Monday, August 18, 2008

Do subatomic particles have free will?

Human free will might seem like the squishiest of philosophical subjects, way beyond the realm of mathematical demonstration. But two highly regarded Princeton mathematicians, John Conway and Simon Kochen, claim to have proven that if humans have even the tiniest amount of free will, then atoms themselves must also behave unpredictably.

1 comment:

intense, as the joker of quantum consciousness, said...

Do humans have free will? Is the universe itself a form of living, self-aware collective consciousness? Are there sub-quarkian entities, of which we may be composed, that have "free will," as at least a potentiality, and which if understood as such, could be either activated or exercised by such realization, in turn by each of us, or collectively?

Well, the answer to those questions are, each, yes, no, maybe, and/or unknown. Perhaps, via belief in same, if actual in some form, you may, if you want to, exercise whatever aspect of "free will" which is possibly inherent. Or not.

Hard to say...since no one really knows, either way, despite a paper speculating on same by a pair of talented, insightful mathematicians.

But, perhaps we need act as if we do, and more so, as a beneficial process of responsibility to ourselves, and others, as opposed to, say, a superficial belief, faith, or presumption based on the tenets of mainstream, and other, forms of religion, while maintaining the understanding it may be just a different form of self-delusion, but more in a secular humanist modality, while still investigating and exploring these great questions of the unknown. Spiritual "unbelief?"

In a sense, to what ever degree we may choose to conceive of, engage, and exercise some actual capacity (or at least versimilitude thereof), or "belief" in same, we do have "free will." Unless you don't think so, thus precluding same, which is easier to believe as a basis for certain moral, ethical, and intellectual decision-making, or lack thereof.

The lack of belief, in lieu of fact or proof, and remaining agnosticism in view of same, neither an atheist nor believer in current, accepted systems of belief, but seeking your own, is difficult, but worth the effort, if one can perceive that. Which I guess is a form of belief, also, in a way.

But, it would seem, new ideas and actions may be required, rather than reliance on "the old ways." "Oldthought" hasn't been working out real well, on our little sphere, you may have noticed lately.

I choose to accept the concept of self-responsibility myself, although it is sometimes difficult to maintain consciousness of, and act appropriately upon. OTOH, the speculation that all forms of energy, and/or wave~particulate existence, and thus matter, including ourselves, may just be more complexly organized forms within the metaverse at large, and that may have some form of potentiality, or narrowly-defined form of free will, while still being "in on the joke," then allows humans and all other aspects of the universe, or "others," of our cosmic neighborhood to entertain and act on the notion of free will--a kind of positive feedback loop, maybe, of sorts.

At the very least, humans are an example of some long-term evolved aspects of the local universe that, via self-reflective consciousness and our relative higher level of intelligence, say compared to rocks, functions as at least one part of the universe that is both conscious and alive to the degree that we may be just one of a potentially vast multitude of other "eyes and ears" (or "minds") within the local universe that gets to, figuratively and literally, take "a look around," and consider and explore the wonder of it all, if that doesn't sound too "new agey," I hope. And that is profoundly amazing enough, but also just a start to what still might be tranformatively possible, even now, as far as humanity's future sustainability and evolutionary progress is concerned.

Regardless, as to what may be, in terms of free will, aspects of our consciousness and relative intelligence were somehow synthesized and evolved through various processes of energy and matter formation over perhaps 13 billion years, and so we is what we is, ain't we? And I think that's, all things considered, a pretty cool thing. At least I'm not a rock, so we must roll.

I yam what I yam, to paraphrase the great Popeye, sailor man (and philosopher king). 8^}

And we better start using whatever it is we do got, to put it colloquially, before it's too late, if it isn't already. As always, our time, as it unfolds, will tell. And as somewhat pragmatically pessimistic as I often find myself, however, based on history, the future is still unwritten.

That moving hand over there, writing on the wall? Well, we have yet to be able to clearly read it--that big, fat hand holding that ginormous pen is still rapidly scribbling, and in the way of our line of sight, for most. But the writing is rapidly appearing, and it may not be what people either want, or expect. Fight for, and rewrite, the assumed future...for survival.

I'm so glad to have had this opportunity to help clarify and provide nebulous answers to these immense philosophical questions of existence... but I'll leave these mind drippings there, for now, as I think I'd like a pedantic veggie cheeseburger right about now... (I know I've had more than enough coffee, man...) Ummm... Yummy! Oh, jeez--what if it's "alive"? 8^}

P.S.--As the ledger of heath(ens?) said recently in a last role upon the stage, and jokingingly, "why so serious?" Ha! I'm not Batman! Nor, the Joker. Perhaps a hybrid? No, just another irregular guy, trying to muddle through the samsara as best I can. Later…

"When the world is running down, you make the best of what's still around..." --the Police