Penetrating the Mysteries of Free Will and Being Human

Warren Kinston 17. February 2013 15:00

The elements in being human are still mysterious for many.  

free will and being human

I guess that if you ask most people to identify human elements, they will wonder what you are talking about.  You will say: "just name those things that enable you to be human, that mean that you are human and not a machine or a plant or just another animal".  They will want examples.  You refuse.  They squirm, struggle and hazard some guesses: "Is it language then?" or "making tools?" or "laughing?" or "civilization?" 

Why is being human so strange?

If you want to show them some long lists of human elements, send them to this webpage.  Suddenly, they will see that it's not so mysterious after all.  It's rather ordinary.  It turns out that almost anything and everything we do is part of being human.  What most scientists study—the beating of our heart, the transmission of chemicals at nerve synapses, the laboratory response to forced choices—all this has nothing to do with being human.  However, doing such investigations, valuing the efforts, arguing over the findings, all this is indeed quintessentially human.  And that is so even if that supposed knowledge is all wrong or misconceived.  To err is human.  So is to forgive.

What about free will?  Is it mysterious?  Does it have elements too—that is to say, is it recognizable within THEE, the taxonomy of human elements?  

I regarded «free will» as one of those bugbears that keep philosophers off the streets and out of trouble.  I just took it for granted as a natural assumption.  In modern times, it has become a wonderful punchbag for neuroscience and cognitive science.  Investigators delight in telling everyone that free will is an illusion.  I wonder if their genes forced them to tell us this?  Or was it their upbringing that meant they had no option but to do those studies and inform everyone?  I get it: they have free will and can make reasoned judgements, but the rest of us don't and can't.  

In THEE, «will» is the fons et origo, the assumptive base for all elements that must be classified, the entity from which our creative potentials emanate.  What about the «freedom» part?  Well freedom is referred to in the Root Complex in various ways because it is the basis for creativity.  As we act, inquire, change, experience, communicate, intend and are willing, unless we have some autonomy, some personal option, in these matters (whatever the inevitable constraints), then we cannot be creative.  That seems pretty clear.

But where does that autonomy/freedom come from?  I'm currently investigating the 7th Root Level: Willingness.  How does being willing manifest?  As usual, there are the 7 hierarchical levels of being willing.  Each can operate independently.  For example, we can willingly join-L4 a group or situation; and we can willingly learn-L6 something.  In fact, if we do not learn willingly, can we learn at all?  If we do not join in willingly, in what sense are we joining?  This is slowly sorting itself out as I clarify their properties, dualities and relationships.  The nested Principal Typology within learning-L6 is about becoming more effective (PH'7).  Its components offer some support for the primary elements that I have provisionally identified.

But stronger validation always comes from the structural hierarchy.  The adjacent elements in the primary hierarchy have to be combined in twos, threes, fours, fives, sixes and a seven. The result is to generate 7+6+5+4+3+2+1 = 28 further willingness-based entities.  Each of these groups of elements must be something immediately recognizable and relevant to the willingness dimensions of being human.  Although working it out is not easy, the slow steps to success are gratifying.

Over the past week, I sense that I have got to the first stage of clarification.  What do you know?  It looks like these structural entities may be the essential elements of free-will.  For example, I located that staple of all free-will debates: «choosing» (a dyad).  «Choice» is referred to in so many other parts of the taxonomy, but it never had a home and formula before.  But there are 27 other elements!  You regularly activate these other 27 elements (whether or not you know about them or believe in them)—after all, they are the basis for thriving on life.  

One of these elements that deserves more attention is «fighting» (a pentad).  Where are the leading scientists willing to fight for human freedom?  Google it for yourself: they're just not willing. Pitting themselves against philosophers is a cheat.  It is evident that I'm not the only scientific voice willing to fight against naive reductionism and assert our trans-animal trans-biological existence.  But we are few.

So there you are: the «freedom» in «free will» is about our inner state of willingness-RL7, and the elements of «free will» are found in one of its frameworks.

It makes sense.  

But who would've thought it?



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Warren Kinston is the creator of the THEE-Online website as an open forum for the further discovery and development of THEE. He writes this blog as an escape valve for the excitement and frustrations of the work. More info here.

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