The Thinker’s Challenge … A Call For Your Help

No, this is not an award. It’s not a game show. It’s not a brain exercise game.

It’s just a challenge that I present to you, dear readers.

The Thinker

We all know how to think. Many of us have some idea of what we think a thought is. I’m wanting to hear from a variety of folk about how this challenge turned out for them. Your participation is most appreciated.

We think of many things. We imagine many things. We solve problems every day.

The Challenge:

Think of something that is in NO WAY related to anything that you  know about, have read about, have heard about, have seen etc. This thought has to be something completely unrelated to anything that has every happened in your life or lifetime. It can in no way be related to any of your memories.

So? What is your original thought?

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  1. Can we think of something original not suggested to us by our environment or experience?

    • I don’t think so, unless our thoughts are formed by truly random quantum fluctuations.

    • That, Sir, is the challenge. Can we?
      I think the word “suggested” is misleading in comparison to what I believe is the truth. If our thoughts are random and semi random recombinations of patterns we have learned, Where Oh Where would original thought come from? Does it exist?

      • Suggested here I don’t think is misleading because I use it to mean given us by experience or from our environment which still comes to experience.

        Let me know if someone writes about an original thought of theirs.

        • If we get some original thoughts, there will be a post… guaranteed. Well, there will be a post anyway… lol

  2. Original? Not from me; ain’t had one in more than six decades. Silly? Perhaps: how about forming a country/western vocal group and calling them JEB Stuart’s Chorale?

  3. Reblogged this on digger666.

  4. i once sparked a heated discussion by saying there is nothing new in art, it has all been done before. Whilst i believe this is true, at one point someone must have picked up a rock and drawn on a cave wall for the first time. Perhaps it is the same with thoughts

    • The first drawing on a cave wall was an imitation of something seen. The originality was to mix memory of something seen with the discovered fact that rocks leave marks when rubbed against other rocks. Technically, this means not even art is original….

    • Thanks for commenting

    • lahacienda
    • June 5th, 2013

    I don’t think anyone can think of something that is not related in any way to previous knowledge, experiences or opinions. It seems to me what we call “original thought” is basically an evolution of one or more previous thoughts. An idea exists and someone takes it a step further – be it in science, philosophy, art or otherwise. Maybe the difference is how far one takes the existing “knowledge”. If one manages to push it way beyond the old thought, it may be considered by others as original – provided they understand and accept the thought, and don’t burn that person on a stake.

    • Burn that person at the stake! That sounds about it, Jo

    • That is exactly my theory, but I’m interested in others. Thanks for commenting.

  5. The human mind interprets new things by comparing them to old things. Whereas you might have an “original” thought it is no doubt connected in some way to old thoughts.

    • Indeed, you confirm my suspicions. Thanks for commenting.

  6. Sooooo this would be a revelation – right? Moses saw a burning bush? But it was something so different he could only relate it to a burning bush as a way of trying to communicate. That is why creative people go mad. If they have truly original thoughts they can’t fit into a world that will not relate to them.
    We did a subject like this in Philosophy – if I came here and told you an original thought – you would not understand it? Is this what you are getting at?
    Jo

    • I think it’s the other way around. Creative people are mad in the first place, or rather the thing that makes them go mad is the thing that made them creative.

      The Christian Bible stories rely on so many previous stories that I doubt any of it is anywhere close to original thought. The book of revelation might head in that direction, but even that I believe to be a copy of previously known apocrypha. That burning bush uses very sedate language and does not try to say more than a bush that was on fire but didn’t burn. They knew how to say bright light, beacon, and other descriptions… calling it fire was specific as to description.

      Yes, I would understand. This is the thing, if you are good at communicating you can communicate what are new ideas to people so that is not the barrier.
      When Einstein explained relativity it was a ‘new’ idea that many people even today have trouble understanding but he was able to make it understandable.

      The problem here is that we can’t think of anything outside of what we know or experience (either first hand or vicariously). Restated, all human thought is bounded by the physical reality of experience and held entirely within the brain. The brain cannot conceive of a thing it has no reference for, ergo all thought is modelled on how we understand existence to work. That model is based on the rules of how things work that we know about. Original thought is rare if it exists.

      This supports the idea that the holy texts of human religions are not original ideas, and they ARE human explanations for what humans experience, not revelation, or direction from outside of existence. Hence we have no description of heaven or hell that is not a product of our understanding of our existence.

      The communication issue is addressed with each new startling discovery. It seems we have enough language to explain a new thing based on what we know of old things. Saying that bible authors did not have the language is a cop out. Read other literature of the time, it’s beautifully eloquent. Sumerians were very capable. The extent of human knowledge was not hidden in archives as some think. Hindus walked on fire long before the Hebrews wrote. Such was common… fire tested everything and anything that resisted it was proof of something odd…. and on and on. The real reason that holy texts to not define or describe what has never been experienced is that they are created/made up by humans who have a problem thinking of anything that has not already been thought of in some way. Jesus walks on water but did not levitate. He healed the sick but did not regrow limbs. He calmed the waters but did not protect the crops. These limitations are imposed not because there is a god who acts weird, but because the stories are man made.

      • Have you ever had the experience of someone suddenly talking in another paradigm. I have had the experience of suddenly not being able to hear! Have you ever had that?
        Jo

        • What did you say?

          LOL

          I had the ‘different paradigm’ issue just today. That is not what I’m looking for in seeking an ‘original thought’ … the thought must be one that is not related to anything currently in experience, in previous experience (first person or vicariously) etc. That is to say it is something as yet unknown by anyone. It does not have to be revelation, it simply needs to be something that does not rely on previous knowledge in any way.

          • AHooY!!! Isaiiiid!!!!!!

  7. I see what you did there!

    • Hi John,
      I have just been over at your blog reading. This is all very interesting. I am not used to being able to find stimulating discussions like these online.
      However – isn’t this what we would mean by revelation. Revelations always seems to come to people in very stressful situations like prison sentences etc. So for example when an angel came and told Mary that she would be the mother of God and that she had conceived although a Virgin. It would have seemed off the wall.
      But I guess this is made from the concepts Mother and God.
      If it has been another thought unable to be related she couldn’t have told you. What I am saying is that I can have the thought – I just can’t tell you! Jo

      • Hi Jo! A common method to induce revelation is sleep deprivation and starvation… works wonders on the brain, literally 🙂

        But seriously, regarding revelation we have to look at solipsism to see if anything is actually “original.” I did a post on it, and as it’s Tuesday, my prescribed lazy day, I’ll just paste the appropriate section. What do you think?

        “There is however a test (perhaps the only one) which apologists can in fact turn to to rationalise their religion without necessarily also having to meet the traditional Burden of Proof demands which plague them from sunup to sundown every day. It’s a rather simple exam devised to establish the plausibility of solipsism which, by default, also serves to prove or disprove solipsism’s opposite number: delusion… a word saddled with religious belief due to the failures of apologetics. The same exam can however also be used to prove (to some acceptable degree) god, and for this reason all aspiring apologists should now listen very, very carefully. Now bear with me for a second. Solipsism, the idea that nothing outside your mind is real, contends that since your present experience is generated in your brain (based on inputs from your senses) and given your brain can generate the same experiences without the input from the senses (a dream or hallucination) then there is no guarantee that what you’re experiencing right now is real. That’s to say your reality could all be-self generated, meaning nothing but your mind actually exists. If we turn solipsism inside out we get delusion: an experience which a person believes is real but is in fact self-generated. Now thankfully for the purposes of brevity both solipsism and delusion can be ruled out using the same process: examine the experience and see if anything in it can not be from your own mind. A self-generated delusion (a pot plant talking to you, for example) cannot contain information you don’t already have because you are generating it. Reality on the other hand does contain things you don’t know, meaning it can’t be self-generated, and this pretty much puts a bullet between the eyes of solipsism.”

      • Jo, thanks for commenting and I’m glad you are enjoying the blog so far.

        You can tell us, if you have an original thought, start describing it for us. If it is conceivable in your mind, then it must be able to be shared. Nothing else in your mind is unable to be shared etc.

        Share, lets see if it is original.

        Thanks

  8. That said…. there is the possibility that the very first paleolithic burial with grave goods was an original idea. The act blew the human mind open as allowing the dead person to keep items (only useful to the living) meant someone had envisaged that (dead) person in a place where he could still use them. Life beyond the physical.

    • Well, it is possible that someone originally envisaged life beyond the physical, but I think that the antithesis of this mythical idea was in fact the original and shocking idea. What I am referring to is the idea that death is final, and that life is restricted to the physical. What ‘blew’ the human mind was the atheistic idea that we really do die completely. Just think about death: total nothing. Death may be the most unfathomable fact to accept.
      Besides. I suppose that the first contemplative primate, upon seeing one of his relatives trampled by a Mammoth, absolutely believed that his brethren continued existing, because absolute death was too unbearable a though.

      • Nice extension of the thought! I think you’re onto something there. It is too abhorrent to wrestle with so it’s like tripping a mental safety valve; the train of thought takes a different (imaginative) path.

        I just got my metaphors all fucked-up, but you know what i’m talking about.

      • I think that works for the first time you see death. After that, you already know they are not going to get up and walk back to the camp. I think the example you chose would cause confusion, not the belief that the dead continue to exist. A misunderstanding of why they stop moving might lead to some other thought, but it is likely that postmortem body effects caused this thought that the essence escaped to elsewhere. Escaping gases and body movement could leave one to think that the ‘essence’ has escaped. Expecting that the essence might come back could lead to burial to protect the body from predators. If that happened, they would need their belongings to survive.

        Modern chimps and other animals show mourning when they realize their companion is dead. Their brains are similar to what is expected for very early humans. Contemplating non-existence is probably not what went through their minds.

  9. I daresay we could find a connection, however, subtle, for any given “original” thought.

    But to construct something original within particular constraints is likely more simple.

    • Ever seen a puppy “see” itself in a mirror for the first time?

      • I saw my son catch a glimpse of himself in the mirror for the first time at 3 months. Though he still hasn’t recognized that it’s him.

        • It’s amazing, isn’t it.

        • BTW, Rautakky has answered you back on my post.

    • And simple is what evolution does well, but it doesn’t mind repeating itself many times.

  10. A person’s cognitive dive into atheism can surely be considered as an original process, (especially if this person is born into a religious family) even though people before have made the same dive. The originality is personal, because for one’s entire life, God has been attributed with every circumstance. God is seen as the cause of all past events; as the cause of birth, as the cause of an A math paper, and as the cause of Grandma’s untimely death, and therefore, the person, whom has seen and experienced life through the religious paradigm, by first criticizing their God, whom they had henceforth believed with out much doubt to be unquestionable, has set upon an original process of thought.

    • It may be new to them, but it is not original. Originality here is not personal. Remember, if evolution is true (and it is) then we were originally atheists. gods did not come along for quite a while.

      There are many original thought processes… it is an original thought that I’m looking for. Something which at it’s core is not influenced by prior experience or knowledge, or even current experience.

      • What about ?
        When a baby thinks ? for the first time there is nothing preceeding it?
        JO

        • You missed one of the qualifications: current experience is out of bounds. Every new thought of a human baby is ostensibly because of current experience and not outside all experience

          What I mean is that the original thought should not be of anything that we experience. Babies can’t communicate this to us, so that is not really useful.

      • Does the truth of evolution necessitate that ‘we’ were atheists at some point?
        Of course, since there is no theistic god, the universe itself is atheistic: but does this mean that every animal is atheistic without knowing or thinking either way?
        Cognitive science is showing how our very though processes are conducive to supernatural religious belief, and if this is the case: if the contemplative organism always harbored a notion of continuous life upon death, and anthropomorphic causes to every natural event (the two basic premises of any religion), then it would be safe to assume that atheism is original, even though it is in fact true. We are speaking about thought processes, correct? As a thought process, atheism is striking and new for both the thinking organism and the individual who has previously been under the religious spell…..Now, under the stipulations which you have presented, I do not believe that atheism is original, nor would any though be, considering the necessity of experience in forming and solidifying the reason. A new though process would be something which doesn’t contain any reason, and would therefore seem absurd and puerile. If this is a thinker’s call for help, then you should be asking for the clearest empirically based reasoning, if your goal is truth, and I have no doubt that it is.
        This post reminded me of Descartes’ journey to the core of his understanding. What he found was only the product of one more prejudice because he presumed without evidence that the ability to reason was somehow disconnected and unadulterated from experience.

        • Thanks for commenting. By definition, any being without belief in gods/supernatural is atheistic… whether they think about it or not.

          Science is showing that our thought processes are conducive to superstitious and wrong belief. It just happens that god belief is common. It is not that life harbors thoughts of life beyond death naturally. If you are implying that the first thoughts about death are that it was merely a transition I would beg to differ. The first thought about death is confusion. Animals show mourning which means they know it is final and the deceased is not coming back. God belief should inspire happiness at the transition but god botherers only grieve, never rejoice at the death of a loved one. This is clear indication that we humans know that when this life ends, it is final.

          By the definition of atheism, humanity began (as described with evolution theory) as atheists.

          A new thought process could be void of reason, but it is not a requirement. Bad reasoning is still reason. The point here is to understand that all our thoughts are based on previously gained knowledge except those that are original to existence on the whole. That is to say that we can’t easily think an original thought. This is due to the nature of how we learn to think… consider that for a moment. We learn to think. It is not innate or preprogrammed.

  11. I have the same feelings I had when I was a child and someone asked me to think of a color I had never seen.

    • Thanks for commenting.
      That too, is a good question.

  12. Original Thought: a pink homosexual who loves to copulate with married women is the supreme, eternal, and benevolent ruler of the humans who exist without technical support on the uninhabitable landscape of Sclero, which is a moon beside ours which does not exist. You, because you do exist, have to eat your excrement on December 33rd in homage of this divine magistrate, because you will be damned if you do.
    Have you ever heard such a though, well its true and you can not think otherwise because your empirically corrupted reason blinds you to the truth.

    • Except that you used common every day concepts and objects to create it… so not original. While it might be an original construction of known ideas, concepts, and objects… it is not original in the framework of the question.

      I give you +7 for originality though 😉

  13. The closest thing to an original thought not rooted in experience, perceptions etc is the idea of nothing. Every experience or memory involves something. The complete absence of all is probably the most disconnected from our experiences. Though one could challenge this notion on the basis that the idea of nothing starts with something then removes it. That people develop nothing by experiencing the removal of something then they apply that to all things which results in nothing.

    • Tracy, thanks for commenting. That is a very good point. I think it might be argued that conversations in recent years would negate this as an original thought, but at one point it was… clearly. A haunting and scary thought.

      One might also argue that it is perceptions and memory that instigate the thought of removing everything so there is nothing…. but it’s an interesting point that is worth more thought.

      • I definitely agree that the idea of nothing is not an open and shut case for an original thought disconnected from experience. I think it is the closest but really we are creatures built on experience so we can’t really separate ourselves from that.

        • Indeed. I think it a very important point to keep in mind as we figure out what consciousness and existence are.

          Thanks for commenting

    • I suspect we can’t have an original thought. Jo

      • I suspect this to be true as well in the context I gave. The point being that if there is some external part to us that makes up consciousness, it is unaware of anything outside of what our brains know… thus it is unnecessary to suppose there is something outside of our brains such as a soul or consciousness giving thing. All thought appears to be constrained to material things… despite some appearances. Further, deductively reasoned, there is no reason to think that consciousness comes from other than the brain, nor morality, nor thought, and so on. All the world that we know of is bounded by material things.

        • I think we all knew that this was a language game. I tend to believe Seigel The Neurobiology of We. There is always doubt though! I stop short of saying that there can’t be anything outside our conscious just because we can’t perceive it. Jo

          • It’s much safer IMO to simply say that all we know about is inside our conscious self/experience. Dreams seem to indicate that we are conscious even in sleep, but have shut off the inputs from our senses because dreams become part of our conscious experience. There is a machine between our ears and it is I.

            • OK Sound we have established that there is nothing original (thought or idea) and we know that last in first out. Where to? Are you taking us somewhere?
              Questions
              * why does modern man need to think he is original?
              *are you saying the specialisation has narrowed human vision in pockets?
              * are you saying something about healing?
              *are you asking something about external reality?
              Jo

              • It’s taking me a minute to relate the questions to things I’ve written, but perhaps this explains a bit more.

                The need for differentiation is strong and comes in the forms of being unique, orginal, different, first to accomplish something and so on. This drive gives us that ‘I’m special’ feeling of accomplishment. Some of us are good with just being special to one or two people while others want to be special to the entire world.

                As to narrowed human vision, I would not say that specialisation has done this, but culture certainly does, ideologies certainly do. The grand vision of visionaries and great thinkers were never bourne of any specialization per se but of grand inquisitiveness. If by specialisation you mean reduced focus and reduced inquisitiveness, I might agree with you on this.

                Healing? I’m lost on how this might relate.

                External reality and internal reality are the same in as much as the internal reality is only a poor reflection of the external one. A reflection that is good enough to execute the goals of life (eat, breathe, drink, procreate, sleep, repeat). Clearly without these steps done by many of our species, it will end.

                The original idea of this post was to find what original ideas are. We can barely think of any which qualify and these leave us with ‘nothing new under the sun’ thinking. If indeed consciousness is not an emergent property of the physical brain, why can’t the brain think of things it has not experienced or things which are not based on that which it has experienced?

                If all experience can be explained as function of the brain, then consciousness is fully a function of the brain. If the feeling of transcendence can be acquired without a god involved, then god is not required and it is not logical to insert god into the situation as explanation for transcendent feeling. Transcendent feeling then must be explainable by machinations of the brain.

                What I’m saying is that we are meat robots. Our brains are the sum total of what all our experience and consciousness are. This post idea and others are about explaining this from the various angles that we use to hypothesize our understanding of existing. This post is not the complete taco.

                But to summarize where I think the evidence will lead:
                We are meat machines, we have free will and free will is nothing more than the ability to choose.

                Because we think about thought with the very thing we think with this necessarily complicates the process of understanding. We do not experience thoughts as bits and bytes, but as things with feelings attached, almost as if they have separate identities from ourselves. Yet, the very thoughts we think IS what we are. Those thoughts are the result of efforts to solve the problem of modelling the external world inside our heads.

                • All I can say to that is YES! Thank you, Jo

                  • Well, that was easy. I have no idea what your blog is about, but I’m following now and will find out. Thanks for commenting and asking questions.

                    • Are I have a series of linked Blogs. One is about looking at how we think with children. I like Freire and Critical Literacy (which is where the healing comes in) Mu system is not up and fully running yet. here is a link to one of my articles http://suite101.com/article/creative-arts-develop-problem-solving-skills-a100952 I have yet to catalogue etc. I could see what you were doing. I like to try to apply it if I can, Jo

                    • I think that child developmental learning is an incredible wealth of information about how we think and why… a primary source of my own inquisitiveness. AI is what I seek but there are a lot of garden paths to travel first.

                      Getting people to think along with me is difficult so far. One stubbornly refuses to simply accept and pushes me to explain in grand detail where I can. In fact I owe him more yet. If there is something useful in what I write, feel free to use it.

                      Thanks for visiting …

      • I suspect you are correct, nothing is the best example I can come up with but it is not perfect by any means.

    • Argus
    • June 9th, 2013

    Oink?

    • You’ll have to check out the post I’m going to call What Is It To Think?

    • Argus
    • June 9th, 2013

    While I’m here—we had a game at school called “Try NOT to think of a polar bear” …

    … but everyone cheated.

    • That polar bear game sounds like pre-loading or some such name it’s been given. You can prime people to make decisions or so it sometimes appears. The act of exposing a person to certain images or actions can seem to effect their near term decision making… subliminal messaging as it were. But it relies on a sort of lack of governance by the individual to follow along merrily with random images.

      The thing is that it does not always work, so random images are not a controlling factor in decision making but we will use random images from our day in any way that seems convenient when it makes sense to.

      The best example of this ‘priming’ that I remember is that a team asked a couple of artists to help with an ad campaign (I think) and the team put pictures and objects all along their path to get to the meeting such that they ended up drawing a very similar image to the one predicted they would draw.

      This loaded up images in the artist’s brains that were available for use when looking for images that fit a description. This demonstrates a Last In – First Out buffer for memories… at least in short term memory. When you load the images then you can predict roughly how they might come back out in use by the brain. That might have been confusing.

      Your brain won’t go back to deep long term memory if it can find a memory that matches in short term memory. So you can try to set up a situation that brings out the short term memories you created to predict what that person will do. It’s a party trick. You can’t use this to convince people to steal or even successfully convince them to buy things.

      Sometimes it works, sometimes it does not. Either way it demonstrates the LIFO of short term memory and this is important when understanding brain function.

        • Argus
        • June 9th, 2013

        The beauty of religious programming is that you condition ‘reflexes’. Constant repetition is indeed hypnotic and witnesses indeed follow like lambs (to the slaughter).

        Every reference to God has to be preceded/followed by “the most compassionate, the most merciful” so after just a few repetitions the concept of big Al being ‘the most compassionate, the most merciful’ becomes accepted as fact.

        Every would-be mind-controller good at his job does it. I also like the idea of making them bang their heads against the ground five times a day, and so demonstrate (to the alert and vigilant) their absorption of the lessons.

        No religion wants thinkers—they want followers, financial supporters, power bases; and even better … wild-eyed genuine enthusiasts who will get out there and spread the Good Word (even better, enforce the Will of “gentle Jesus, meek and mild” or of “merciful Allah and the compassionate culture of the One true God (may peace be upon Him)”.

        Next question (don’t ask this in a mosque) — How many ‘one true’ Gods are there? How many unique and only paths to salvation? (Seventy-two houris, for all eternity, and all the booze I can guzzle? For all eternity? Wow … I’m thinkin’ about it).

        Perhaps the Islamists might yet take a leaf from the Mormon, and retrospectively save a long dead soul by accepting it into their own One True Faith?

        • I always wanted to hear a news story about the Mormon’s doing the post mortem baptism on muhammad because I think that would put everything in perspective for everyone…. the fucking morons meet the fucking mormons in a 24 hour news cycle perfect storm.

            • Argus
            • June 9th, 2013

            Oh Gods … why didn’t I think of that?

            The Mormons retroactively convert ol’ Mo to the Latter Day Saints, and that would—literally—solve everything; but even better if they can get in amongst the deceased Islamic big-wigs and do them at the same time. Do the lot in secrecy, then spring it on the world as a fait accompli.

            All the Islamics go to bed one night as Moslems and wake up next day as Mormons … I love it! (And they’ll feel right at home, there’s still Mormons with multi-wives).

            • Well, that was my thought at the time… AND Mecca moves to Missouri.

              Wives or not, all that praying early in the morning would just go away.

                • Argus
                • June 9th, 2013

                I love it. And when you find it plagiarised (by me) in the future please don’t feel offended if I forget to give you the credit … that, Sir, was a brilliant brush-stroke!

                • Why thank you!

  14. My original thought was “Everything you can imagine is real”. This original thought was also had by Pablo Picasso. Did I miss the point?

    • No, you ran smack into that problem of originality, just like everyone else did.

  15. Great question. At one time in the distant past, our dim pre/human brains reacted automatically to the environment. With the advent of consciousness humans began to imagine they could act purposely and have original ideas. Now we know better. Our reactions are still forced by instinct, hunger, danger or survival, and ideas are created in our minds before we are aware they exist. We still have unconscious and mysterious urges to express ourselves in song, art, behavior. These urges and reactions are not by volition. They are the result of our perception of our environment, and the interaction of brain cells. The neurons do all the work with no conscious input from us. We can reserve time for our neurons to do their jobs, but they will find their own time whether we give them any or not. Simply put, our brains (neurons) make decisions before we are conscious they have.

    Was the question about us or our neurons? Neurons can combine, confuse, manipulate, and exaggerate experiences which in turn can influence humans to alter their behavior and beliefs. This may be as close as we can come to an original idea.

    • If our brains are our neurons, how can you consider the two separate?

      Thanks for posting. Interesting angle so far.

  16. Addendum – In my last comment I basically tried to explain that we probably don’t have original thoughts, “we” meaning our conscious selves. Instead, our neurons swap electrochemical messages and make decisions for us. For example, we wake up in the morning with a solution to a problem we were unable to solve the previous day like remembering a name.

    After sleeping on my original comment I need to make some revisions.

    I did not remember we have “body-brains”. Our brains and their neural attachments from toe to finger to gonads all combine together and become a body-brain. The brain by itself is useless without its neuro-sensory hook up to the rest of our body.

    That being said, I now remember a New Scientist Magazine article, “Free will unleashed” by cognitive neuroscientist, Peter Uric Tse. Basically he claims that neurons don’t have dogmatic marching orders. Instead they change their functions and networking continually. They join and resign from networks like I switch TV channels.

    As Tse explains it: If we are planning what to serve at a dinner party, we must first set criteria. “All guests should enjoy the meal.” If one guest is vegetarian then we decide we cannot serve steak. A new criterion is adopted excluding meat: Spinach lasagna comes to mind because it will satisfy all dinner guests. External factors helped us design criteria and then our neurons search their memory banks and find spinach lasagna (if we did the search again we might have come up with spaghetti and veggie meatballs.) If we knew one of our guests did not like spinach we would have to set up a new criterion. Tse claims, “Your brain fully willed the outcome of spinach by setting up specific criteria in advance, then playing things out. Such internal deliberation is where the action is in free will, not in repetitive or automated motor acts.”… “This means our thoughts and actions are neither utterly random nor predetermined. This counters arguments that free will is an illusion.”

    Tse’s arguments seem convincing to my humble mind. We are not zombies acting without free will. All things were not predetermined with the first life on earth. Everything could have evolved differently by chance or by the volition of an animal with an advanced body-brain trying to survive. Some animals make good decisions and some make bad decisions. Our body-brain sets the criterion; it plays out events internally; it chooses what seems to be the best option at that time; it then acts upon that option. Tse finishes, “And it could have turned out otherwise.”

    So, it appears we can have original thoughts if we set criteria and then allow our brain circuits to do their thing.

    Thanks for starting the conversation.

    • WOW, that is effing awesome. I have to go research this Tse guy… you are explaining exactly what I think but in different perspective…. different view point of understanding.

      In my view, setting those goals is about modelling the world and making all the pieces work together to get an outcome that we desire. We change various bits that feed into the model to alter the outcome (food, arrangements, decor etc) to get a good party result. We seem exactly on the same page…

      WOW

      Thanks for commenting. This is what I’m trying to say but explaining it mechanically so that it is understandable. The thoughts and actions are not random… we choose from thought and action patterns we know to alter the model so that we can predict the outcome. It is NOT reactive BS. We plan, plot, and connive to get an outcome that we desire. That is exactly what thought is… planning and modelling the world around us to achieve a goal which is self determined.

      Thanks for commenting.

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