nonetheless.

I personally believe if you -just- read deterministic philosophy, it’s probably not enough to change your psychological mindset. If you’re already interested in psychology like me and have a deep interest in learning about why people behave the way they do, and value empathy and understanding over hatred, determinism can do you wonders.

There’s been quite a few times where I’ve applied deterministic reasoning to my life before I ever found out about Sam Harris and it helped me a lot.

One time, there was a friend I bumped into that I had not seen since school. She was absolutely ecstatic to see me, hugged me without me even inviting her to do so, and she -demanded- my number so we could keep in contact. It made me really happy she wanted to keep in touch. A few days later I message her, she replies with one-liners and sounds uninterested. I suggest meeting up, she said she was busy. I try again after a while, she says she’s busy. She didn’t say “how about Monday” either, which was a red flag. Later on I send some more messages and she actually ignores them for about -2 weeks-. Then I call her out and say “listen, I don’t know why you was so happy to see me but you’re acting the complete opposite and sound uninterested, if you don’t wanna keep in touch then just say so”. She was like “no no no it’s not that, I’ve just been busy with college, work, college, work, etc.” ...... I gave up in the end and deleted her number and she’s never said anything since.

For a very long time I was pissed off with her…. I thought “how on earth could she be ecstatic to see me, give me a big hug and demand my number, but then out of nowhere ignore me flat out and never try to hang out with me”. I was enraged at how illogical it seemed. It was only after I visualised her POV I started to forgive her. I thought to myself, whatever motivation she has for not wanting to keep in touch, it exists, and that reason makes sense to her. For example, maybe she was extremely happy to see me, and subconsciously noticed my poor body language, my lack of eye contact, lack of conversational skills (I was pretty socially anxious back then) and only realised it after her excitement calmed down. She might have then regretted acting so happy, guessing that I would be awkward to be around and decided not to keep in touch.

When I visualised it like that, I realised that despite how it looks on the outside, she consciously knows her own motivation for not wanting to meet up again, and is acting on it. The example theory I suggested seems pretty understandable. I was pretty awkward in school, we never did hang out in the same group, why would she want to become proper friends now?

I didn’t have to obsess over the true reason why she was randomly happy to see me one day and forever uninterested the next day. I knew that somewhere in her mind there was a cause for her behaviour. So I got over it.

That’s how a psychological mindset helped me out… and after seeing Sam Harris, he completely aligned with my views. Not only was there a cause to her motivation and behaviour, but if I was in her shoes, I would -literally- do the same thing. There would be no ‘extra’ part of me that would choose otherwise.

So there’s a little story for you. That’s why deterministic philosophy has had such a positive impact on my life.

 
Serculis
 
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27 March 2018 08:47
 
nonverbal - 27 March 2018 07:21 AM

A Petersonian (via Jordan Peterson) angle warns you to tread lightly when it comes to making suggestions about how people can best be counseled with some brand of cognitive therapy.

Societies and their mores evolve slowly and it can be risky to carve things up too drastically without first making sure that alternative supports are well positioned to take up whatever slack occurs from a resulting displacement of ethics. You don’t want to leave yourself open to lots of unanticipated negative results. For instance, current mores where I live teach us to forgive, but to forgive in a certain way, which is not necessarily 100%. If you convince people whose mores have guided them for eons to adopt new mores that slice certain things apart. . . I don’t know. I’d be cautious. It might seem trivial to mess around with bits and pieces of established ways, but unanticipated consequences here would probably include people being taken advantage of due to a newly formed but naive understanding of forgiveness cognition.

Yes, you’re completely right. Like I said, I can totally imagine explaining to a rape victim that their perpetrator had no free will to do otherwise, and despite a hypothetically perfect explanation, she would be so shocked that the only thing she can cherry-pick out is the “it’s not their fault they raped you”, run away from me as far as they can, alert others to my seemingly apologist views, and possibly ruin my career.

I feel like it’s only appropriate to explain determinism to people who:
1) have a high chance of understanding it
2) have a high chance of gaining its benefits instead of becoming nihilistic and depressed

The strange thing about Peterson is that although he says you should tell the truth “very carefully”, he says you should tell the truth nonetheless. He admitted being prepared to lose his job after the gender pronoun controversy. So I thought “should I be prepared to lose my counselling job?”

But I feel like the answer is no. He was fighting for a cause, for the freedom of speech, I’m not fighting for anything. I would just be telling the truth for the sake of it.

 
nonverbal
 
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27 March 2018 09:01
 
Serculis - 27 March 2018 08:47 AM

. . .

I feel like it’s only appropriate to explain determinism to people who:
1) have a high chance of understanding it
2) have a high chance of gaining its benefits instead of becoming nihilistic and depressed

The strange thing about Peterson is that although he says you should tell the truth “very carefully”, he says you should tell the truth nonetheless. He admitted being prepared to lose his job after the gender pronoun controversy. So I thought “should I be prepared to lose my counselling job?”

But I feel like the answer is no. He was fighting for a cause, for the freedom of speech, I’m not fighting for anything. I would just be telling the truth for the sake of it.

But hard-determinism amounts to a philosophy rather than a scientifically-vetted fact. This is what I was saying in my Reply #2 on the previous page of this thread. It’s inappropriate to consider it a fact rather than a logical guess. In my opinion, if you treat hard-determinism as a fact during discussions with patients, then you’re in effect lying to them, or certainly deceiving them.

 
 
GAD
 
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27 March 2018 09:20
 
nonverbal - 27 March 2018 09:01 AM

But hard-determinism amounts to a philosophy rather than a scientifically-vetted fact. This is what I was saying in my Reply #2 on the previous page of this thread. It’s inappropriate to consider it a fact rather than a logical guess. In my opinion, if you treat hard-determinism as a fact during discussions with patients, then you’re in effect lying to them, or certainly deceiving them.

Hard-determinism is not a philosophy, it is a fact, unless you know some way to get around causality, do you? If so show your work, the world is waiting.

 
 
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