This entry was posted on September 19, 2012 at 10:34 pm and is filed under Anti-Fascist Agitprop, Philosophy, Science. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
I didn’t follow the first 10 minutes, so I’d appreciate someone to re-cap the main claim. For the last 5 minutes in the light test, that sounds very similar to what Sam Harris says about there being no free will. To recap the critical quote:
“Libid [spelling?] notices that before the light goes on, as much as a half second before, the brain is already making up its mind. It knows whether or not it’s going to press the button.”
This seems like way too strong of a claim. How do we know “the brain is making up its mind?” What if this is just intuition taking a guess? How do we know that “the mind” is made up half a second before?
This is a very interesting topic though, I’m not just trying to be overly skeptical, but I find the evidence less obvious than its made out to be. For example, in the Harris YouTube video, he says that imaging shows activity before the decision is acted out on. Well, couldn’t this just be how long it takes for the decision to coalesce (since there are obviously competing “factions” in the brain providing input) and then do the action (the “tail end” of thinking?). It seems like a lot of pop-science books which lay out a bunch of experiments which don’t truly prove anything, but lead a careless reader to assume too much. It seems the bar is very high to disprove free will, which we all have the intuition that we have. Which doesn’t prove that we have it, but still.
From my perspective, this meshes very well with what I believe. He’s not trying to disprove free will. Rather, he’s showing that the ego is not really the being that is in control. The control comes from the realm of conscious awareness, which he calls the “elephant.”
The ego thinks it is in control, but the reality is that our conscious awareness is in control, and that conscious awareness does not reside in the brain or obey the ego’s concept of time.
That seems possible, but couldn’t that “elephant” part of the brain just be a different part of the brain?
The point of the video is to demonstrate why that isn’t possible.
If you are interested in this, look into the Rastafarian concept of I and i. The little i is what is here called the ego, the small person that exists only in the here and now. The big I is the real self, the eternal awareness that operates outside of the traditional “time stream”.