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NickDixon37 t1_j206hao wrote

Imho, this is all an exercise in a privileged ego-driven community - or the ravings of misfits.

When I was about 12 years old I had my own existential crisis, over the concept of reality. As I mentally explored the possibility that the world was just a figment of my own imagination I got rather confused about what was really real. And after floundering a bit I had a bit of an epiphany, when I realized that embracing a lack of reality would totally mess up my life.

Our current understanding of the way we physically see the world by constructing a model of reality in one's brain (which is constantly updated by new visual data) may have been relevant. But it doesn't change our need to accept the assumption that there's a "real" reality as we go about our daily lives.

In a similar way, we have evolved believing in free will, where we are driven to accumulate resources in order to survive. And while I'm sure everyone here is familiar with the old matrix with 4 options, where,

  1. Believe in free-will - and you're right - then it's a win!
  2. Believe in free-will - and you're wrong - then it doesn't matter.
  3. Believe free-will is false - and you're right - then it doesn't matter.
  4. Believe free-will is false - and you're wrong - then it's a big loss.

Of course it's more nuanced than this as there's also the duality option, where we can believe in two seemingly contradictory things at the same time. In this case understanding that there are some things we can't control, allows us to both work hard to meet our goals, AND to accept the fact that we're still okay, and we can still move on and recover when the shit hits the fan.

So, if you're fortunate enough to have the time and bandwidth - and the ability to treat all this as an intellectual exercise, then that's perfectly fine. But taking the results too far, and trying to apply them to one's daily life can end up being disastrous.


pokoponcho t1_j20ryrt wrote

While I like your comment and appreciate your perspective, I disagree that thinking about the existence of free will is an impractical exercise with disastrous consequences. At least in my case, an idea about hard determinism gives me peace of mind and feel of harmony in our seemingly chaotic world.


NickDixon37 t1_j28wpod wrote

Thank you for taking my post seriously - as it's way more pedestrian than what usually counts as philosophy.

I tend to eschew most dogma, and almost all religions and formal philosophies in favor of pragmatism, as my intellectual and scientific skills are limited by my own humanity. But I also have a tendency to see right though religious and philosophical bullshit. So I don't believe in god, but I do believe in love, and beauty - and magic. And balance. Where the Serenity Prayer is a great oversimplification of the answer to the determinism debate:

>God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

It's an oversimplification - because it's impossible for us to know absolutely what we can change - and what we can't. But there's still great value in trying to discern what's possible, without worrying too much about always getting it right.