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Can one return to free-will after anihilating it?

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I was absent for a while. I took a few weeks of vacation from any other intellectual endeavors to focus on several issues I was particularly interested in, mostly related to my 2 previous threads here, the ones that generated quite an upheaval.

I would like to share with you, in a few words, the results of my quest, and the questions still unanswered. My field of inquiry was man's mind, an issue of primary philosophical importance.

1) on emotions

Unlike my previous post here claimed, I am now convinced, both intellectualy and emotionally, that emotional change IS possible. There IS a degree of control over one's own emotions.

The conclusion that I've reached is that emotional change comes from action. Therefore, only thinking about emotional change won't enact it. On the other hand, compensating and modifying self-destructive behaviour does indeed directly improve the emotional state.

What IS left for debate is the range of change possible. Can one act himself into fully proper living DESPITE a self-destructive emotional background?

2) on free will

The conclusion I've reached is that free will exists but its application is not automatic. IF, and only if, one thinkm focuses, reasons about a certain choice, then he acted freely, according to his own will.

On the other hand, if one acts unconsciously, mecanically, dogmatically, or otherwise unfocus, one "disabled" his own free will and invites determinism to set in.

My question is... Once one has anihilated one's free will, one's mind, but a consistent commitment to the irrational, thus inviting social determinism, can one return to a state of free will?

What are your oppinions on emotions and free will?

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My question is... Once one has anihilated one's free will, one's mind, but a consistent commitment to the irrational, thus inviting social determinism, can one return to a state of free will?

One can not "annihilate" one's own free will except by death. A human being ALWAYS has free will, meaning, they ALWAYS have the ability to choose to use their mind or not to (unless they are being forced).

I think what you mean by "free will" in this instance is acting on one's own chosen philosophy or acting like a sponge, taking in the contradictory philosophies around you, and acting accordingly. A human being has no choice about the fact that they have a philosophy (since a philosophy is essentially a view of existence and man's place in it). What a human being has a choice about is whether or not they want to allow themselves to just soak up all of the contradictory principles around them as their own philosophy or rationally analyze and organize one's own philosophy against the highest level of scrutiny. So, I believe your question amounts to, can one successfully reverse course from acting like a sponge and instead achieve a rational philosophy?

If a human being is acting like a sponge philosophically, it will feel as though they do not have much control over their own actions, since their own philosophy is not the result of their conscious decisions but rather their imitations of others. The damage of such a course of action is cumulative in my opinion, meaning, that the more that one acts in this way, the harder it would be to come to a point where one's philosophy is under one's own rational control. (Take for example, Peter Keating).

This being said however, a human being ALWAYS has the ability to CHOOSE to rationally analyze their philosophy and correct all of their contradictions because of the fact that a human being always has the choice to use their mind or not. But, this is SEPARATE from whether or not such a person will be ABLE TO reverse their previous course of action and achieve a rational philosophy. The choice to engage in this beneficial course of action is obviously not enough. Achieving a rational philosophy requires a proper understanding of what reason is, the relationship between consciousness and existence, (and a whole lot of other things). The success of the individual in reversing their damaging philosophy of the past would obviously depend on the context of the situation (the individual invovled, the severity of their identification of their problem, their age, the contradictory philosophy which they currently hold, etc.).

Therefore, to answer your question, no complete answer of your question is possible. The POSSIBILITY exists for every individual to reverse their course of action and achieve a rational philosophy, based on the fact that every individual has the free will to use their mind or not to. However, the SUCCESS of such a reversal is completely dependent on the context of every individual situation, specifically, the length of time which that individual acted like a sponge and the severity to which the individual recognizes the problem.

P.S. I'm glad that you have reversed your positions in some areas.

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  • 1 month later...
One can not "annihilate" one's own free will except by death.  A human being ALWAYS has free will

You are right about not being able to annihilate your free will other than by annihilating yourself, but it is possible to put yourself into a state where your consciousness, and therefore your free will, is suspended. Think alcohol, drugs, etc.

When you get so stoned as to pass out, your will is gone. But as your body recovers, so does your will.

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Mr Gabriel,

How did you come to the conclusion that free will is in fact "free", and not a result of simply many many many causal variables coming into play in ones mind, that results in one's actions? (determinism). Before you tell me to go and read up on Peikoff's lectures, I have, and Im back, so now I am asking you.

Much obliged.


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Gabriel's assertion that free will is a product of a rational process is interesting, but I think backwards. If true, and if one managed entirely to eradicate thought from one's life, which for most people would require a great deal of chemical assistance, then free will would be impossible, since thought would be impossible. However, since rational thought is a volitional process, free will is a prerequisite of rational thought, not its product. As others have stated, one always, so long as one is alive and conscious, has the alternative of rational thought or irrationality.

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