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Video of my Vancouver talk on free will is now online: http://bit.ly/Tz1p9M  ; along with the Q&A: http://bit.ly/SDJHmH
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Oh what, I had no idea you were in Vancouver so recently. Would've liked to have gone to this talk.
 
Elegant as always. Lookin forward to the new book Sam :)
 
Nothing new though, we've already heard all this before. Someone had to say this:). I wonder how we could elaborate this further. How would justice system based on this principle look like? What else could be reconsidered?
 
Damn. I'm sure your words were carefully chosen and the ideas you expressed were arrived at after much thought but the rattling noise of the silverware was too much for me. Maybe someone can figure out a way of processing the audio to minimize the distraction.
 
A fine speech, Mr. Harris. Entertaining as well! I am much obliged that you make it available for public consumption - now I have to read your book on the subject! You weren't kidding about the $400 dollar salad - judging from the symphony of cutlery hitting porcelain heard in the background, you must at times have had to struggle mightily for their attention.

It seems to me that a lot of the implications of not-free will, hinges on the very definition of "free" itself. You suggest in your speech that it, at the very least, must mean that a person could have done/chosen something different than what (s)he actually did. However, I would think that this is an impossible scenario to prove, even if we are open for the possibility?

I think that everyone can intuitively agree with the notion that a person's genetics, history, environment, current context and a highly complex and rapidly changing neurological and biological state - for lack of a better description - exerts a heavy influence on how we think at any given moment. Likely even, to a degree where possible choices are severely narrowed down. But unless you are willing to say that our consciousness has no influence on our decisions - neither in the present or in the future - wouldn't you have to allow for some degree of freedom of will?

Even if thoughts just pop into our heads without any conscious and aware guidance, and we therefore establish that there is no free will in the now, do we not exert a direct - if not yet quantified - influence over future decisions and thoughts, based on our conscious processing of these thoughts? If so, isn't that a measure of free will?

And if not, wouldn't this require us to take the next step and challenge our ideas about consciousness as well? Is consciousness then not merely a window - and a rather foggy one at that - through which we may catch imperfect glimpses of the output from a highly complex decision engine?

Best regards,
Ken
 
Since watching this talk I've felt more and more like I'm just "along for the ride" as my mind and body express themselves. At the higher "emergent" level of sense-making the exercise of forming and following-through on goals has the flavor of being "intentional" and "meaningful" - not to mention "continuous" with my past style of dealing with the world, and yet. Although true from the side of nature, or my organic system as a whole, it's false if I posit a "self" who is in charge of those intentions and responsible for deriving those meanings.

The activity of standing apart and contemplating our past choices also reinforces the illusion of free will. Reflections on past and present actions (in whatever style) computes our choices as being good / bad, and so our criteria of choice continue to self-modify, and the ego can optionally feel "responsible" for these choices.

So I have to wonder, if you do enough emptiness meditation and self-observation through mindfulness all day long, does that unity of will and being become more vivid? I have sometimes (Salvia D.) had the total feeling of being the fulcrum of impulse and action, that what was happening everywhere in the universe was exactly what I was happy to submit to. Will, just allowed to be, was only and exactly what was happening, and nothing more. Certainly such a momentary and all-altering realization can't easily be sustained.
 
Your awesome Sam! :) Love your work!
 
Thanks, Mr. Harris. I allways enjoy listening to you. 
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