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Chaos, Free Will & Brain/Soul

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Updated: 4.22.2014

According to the author Patricia S. Churchlan in her book 'Touching a Nerve: The Self as Brain', "Philosophers who are inclined to favor of a nonphysical soul are apt to imagine that the soul acts for reasons, not caused by any reason." and that " The name contracausal reflects a philosophical theory that really free choices are not caused by anything physical." P. 179& 180

Predestination, Free Will & Quantum Superposition

Does the question involve material things such as, "Will my house be foreclosed?", that's worry." Am I'm living authentically with God?", that's guilt. Beyond survival of "Am I'm going to eat today?", questions arise beyond the everyday survival mode.

Animals survive on a moment to moment basis. Do they have free will? What's the difference in your choice to 'deal or stay' in the poker game of life? Which job, neighbourhood, car and spouse depends on what is best for your own welfare - then is it still a choice - or just the best logical outcome under chaotic circumstances?

What's the point of it all, what makes everything worthwhile? Family is number one, that's why you get up everyday and work that job to support your family. Then your boss asks you to take on much and more time away from your family and asks you, "What's more important? Your job or your family?", these are hard choices that can become unbalanced in focus. You have your job for your family but your jobs takes time away from your family.

It's wishful thinking that if landed on big money such as the lottery then that will solve all your problems. The chance of that happening are a zillion to nil. Seizing the day and finding happiness in your everyday life will come when you appreciate your health, family and good times. The worry that it will get worse in these economic times is gnawing at your happiness. "What ifs" occur when worrying about worse case scenerios.

Sometimes it's not poor life choices but circumstances beyond your control that bring hardship. We have all made stupid mistakes, sometimes luck out on the draw and and other times, do everything right and still find yourself in a mess.

If you would have ever listened to or attended a college course on 'Free Will versus Determinism', you will end up depressed. There are several brooding philosophers who killed themselves when pondered this question.

Camus called existentialism “philosophical suicide." The resulting existential crisis is when the meaning of your life purpose has vanished into a fate you cannot escape. This is very distressing and depressing. Camus once said, "The only serious philosophical question is whether or not to commit suicide."

Jerry G2 said it best in his article, "Predestination Vs Free Will" when he said, "fuzziness" of existence. If Jeff Tollaksen's explanation of quantum superposition is true then Aharonov's indeterminism says that future states as well as past states determine the current event of choice. Like Schrödinger's Cat, the final action determines the previous state.

This is saying something different than mere randomness. Having randomness or chaos does not imply free will. All chaos says is that there is no way to prove humans have free will. "Indeterminism does not confer freedom on us" - J.J.C. Smart

Unable to predict random chaos if two nearly identical initial states are totally different in a very short time is called SDIC, Sensitive Dependence on Initial Conditions. Is free will SDIC? Perhaps chaos only appears random and unpredictable because it's so complex and is actually determined by natural laws.

Greek tragedies often centre around avoiding a predicted fate, only to have the very avoidance actions bring to fruition the doomed prediction. The non-randomness of human choices seems valid in everyday experiences because they seem reasonable but doesn't exclude random elements in the decision. J Krishnamurti said, "Most of our actions are the result of the past, or according to a future ideal. That's not action, that is just conformity."

Remember yourself as the beautiful child that took on the challenge of life and said, "I'm going to accomplish this."


Is Freedom an Illusion?

No matter what your decide, it is the circumstances and background that has led up the the decision in a classical theory of physics. Everyday self-interested game theory maximizes the payoff such as when driving a car down the highway. Can I make this yellow-light? Are there cops around? Are there any semi-trucks in the intersection that I might collide with?

If addiction seems crazy to other people, it makes sense to the person who is choosing the lesser of the two evils. In the game theory book, "The Logic of Life", it "explains how addiction can be a rational thing, how it involves warring parts of our brain."

According to active self-determinism, we can ultimately choose independently of culture and past conditioning. Soft determinism means we all have a limited choice.

Vlatko Vedral explains in his book, 'Decoding Reality, the Universe as Quantum Information that about Random Determinism and how the two are not mutually exclusive. People feel with every fibre of their mind, body and soul that free will is not an illusion.

In the book “Who's in Charge?”, author Michael Gazzaniga says that our brain's parallel processing is like a committee, there is no head honcho. Unlike in the movie “The Matrix”, there is no Architect - only the Interpreter. Our brains are a convention of contending delegates from which our self identity emerges greater that the sum of individual parts.

The interpreter observes the chemical reactions before the consciousness decision is realized. The automatic unconsciousness reaction to danger to the amygdala is faster then the relative slower consciousness awareness. You have already pulled back your finger from pain milliseconds before you consciousnessly aware of the pain and your Interpreter says “I pulled my finger in pain” when you have already made the decision before the awareness of pain. The Oracle said to Neo, “... you've already made the choice. Now you have to understand it.”

In the final page of “Who's in Charge” the final two sentences are, “The whole business about the brain doing it before we are conscious of it becomes moot and inconsequential from the vantage point of a different level of operation. Understanding how to develop a vocabulary for those layered interactions for me, constitutes the scientific problem of the century.”

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Is consciousness the Great Illusion?

Nick Bostrom said, "The chances that a species at our current level of development can avoid going extinct before becoming technologically mature is negligibly small" and that all we observe is "almost certainly" a simulation.

I used to think that the indescribable unity of nature called god was a multi-faceted diamond and that each soul was just one facet of that diamond reflecting it's own pure light wavelength but still part of the entire whole as if the nature of the universal god was a hologram. Then I took SSRI's medication for depression and I myself felt like a 'hollow gram", an empty bubble with no core. If my basic personality can be changed and if the God particle of the soul is timeless and unchanging - then I must be soulless. If I'm soulless then all others are also zombies with no free will.

Does every human being have an eternal soul? Do clones have souls? Must a soul possess free will in order to exist? Is consciousness the Great Illusion? If one does not have a body, but exists as a digital consciousness, is one still human?

It was once thought that the soul resided in the heart. With modern medicine, we now believe that having a heart transplant doesn't make you have a different soul. Does the soul reside in the brain? - only if the soul is a by-product of brain and body's chemical reactions.

The mind-body problem regarding the soul is called dualism and has been upended with neuroscience. The Philosophy of Mind by Professor John R. Searle is a good start regarding how to drop this ingrained belief of dualism since the time of the ancient Greeks. The argument is not resolved, Searle's Chinese Room thought experiment is considered a fallacy because the Turing test will be succeeded sometime in the future in regards to AI, (Artificial Intelligence), and the nature of consciousness.

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Prove You Have Free Will

By acting in a different manner than normally, for example, a quiet and shy guy talks to a beautiful woman with ease and grace.

But the very fact that you decided to act totally different and are determined to prove free will - will only end up proving that you have none. Your emotions may have been influenced by outside circumstances that led you to your decision to act out of character.

Vedral explained that out of individual randomness emerges determinism. In his book he used magnetic atoms, but it's the same with describing gases. Brownian motion is used to describe gasses because the movement of individual gas particles is random but a large sample of a gas is not completely random. Deterministic chaos mathematically describes seemingly unrelated events in a predictable way.

"How predictable is a chaotic system? As any deterministic system, it is predictable on a short time scale" - The Nature of Deterministic Chaos


Can the path of destiny change course?

Is this a question of free will versus determinism? Randomness or chaos does not imply free will - even if disguised as the "God Particle" of quantum physics.

Or is this a question on the nature of consciousness - that it is a feature of biochemical brain processes? Would a zombie - if such a creature could exist - realize that it is a zombie ?

This is no idle and silly talk. Dave Beisecker of the university of Nevada gave a lecture, "A Zombie's View of 'What it's Like' during the 11th annual meeting of the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness.

Some say, why bother studying consciousness? It will always remain a 'ghost in the machine' explanation for how biochemical brain causes consciousness. Well that's the same old lame tired 'it can't be done' attitude of the turn of the 19th century. Just because we don't know now doesn't mean we will never know in the future.

What about the argument that consciousness is solely subjective and that there can never be an objective observation? There is no objective test that can ever be done no matter what future technology emerges. The answer to that objection is; just because only I can sense my aching back that x-rays, CAT scans and blood tests won't show a cause does not negate the fact that my back is aching.

Just because we have no theory of how brain synapse firings cause consciousness at this present day - does mean it does not exist. At this time we are lurching towards a theory and once this happens there will be less mystery and fuzziness to explain the hard problem of how consciousness emerges.

One popular view is that the our mind-body existence is a digital computer - this is as untrue as the the pervasive idea of the last 300 years of dualism first proposed by Rene Descartes is wrong.

Buddhism says that there is no singular “you. and that the “self” does not exist.

"…our models of human behavior need to be rethought. Perhaps there is no such thing as a fully integrated human being. We may, in fact, be an agglomeration of multiple selves." - Dan Ariely

Sounds like a multiple personality disorder like in the movie 'The Many Faces of Eve", doesn't it? When a person introspects their own mental processes, the mind appears to be a seamless whole. What is this modular mind that is different than the modular brain concept?

"There are many yous: Like apps on a smartphone, different systems in your brain with different goals can take control at different times, which is why you can behave so inconsistently." -



ptosis (author) from Arizona on November 09, 2011:

Thank you thumbi7

JR Krishna from India on November 08, 2011:

This is a topic to be studied. I find it interesting. Thank you.

ptosis (author) from Arizona on June 28, 2010:

Thank you Suny51! Infinitely confusing. A riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma. Infinite or finite universe? We don't know Jack - or Jill yet.

suny51 on June 27, 2010:

Hi ptosis this really is such a wide subject that there seems be to be no end whatsoever, depends so much on particular person,there are so many alternates.I find it interesting.

ptosis (author) from Arizona on June 24, 2010:

John B Bad - Yeah - that's how most feel about it

John B Badd from Saint Louis, MO on June 24, 2010:

I have to pull for free will but it is easy to loose.

ptosis (author) from Arizona on June 22, 2010:

Thankx! Jewels! for the online book!

Jewels from Australia on June 21, 2010:

No worries. I think you could get exerpts of Lucifer and Ahriman via Amazon or try to Google it as lots of Steiners books are very cheap or free.

And here's the free download in PDF format of Sleeper Awaken. It's not an easy read for some, but you may get it.

ptosis (author) from Arizona on June 21, 2010:

"Lucifer and Arhiman" and "Sleeper Awaken" - neither are found in the Cochise County Library System.

I also try for the library before spending $$$$ on books.

Jewels from Australia on June 20, 2010:

Dear me! Don't worry schoolgirlforreal - I never asked you for your time and bless you dear, I don't need it either. You can stand by whom ever you wish, it's your choice.

Rosemary Amrhein on June 20, 2010:

you can believe whatever you want, but I'll never change my beliefs. I don't have the time to help you, it would take hours and I'm sure your mind is closed to this subject, Jewels- unfortunately. I stand- by Bishop Williamson- read my hub-- I'd rather die I think than deny my Faith! good luck to you

Jewels from Australia on June 20, 2010:

Absolutely the sleeper must awaken.

And it's quite ridiculous also to speak of Gods Will when people don't really know what that means. If they did, they'd have to deconstruct their current religious influence and start over, then they would get the gist of real Will (capital W).

Have you read the book Lucifer and Arhiman? It's all about memes and how this must be addressed in order to have a 'free spiritual life'. And interestingly there is a book called Sleeper Awaken which in part covers how people are parrots of their upbringing and we are much much much more than we think we are. It's part of a four part epic so you may not want to start it!

Rosemary Amrhein on June 20, 2010:

ptosis. Yes..I think there is more to life than doing God's will..enjoying it and etc As to understanding God's will...It's simple yet we cannot achieve it with an A+ but trying our best and "balance" yes, is key I agree.

ptosis (author) from Arizona on June 20, 2010:

schoolgirlforreal. Your comment reminds me of a passage in the bible about the king who had everything and came to believe that life was meaningless - other than doing God's will - even though we don't understand it.

Thank you for your comment.

ptosis (author) from Arizona on June 20, 2010:

Jewels: the first I ever heard about memes and engrams was the original Star Trek episode of the smart computer.

The sleeping metaphor is great. Remember the original movie, "Dune"?

The sleeper must awaken! (or die!)

Rosemary Amrhein on June 20, 2010:

The most important question in my life is: (two things) 1)Am I going to Heaven 2)Am I making a difference and the answer to both for me is YES!

Jewels from Australia on June 20, 2010:

I'm one who understands that freewill is only available when you've expelled all the determinisms that have moulded you into something you are not.

Problem is that most people have no idea they are moulded by the meme, have no idea what a meme is and will continue living a sleepers life. Now that's depressing.

Good to be a black sheep.

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