Tag Archives: Free Will

Haibun for Tristan

I’m enjoying our back and forth sharing of thoughts, Tristan. The process of focused discussion in itself seems to me to be analogous with processing of the iterative complex function. I find the use of math formulae and functions in general useful for generating new output, but visualising a Mandelbrot set in particular is useful for reminding myself to stick to the point under test at least until it goes beyond 2 (absolute)!

I’m not sure what the (!) does to the value of that last paragraph, Tristan. I suspect the correct answer should have a place in any equation for ‘Folly’!


since, one only needs to try reading any highly popular comment thread to see the necessity for it (regardless of the aesthetics of it). “[T]here are n! ways to arrange n distinct objects into a sequence”.

The need for distinctions are essential. There are no hard and fast rules (including that one (and this one)). But I still like to construct arguments that some one would make time for. Thank you.

Premise 1: “the best writers of sci-fi or fantasy or horror were doing it with a full awareness and working knowledge of the tradition in which they write”

Premise 2: to be announced

Conclusion: all their writing is done ironically

So, where should one start. Discover and affirm Premise 2, deny Premise 1 (with exemplars), or define what it means to write ‘ironically’?

I will readily admit that I don’t have a clear understanding of what it means to write ironically. I’m inclined to start searching there, but then I’d be further inclined to refer to the etymology


which is ironic. Yes?

I’ve read Sam Harris’s ‘Free Will’ superficially. I’ve studied the references he offers at the end and I think he might either be writing etymologically ironically or just doing his best to keep the argument for his position brief. It’s hard to tell one way or the other, since he acknowledges a philosophical opponent in Daniel C. Dennett on the one hand then recognises him as a friend.

I’ve been watching Leonard Susskind on Youtube occasionally trying to draw the third dimension on a blackboard for his mature-aged physics students (I’ve been watching occasionally. He’s been occasionally trying to draw it). He struggles, in an entertaining way, to demonstrate it. The solution seems simple to me, and carries all the ‘traditional’ syllabic weight of a Japanese Haiku into its place.

y is vertical
let x be horizontal
blackboard’s a pegboard

Earlier this day I had produced what I fairly and confidently thought would be my last post in the form of a header.

Sorry We're Closed

Sorry We’re Closed

I changed my mind.

An open invitation to Sam Harris and other like-minded people

I say “Free Will” is a natural progression from the unconscious tendency to avoid feeling pain to the conscious decision to risk feeling pain. That’s why I’ve just decided that mine are the eyes I’d willingly donate to cognitive neuroscience, since for the kind of free will (that most people are sometimes said to cherish) to be shown to be real (to the so-called hard determinist) it will need to be shown that imagining what it is like to have needles poked in your eyes for the sake of some kind of musical interpretation or another ought to have been good enough proof of the kind of free will that most people have sometimes been said to have cherished in the first place.

In other words, Sam (and the like), all I’m saying is… this is an offer for a live tissue donation. I’ll organise all the recording techniques and the staff. All you have to do is poke the needles in my eyes and try to keep a straight face while you’re asking me if it’s hurting.

References cited:


On the future of Cognitive Neuroscience: Read my lips

“Free will may, as you say, well be an illusion among the events that a person is asked to perform a choice accordingly with a given set of rules such as flick or flex your wrist and do just one or the other when you wish to now let’s put these probes on here and watch this special stopwatch and cc me within 40 ms of your wish to flex or flick… GO!”, he agreed before smacking his forehead and poking out his tongue.