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RE: Is More Sex Indicative of an Average Intelligence?

in #steemstem3 years ago

This once again limits the question of human free will to another aspect, namely hormones. I generally agree, because free will is indeed overrated and we humans are also biologically limited by ... well, our given biology.

As I just heard in an excellent lecture referring to Buddhism and modern technologies, educated Buddhists are also said to explain human perception as follows: through their senses, seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching and how their bodies process these sensations, they should first know about the biological side. According to which a free will is merely a mental concept and my vision, which suggests to me that I have another person in front of me when he physically meets me, describes the process that my vision receptors in my retina send to my brain, which translates this image for me via my neuronal signals. The fact that I still have the reality of a person in a room with me corresponds to a convention so that we can communicate with each other at all.

In so far as hormones become active in a human body (not only in adolescents but also in women who go through menopause and anyone else who has to endure a release of hormonal substances for any reason), physical sensations are influenced. This in turn triggers an influence on mental states, since the two cannot be separated from each other in any way, otherwise we would not be called "individuals", but "dividuals".

So if I have subtracted everything that limits my free will and accept that there are a couple of essential influencing factors, I can make some deliberate decisions with the rest, which will probably make a kind of person out of me, who, aware of his limitations, gets the most out of his possibilities.

"Sturm und Drang" (a very well known term to me as a German) can happen at any time, not just during puberty, yes. With the young, it's just more noticeable, because they do more daring things than the old, who hardly throw themselves out of planes or jump off mountain cliffs, etc.

The one with the hair: Yes, unfortunately. As an elderly lady I have to cope with the fact that my hair grows where ladies usually don't want it. So it wouldn't have needed this request to stay hairy at all. HaHa!

A somewhat simple formula that I'm going to throw in here:
Man minus

  • biological-chemical processes in the body (such as hormones)
  • social background
  • cultural background
  • External influences, conditions
  • Nature of planetary characteristics
  • Processes in the nearer and further Universes

= Free will (which still is more than it sounds)

Have a nice day, Alex:)


As someone who doesn't believe in free will at all, I'd say the last sentence should read "= randomness" :P

How would you explain what free will is exactly? I can understand causality, which is one thing causing another, like a billiard ball hitting another. And I can understand randomness as our inability to know the precise causes. But how does one understand free will? It seems here you define it by negation. But then how do you separate it from randomness?

Good question, thanks.

The further back these influencing events are, the less free will I can use on them. So up to no free will at all.

But the less time and space there is between me and an event, the more free will I can use. Free will is therefore the best thing for me to understand, which I experience in interaction with other people - a matter of seconds - in which I go through the following:

I talk to a client and notice that something he says annoys me. I recognize this annoying impulse and decide not to give in to it, it costs me a few seconds, sometimes less than a second - I guess - during which I decide against an annoyed response and instead take a peaceful alternative (or rather an inner shift in attitude). I would call it "tricking my brain" because it had already decided differently than "I". This can happen more often at the beginning of an encounter, but the more often I willingly recognize my inner anger as just, it is not always the determining factor and so I am pleased in the course of a session, for example, my inner impulsive nature, so that towards the end there are significantly fewer moments when I make such a strong conscious intervention. But it can also be that even the smallest flame of emotion is enough to immediately feel impulsive again. Then everything starts all over again.

In no way would I regard this process as a random phenomenon, because it costs me some mindfulness and whenever I forget to be mindful, I remember that there is such a thing as "remorse", because in situations I could have been much more useful than I was. The contrast that these different experiences give me is very remarkable for me personally.
After all, I can also use my free will not to reply to a comment at all, to answer differently, or to answer in two weeks' time.

For example, you have decided to post an article about once a month. That looks like free will to me. Even like a discipline.

I in turn, do not "understand" causality as it is the most mysterious thing ever.

Once you thought you found a cause, you realize that the the picture suddenly became bigger. Where you had already put almost all the pieces together in a puzzle, you wake up the next morning and a lot of new pieces have been added. So researching the causes is always "less wrong", but never right. That's why I find causality an incomprehensible concept that can only be approached but never grasped.

I would call it "tricking my brain" because it had already decided differently than "I".

Now you're being a dualist! I think you tricked you, or your brain tricked your brain, but saying that you tricked your brain is kinda strange to me!

I talk to a client and notice that something he says annoys me.

I recognize this annoying impulse and decide not to give in to it

I don't understand why being annoyed is not the result of your free will, but wanting to be polite is. Both have to do with cultural upbringing, with your inner desires, with prior experience, etc.

If your first reaction was to be polite, then that wouldn't be free will? So, apparently, you describe free will as the result of a struggle. When there is just one tendency (e.g. 'be annoyed'), then you have no free will, but when there are two tendencies (e.g. 'be annoyed or be polite') then you are called upon to make a 'decision', and to do that you need free will.

I say you're just listening to your prevailing tendencies. You (or your brain) estimates the pros and cons of a behavior, and does the one that is most desirable. Having many options does not bring free will into the picture. Self-driving cars often have to make a 'choice', that doesn't mean they have free will.

Now you're being a dualist! I think you tricked you, or your brain tricked your brain, but saying that you tricked your brain is kinda strange to me!

Good that it's strange to you, otherwise you would not be irritated, which I find the best way to produce

a mental stumble.

I'll put it another way: The biochemical processes that flow through my body as I listen to the information of a client (who is becoming very emotional right now!) trigger impulsive sensations in me that are now reaching my brain. I'm almost giving in to these impulses, but at the very last moment my consciousness catches "me" (noticing pulse, my brain, which is already firing the neurons) expressing such anger (because something the client said, for example, reminded me of something else that provoked me and raised my pulse).

Being "angry" ("annoyed" was the wrong term, many things get lost in translation, unfortunately) is an impulse, it's the aggressive impulse when anger arises (heart pulse goes up), which is not my volatile decision as I often feel it comes over me. Now, in the course that anger comes over me and I know that this anger won't help the session - other than I want to use a faigened anger to deliver a certain kind of message - because my client would get aroused him/herself, I can only use my free will to decide against anger and for being calm.

If my first emotional state had been calm (as you say "polite" which is a difference), then I would not have to oppose it, other I choose that it would be a good strategy (as you described it).

Anger, fear and paralysis are impulses. The reactions to them are Fight, Flight or Freeze, as we know. Such spontaneous impulses, I cannot simply determine, because they come over me, whether I want to or not. Somebody yells at you and you get angry.
You hear a creepy noise in the dark forest and you feel fear.
You're so scared, you're gonna freeze.

But I would like to ask you: whenever you noticed you were about to show a certain degree of aggressiveness, did you decide otherwise because you knew it would going to cause some damage? Like, for instance, deciding not to yell to a child. For me, this is a very strong experience of practicing free will. How is it for you?

Yes, free will I did describe with this particular example because this expresses the struggle against so many things which influence my free will (Biology, culture, socialization, the planet, the Universe).

whenever you noticed you were about to show a certain degree of aggressiveness, did you decide otherwise because you knew it would going to cause some damage? Like, for instance, deciding not to yell to a child. For me, this is a very strong experience of practicing free will. How is it for you?

Well it happened to me today, so it's fresh in my mind! I merely used my past experience - I told myself that I will regret it if I explode, and I will feel guilty, and the whole day will be ruined, and I will hurt a person I care about and why should I?, and externalizing anger never led to anything good in the past, etc.

So it's quite clear that a 'machine' that didn't have all this knowledge (past experience) encoded in its memory, would act otherwise, like I did in the past.

This is just an example of an instance - in other cases maybe the reasoning will be different. But there will always be a cause. Just because I'm not aware of it, doesn't mean it's not there. Believing there's no causes, or that the cause is 'free will' makes no sense to me: what caused my free will to do A and not B? There must be some answer, and if there is, then my free will isn't free :P

I think when we feel something taking over us, it's simply that there's mainly just one thing influencing us with nothing going against it. Once many things are being weighed, we feel we are more 'in charge'. But that's an illusion. When I add 2 + 2 the answer comes automatically, as though 'it's not me' that gave the answer. When I add 359 + 4795 the answer requires more deliberate thought, and so I feel like I'm using more 'free will' to do it. But both are the same, I think.

Another (slightly sci fi) way to look at it, is to ask whether you would make the same decision with your client if I went back in time. So let's say I, Alex, invent a time machine, and go back in time, to see if Erica will always remain calm. And Erica does, let's say, always remain calm, however many times I go back. There is the question: why does Erica always make the same decision? What is making this to happen? (Maybe the fact that, at moment X, Erica is always the same Erica, so she is determined to always make the same decision, since nothing has changed in the wiring of her brain?) There must be some law behind it, like pricking a balloon with a needle always makes it pop. Surely Erica also has a point at which she will not be able to control her anger. Not much free will there!

I do believe in free will. Maybe you are going to reconsider if there is really nothing like it. Here is a photo of Thích Quang Duc, who burned himself:

Von Malcolm Browne for the Associated Press - Immediate source:[1]For further info see:, Gemeinfrei,

I apologize, this was serious. I hope, I do not offend you with this. But I felt that when you say there is nothing like a free will, I thought that there is.

The time journey and what is the cause of the cause- it's interesting to think and maybe I will reply at another time.

I don't take offense. That is a highly brave action. The picture is so iconic that it even looks 'beautiful' even though it's very tragic.

But I don't see how it relates to free will. And it's unlikely I'll reconsider it since it's one of my 'specialties' for more than a decade! In fact I consider it a fact that both science and philosophy have proven, quite independently of each other, that there is no free will. It's just a remnant of our belief in the soul, basically. Once you understand that everything is material, and our brain is made of matter, and consciousness entirely depends on it, then the rest follows. Maybe a stone has no feelings and a human has feelings, but with determinism it's different: there is no sum that is greater than its parts. If material particles have 0% free will, then it doesn't matter how many of them you stack together and in what order, you will never get something that has 1% free will. There are some things that all material objects have in common, like having a position in space and time for instance. One of those things is being 100% determined.

There are famous free will experiments in psychology that you probably read about, but recently there was a new one (of the same kind) that a friend posted on fb:

If you regard science as fixed and set and not as with an open end, then according to this logic every scientific knowledge and application should freeze in its temporal emergence and be seen as fixed. The sciences themselves are also subject to different approaches and empirical experimental possibilities, in fact they are divided into faculties that prove free will to be non-existent just like others that prove free will to be existent. I think we would both find numerous treatises on both if we tried. I have already heard about that one which is postet on fb.

But you have already summed up what it is all about: identification:

I don't see how it relates to free will. And it's unlikely I'll reconsider it since it's one of my 'specialties' for more than a decade!

I can't possibly ask you to give up an identification any more than you can ask me to do it the other way around. Each of us has found his way of what it looks like to deal with this topic, but different and with different emphases. Until some time ago I might even have proved you right, or would have tended to argue in favour of an "open end", i.e. that there is a free will nor that there is none.

For the fact that you are of the view that there is no such free will, you argue surprisingly strongly what seems paradoxical to me. :-D

Will you let me assume that you are controlled by said other forces and that it is these factors - after your free will is excluded - that make you hold this view? And to the extent that I am also controlled by other elements, are two people talking who don't know exactly why they are having this conversation? LOL

Here's what I suggest: I am leaning on the latest science in the study of neuronal processes associated with meditative practice and would put both you and me in the category of those who operate mostly with a Default Mode Network. Based on the fact that most people do not have sufficient meditative practice, the illusion of reality is probably more the order of the day than the exception.

But I hope that this will change with the integration of meditative practice into my morning ritual. I practice mindfulness in my professional work, but have not yet made it a daily habit of my private time. Except that I try to stay with it and not be elsewhere with my thoughts when I do something, whether cooking, showering, walking or driving.

P.S. I heard the sentence different: "The sum that is other than its parts"

If I follow your argumentation that any decision I make willingly is ultimately only triggered by some causal mysterious other reason, then I would have to assume that man is nothing but a machine and all causalities could be traced at some point.

I call this denial of what science itself could actually claim to represent as great knowledge: That the identification of causes, as soon as they were found, again resulted in new and even more intensive searches for further causes, and that in this way we can go on indefinitely without ever finding a real causal origin.

Unless you believe that the origin of all life will be found by man.

But that is not a science, but a belief.

Furthermore, you don't seem to attach any special importance to your personal experience, because such everyday decisions, like taking the second exit on the highway instead of the third, or calming down instead of getting excited, are simply insignificant events. In fact, human everyday life consists almost exclusively of such simple events and only in movies, for example, do you have to make decisions about life and death. So does this mean that it doesn't really matter if I follow your reasoning about what people do?

It seems almost as if you believe in the power of the predetermined destiny and nothing a human being does has any influence whatsoever on this already determined mechanics, a kind of stupid universal law that marks our path.

Is then human compassion basically worthless feeling and only pure imagination?

Of course you are right, every encounter that is limited to a temporal context contains innumerable other possibilities and these are infinite the larger one draws the temporal context frame. But in second-by-second interactions, as they happen between people, the only meaningful and feasible volitional decision is basically of importance, since according to Buddhism this is probably the most effective way to show one' s will. Everything that moves outside this framework is already past again and only still future. That is why Buddhist doctrine teaches the present moment as the only real one. In so far as I declare this present to be an illusion, I deprive myself, so to speak, of my only possibility to exert influence and leave others to control the situation.

It seems that we do not agree on this question. I believe, however, that an agreement is unnecessary, for if we were to meet in physical life, the conduct of such conversations would not be the basis of our understanding, but rather we would be integrated into a context.


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