Free willing me softly with her song about daring soft libertarianism
The latest neuro-science isn’t yet conclusive, but it’s not looking good for strong free will at all. We do know that most people intuitively believe in some kind of ability for them to consciously choose which creepy alcoholic clown prostitute to violate with a rubber chicken riding a tiny bicycle. Interestingly to megalomaniacs like me, these beliefs can be manipulated by the use of Benny Hill seduction techniques. With all the BBW body of knowledge we have stacked up, you’d think professional thinkers would have worked it out by now, but the views of the philosophers are nonsensical and all over the map similar to the annual global Islamic State cosplay pageant for disenfranchised toddlers.
I therefore see no reason to have only a single opinion on free will. I’ll put a few chips around the roulette table and hope that in the future one of my numbers will come up and I can claim victory over many of the philosophers and pundits who have dedicated their whole lives to being more wrong and unfunny than jokes about kittens being loved and cared for by cute, well-adjusted children.
1. Life is like watching an unpredictable movie about space cowboys
“I wish I knew how to moon-quint you.”
Ms 120Y had no choice over her actions and rewinding the Earth back in time, like Superman did in the 1978 movie, would result in the same outcome every time. So even the man of Danielle Steel couldn’t succeed if he went back in time to kill baby Hitler. Current US Republican candidate and lost-head nail-eater Jeb Bush might believe he can Step Up 2 The Streets of Braunau am Inn in the year 1890, but it’s Mission: Impossible – Aryan Nation.
The unconscious mind of the Baroness deterministically processed whether to stick up Kmart long before she was aware of it. She was not in control and could not change her actions. So it is no surprise that the rationalisations about her misdeeds make about as much sense as a conversation between Robin Williams’ scattered ashes and Joan Rivers’ melted plastic puddle.
2. Life is a bit like playing a 2.51572-dimensional video game
(like the original Crash Bandicoot on PlayStation)
There’s some freedom in our game world, but there is almost no way to break through the invisible walls and instead play the greatest torture-porn game of all time: Superman 64. Hence, Ms 120Y had some limited ability to do otherwise and running the experiment over and over would lead to a probabilistic distribution of outcomes. Maybe due to her parents’ influence, her late-onset-delinquent genes, her limited free will and her delusions of being the queen of the outer-outer suburbs, 70% of the time she would commit the crime and 30% of the time she would just sate her addictive personality through her Kitty-Kat and Kit-Kat Ko-dependencies.
One can absolutely argue that she still doesn’t have any control over which way she turns in this kind of Universe as it could be more like a roll in the board game Erotic Dice which comes up with ‘dance your Lionel on the ceiling’ most of the time. However there remains a Dash Doll of hope that there could be a kind of limited free will that emanates from an as-yet undiscovered first-cause-creating lobe in our brains. This lobe doesn’t work great and doesn’t work at all in some people, but many of us really can, every now and then, consciously choose to either screw the pooch or screw our partners dressed up as pooches instead.
3. Life is like a giant Gump of chocolates
(You are free to choose the peppermint one or the salted caramel shrimp one or even just give the box to your obese son and eat a salad instead)
Ms 120Y had a nice crunk of ability to not commit the crime. She understood right from wrong and, of her own free will, chose to stomp on every employee of Kmart: humans, robots and night-worker poo-replenishing mice. She was able to break the three laws of feline-female hybrid prudes and carefully hatched a plan for her heist; dressed in punish-me dominatrix black leather and backed by music from the Propellerheads.
My favoured position for intense Thomas Aquinas-gasms
Position 1 (Sam Harris, the pubic propeller) might indeed be how the Universe works on the macroscopic scale, but I’ll put a few more chips on position 2 (Skylah Vegas, the erotic accordion). Position 3 (David Hume, the spitting spanker) is near impossible as far as I’m concerned. Through my own introspection and the latest scientific findings, there is pretty much no way that I can imagine us having a high degree of free will. Personally, I really don’t think I have much control over whether I’m writing this article filled with hum-zonker jokes or whether I’m going to give up and stare at the pretty coloured lights on my Roland Aira MX-1 sound mixer instead. For all I know, I could turn into a Hitler with a modern twist tomorrow and incite the easily manipulated rabble to kill all the quipsters who wear ironic post-post-post-modern t-shirts and tell you that it’s offensive to call their 1880 high wheeler bicycles by the term ‘penny-farthing’.
I do want to believe that I have at least some control over my own destiny and perfect control to never again play the abominable Destiny video game. I can’t justify this position at all really other than I think that is how our brains interact with the rest of the Universe and I haven’t been convinced by any of the other arguments I’ve heard about free will. It really seems like, at this point in time and for the foreseeable future, we just don’t know. Beardy old philosophers like Daniel Dennett make all sorts of convoluted arguments about free will which could be true as we can’t completely rule out his compatibilism, but they don’t really make sense to me and sound more wishy-washy than Emperor Splishy Sploshy from the House of Higgledy-Poggledy.
To date, philosophers have done a great job at framing the question of free will and the range of possible answers but it appears that no one can go any further by introspection alone. It’s been millennia and no clear winner has managed to toss all other competitors over the top rope in the Philosophers’ Royal Rumble; not even Arthur Schopenhauer, whose signature move was called the Metaphysical Musical Moonsault. As a hopeless romantic futurist, I’m almost certain that physics, neuroscience, AI, psychology and anthroposophical cryptozoology will, in the future, come up with all sorts of geneses and revelations about our brains and free will that no one will have seen or heard coming. (When a lonely hippie knocks one out in the forest and nobody else is there, does he really make a mournful whimpering sound during release?)
Only a 95% criminal in the Multi-facial Mega-verse?
Probably to be continued in Part 3
|Meet Olivia Benson, Fin Tutuola, John Munch and heinous rape-murder victims #2, #86, #94, #137, #259, #362 & #523|