Some more of my thoughts on the nature of Free Will

This is just getting rediculous.

It really is complex.

Perhaps if we ignore the mechanisms, and just look at the higher level concepts for a bit, it may help.

What can freedom mean?

Biology tells us that we are very complex entities.
Every level of that complexity has boundaries that must be maintained in order for that form to exist.

So the form that we are has a necessary minimum set of boundaries, in any particular context, even if we are never quite sure what all of them are, some of them are reasonably obvious – like enough air to breath, water to drink, a range of temperature we can survive in, security from predators and parasites and diseases, social relationships, etc.

Some are much more subtle, like the impact of particular classes of biochemical molecules present in different sorts of foods.

Most such boundaries are not simple binaries, but complex gradients, that we can push out of zone for various periods and still recover.
How far we can push them and for how long, before something seriously life threatening happens is a very interesting question; and at some level seems to be very much a part of what freedom might involve for entities like ourselves.

So if we absolutely require levels of structure and boundary for survival, what can freedom be?

It cannot be a loss of the boundary and form required for survival, that isn’t freedom, it is death.

Freedom, if it is to be meaningful in the context of a value hierarchy of individual life followed by individual liberty, must respect the boundaries necessary for life – all of them, all levels.

Evolution at base is even harsher – it lives or it dies.
In largish populations, things with a high survival value in very rare contexts, and a low cost at other times, can survive hundreds of generations between the events that deliver that huge advantage.

In that sort of context, what might freedom be?

In asking that question, it is important to consider the sorts of systems that are present in our subconscious structures, and sorts of contexts and evolutionary pressures that are probably responsible for their being there.

That could be a very large discussion, a graduate degree in animal behaviour and psychology, and at the broadest conceptual level, it is a set of information and decision making systems selected in response to the strategic contexts present.

Some of those strategic contests involved various levels of ritualised and actual combat tournaments for mating privileges. The systems involved in such risk/reward decision making need to be hidden – for a variety of strategic reasons.

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) - see www.tedhowardnz.com/money
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