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Getting Through : Dealing


from vix - Monday, August 20, 2007
accessed 1327 times

Just something I wanted to say.

It occurred to me the other day that to most of the friends that I interact with online, my life today must seem pretty much the same as it was a year ago, or three, or whatever. The topics I talk about rarely change, the emotional issues I deal with rarely change, the questions I ask myself and others tend to follow the same general pattern over and over again, the details of my day-to-day life have remained fairly constant over quite some time. Similarly, while I may talk a great deal, what I do doesn’t actually amount to much.

It got me thinking, what actually has changed in my life since I left the cult and started building it? Perhaps not much has changed on the outside, but on the inside I feel a completely different person. I guess it depends on what one uses as the measure of a person. So much of what transpires in my life only happens in my head, so if actions are what determine our existence, then I suppose it’s true, nothing much has changed. But if our thoughts create our reality, then perhaps there has been more change than seems evident at first glance.

I don’t really know where I’m going with this. I think all I really want to say is: I like my life. I like that I have found some peace with who I am - me, just me, without any external props to make me more self-assured or long-term goals to make me feel validated, without any pretensions to being anything other than what I am today, right now. It’s enough for me.

I like that I have learned to be generous toward myself. I like that I no longer fantasise compulsively about taking my life, whenever things get challenging. I like that I can cope with the thought of being alone now, that the responsibility of it doesn’t seem so frightening anymore. I like that I no longer have the horrible anxiety attacks that used to keep me awake for hours through the night. I like that my children have got their mother back.

Today, right now, life is just about as good as it gets.

To all my friends who have helped me get to this place, thank you.

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from vix
Friday, August 24, 2007 - 14:22


Off topic, I know, but it's my article so what the hell I can do what I like, right?

For cheeks, Andy, gucci, solemn and anyone else who waited so patiently for the poem the other day, here it is:


On a toilet wall the graffiti's bleak -


Reads a message not there last week.

Other slogans, names and boasts

Semm jaded compared with this

Advice scrawled by Anonymous.

But the graffiti evokes an image of the crowd,

The lost, androgynous animal

That does not die but daily swells,

That longs for kindness then reveals

A different nature on toilet walls.

Yet let's give its authors credit enough

To understand how the night

Breeds in its drunken scribblers

Things wrongly written that are right.

--Brian Patten

(reply to this comment)

From Guccigirl
Thursday, August 30, 2007, 16:02


Cool - I see why you were drawn to it(reply to this comment

From vix
Friday, August 24, 2007, 14:24


Argh fuckit I thought I'd thoroughly proofread it. Blasted wine.

Another glass is in order, I think.

(reply to this comment

from Phoenixkidd
Thursday, August 23, 2007 - 07:29


Vix, there is nothing like meeting real people, real conversations, real affection--Not just online ones. I think you should just start visiting a coffee shop or pub on a regular basis. I've made tons of friends that way and it helps you feel connected to your community. From chatting with you online I think you should do more activity outside, it helps against depression--Caring as always, your friend.

(reply to this comment)

From vix
Thursday, August 23, 2007, 07:44


Thanks kidd, I appreciate your concern. I do have friends in the real world too, I think I just give a skewed impression on here because I tend to compartmentalise my life a lot.

About depression, yes, getting out definitely helps. But I'm happy that I worked through my depression on my own without help from anyone, because while relying on going out, having fun and getting away from myself a bit might have apparently 'cured' me sooner, I don't know that the process would have been as honest, if you like. The crux of the matter was that deep down, I had to learn to accept and like myself, and for it to be genuine it had to be my own emotional resources that got me there.

(reply to this comment

from . . .
Wednesday, August 22, 2007 - 01:30


I was just thinking about this very thing the other day. I stumbled upon a diary i had started when I just left which I had been using to sort through things in my head and try and work out what I believed in and why. If you asked me if I am much different since leaving 3-4 years ago i would have thought not a whole lot had changed, reading the diary now though I realised how different I am. I sounded so confused and conflicted back then, terrible self esteem issues and no hope for the future, basically assuming the worst and expecting "judgement" every other sentance.

I actually recommend anyone leaving to keep a diary cuz it really shows just how much your mindset and confidence and goals and ambitions can change in such a short time.
(reply to this comment)

From thatata
Wednesday, August 22, 2007, 08:12

Diaries embarrass!(reply to this comment
from Falcon
Tuesday, August 21, 2007 - 13:59

Having a glass of wine in your honour tonite, Vix, in the hopes that you'll join me for a round when I get back! Here's to a great friend and a beautiful person.
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from madly
Tuesday, August 21, 2007 - 13:26

I liked what you said, vix, especially the part where you said, “But if our thoughts create our reality, then perhaps there has been more change than seems evident at first glance.” I think we live in our minds more so than we realize and because of this, true change only comes from changing our thoughts and outlook. You can change your clothes, your friends, your boyfriends, your job, etc, but you haven’t really changed, unless you have changed the way you view these things.

I find that I never seem to take the time to change from the inside, at least not completely. With that being said, I believe that I have made progress. I have learned to accept who I am and what my life has made me, having said that, I know that if I wanted, I could change and improve in so many ways from the inside out. I get bored so easily that I am constantly changing my hobbies, my sport of choice, my friends and the people I date. I can’t even get through an entire book, even when it is good. I start to get restless and crave something new. If I am honest with myself, it is myself I am bored with, completely sick of and nothing new will change how I feel until I change how I feel and look at myself. If I could only change how I view things maybe I could settle a bit and find some sense of peace.

What I am trying to say is, as far as I am concerned, an internal change is probably the most genuine and truest form of change. From a new perspective or mindset you can see the world differently, even though the world has stayed exactly the same. You changing can make everything around you appear different, fresh and new. People try to change the world, but if they would just change themselves, the world would automatically change. I guess we do have control over change in this way and I think what you said is important and makes a lot of sense.
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From vacuous
Wednesday, August 22, 2007, 01:50

I’m not convinced that thoughts create our reality or identity. Perhaps they are more of a picture, directly or indirectly linked to the state of affairs in which we find ourselves? A picture might extend towards and touch reality, and might be a model representing reality, but cannot create reality. A thought, like a picture cannot place itself completely outside its representational form. Can you summon or banish a specific thought at will? If no, can you consciously change your outlook or view of facts through introspection?
Can identity be defined by the identity of the indiscernible? An imagined world, however different it may be from the real one, must have something in common with it.
A thought isn’t a metaphysical end-all; it is a specific picture-derivation of stimuli as interpreted via sense input.
A thought depicts reality by representing a possibility of existence and non-existence of states of affairs as well as the possibility of the situation of which it is the thought. In order to think something has to interact with you, so in this sense thoughts are an after effect of interactions with the reality we are constituents of. Maybe, Vix, they are not soley determined by our actions but are determined by actions as experienced by us?(reply to this comment
From Lithium
Wednesday, August 22, 2007, 20:05

"I think, therefore I am."(reply to this comment
From Tossing pebbles
Wednesday, August 22, 2007, 21:07

"You think you think, therefore you think you are."(reply to this comment
From thatata
Sunday, August 26, 2007, 11:10


Thats a good one - "You think you think, therefore you think you are." my version is - "I think, therefore I am not."

All of these make sense in there way, but one is a cliche, and kind of boring , and trite , almost "moralistic"!

Well, on a different note :

While living

Be a dead man,

Be thoroughly dead -

And behave as you like,

And all is well.

For more seemingly pretentious truth : " In the case of a swordsman, he must free himself from all ideas involving life and death, gain and loss, right and wrong, giving himself up to a power which lives deeply in his inner being. "

And more nonsense for immature folks:

It is mind that deludes Mind,

For there is no other mind.

O Mind, do not let youself

Be misled by mind

- An old poem

To truely live, may be not to be afraid of death, to realize that there is only the present, the future and the past only exist in abstract:

For the samurai to learn

There's one thing only,

One last thing --

To face death unflinchingly

(reply to this comment

From thatata
Sunday, August 26, 2007, 11:13

The last poem was by Tsukahara Bokuden, naturally, of course written in Japanese, originally...(reply to this comment
From Oh, O
Wednesday, August 22, 2007, 16:36


Not going to get involved in any debate, discussion, arguement, or chatter here -since I can't offer the respect of a timely reply- but I would venture that thoughts, are just as real as any other sense. Whether one enjoys a Perfifidio based Pina Colada or feels the sharp edge of a knife slicing his/her arteries, or breaks apart at the thought of a dying romance, it's really only digested and projected in the brain. On some level, all reality is nothing more than a few electric spasms in our brains. If so, you could certainly say thought creates our reality on some level. But anyway, I've had a bottle of Aneho, C.M reserva, some Absente 55, half a Jagermeister, and some cold charlie, so don't take anything I say half seriously.(reply to this comment

From rainy
Friday, August 24, 2007, 23:39

That has GOT to be Oddie.(reply to this comment
From thatata
Wednesday, August 22, 2007, 08:49


I bet you could write a philosophical thesis while keeping a straight face. Myself I think, that this so-called "Truth", when put in a position of separateness from everything, because in the same way like God, unreal, without flesh, pure abstraction. In the face of Reality words crumble!

But we do of course have a word called "truth" or "reality", I think most people on this site are using those words subjectively, and Im sure they realize it, at least I think most of them do. Anyways, what am I saying?

"Because the ultimate reality has no qualities and is not a thing, it cannot become an object of knowledge. Therefore prajna, direct insight, knows the truth by not knowing." -heres some Zen or Taoist foolishness!(reply to this comment

From madly
Wednesday, August 22, 2007, 08:01

I understand what you are saying and you make a very solid point; however, I am guessing you missed the heart of what I was trying to convey and reading back, I wasn’t as clear in my meaning as I could have been. I am not saying that we can change our world by living in Fantasy Island and not seeing things as they are (even though we seem to do this with out knowing sometimes), but rather, we can choose the way we perceive and view everything, and in so doing, decide exactly how it pertains to us personally. More importantly, we can determine how everything surrounding us affects us and the feelings we take from everyday events. We do have control of our world in this way and if we change how we choose to feel about the world we live in, then we can change our world, not for everyone, but for ourselves.

We have little, if any, control over people’s actions and the world around us, but we have complete control over how we choose to view these actions. Reality can honestly be something different for everyone, even though we all live in the very same world. For example: when I had just left TF, I looked at everyone and everything as if they were trying to harm me, as if they were out to get me. I saw the world as a victim would, because I had felt that way for so long and it had become my conceived perception. The world and the people I came across, for the most part, were not out to get me and some really wanted to help me, but I could only see them from my eyes. My eyes, my view were my reality and even though it was a false reality, it was as real to me as anything. When I began to change, relax and realize the world was not trying to hurt me, I started to view things differently, but not because people changed or because the world all of sudden became a better place. The truth was, the only thing that had changed was the way I had chosen to view the world and because of this change in me, everything around me changed.

When your thoughts and mindset change, your outlook and perception change, inevitably causing the world around you to seem changed and that was my original point.

Heh… now let’s see if anyone can top my usage of the word “change”. ;)

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From vacuous
Wednesday, August 22, 2007, 16:22

Don’t mind me too much; I’m feeling argumentative tonight. Feel free to reciprocate.
I asserted that thought does not create reality but is a picture model of that reality and that a thought has elements representing (like a picture) reality (all that is the case) to our self. I also said that a thought, like a picture, cannot place itself completely outside of its representational form.

Feel free to question the above, but if you accept the conclusion that a thought pictures reality to us then we can automatically rule out misleading sentences like “we create our own reality” or “reality is subjective to thought” since we have established that a thought, like a picture, cannot exist a priori.

Now you mentioned that we “can determine how everything around us affects us ”. In order for this to work we would have to have a-priori thought, because “all that is the case” that surrounds and envelops us affects us through our senses till we interpret and picture these sense perceptions to our self as a thought.

Conscious perception and an idea of selfhood may lead us to believe that “we can choose the way we perceive and view everything ” but do we really have a choice?

Firstly our subliminal perception is all pervasive, what minute fraction filters through to our consciousness is a fading shadow of things we know already. A good example of this is the companies that were formed to influence consumer behaviour through messages that were too short to be registered in conscious awareness. Subliminal advertising was shown to work (it is now banned).

Consciousness is a phantom in our lives, nearly everything we do in a day goes on without conscious awareness, our deepest motivations normally pass without perception or scrutiny and our most creative acts of the mind often take place when we are not aware.
Self awareness is also overrated e.g. a brilliant violin player is not usually the one who is the most aware of his motions and fingers when he plays.

Willing decides almost nothing, it cannot determine what picture we will see of reality, it cannot wake us up or make us fall asleep or help us remember our dreams or tell us what thought to summon or banish.

So do we have free will? Are we the authors of our own actions? We know that our nature is uncontrolled by us and we cannot choose what to be born as. I was reading Libet’s work the other day on the delay that occurs between the electrical impulses that initiates action before we take the decision consciously to act. He says:

“…the brain seems to decide to initiate, or, at least, prepare to initiate the act at a time before there is any reportable subjective awareness that such a decision has taken place…cerebral initiation even of a spontaneous voluntary act…can and usually does begin unconsciously.”

So are our actions the end results of our thoughts? When we know what we want to do we are rarely conscious of doing it so maybe conscious awareness is simply the by-product of conflicting impulses.

I might think that I have an inner person directing my behaviour and guiding my choices because I can see myself from the outside in. Maybe this is done to organise the fragments. Each part of us, our thoughts, our consciousness, our senses, our memories, our perception, shows local chaos but together there emerges a unitary-seeming pattern of self. A beehive when viewed as a whole rather than as components of individual bees, may appear to behave as if there was a coordinating centre of control. Our perception and action appear as if a self directs them but, like the beehive, is this really the case?

I suppose the question is whether you made this “internal change” by consciously altering your “perception” or beliefs or rather instinctively (as a part of your nature) modified your reasoning to enable you cope with things better, learning to “change” and adapt in the same way you respond in dodging an incoming snowball (not usually a conscious response)?

What changed your thought and mindset?(reply to this comment
From madly
Friday, August 24, 2007, 00:07

Vacuous, you obviously possess a brilliant mind and I almost always find your comments intriguing and thought provoking. With that being said, I am not feeling argumentative this evening, having worked nearly 30 hours in two days and I am not sure if I am going to make much sense at the moment; however, I have no objection to discussing my views further with you, as long as we both try to understand what the other one is saying. Let’s make an effort to truly comprehend the opposing opinion, so that we aren’t simply repeating ourselves for the sake of debate. If you simply want to argue for the sake of arguing alone, please let me know so that I may better find use of my time.

I am assuming you are recently, or are currently, enrolled in some psychology or philosophy courses, because although your views have your unique personal spin, in a lot of ways they are almost textbook perfect.

Correct me if I am wrong, but from what I gather, your basic argument is that a person’s reality is a subconscious realism that we have little, if any, conscious control over. We can’t change our view of reality, out of will alone, because we are incapable and lack the capacity to be aware of the constant stimuli, subliminal input and constant barrage of subconscious data being fed to us and ultimately creating our conceived perception. You believe that because of this we do not possess the necessary means to determine how we view and gauge the world around us; thus, making it impossible for us to have the control that would allow us the ability to consciously change our given outlook. According to your opinion, we are a product of the subconscious mind and until we evolve subconsciously, we have little hope of a conscious chosen change.

You also mention a-priori thought, an idea generally referred to while discussing the ongoing debate between posteriori and priori knowledge. The argument of whether knowledge is gained through experience or reason. I find this theory interesting and while I could argue both sides to an extent, let’s remember that philosophical debates, although fascinating, have never been scientifically solved or established as fact. They will continue to remain open to interpretation. We could just as easily go into the “Mind and Body Problem” or “Nature vs. Nature” because they also pertain to our topic. However, none of the above theories have ever been proven, nor can they be, because they are based on assumptions and theories surrounding the mind that would be impossible to scientifically measure. I will leave it there, because I hardly believe, if the brightest theologians have not been able to settle such debates, that you and I will be able to do it justice.

You argue: “Willing decides almost nothing, it cannot determine what picture we will see of reality, it cannot wake us up or make us fall asleep or help us remember our dreams or tell us what thought to summon or banish.” I hate to burst your bubble, but from personal experience and study, I can tell you this assumption is incorrect. We do have the ability to wake ourselves out of sleep by training and programming ourselves to do so. You can also remember your dreams, in vivid detail, by focusing and making a conscious effort before going to sleep. It is done quite easily and evolves only a few simple programs, but mainly requires will and determination. You can even control the contents of your dreams; something referred to as “Lucid Dreaming” where you literally have control over your dreams and can do anything you choose. You can summon thoughts and you can banish them. It takes will and effort, but each of the above can be achieved.

I will ague that we do have free will and although I will agree with you that we are subconsciously affected by our environment, we can still make conscious choices to view and see things in a way that can change our life and outlook. We are aware of what we believe to be true and can therefore change our beliefs, and in so doing, change our perception.

One of the main differences between us and other animals is our ability to set ourselves outside of the present and foresee how our actions will affect our future. We do have control in this way. I can make a choice to change something today that will inevitably change my life. I am aware of this and I make conscious choices all the time. I cannot prove this to you, but I am sure you could test it out on yourself. Change something you don’t like about yourself, not an external change, but an internal one and see if it can be done. Or, you can continue to believe you have no say, but let me ask you this: If we have no control over our choices and our lives, then why do we bother to do anything at all?

I know I didn’t answer all of your questions, but I am exhausted and this is already way too long.

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From vacuous
Friday, August 24, 2007, 19:59

Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)
We were initially talking about using conscious choice to change reality, so I’ve decided to play devils advocate. I do tend to argue for arguments sake (find it hard to take sides or make conclusions) so you may feel that this wastes your time… I do take your points into consideration though and feel you comprehensively summarised what I was suggesting. Philosophy is not the subject I’m enrolled in but I enjoy it some, on the side. Do not take what I say too seriously, as I don’t take any position too seriously, to me philosophy is a process to give form to thought patterns and sharpen reasoning, not a justification mechanism for beliefs or a tool to ossify a position or a “side” so-to-speak.

You mentioned that philosophical debates have never been scientifically solved, but I think science has helped towards answering many of the debates and given us many new springboards of discussion.

The interesting thing about the aforementioned experiments by Libet was that they were a neuro-scientific approach towards finally giving clues towards answering the Free Will debate with wide implications on interconnected posteriori and priory knowledge arguments. The experiments seemed to show that our actions are initiated subconsciously. He discovered that the nerve impulse traveling from the brain to the finger of his test subjects was on its way before subjects reported a conscious initiation.
This seems counterintuitive but seems to suggest that the idea of “choice” through consciously processing information is an illusion. Instead, conscious thought is merely a delayed representation of the entire decision making process being carried out in our subliminal consciousness.

For example, move your head either to say yes or no…are you certain your conscious choice determined what to do? You might be nodding ‘yes’ but Libet’s experiments suggest otherwise.

Can you really choose to summon a dream or thought if your choice is simply a derivative illusion of the subconscious? How can you control your dreams if your “choice” is not under your control? Maybe to see past the illusion of a unitary self or controlling soul or conscious self as a course side effect of phantom-like highly complex fragments (like the beehive in component, local parts), is to awaken to dreaming… and the ultimate awakening is to know that this is the most lucid, most ultimate dream of all.

You say that we are different from animals in that we can “set ourselves outside of the present and foresee how our actions will affect our future”, somehow implying that we can make the world that we inhabit. Why should we think this? Why should we cling to “being” or “choice” like Christians cling to God in a hope of making us unique?

To answer your last question, if we do not have control over our life and life really is no better than a dream, we may sacrifice our idea of achievement or purpose. We may leave behind the Christian notion and prejudice of the significance of humanity (made in God’s own image) and that we have a God-given freedom to choose our life.

Our lives will have no “purpose” but will be full of the spontaneity and magic of dreams. We already have meaning in that we are enfolded into every motion of every existing or existed particle and this may give an even more beautiful and united feeling than to be an unexplainable metaphysical entity of “self”. (reply to this comment
From madly
Friday, August 24, 2007, 22:46

I am going out of town for the weekend and will get back to you with my thoughts when I return. Just to be clear, I don’t take you all that seriously because I can tell you obviously simply enjoy philosophizing, as do I. I would tell you not to take me too seriously either as I am mainly stating my personal opinions and observations. Considering our topic of debate has little scientific evidence to back it up, all we can really do is discuss, theorize and consider contrasting views. As long as you are making me think and question my views, I am fine with this, that is, until I get bored. :)

I will agree with you that philosophy promotes thought and sharpens reason. The Greek originated word “philosophy” means literally “love of or friendship for wisdom”. As far as I am concerned philosophy is the act of questioning theories, but not just for the sake of gathering knowledge alone. I believe that learning information means absolutely nothing if you do not understand how this knowledge pertains to you or to the world around you. Gaining knowledge may make you a scholar, but wisdom is achieved by understanding the purpose of this gained knowledge, establishing how it fits and connects together. I find that many people gather knowledge for its own sake, entirely apart from its utility. I am not this way. I would rather know very little, but understand the meaning of what I do know, rather than know everything and have no use for it.

I will also agree that science has gained ground on some of these debates, but like I said, because these theories are so difficult to scientifically measure, they mainly serve the purpose of opening up new realms of thought and generating discussion. They are important because they promote scientific studies that help us to understand the mind better, but they are hardly conclusive. I honestly could discuss some of these theories for hours on end and maybe when I get back, I will get more into that, as well as answer some of your other questions.

Have a nice weekend.

(reply to this comment
From madly
Tuesday, August 28, 2007, 22:50

Okay… I am trying to get back into our discussion. The basic question was: Is choice really under our control? You argue no and I tend to believe that, although there are definitely some things that we cannot control, there are numerous things that we can. I believe that the things that we are capable of changing can ultimately affect our life and alter our reality.

I tend to think that believing we have no say over our lives and no purpose in our “being” is a huge cop-out. I don’t believe we are born with a purpose, per se, but I believe we can completely give our lives the purpose, we ourselves, choose to create. One trait that perturbs me about most atheist (I may be one, probably more of an agnostic, but I am one that would never assume such a title), is that they throw out all meaning whatsoever, and this seems a little too easy, almost lazy.

If we have no say, if we have no choice or will in our development, then what drives us to want more, to crave advancement, in multiple aspects of our lives, to search for wisdom and discover truths about ourselves and the world around us? To me, having no choice, is not a peaceful unified beautifully simplistic way to live, as you describe, but rather a vague pointless unnecessary way to waste a perfectly good mind and life.

If we were born into a life that evolved unbeknownst to a conscious effort, then we could take advantage of life or people and blame it on our lack of control. After all, life has willed me a personality ultimately attached to a destiny promised me because of subconscious inclinations beyond my power. I might as well be born a tree, if this were so, blow around and sprout leaves as they were genetically instructed to grow. I would be happier and even accept your premise, if I were a tree, but I was given a mind for a purpose, and a will to use at my disposal. I will not believe that choice is an illusion and that life is a dream that our subconscious displays to our conscious in a game of mind tricks.

I have no desire to sacrifice my idea of achievement or to surrender into a befallen fate. One of life’s most beautiful attributes is the power of choice, a conscious desire to create a life that pleases and appeals to me. I completely admit that we are ultimately and uncontrollably affected by our genetic make up and our environment, but these genetic and subconscious inclinations do not overtake us to the point that they live our lives for us.

I do believe that the subconscious plays a huge roll in a variety of our actions. I agree that someone has to let go in order to really play music. This is true. This can also be said of a number of taught or trained sequences, that there is a point that you have to trust what you have trained yourself to do and let your subconscious take over. Thought at this level will slow you down, but at the beginning, you had to use thought in order to train your body and mind to the point that it was such a learned experience that it no longer required thought. This holds true for a so many things, such as typing, driving home from work, playing sports, etc. There comes a time where you had trained long enough, you had thought about it to the point of mastery, and you are able to let your subconscious reactions take over. These subconscious actions only come from training, which would not be possible with the beginning effort of thought which came from a consciously made choice.

I think most normal overly used and exercised reactions do become subconscious on some level and this is more what Libet was referring to. We, adults have trained our bodies to act in a certain way, by repeating such actions and repetitive responses. We can even subconsciously choose to tune someone out when we have, from experience, found them to be boring. It becomes automatic and not much thought, if any, is required. The movie “Click” conveys this theory perfectly. However, any of these trained reactions can be altered at any moment when we decide to make the choice that we no longer care to display such actions. At that moment of choice we can retrain ourselves to react differently and break ourselves of the previously formed habit. I would tend to say that what you may deem a subconscious inclination is really a formed habit.

Enough about that, I am tired of thinking and want my subconscious to take over for awhile. Nighty night. ;-)(reply to this comment
From vacuous
Thursday, August 30, 2007, 18:36

I will try to be clearer as I realise a lot of concepts are becoming frayed due to words and concepts not being carefully analysed.

The basic question is “are our actions the conscious product of our decisions?” Libets experiments only deal with when we become conscious of a choice that is free or otherwise. Freedom is not contingent on consciousness per se, if the definition of consciousness is an ability of a subject to be introspectively aware of its existence and free will is ‘arriving at a state that is not predictable or compulsively constrained by its previous states’. This would mean that it is possible to have free will without being consciously aware of it, and vice versa. The distinction is semantic but it means that you can possibly, subconsciously, freely (randomly and unpredictably) choose between multiple options (election is a neutral selector).

However, if by ‘controlled choice’ we mean “to consciously deliberate between and come to choose between multiple options in the absence of involuntary casual determination (note that this doesn’t mean “choice is an illusion” just that consciousness as a determinator of choice is), then, in light of my aforementioned examples I must ask if this really is the case?

Say that I offer you 3 different choices of ice cream flavours, vanilla, chocolate, and pistachio. Your social nature, imitation of those around you, and politeness dictate that you only consider taking one. Would you have a conscious choice between the three? Say that you do not like the taste of pistachio, obviously that is not a conscious free choice as you never chose to not fancy the taste of pistachio. So you are left with the chocolate and vanilla. Say that you have equal regard for both flavours. One day you will crave the one flavour more, the other day you will crave the other. As the time for your action approaches you think “hmmm I’ll have a chocolate one now” …maybe cause it matches more with what you ate before or because you as subconsciously imitating someone you admire who is also having it or perhaps because of past habit, or maybe the chocolate option attracts your eye first etc. However, you suddenly might change your mind and take the vanilla. What Libets experiments show is that its only once you have acted to take whatever ice cream you chose that you will know for certain what your choice has been. The unconsciously initiated action makes the conscious decision.

When on the point of acting we cannot consciously predict what we are going to do and then we look at what we did and see it as a decision on a path on which we were already heading down. We then see our thoughts as events that happen to us and also as our acts. Maybe the feeling of freedom comes between oscillating between the two viewpoints? A mind game of perspective.

As in an ant colony, where a coherent pattern seems to emerge from simple components which seem to be centrally directed, but where no centre is found, in a human perception and action seem to be patterned so as to lead us to believe that a “self” directs them when none exists.

In applying the ramifications of this to morality it is important to note that actions are still owned by the actor. Maybe we should attach responsibility to actions rather than intention? Attaching responsibility to the entire entity rather than to a theoretical “mind” or “soul”?

It is possible to create a deterrent form of punishment without blaming.

When we are all responsible and not responsible for the state things are in, our judgments will be tempered with compassion as a basis for morality.

You mention “purpose in being” and here it is necessary to make some further distinctions. I’m not against subjective purpose, of course you have a brain for a purpose that fits with your nature like a tree has evolved its own characteristics that serve its own purpose, and I do not contest this. You are your world (a microcosm).

Subjective bias aside, however, your “purpose” has no value above that of a tree. This is obvious.

What drives us to “want more” is just as enfolded in the reality of a tree.

A tree grows and “advances” and shows its own form of “ambition” and is sensitive to discovering, and can communicate about, truths in the world around it. Entities express their essence (or “purpose”) without needing minds or nervous systems. A mind does not give humans any added meaning or significance “above” that of trees. Knowledge does not need consciousness to be discovered and exists in everything. If you were a tree you could release volatiles to communicate a warning to other trees (the knowledge) that moth larvae are attacking you without any centre of communication or mind.

A tree apparently is aware and has a “will” without being conscious and can act towards “creating a life that pleases and appeals to itself” without a conscious desire.

Is this tree in a more “befallen” state?

Heh, its late... irritating that I only get around to this right before bed.(reply to this comment

From madly
Monday, September 03, 2007, 17:18

Maybe one day I will get back to this; however, at present, I don’t seem to have the necessary time or mental stamina to continue such a tedious discussion. Plus, I subconsciously hate ice-cream… all flavours. ;)(reply to this comment
From Falcon
Thursday, August 30, 2007, 20:17

The centre of an ant colony is the queen ant who lets out secretions which tell the rest of the ants what "pattern" to build. Most people just don't find the queen, so they mistake the synchronized order for randomly controlled chaos. (reply to this comment
From Samuel
Friday, August 31, 2007, 04:42

Average visitor agreement is 1 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)
Gee, thanks Falcon. A comment about ant secretions is the first thing I want to see when I wake up. :)(reply to this comment
From thatata
Wednesday, August 29, 2007, 02:36


Meaning what meaning? The meaning of meaninglessness?

I thnk Vacuous went for the meaning of meaninglessnesss, which is meaningless. And you for the meaning a person makes despite meaninglessness, as if an athiest or agnostic had to be told he needs to have meaning, when he already does, despite life being meaningless.

Meaning? It appears to exist yet it does not! It appears not to exist yet it does!

So much for meaning to have meaning while meaningless while making meaning in the meaninglessness...The purpose without purpose; or the purpose without purpose! Same thing!

What a vicious circle... around and aound.....(reply to this comment

From neez
Wednesday, August 29, 2007, 01:13

Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3 out of 5(
errr.. Would that be "Click" the Adam Sandler movie!? I must have missed the part where it 'conveyed theories'.

Perhaps I was just to overwhelmed by the retarded plot holes, and general unfunny crapholeness to notice Mr Gilmores' philsophical discussions. Maybe they were in the deleted scenes.

On a side note Sandlers' latest film "Chuck & Larry" is a complete rip-off of "Strange Bedfellows"(a 2004 aussie movie starring Paul Hogan). With the only difference being that Strange Bedfellows was actually funny...and original. to this comment
From madly
Wednesday, August 29, 2007, 20:33

Damn… I guess I should have worded or explained that better. I am not promoting the movie “Click” as some great philosophical movie with a profound theory to learn from. I was simply referring to how he trains his body to subconsciously fast-forward through his repetitive inclinations. Maybe it was a bad example, but whatever. Take what you will from my comment… it was only late night rambling anyway.(reply to this comment
From Ne Oublie
Tuesday, August 21, 2007, 13:32

madly, great to hear from you again! Hope you're well?(reply to this comment
From madly
Tuesday, August 21, 2007, 13:46

I am. Thank you and same to you, Noobles. :)(reply to this comment
from Kelly
Tuesday, August 21, 2007 - 11:50


I admire you for many different reasons you are intelligent and you say what is on your mind yet most of all, I find you to be a compassionate person....perhaps you didn’t know it but, you have help me though many difficult times...and I think others would say the same....even though you may not agree with others opinions or beliefs you seem to have an enormous capacity to relate, understand and feel....
I have been here for some time now and I too can say I feel different and will continue to I suppose, in a very regular way...
I think for me fear has been a major factor in my’s hard to be fearless when I was raised to fear.....fear has it’s benefits too-- I think....but I am recognizing more and more everyday how I hold my self back with it.....I am too likening more and more of myself and finding comfort in being comfortable with me....and at the same time not being afraid to change and recognize my errors.....
I hope that makes sense.....there i go again ;-)...
Anyhow, in my opinion you have been a major asset to this sight...and that’s a wonderful thing!

(reply to this comment)

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