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Pre-Set Choice, Will, and Control-Thoughts


Pre-set choice, will, and thoughts


What is the real nature of choice? In what sense do we "have a choice"?

>I'm considering fatalism and whether or not we truly are captive to fate, or if we have a free-will. Can anyone provide more information?

The libraries do not have the answer to the question. It is difficult to find books on fatalism, especially ones that compare it to the positions of both determinism and free will.

We don't "have a choice" in the naive sense.

We certainly make choices. But we have no choice about the way we make choices; we have no choice about the underlying nature of the action of choice or decision making.

There are decisions about decision making, in some sense. There is choice about choice, in some sense. But all these decisions and choices are fixed and not genuinely free, only "relatively" free in the sense of unconstrained by ordinary constraints.

A key mental attitude to finding your way through this labyrinth is to remember that all words have two meanings. I could say "multiple meanings" but that is not usually relevant. In most arguments, the problem centers around just two distinct networks of associations, or meanings.

1. The free willists says "choice" with one, distinct set of associations.

2. The determinist says "choice" with another, distinct set associations.

There is 'choice'(2) but not 'choice'(1).

This notation is crucial and everyone should learn it. How can I emphasize this enough? There was a philosopher -- Saussure? who introduced this notation, but I invented it myself, influenced by Semantics and by an urgent need to study the self who decides.

Alan Watts would say "Choice there is, but none who decides."

'Ego'(a) exists but not 'ego'(b).

There is 'freedom'(x) but not 'freedom'(y).

Mastering this state-shifting or sign-sliding is a key part of solving the great philosophical problems.

I thought of the idea of alternating networks of cognitive associations myself, but it turns out that it is essentially the same as some of the key ideas in Structuralism.

In one particular sense, "We do have a choice."
In another particular sense, "We do not have a choice."
The real question is, "In what sense do we have a choice?"

Then, the real question is, "In what sense do we have a choice?" or "What is the real nature of choice, as opposed to the apparent nature of choice?" This is the way to knowledge, to ask, "In what sense...?" because most of the important stalemates in philosophical debate have to do with the shifting of meaning of terms from one associative network of meaning, to another, specific, associative network of meaning. In Zen, even the word "we" is problematic, because the word refers to a misconceived homunculus who dwells in the mind and reigns as a cybernetic helmsman-king. Remember that the king's power comes from the gods; the buck does not stop here.

Determinism, the cybernetic helmsman homunculus; fatalism is more accurate than conventional determinism

>Determinism is the view that all phenomena (including mental events) are necessitated by antecedent factors. The "self-control" we think we are exercising over our mental processes is in fact illusion. In principal, we have no more control over our minds than we do over the pigmentation of our skin. Both were predestined by antecedent factors without any options allowed. This leaves us as mere spectators of our mental contents--utterly passive observers of the events we call thinking, choosing, valuing, and the like.

>That's a nice, standard formulation, with the standard limitations. It is correct, but falls short of the task, that of explaining the real nature of that which we pragmatically call 'freedom' and 'self-control'.

>I would not consider myself a "passive observer", even though I am a determinist. It seems to me that you are arguing against something other than determinism.

>You are on the right track in that you are thinking about the nature of self-control. You should fully follow this through by developing ideas about 'self-control cybernetics'. Alan Watts' genius was to understand Zen as insight into self-control cybernetics, a theme that I have followed through to completeness.

>The solution is to shift and improve the usages of terms. There is, in some sense, 'self-control' involved in the mind. Something goes on in the mind that can legitimately be labelled 'self-control', regardless of your understanding of this term. The real question is "what is the nature of that which we call 'self-control' that goes on in the mind?" There is a pattern, a set of thoughts or cognitive dynamics that we call self-control. To simply dismiss and deny all forms and definitions of self-control is false, because there is a subject matter to be explained.

>At the very least, there remains the problem of explaining the phenomenon of the sense of self-control.

>Here is an alcoholic. There is a man who drinks but is not an alcoholic. Therefore we may say legitimately that the first man has "less self-control" than the second. There does exist a subject matter to be explained, some sort of existent "thing" or dynamic, called "self-control".

>It is not a yes-or-no question of whether there "is such a thing" as 'self-control'. The whole challenge and problem is in properly understanding all that which can be labelled 'self-control'.

>A steam engine regulator exhibits a dynamic that can be called a type of 'self-control'. The problem is when you start sneaking in subtle networks of assumption about the nature of this 'control'. There are real phenomena to be explained, and dismissing all forms and interpretations of 'self-control' is not solving a problem, but denying and ignoring it entirely. Do not think in terms of "disproving" self-control, but rather, concentrate on clarifying and correcting our understanding of the true nature of that which people are trying to talk about when they talk about self-control. There certainly exists a subject-matter that we may legitimately call 'self-control'. "It" exists, though there is profound confusion about "its" nature. Self-control in some aspect or in some sense is illusory, but it's too crude to simply say "there is no such thing as self-control." There are certain mental dynamics -- if you don't call them 'self-control', then you must call them something, because there are particular demonstrable dynamics to be studied.

>This leaves us as mere spectators of our mental contents--utterly

>The above is a perfect example of "dissolving the distinctions." In calling all sex 'rape', the radical feminists lose the possibility of talking about any intercourse which is not rape. Similarly, in characterizing the relationship between "we" and "mental contents" entirely as "we are mere spectators," you dissolve the ordinary distinction between being a spectator or active participant. That statement is correct but insufficiently precise, because you end up declaring a useful, unproblematic distinction to be nonexistent -- an indefensible position. Calling all cognition equally 'passive' is the same as denying any difference between 'voluntary' and 'involuntary' muscle actions. It is easy to define and demonstrate that there is a difference between voluntary and involuntary actions. To declare all action "involuntary" is to lose that provably existent distinction. To do so would be to put forth an easily disprovable viewpoint.

>When a person watches the game on tv, they are what we call a 'spectator'. When this person participates in a game, we call that 'involvement' as opposed to being a 'spectator'. It is a matter of simple definitions to differentiate these two, and this distinction is unproblematic. But when you say that "our" relationship to all cognition is that of a "mere spectator" you dissolve and falsely lose the distinction between those thoughts that we normally call 'uncontrolled' or 'involuntary' and those that we normally call 'willfully controlled'.

>Sometimes I do activities in which I can be called a 'passive observer'. Other times I do other activities in a different mode. Whatever the real nature of this second mode is, we can label it 'active involvement' that involves 'self-control'.

>There is a difference between deliberate thought and being a spectator to thoughts. The challenge is not to deny or gloss over this difference, but to explain it.

>The solution is to re-map or re-index all of our mental associations and mental models of all these terms and phenomena. It is insufficient to say simply "self-control is false." You must say "the naive view of self-control is this, and the enlightened, corrected view of self-control is actually this other conception."

>It's a matter not of isolated semantics of one or two words, but rather, a conceptual revolution or paradigm shift between two sets of semantic mappings. You re-index all the terms of your mental model from one associational mapping to another.

>A few key terms that must take on 2 sets of associations or meanings:

>could do otherwise
>passive spectator
>open future

>This solution, of splitting all meanings into 2, is rational. It is the same type of meaning-shift as the shift from Newtonian relativity to Einsteinian relativity, in which these concepts were re-indexed:

>gravitational force

>Now these terms have two understandings: the approximate, Newtonian conception, and the more precise, Einsteinian conception. The task is to re-understand all of our ideas about freedom, time, and self-control.

Fortunately, Einstein did not say "Newton misunderstood -- there is in fact no such thing as time and velocity. They are illusory and unreal." That would have been a dissolving of the problem. Instead, he clarified the concepts.

The problem in philosophy that most needs attention now is to clarify the concept of self-control, which turns out to be centrally connected to so many philosophical problems and debates that the solving of this puzzle that is built in our heads will be the most important and profound milestone in human thought.

>Isn't the whole determinism question really centred around whether or not humans can in any way be described as a first cause of their thoughts and actions?

That's a valid formulation of the "real center" of the determinism question, emphasizing the question of whether humans are their own first cause. Zen denies that the person is the first cause. It says the Tao or ground of being is the real first cause, and that human decisions, will power, and the homunculus steersman are actually the second cause, a mere conduit of power. The homunculus, or cybernetic helmsman living inside the mind, does have a particular type of power to control the inner thoughts and the external actions. However, this helmsman is a slave of the Tao -- the helmsman can only move his thoughts or his fingers in the direction that the Tao forces him to. Or taking the time axis into account, you could say that your freedom is encased in the rigid block of spacetime, and you can only move your thoughts or fingers in the direction that the Tao has already, eternally, moved them in. The freedom and power of the inner steersman can be free from ordinary physical constraint, while being completely unfree, "metaphysically" or "on the metaphysical level".

>Certainly one can be involved as a spectator so that distinction [between being a passive, determined spectator and an active, free participant] doesn't go far.

>The question is: Does the undeniable _appearance_ of spontaneity that each of us associates with our thoughts and actions really amount to an incontrovertible datum which cannot be reconciled with our view of nature and humans within nature as causally defined? I don't believe that it does. If we can explain the _appearance_ of spontaneity without denying the basic view that all events are caused, why shouldn't we?

The appearance of spontaneity is indeed an incontrovertible datum. This, really, is not a point of dispute in any refined debate. The question is the interpretation of this appearance of spontaneity. A good interpretation aims to reconcile this appearance of spontaneity with a causal understanding of nature and humans. The position of free will accepts this appearance of spontaneity at face value, as genuine, unproblematic spontaneity. The position of determinism is more skeptical and claims that it is only an appearance of spontaneity. Both these positions fully agree that there is the appearance of spontaneity. Freewillists who urge yet louder that they experience themselves as free and unconstrained are missing the point of dispute. There's no argument over whether the experience or datum exists -- the "sense of freedom" exists -- but only over the actual underlying nature of that experience, aside from the appearance.

The sense of freedom is not only incontrovertible, it's uncontroversial, as a sense.

Existential freedom is an excellent account of this phenomenon of freedom. Decisions really arise and are hard to make, involving mental labor. But this poses no problem for determinism. There simply is no problem in "reconciling" existentialism and determinism. Anyone who thinks they are unreconcilable either doesn't understand what the real position of existentialism does and does not assert, or they don't understand what the real position of determinism does and does not assert.

Actually, determinism has taken no hits from free-will. The only serious blow to determinism (as conventionally defined) was Copenhagenism and chaos, which are taken to disprove determinism because they "disprove" the possibility of predictabilism-in-principle. And it's true, the great reasonability of the possibility that the world contains some genuine, unordered randomness, renders a fatal blow to 'determinism', as conventionally defined. But this does not automatically buy us the type of freedom we lust for (the power to control our own fate) and does not prove that we are indeed our own first cause, subject to no force of predetermination. Rather, the possibility of genuine randomness forces the definition of the position of determinism to be scaled back and slimmed down, to the actual traditional position known as 'fatalism'. Fatalism only claims a subset of what determinism claims. It does not claim predictability through mastering the patterns of nature. It does not frame the universe as a domino chain of events moving from past to future. Rather, it conceives the universe as being a giant static block. By 'static', I mean that the time axis does exist, and that 'change' in some particular sense does exist. But the future acts already exist, eternally. All future actions are already cast in stone, just like past actions. This may be a result of the position of determinism, but for fatalism, this picture is more like the starting point, the core of their position, not just a deduction that follows from highly hypothetical assumptions about predictability of domino-events.

Determinism says that the future doesn't exist, but that the dominos of events, falling from past to future, are bound to bring about a particular future, because the dominos have a definite way of falling. Fatalism almost works backwards from that: it starts off saying that all future events already exist, fixed in stone like past events, and that all events along the time axis may fit together more or less perfectly, but they are all fixed, even if chaotic.

These 3 positions are "accounts". We seek the most coherent account, that "accounts" successfully for all experienced data, as concisely as possible. Conventional free-will accounts are satisfactory, as far as they go. But they don't go far. They just reiterate endlessly that our sense of freedom exists, undeniably. Determinism has an elegant core, but with grotesque, unwieldy additions (predictabilism and total order or non-randomness) and an overly modernist, linear-progress metaphysics (the domino model of time). Fatalism successfully integrates all the strong points of determinism, without venturing out on a limb with it; is more sincere and firm in its conception of the future as fixed eternally, so much so that the future becomes another place that "currently" exists already; and offers a full account of the sense of freedom and the uncontrovertible datum or fact of our existential situatedness as decision-makers.

There is no logical refutation of Fatalism, only a moral refutation. It is compatible with genuine randomness, chaos, change, existential decision-making, and the sense of freedom. We have the power to control our thoughts and actions. But we don't have the power to control our fate, because fate has already fixed all of our thoughts and actions at all points in the spacetime block.

Some will say that there is an implicit assumption in saying "the" spacetime block. What if there are multiple branching universes? But the answer is that even if there are branches and multiple parallel universes, the branching is fated, and so are all events and thoughts in each parallel universe. If the totality of existence includes multiple universes, then the world is a fixed meta-universe. This point is important because this implicit assumption of non-branching is made in the medieval conception of God's preordaining of action -- that "God sees all points in time as if immediately present". Such a view, of "all points in time", already implicitly assumes that there is a single time axis, a single future story playing out.

Fatalism is a perfectly slim, perfectly flexible account that corrects and resolves both positions -- 'determinism', as conventionally defined, and 'free will', as conventionally defined -- and, with the full development of existentialism, offers the first satisfactory account of the experience of freedom that fits into a rational metaphysical model of the universe and time.

Change, cause, choice, will, levels of conscious control

>It's easier to see the conception of free will through ideas of causation combined with choice.

Of course these aspects should be combined. But combined in what way? That's the important question.

>Free will is then more obviously seen especially in the light of multiple determinants.

Are all these determinants forcefully caused, and "closed"?

>Infinite causes (More Eastern), still have to be decided upon in an irreducible moment by the human consciousness before acting from a more

This idea of the "irreducible moment" needs clarification.

>readily apparent particular cause (More Western) chosen from among the multiple ones. Strongest determinants do not always lead to closest action. That

"Closest action"?

>irreducible moment between cause/influence and the actor's conscious/unconscious choice of what cause to follow into reaction is probably one of the more obvious arguments for free will.

There is a "choice of what cause to follow". Is this choice forcefully, completely caused? The entire debate is one of the nature of the agent's "irreducible moment of choice". You simply declare this choice to be "irreducibly free". The main argument is not about those obvious external causes. The debate is entirely centered around the nature of this internal, mental act of choice -- this "moment of choice". Is that moment truly irreducible? Your declaration of its irreducible status is nothing more than a statement of which position you hold in the debate. It is not an argument for that position.

Both sides agree, easily enough, to assume that there are fixed, external forces that are determined. The major disagreement has everything to do with your "irreducible moment of choice" -- is it irreducibly free, even at some underlying level? Or is it merely "free" in a more superficial way (whether that way is "conscious" or "unconscious".

Too often, the "argument for free will" amounts to ever stronger declarations of freedom, and retreats into the safety of some ineffable heart of freedom, whether this be the quantum swerve, epistemological skepticism, idealism, or the need to preserve the conventions of morality whatever the compromises to logic are.

>I take "free will" to mean being able to will what one wishes to will, or being able to want what one wishes to want. If you concede that our choices are determined (i.e. that we cannot will what we wish to will, since what we wish to will is entirely predetermined), I see no possible interpretation of your argument that would warrant your sentiments that determinism is no threat to free will.

This formulation asks the deeper question: Is our will, our "irreducible" moment of inner freedom, itself forced and determined by something, at some underlying level? This level would have to "underly" even the supposedly "irreducible" freedom. Can freedom be "reduced" by discovering some type of "underlying" level of forces other than freedom? I think that these metaphors of "irreducible" and "underlying" are central. Freewillists say there is no underlying level. Determinists say that there is. They cannot make progress in the argument when both parties fail to come together in argument that is directly focused on this assumption of the existence of an "underlying level". _Godel, Escher, Bach_ carefully examines the notion of "levels", especially the nature of the interaction of levels. Such an explicitly developed understanding of 'levels' is necessary for the argument to move forward. Freewillists declare the level on which freedom resides to be autonomous. Determinists declare that level to be epiphenomenal, trumped by the substrate of thought. How can these declarations, or different starting assumptions, be reconciled through argumentation? The starting assumptions must be compared and examined.
Controlling future personal actions

The unstoppable realization of radical freedom already permanently pre-established; future will-acts are completely unstoppable; they are already done. They were done from before you were even born. You are a slave to your fate. - to your worldline. If my worldline is set in stone before I am born, then mine is a hollow freedom -- the freedom of the continuant agent is only the freedom to be pushed along a firm track. The will is pushed into you by the Ground.

Restraints of habitual thought act to control an agent who is usually felt to be present.

The loss of the sense of freedom and personal control, while gaining excessive freedom, in the mystic state

Without any habitual constraints hanging powerfully over the mind, it is permitted to think any thought, including thoughts of running amok - whatever is emphatically counter to the accustomed, habitual egoic will; restraint-inversion; guideline inversion; value-inversion - to align with Truth, take sides against accustomed egoic will -- violate and negate and demolish accustomed egoic will -- but that would be a violently destructive mode; the only viable way forward past the egoic will is to negate yet preserve and respect the accustomed egoic will; respect delusion as such.

The meditator, the agent, is on the verge of feeling like a helpless puppet. He fully envisions himself as a helpless puppet, unable to originate action; only a conduit of action. He doesn't wield or exert; power runs simply into then through him, to beyond him -- power enters him from beyond, then goes again to the beyond -- power circulates through him, but meanwhile he wields none of it. No actor, no actor to be restrained, and worst of all, no force of restraint. He is on the verge of losing all restraint and intention. He fully envisions himself having no restraint or intention, no values, no guidance. If you don't feel you can deviate from the near future actions, if those actions belong to a separate isolated self in the future, then your current power -- no matter how strong -- is impotent across time.

The 3rd eye sees fatalism. Everything happens as it has already been laid out in the future. The future already exists, we're just not there now. But the future you is already there. Robotic fatalism is a very common -- almost universal -- psychedelic phenomenon. The sense of freedom blows up and falls apart. There is an exagerrated lack of constraint, but this freedom is frozen and impotent. The future is hunting you down and there can be no escape - remember? Here you are again, forever, trapped between the walls of space and time, closing in. There's no choice but to accept your fate. All is a stage set with robots permanently gesturing. All thoughts are fixed and given to you by some absent controller through remote control. The controlling agent sends your thoughts and monitors them. Your free will has been commandeered. The homunculus in your head, the cybernetic steersman, is not you. He is given to you and his decision is forced upon you. Your will is not your own.

Even if ideas are wrong (such as 'ego is illusion' or 'i am a helpless puppet'), these are the issues, because it is a common loose-cognition feeling that one is a puppet. What are the feelings encountered in loose-cognition/ vision-logic, and what is some sort of coherent description -- just like you have to "explain" the "logic" of mythic/magic sacrifice [blood=life, sympathetic mimicry isomorphism].

Vagueness of free will position, types of freedom, frozen freedom

>There is absolutely no reason to suspect that everything is not determined. No comprehensible alternatives to that state of affairs have ever been proposed.

>Actually, there is no reason to believe that human beings are determined, nor even to suspect it. The theory that human beings are determined is just that, a theory, lacking in anything resembling sufficient verification. As against that theory, there is the primary experience of free choice and responsibility, common enough among human beings, and expressed enough in human language, art, and law to be accepted on its face. Those who wish to deny the freedom are free to do so, but the burden

Determinism is fully compatible with the experience of this type of freedom. "Freedom" has more than one meaning. Your every thought can be predetermined on some underlying level. This underlying level is normally hidden from consciousness, but according to the theory of determinism, the underlying, fixed level throws forth the sensation of freedom. In a sense, the mystic state enables you to directly see determinism. Mystics are determinists. You can have all the ordinary freedom you want, but underneath, it might well be a cosmic hoax. Determinism is a clear, specific theory, and is reasonable. Free will is an observation of our ordinary form of "freedom", combined with a completely mysterious notion of metaphysical freedom -- that is, freedom besides the obviously experienced type of freedom.

Determinists agree that there is 'freedom' on the existential, everyday level. But they say there is no room for a kind of 'freedom' that goes deeper than our uncontroversial type of freedom.

The determinists don't understand their own position -- they talk of "hard" vs "soft" determinism. I challenge someone to explain the difference. "Soft determinism agrees there is choice, but everything is really determined," I read. So, what, determinism says there is no choice? No! Determism says there is choice... all forms of determinism say "There is choice."

All the arguments revolve around subtle overtones of mental associations among a network of terms: what is the nature of this 'choice' that we clearly have? what is the deeper nature of this 'freedom' that we uncontroversially have? is there a 'level' that 'underlies' our conscious sense of freedom?

Determinism is a clear, logical position. The 'free will' position has trouble understanding what the determinists do and do not say. But I've pointed out that even the determinists seem not to realize that they can accept choice.

Choice, and conscious-level freedom, are undisputed facts for everyone. They are completely compatible with things being determined on an underlying level. The self-labelled, so-called "compatibilists" are correct in that a particular kind of free will is compatible with determinism -- but 'compatibilism' is simply the same thing as determinism which is correctly understood by the determinists themselves. The conception of determinism which the compatibilists distance themselves from is a distorted version, a misrepresentation that doesn't match the conception of determinism which is held by actual determinists.

There is no such thing as the distinction between compatibilism and determinism, because "hard" determinism never claimed that practical, ordinary freedom is unreal.

Compatibilism and soft determinism agree with hard determism: things are predecided, the future is closed or fixed, and there is practical freedom but it is limited to the surface appearance of things. Freedom is real but only in a limited way.

The free will position, on the other hand, says that not only is there surface-level practical freedom, BUT ALSO, there is no fixed, underlying level, the future is open, our fate is not at all predetermined.

But it is illogical to assume that the future is open and there is 'deep-level freedom'. The Copenhagenist quantum physicists, unlike underdog upstart Bohm, claim that physics proves that the subatomic level -- conceived of as the underlying material level that casts forth our thought and actions -- is open, random, truly free.

But they are wrong and have distorted Heisenburg's Uncertainty Principle, which does not say

We know the particle has an indefinite path

but rather, HUP says

We don't know whether the particle does or does not have a definite path.

HUP says that the particle MIGHT WELL have a determinate path! Bohm knows this.

HUP does not say God plays dice

HUP says God might or might not play dice -- quantum physics measurements can never penetrate down to the subatomic level to make a definite observation.

So, physics fails to prove or disprove determinism. The Copenhagenists don't want to admit this -- they want to preserve quantum indeterminacy in order to preserve human freedom. Theirs is a thoroughly misguided project and a deep disgrace to physics. Science reaches an inconclusion, and instead pretends that the world itself is proven indeterminate. But the rational sort of conclusion is that the world has been neither proven determinate nor indeterminate; the only thing proven is the impossibility of using measurements of quantum particles to draw a proven conclusion about whether determinacy reigns at the subatomic level.

Physics reaches a question mark, but this question mark is superficial -- not deep. There are question marks, and question marks.

If you can't find your keys, must you conclude that they don't exist? That would not be reasonable. The question mark is in your head, not in the world itself. As far as you know, the keys might exist, or might not. The only type of conclusion you can draw is that you can't be sure.

So physics can't prove determinacy through measuring subatomic particle paths. But there are ways to logically prove the consistency and plausibility of determinism.

There is no time for freedom, and no one to be free.

>of the denial of basic human experience is on them. Beyond just the experience of freedom, there has been, within Western tradition, a well-developed, coherent philosophical and religious understanding of the source of that freedom. Clearly, it makes more sense to go with the understanding of human beings which explains an experience well known to human beings, than to go with an inexplicable quasi-scientific theory which has as yet to provide any coherent ground for its denial of human experience.

The concept of freedom, and the sense of freedom as datum, when taken too literally and too far, could possibly be called an inexplicable quasi-scientific theory.

Determinism does not deny the human experience of freedom, as experience. But what is the deeper nature of this experience -- is it in some way illusory, or projected farther than is justified?

Freedom and morality are worth preserving -- but not at the cost of reason. Still, reason leaves some limited, circumscribed form of freedom and morality, even after it concludes that it is very plausible to believe that the future is cast in stone.

Conventional determinism has two flaws: it insists on predictability-in-principle, which renders the position vulnerable to the least speck of pure randomness. (Dennett: "the bogey of prediction") And it doesn't realize that the future already exists, in its place in the block-universe. The future doesn't come "from" now; it exists in itself. Ultimately, conventional determinism fails to fully, vividly grasp the model of the world that it implies.

Time doesn't flow, change does not itself change; choice itself cannot be chosen.

(And the intense mystic state also falls over this log: self-control doesn't control self-control.)

The block-universe sits eternally, neither within time nor out of time, but rather containing time. In this marble block sit events which might be labelled "free" and have a certain sort of pattern that can be called "free". Choice sits. Change sits. The future sits. Time sits.

You have frozen freedom.

Freedom is not itself free. We are condemned to be free. We are slaves of the permanent future. The time axis itself goes nowhere, as a piece of road never itself arrives anywhere.

Free acts are imprisoned within the time axis. When it is time for you to choose to commit a gratuitous existential act, you will choose to do so. You have no choice about the act of choice itself. All your power of will amounts to the power of an illusion projected from a hidden source entirely beyond you and before you.

Alan Watts already made observations tantamount to this, in "Zen and the problem of control" in _This Is It_.

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