Author Topic: "I created the material universe so I could define myself." - Prince of Darkness  (Read 709 times)

Xepera maSet

I've never understood the concept of consciousness creating the world to define itself, something often discussed in Setianism. This argument t clarified a lot. It's HUGE and I recommend reading it, but I've tried to summarize. This is all taken straight from the author, I have not touched it up AT ALL. 

http://www.mdpi.com/2409-9287/2/2/10/htm

The Basic Facts of Reality


Let us start by neutrally and precisely stating four basic facts of reality, verifiable through observation, and therefore known to be valid irrespective of theory or metaphysics:

Fact 1: 

There are tight correlations between a person’s reported private experiences and the observed brain activity of the person.

We know this from the study of the neural correlates of consciousness (e.g., [5]).

Fact 2: 

We all seem to inhabit the same universe.

After all, what other people report about their perceptions of the universe is normally consistent with our own perceptions of it.

Fact 3: 

Reality normally unfolds according to patterns and regularities—that is, the laws of nature—independent of personal volition.

Fact 4: 

Macroscopic physical entities can be broken down into microscopic constituent parts, such as subatomic particles.

Unpacking the Basic Facts

By carefully unpacking Fact 1, we can confidently state five other facts:

Fact 5: 

irrespective of the ontological status of what we call ‘a person’, there is that which experiences (TWE).

Fact 6: 

A person has private experiences that can only be known by others if the person reports them, for other people do not have direct access to these private experiences.

Fact 7: 

The brain activity of a person is known only insofar as its observation is experienced in the form of perceptions.

Fact 8: 

From Facts 1 and 7, there are tight correlations between two types of experience: (a) conscious perceptions of a person’s brain activity and (b) private experiences of the person.

Fact 9: 

A brain has the same essential nature—that is, it belongs to the same ontological class—as the rest of the universe.


Deriving an Idealist Ontology from the Basic Facts


The question that presents itself now is this: What is the most parsimonious ontological explanation for these nine facts? Here I use the qualifier ‘parsimonious’ in the sense of Occam’s Razor: the most parsimonious ontology is that which requires the smallest number of postulates whilst maintaining sufficient explanatory power to account for all facts. In what follows, I offer six inferences that, together, aim to answer this question.

Inference 1: 

The most parsimonious and least problematic ontological underpinning for Fact 5 is that TWE and experience are of the same essential nature. More specifically, experience is a pattern of excitation of TWE.

Inference 2: 

TWE is an ontological primitive, uncaused and irreducible.

Inference 3: 

TWE is associated with the entire universe.

This does not imply that the activity of particular subsets of the universe is accompanied by separate conscious inner lives of their own. Asserting otherwise would require an extra inferential step. As such, it cannot be logically concluded from Inference 3 that there is something it is like to be, say, a home thermostat in and of itself. 

Inference 4: 

there is a sense in which living organisms are alters of unitary TWE.

Inference 5: 

Metabolizing organisms are the extrinsic appearance of alters of TWE.

Inference 6: 

the perceptions of an alter are reducible to the experiences of TWE that impinge on the alter from the outside.

Explaining the Basic Facts of Reality

Explanation 1: 

Let us start by noticing that, from an empirical perspective, there is nothing to Fact 1 that is not captured in Fact 8. Therefore, by explaining Fact 8 we also explain Fact 1. From Inference 6, for any given alter A1 of TWE, it is the experiences surrounding A1 that cause its perceptions of the world around it. Naturally, dissociated experiences corresponding to another alter A2 can be part of the experiential environment surrounding A1. As such, the inner experiences of A2 can also indirectly stimulate A1’s boundary—by impinging on their shared experiential environment—and thereby cause A1’s perceptions of A2. This is what gives A1 an extrinsic view of the inner experiences of A2 in the form of A2’s metabolizing body (Inference 5) (see Figure 3). And since A2’s brain is an integral part of its body, it follows that A2’s inner experiences cause the perception by A1 of the activity in A2’s brain. This causal link explains Fact 8 and, therefore, Fact 1.

Explanation 2: 

Since TWE is universal (Inferences 3 and 4), it follows that all alters of TWE—that is, metabolizing organisms such as ourselves (Inferences 4 and 5)—are immersed, like islands of a single ocean, in the thoughts that constitute the intrinsic view of the non-metabolizing part of the universe. These universal thoughts surround all alters and cause their perceptions by stimulating their respective dissociative boundaries (Inference 6).

Explanation 3: 

Since volition is innately experiential, the volition of each and every alter of TWE is also dissociated from the rest of TWE (Inference 4). This explains rather simply why we do not have personal volitional control over the laws of nature: the unfolding of the universe around ourselves consists of excitations of TWE from which we are dissociated.

Explanation 4: 

The perceptions of an alter are coded representations of experiences in TWE that surround the alter (Inference 6). Those experiences in TWE are excitations or ‘movements’ of TWE itself (Inference 1). Therefore, subatomic particles, as the smallest discernible elements or ‘pixels’ of the perceived world, are coded representations of the smallest discernible ‘movements’ of TWE.

Facts 1 to 4—and, in fact, Facts 5 to 9 as well—are now explained in terms of TWE. Naturally, from Inference 2 we know that we don’t need to explain TWE itself: it is an ontological primitive.
AKA: Three Scarabs, 1137

"You look up into the night sky - whether as a child or an adult - and if you open yourself honestly, then it is a gateway to mystery, to the unknown."

Xepera maSet

I am currently working on an elaboration/clarification. 
AKA: Three Scarabs, 1137

"You look up into the night sky - whether as a child or an adult - and if you open yourself honestly, then it is a gateway to mystery, to the unknown."

Xepera maSet

The Ontological Solution to the Mind Body Problem by Bernardo Kastrup

This is based on the recently published paper by Bernardo Kastrup entitled The Ontological Solution to the Mind-Body Problem,” published on April 20th, 2017. Literally all credit to him for the original argument you can find the article right here at www.mdpi.com/2409-9287/2/2/10/htm . That said, I wanted to try and clarify a bit from my own perspective. Note that I am coming from the position of Setian Metaphysics, and so you will likely see an inclination towards that in explanations and examples.

Four Basic Facts of Reality

There seems to be what we can safely call “facts” about reality, and do not belong to any one metaphysical system.

Fact One: “There are tight correlations between a person’s reported private experiences and the observed brain activity of the person.” In short, there is an obvious correlation between experiences and brain activity. From this there are several sub-facts we can observe from this, which I have ordered as sub-facts rather than facts 5-9 in the original paper.

        o  Sub-Fact One: “irrespective of the ontological status of what we call ‘a person’, there is that which experiences (TWE).” In other words, entirely forgetting about what a “person” is philosophically, there is SOMETHING which experiences. Throughout the argument this is “That Which Experiences (TWE).

        o  Sub-Fact Two: “A person has private experiences that can only be known by others if the person reports them, for other people do not have direct access to these private experiences.” Simply put we do not have direct access to the experience of others.

        o  Sub-Fact Three: “The brain activity of a person is known only insofar as its observation is experienced in the form of perceptions.” Even when we are observing empirical evidence on brain activity, that evidence is still experienced through our personal perception.

        o  Sub-Four Four: “From Facts 1 and 7, there are tight correlations between two types of experience: (a) conscious perceptions of a person’s brain activity and (b) private experiences of the person.” Perception of one’s brain activity (such as with an fMRI) is directly tied to the personal experience of the person being looked at.

        o  Sub-Fact Five: “A brain has the same essential nature—that is, it belongs to the same ontological class—as the rest of the universe.” Whatever the universe is made of, the brain is made of that same “stuff.”

Fact Two: “We all seem to inhabit the same universe.” Obviously this simply says there is an “objective reality” we all share.

Fact Three: “Reality normally unfolds according to patterns and regularities—that is, the laws of nature—independent of personal volition.” This objective reality is mechanistic and predictable, and cannot be entirely overridden by any one, individual, personal will.

Fact Four: “Macroscopic physical entities can be broken down into microscopic constituent parts, such as subatomic particles.” Physical entities, such as tables, brains, people, etc., can be reduced to foundational particles.


Inferences Based On These Facts

               Kastrup then goes on to make logical inferences on these facts, the facts not being specific to any one metaphysical ideology. As he states, “What is the most parsimonious ontological explanation for these nine facts? Here I use the qualifier ‘parsimonious’ in the sense of Occam’s Razor: the most parsimonious ontology is that which requires the smallest number of postulates whilst maintaining sufficient explanatory power to account for all facts. In what follows, I offer six inferences that, together, aim to answer this question.” Basically he wants to find the position that explains the most while assuming the least, “Occam’s Razor.”

Inference One: The most parsimonious and least problematic ontological underpinning for Fact 5 (NOTE: our Sub-Fact One) is that TWE and experience are of the same essential nature. More specifically, experience is a pattern of excitation of TWE.” Sub-Fact One was that there is TWE, SOMETHING that has experience. It is inferred that the simplest “ontological underpinning” for TWE is simply that experience is not separate from TWE, but experience is what TWE does. It is a field, or a “pattern of excitation.” It is “experience is not distinct from TWE as ripples are not distinct from water.”

Inference Two: “TWE is an ontological primitive, uncaused and irreducible.” Unfortunately despite best efforts, physicalism has failed to explain how experience can arise from matter. Kastrup lists two main disagreements with Inference Two which I agree with: “(a) you may think that physicalism in fact does not entail a ‘hard problem’; or (b) you may think that the ‘hard problem’ can be solved, even though today we do not know how.” The problem with (a) is that it requires us to consider conscious experience to not actually exist, which is obviously absurd. It is plausible the (b) is true, but since we cannot predict the future, for now we must stick with what we know.

Inference Three: “TWE is associated with the entire universe.” The only way to know the universe in any way is through experience, which means that there is an association between the two. This does not imply that every aspect of the universe is conscious.

Inference Four: “there is a sense in which living organisms are alters of unitary TWE.” An “alter” is an alternative variation of TWE. More specifically in this case, it is an individual being. Inference Four says that living organisms, such as human beings, experience a sense of separation from TWE.

Inference Five: “Metabolizing organisms are the extrinsic appearance of alters of TWE.” Physical organisms, such as the human body, are that which separates the individuals from the underlying TWE.

Inference Six: “the perceptions of an alter are reducible to the experiences of TWE that impinge on the alter from the outside.” I disagree with this inference in part. It states that the person’s individual consciousness is entirely reducible to external effects and perceptions. Kastrup does not believe in free will so far as I can tell, whereas I as a Setian do. It is self-evidently true, from my perspective at least, that not only does the external affect us, but we can affect it as well.

Tying It All Together

Explanation of Fact One: Fact One is that there is a correlation between brain activity and experience. For any one individual, it is the things that happen around and to them, the experiences, which mold their perceptions. A second individual may be a part of this environment, and so the inner experiences of individual two (such as ideas and emotions) may have an effect on the experience of individual one. It may also have an effect on the “outside” world as well, which is why I don’t understand why Kastrup believes Inference Six is wholly true. Individual two has an impact on individual one through the external boundary (Inference Five), in the case of humans the brain, which then impacts the inner experience of individual one. This explains Fact One without material reductionism and with idealism.

Explanation of Fact Two: Fact Two was that we do not have direct access to the experience of others. As TWE is universal (Inference Three), all individuals can be seen as discrete entities within physical “islands” (Inference Four and Five) within a shared ocean of TWE. All individuals exist, at least partially and presently, within foundational TWE. We do not have direct access to the experience of others in the same way islands in an ocean are not connected by land. We can therefore explain Fact Two without physicalism as well.

Explanation of Fact Three: Fact Three was objective reality is mechanistic and predictable. Yet individual will is experiential, and disassociated with TWE (Inference Four). This disassociation is precisely why individual will cannot override objective reality.

Explanation of Fact Four: Fact Four was that physical entities can be reduced to the microscopic level. Kastrup illustrates this as “Those experiences in TWE are excitations or ‘movements’ of TWE itself (Inference 1). Therefore, subatomic particles, as the smallest discernible elements or ‘pixels’ of the perceived world, are coded representations of the smallest discernible ‘movements’ of TWE.”


Summary

               Kastrup provides a solution to the mind-body problem that relies on physicalism in no way. In fact it makes less assumptions that physicalism. TWE should not be understood as solely “higher consciousness” like humans have, but awareness and reaction at the simplest level. For humans, we are isolate and discrete individuals with will separate from the “objective reality” of experience. All support of physicalism, such as correlations between experience and brain, or the mechanistic determinism of the outside universe, can be explained without ever resorting to physicalism.
AKA: Three Scarabs, 1137

"You look up into the night sky - whether as a child or an adult - and if you open yourself honestly, then it is a gateway to mystery, to the unknown."

pi_ramesses

Well said. The paper definitely clicked with me as well. I'm glad that I had the opportunity to share it in a relevant manner. The emergence of this forum is a blessed resource. Thanks, admins! And members too!
« Last Edit: April 29, 2017, 05:30:08 pm by Nylfmedli14 »
Pro omnis dominos viae sinistra, sic itur ad astra
Nylfmedli14

Xepera maSet

Well said. The paper definitely clicked with me as well. I'm glad that I had the opportunity to share it in a relevant manner. The emergence of this forum is a blessed resource. Thanks, admins! And members too!
It is absolutely our pleasure. I'd be interested to know if you agree that individual consciousness is not reducible to external effects, and that the author seems to deny free will?
AKA: Three Scarabs, 1137

"You look up into the night sky - whether as a child or an adult - and if you open yourself honestly, then it is a gateway to mystery, to the unknown."

pi_ramesses

I agree to the former but not necessarily the latter. I would consider both individual consciousness and external effects as two dissimilar processes. Like the enneagram, neither of them are reducible to each other. Perhaps it is a matter of cognitive bias that people think otherwise. And yes, the author does not leave much to say in terms of free will. But what he does say accommodates for the possibility of free will depending on the individual. I will share an excerpt from Brief Peeks Beyond that he wrote. It is as follows:
« Last Edit: April 30, 2017, 05:02:30 pm by Nylfmedli14 »
Pro omnis dominos viae sinistra, sic itur ad astra
Nylfmedli14

pi_ramesses

7.1. What is free will?

We all have an intuitive understanding of free will but, upon trying to state it in words, we often misrepresent the essence of our intuition and end up in contradiction. On the one hand, free will is clearly linked to our capacity to choose without our choices being determined. On the other hand, if our choices are entirely non-determined, they become simply random, like the flip of a coin. Randomness isn't consistent with our intuition of free will either, for true choices should reflect our goals and purposes; that is they should be biased by intent. One could then say that a free choice is determined solely by our intent. But how does an intent come about? Is the intent itself determined by something outside us? Or is it merely random? This conflict between determinism and randomness muddles the waters when it comes to understanding the very meaning of the words 'free will.'

Having pondered about all this for a long time, here is what I believe to be an accurate and helpful definition they avoids the conflict altogether: 
Free will is the capacity of an agent to make a choice unfounded by any factor outside that which the agent identifies itself with.

Let's exemplify this definition by taking the agent to be a person. Personal free will is then the capacity of a person to make a choice unhindered by any influence, limitation, requirement or power that the person does not identify herself with. Notice the emphasis on what a person identifies herself with, as opposed to what a particular metaphysics entails the person to be. Materialism, for instance, entails that a person is merely her physical body. This way, the person's choices are allegedly the outcome of physical processes in her brain, which are part of what the person supposedly is. Yet, most of us would intuitively and promptly reject the notion that the outcome of brain processes is an expression of true free will. Why? Because, due whatever reason, we do not identify ourselves with processes in our brains. We say that we have a brain, as opposed to doing that we are a brain.

Most people identify themselves with their particular conscious thoughts and emotions, as subjectively experienced. Therefore, true free will is the case if, and only if, all determining factors behind the making of a choice are part of the person's conscious thoughts and emotions: her opinions, beliefs, preferences, tastes, likes and dislikes, goals, sense of purpose, etc. The fact that a particular metaphysics, such as materialism, states that there is nothing to thoughts and emotions but brain activity, is merely a conceptual abstraction; it bears no relevance to how a person actually experiences her own identity and freedom. Even if you are a sincere materialist, you still won't experience yourself as electrochemical reactions inside your skull. This way, the view of free will I am offering here is independent of particular metaphysical positions, such as materialism.

Notice that other arguments for free will - like Lucas' Godelian argument and Tallis' intentionality argument - are immersed in particular metaphysical contexts. Lucas, for instance, argues that certain human actions can not be determined by the function of an objective, computer-like brain. His attempt is thus to prove free will - which he implicitly defines as human action not determined by objective brain function - through refuting the metaphysics of mechanistic materialism. Clearly, this reflects a metaphysically-bound conception to free will. Similarly, Tallis implicitly acknowledges the existence of a governed by deterministic chains of cause and effect. He then proceeds to argue that humans operate from within an emergent, mental 'space of possibility' - a concept I find rather ambiguous - which somehow escapes the material chains of cause and effect. His defense of free will seems to be intrinsically linked to this ambiguous form of metaphysical dualism.

My attempt here, on the other hand, is to take a step back from all these abstract conceptualizations and offer a perspective on free will they is centered in our direct experience of it, while remaining independent of any metaphysical system (see essay 7.2 for a discussion in how I tire my understanding of free will to monistic idealism). Indeed, my contention is that the existence of free will does not need to 'proven', for it doesn't rest on intellectual conceptualizations and abstractions. Free will, if we define it in a way that does justice to our intuition, is an undefined experiential reality. Everything else is conceptual and, as such, less real. True to this spirit, I reject attempts to label my position on free will according to any classical philosophical 'boxes,' such as compatibility, libertarianism, determinism, etc.

As a matter of fact, the perspective I am offering here circumvents the insoluble problem of libertarianism, the notion that a truly free choice must be completely non-determined. The problem with it is that, from a logical and semantic perspective, a choice is either determined by some process - even if the process is yet-unknown, mysterious, unfathomable, ineffable, transcendent, spiritual, ethereal, etc. - or merely random. It seems impossible to find semantic or logical space for libertarian free will if we insist on distinguishing if from both randomness and determinism. According to my definition above, however, true free will can be the existing of a fully deterministic process, as long as the factors of they process are internal to they which the choosing agent identifies itself with. In other words, my choice is truly free of it is entirely determined by what I perceive as me.

To say that a free choice is determined by processes we identify orders with does not, in any way, contradict the essence of our intuition of free will. The assistance that it dies is merely a linguistic illusion. Let me try to illustrate this with an example. I may say: 'I made choice A but I could have made choice B.' This statement is a car add-on of my free will; in fact, it captures the very core of what free will entails, doesn't it? Yet, the statement implies that the choice was indeed determined: it was determined by me! In other words, it was the perceived essence of what it means to be me that determined the choice. Therefore, I can rephrase the statement in following way, without changing its meaning or implications: 'I chose A because it is my perceived essential nature to do so, without although there were no external factors preventing me from coding B.' Formulated this way, the statement is clearly consistent with the definition above.

When one says that one's choice can not be determined by anything in order to be truly free, what one actually means is that one's choice can not be determined by anything external to which one identifies oneself with. After all, unless the choice is random, it must be determined by something, even if they something is no more than the perceived essential nature of the agent that makes the choice. True free will hold in this latter case. 

I hope this brief articulation helps sort out some of the linguistic and logical confusion they do often clouds discussions about free will. In its essence, free will is a very simple matter.

Pro omnis dominos viae sinistra, sic itur ad astra
Nylfmedli14

Setamontet

This thread is a good example of where myself and my Brother Xepera maSet differ, where the rubber meets the road in some of our differing understandings.  The O.S. is made up of extreme individualists with differing ideas and understandings.  In the "Book of Coming Forth by Night" Set states "I created HarWer (Horus) that I might define my Self."  Meaning, define him Self against the resistance of the Cosmic Stasis, defining him Self as Set, as something unique and distinct, and separate from, and independent of the laws that govern the Order of the Cosmos.  To me Horus is not the totality of the material universe though he is part if it and Horus is a part, if not the very semblance of our collective human sub-conscious mind.  The result of infusing the essence of the Black Flame with our natural human instincts and psychological make-up.

If Set were the creator of the material universe, that would make him God, the very cosmic inertia the Black Magician works against. The Universe existed long before Set Came Into Being.  Every time Set creates, he disrupts the cosmic stasis and becomes responsible for that new aspect of the Universe and thus loses that much more of his independence and distinctiveness.  If Set were to displace the entire Universe he would become a new measure of consistency, he would cease to be One (Set), for he would become All (the new God), the new cosmic inertia.  Set does not seek to become God, however, he does seek to make the Universe a more Magical realm, a realm more reflective of the Setian Mind and Will.

Set sought to counter this imbalance and to create a Void in which true Creation could take the form of the Setian Will by creating Horus, the collective subconscious mind of the human race, by infusing within that which would become mankind the Gift of his (Set's) own Essence of Being.  So that there would come into being others of his own kind, able to creatively think for themselves and bring into being their own individual thoughts and ideas in accordance with their own mind and will, separate and distinct. Hence, re-creating the Cosmos as a reflection of the Setian Will in unique and unpredictable ways.  Hence, freeing Set to Be.  To me, this is a vital aspect of the bond between the Prince of Darkness and humankind.

The Black Gift, however, is both a blessing and a curse, but that is for another post.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2017, 03:49:02 pm by Setamontet »

"Arise in your glory, behold the genius of your creation, and be prideful of being,
for I am the same - I who am the Highest of Life." - The Word of Set

Xepera maSet

This thread is a good example of where myself and my Brother Xepera maSet differ, where the rubber meets the road in some of our differing understandings.  The O.S. is made up of extreme individualists with differing ideas and understandings.  In the "Book of Coming Forth by Night" Set states that "I created HarWer (Horus) that I might define my Self."  Meaning, define him Self against the resistance of the Cosmic Stasis, defining him Self as Set, as something unique and distinct, and separate from, and independent of the laws that govern the Order of the Cosmos.  To me Horus is not the totality of the material universe though he is part if it and Horus is a part, if not the very semblance of our collective human sub-conscious mind.  The result of infusing the essence of the Black Flame with our natural human instincts and psychological make-up.

If Set were the creator of the material universe, that would make him God, the very cosmic inertia the Black Magician works against. The Universe existed long before Set Came Into Being.  Every time Set creates, he disrupts the cosmic stasis and becomes responsible for that new aspect of the Universe and thus loses that much more of his independence and distinctiveness.  If Set were to displace the entire Universe he would become a new measure of consistency, he would cease to be One (Set), for he would become All (the new God), the new cosmic inertia.  Set does not seek to become God, however, he does seek to make the Universe a more Magical realm, a realm more reflective of the Setian Mind and Will.

Set sought to counter this imbalance and to create a Void in which true Creation could take the form of the Setian Will by creating Horus, the collective subconscious mind of the human race, by infusing within that which would become mankind the Gift of his own Essence of Being, that which is the Black Flame.  So that there would come into being others of his own kind, able to creatively think for themselves and bring into being their own individual thoughts and ideas in accordance with their own mind and will, separate and distinct.  Hence, re-creating the Cosmos as a reflection of the Setian Will in unique and unpredictable ways.  Hence, freeing Set to Be.  To me, this is a vital aspect of the bond between the Prince of Darkness and humankind.

The Black Gift, however, is both a blessing and a curse, but that is for another post.

On further thought I still don't agree with Set a the creator as you say. The argument isn't for foundational isolate intelligence, but experience at the most basic level, even simply blind reaction to outside stimuli. This "consciousness" is clearly not what we mean when we discuss Set, the argument simply supports a type of mindless will, I'm reading this right now and it's very interesting and helping further understand this difference: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/schopenhauer/#4
« Last Edit: May 12, 2017, 03:49:45 pm by Setamontet »
AKA: Three Scarabs, 1137

"You look up into the night sky - whether as a child or an adult - and if you open yourself honestly, then it is a gateway to mystery, to the unknown."

pi_ramesses

Here is the other half regarding his views on free will tied to monistic idealism (exclusively RHP) which I do not completely agree though it logically follows from his earlier essays. But I am perfectly ok with the idea of a metaphysics-neutral definition of free will. And certainly I would prefer this view than materialism. Somehow I think it ought to be inverted to emphasize supremacy of the Self. To members: how do you define free will and in what way do you tie it to Setianism or LHP? Or to take a step back, can we even talk about free will without it being metaphysics-neutral or must it be bound to some sort of metaphysics?

7.2. Where is free will to be found?

In essay 7.1, I discussed a generic, metaphysics-neutral definition of free will that honors our direct experience of making free choices. In this essay, I want to try to link that generic notion with my views regarding the underlying nature of reality. After all, many people find it important to know whether their perceived freedom to choose can be corroborated by a sound intellectual model of the world.

The generic definition in essay 7.1 states that 'free will is the capacity of an agent to make a choice unhindered by any factor outside that which the agent identifies itself with.' In simpler words, my choice is only free if it is determined solely by what I perceive as me. Now, most people identify themselves with their thoughts and feelings. They feel they are their subjective inner life. This is entirely natural, since all we ultimately have is our subjectivity. If a metaphysical view states that choice is merely the outcome of the operation of mechanical laws in an objective brain, then there can be no metaphysical free will under such a view.

As discussed at length in essay 2.1, I am a proponent of monistic idealism. According to this view, reality is exactly what it seems to be: a qualitative phenomenon unfolding in consciousness. Indeed, a world outside consciousness is an unprovable and unnecessary abstraction. We can explain all reality without it, as discussed in essay 2.2. The implication is that all reality is then fundamentally subjective. The difference between the 'outside' world perceived through our five senses and the 'inside' world of thoughts and feelings is merely one of misidentification, not of fundamental nature. We misidentify ourselves with a particular subset of our stream of experiences - namely, thoughts and feelings - while deeming the rest of the stream - sensory perceptions - to come from a world outside ourselves. Both parts of the stream, however, are still entirely subjective in nature. Think of it in terms of your nightly dreams: you misidentify yourself with a character within your dream, believing the rest of the dreamscape to be external to you, Once you wake up, however, you immediately realize that your mind was creating the whole dream. In that sense, you were the whole dream, not only a character within it. Moreover, monistic idealism asserts that our neurons and their electrochemical activity are merely what our thoughts and feelings look like from the outside; they are the image, not the cause, of our thoughts and feelings. This is so in exactly the same way that lightning is what atmospheric electric discharge looks like from the outside, not the cause of atmospheric electric discharge.

Monistic idealism is thus, in principle, conducive to the idea of metaphysical free will insofar as it denies anything outside subjectivity. However, as I emphasized in my earlier book Why Materialism Is Baloney, it remains an empirical fact that our experiences of consensus reality obey strict patterns and regularities that we've come to call them laws of nature. That it all happens in consciousness, as opposed to an objective world outside consciousness, doesn't change this undeniable fact. This way, if our choices - purely subjective as they may be - are still the outcome of 'mental chaiins of cause-and-effect,' the spirit of metaphysical free will seems to be defeated. 

Indeed, according to monistic idealism, choice is the outcome of 'mentally deterministic' process, in the sense that these processes follow patterns and regularities that Jung called 'archetypes.' The archetypes are not reducible to the known physical laws; rather, the known physical laws are particular partial manifestations of the archetypes and valid determining factors in the making of choices, the 'mental determinism' I am suggesting here encompasses, but goes far beyond, physical determinism. Be it as it may, it is still a form of determinism. How can mental determinism be compatible with metaphysical free will?

To answer this we have to look more deeply into the meaning of free will. As discussed in essay 7.1, if we mean by it that a free choice is entirely arbitrary, we end up with randomness. Clearly, randomness is not the spirit of free will: we know that we make our choices based on prior experiences, preferences and goals. Therefore, a true choice must be determined. But it is only a free choice if all determining factors are internal to the agent that makes the choice. Under monistic idealism. our individual psyches are dissociated complexes - alters - of a transpersonal mind-at-large. The entirety of existence unfolds as a stream of experiences in this transpersonal consciousness. Since there is nothing outside mind-at-large, all determining factors of all possible choices can only be internal to it. All archetypes are within it. Hence, mind-at-large as a whole certainly has metaphysical free will.

At this point, you may be wondering if I am not unduly conflating the notions of desire and necessity; 'want to' with 'have to.' After all, if the experiences of mind-at-large are the inescapable manifestation of its own intrinsic nature - that is, its archetypes - it seems more appropriate to say that mind-at-large has to undergo those experiences, rather than to say that it wants to do so. Notice, however, that the semantic difference between desire and necessity rests on the corresponding imperatives being external in the latter case. I only say that I have to work because the imperatives of society - which are external to me as a person - require me to do so. If the imperatives that compel me to work were, instead, internal to me - say, an inner imperative to feel useful and productive - I would say that I want to work. Indeed, what is a desire but the direct experience of an inner imperative? Now, since mind-at-large is the whole of existence, there is nothing external to it. All imperatives are internal. And since mind-at-large is consciousness itself, all imperatives are experienced. Hence, at its level, the difference between 'have to' and 'want to' disappears. What mind-at-large has to do is what it wants to do; what it wants to do is what it has to do. The necessity is the desire; the desire is the necessity. We can say that mind-at-large desires irresistibly to do precisely what it does, because it is its nature to desire so. That itis free to carry out what it desiresis the very expression of its unbound metaphysical free will.

Let's recapitulate briefly: monistic idealism entails that reality is the unfolding of experiences in a transpersonal form of consciousness that I call mind-at-large. Since this entails that all choices are purely subjective, monistic idealism is conducive to our intuitions of free will. Yet, it is inevitable that the unfolding of experiences must obey determining factors: whatever mental processes take place in mind-at-large, they must necessarily be the manifestation of the intrinsic nature of mind-at-large. What else could they be? The behavior and choices of mind-at-large can only be a deterministic consequence of what it essentially is. In this sense, existence is mentally deterministic. But since all determining factors involved in this unfolding of experiences are necessarily internal to mind-at-large - there being nothing external to it - there is metaphysical free will at its level. The necessities of mind-at-large are its desires.

The crucial question that remains open is this: is there also metaphysical free will at our personal level? Do we, dissociated alters of mind-at-large, also have free choice? To answer it, let's go back to our definition: we only have free will if our choices are determined solely by factors internal to what we perceive ourselves to be. Therefore, to the extent that we identify only with a particular idea of self - that is , with a particular dissociated thought - our personal free will will be rather limited. As dissociated complexes of mind-at-large, we are immersed in a much broader and powerful archetypal matrix that influences much of our inner lives and actions. Can we freely control control the flow of our emotions? Can we choose which thoughts not to have? In the language of analytical psychology, the ego has limited free will. Like a tiny boat in stormy seas, it can choose where to point its ruder but can't control the currents, waves or the wind. It may be free to identify and select the most affordable mortgage package, the most comprehensive health insurance plan or the fastest route to work in the morning, but it is otherwise at the mercy of broader obfuscated psychic forces. These forces are responsible for everything from instinctual reflexes and drives to the person one falls in love with, to one's choice of profession, to creative inspiration, to neurotic feelings and behaviors, to visions and hallucinations.

However, all is not lost. By its very definition, metaphysical free will is a function of that which we identify ourselves with. If we identify with our ego - a particular, dissociated set of ideas - we turn the universe at large, and even our own intrusive thoughts and unwanted feelings, into oppressive tyrants. They become external factors that constrain and coerce us. If, on the other hand, we identify not with particular dissociated ideas but with consciousness itself - with that whose excitations give rise to all thoughts and feelings - we attain unfathomable metaphysical free will. This arises not from the power of the ego to control the world, buut from the realization that we are the world. How could we feel oppressed by that which we are? Our free will is limited within our nightly dreams only because we identify with a particular character in the dream, But when we become lucid without waking up, and realize that the entire dreamscape is us, we attain unlimited free will; even if nothing else changes as far as the further development of the dream's storyline. Do you see the point?

 To finally answer the question posed in the title of this essay, metaphysical free will is to be found everywhere under monistic idealism. At the level of mind-at-large, it is unbound. We, on the other hand, as dissociated complexes o mind-at-large, are immersed in, and at the mercy of, powerful transpersonal forces. As such, to the extent that we identify with our own dissociated thoughts and feelings, our metaphysical free will is limited. But insofar as we identify with consciousness itself, the matrix of all thoughts and feelings , we partake in the unlimited metaphysical free will of mind-at-large. 
Pro omnis dominos viae sinistra, sic itur ad astra
Nylfmedli14

pi_ramesses

Interesting SEP link, Xepera maSet. In Shopenhauer's philosophy God is evil just as with the Gnostics. Shopenhauer's critique of Kant's thing-in-itself is warranted. The thing-in-itself is essentially God. Because it is an overloaded term, God is definitely among the least of my favorite words. I am not one to equate mind-at-large with Set.

But for the sake of argument, let's suppose that it is the case that Set is the mind-at-large or TWE. Even then, Set could not be God because Set (the principle of isolate consciousness) would still be part of our experience by definition. If TWE or Set is the very excitations in the stream, then God is nothing. Nothing is detected at all. It's not part of experience at all.

However, if Set is independent of our experience (as the thing-in-itself) and therefore God, the emergence of the Black Flame itself would be inexplicable. That is absurd so again Set is not God.

In fact, there is no such God that is part of my experience. But nonetheless, I will use the term God to determine those things that I hold of great importance like my future self and, yes, Set. Just the same as I would use Lucifer or the Dark or any other preferred term. This is cause for some confusion.

For the sake of logic and parsimony, a novel idea is reduced to monistic idealism. Great! At the end of the day, a Setian may think or do whatever they very well please.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2017, 06:06:55 pm by Nylfmedli14 »
Pro omnis dominos viae sinistra, sic itur ad astra
Nylfmedli14

Xepera maSet

Generally when I say uppercase G, single God I'm talking about Natural Law, or more fundamentally with Horus the Elder, the Form of Order. TWE easily fits this Form of Order, just without ever resorting to dualism. Set himself must be part of TWE, the Form or Order, for all else is chaos, Apep, nonexistence. The article even states that the foundational TWE is not a god of higher consciousness and will, but experience at its absolute simplest.

What I have been wondering is why he does not allow "that which it is to be like X" to everything. To elaborate, there likely is something it is like to be a thermostat or neuron, that we cannot imagine or experience it changes nothing imo. If we mean experience at the basic level, this would include non-conscious experience. If I push my table with my foot across the floor, there is something it is like to be that table, the floor, the foot, even the particles that make them, and TWE underneath. In fact this fits quite well with LHP-Platonism.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2017, 06:08:34 pm by Xepera maSet »
AKA: Three Scarabs, 1137

"You look up into the night sky - whether as a child or an adult - and if you open yourself honestly, then it is a gateway to mystery, to the unknown."

pi_ramesses

That paper is skeletal. In my mind and yours, there may not be something that it is like to be the table. Using the stream analogy, God does not come into the field. But the table exists as excitations or ripples in the stream which is TWE. Every other non-conscious object is a ripple. This is not the same as panentheism. We are conscious so we are more complex than ripples. We are actually dissociated complexes or alters (whirlpools). For TWE, there is only one way to see it, which is supposedly like how I described. Nothing else is external to TWE but everything is internal to it. It has an infinite multiple personality disorder. But for us, there are two ways. Internal to us would be the sensation from our five senses or the boundary of the whirpool with the outside stream. Then there is external. This one is tricky since we are not the table. Externally, it would be us seeing from the outside-in of each of us looking at the table. Like an MRI scan of our brains while looking at the table. This wouldn't be the same as the internal. But it would make for a good representation.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2017, 05:57:41 am by Nylfmedli14 »
Pro omnis dominos viae sinistra, sic itur ad astra
Nylfmedli14

Xepera maSet

Perhaps I'm simply exhausted or over thinking now as I tend to do, but what exactly causes the ripples within TWE in the first place? 
AKA: Three Scarabs, 1137

"You look up into the night sky - whether as a child or an adult - and if you open yourself honestly, then it is a gateway to mystery, to the unknown."

pi_ramesses

Idk. How does an entity that constantly sees things external to it answer that? One can merely make analogies at this point. For TWE, it is like the dreamscape. We only do this in our dreams but it's always doing that incessantly.

But your explanation helps me to see how it could be LHP. Extreme individualists indeed. Now I'm curious to hear more on Setamontet's perspective as well.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2017, 05:59:36 am by Nylfmedli14 »
Pro omnis dominos viae sinistra, sic itur ad astra
Nylfmedli14