44 Followers
·
Follow

Goal: Effectively describe how losing my faith in free will has improved the quality of my lived experience.

Stretch goal: Convince you that internalizing the implications of there being no free will can relieve certain kinds of suffering.

Caveat: This only discusses negative emotions. I hope to write about related effects on positive emotions in a separate post.

Internalizing the illusory nature of free will has led me to a series of conclusions that have reshaped the final form my negative emotions take.


Scenario

  1. Technology has advanced such that a software developer can write code to make a robot feel as humans feel. (Plausible to imagine such a future, I think.)
  2. A software developer programs a robot to feel as humans feel — while at the same time programming it to murder her estranged husband.
  3. The robot kills its target.
  4. The software developer kills herself.
  5. Authorities catch the robot.

Questions

  1. Do we punish the robot? How?
  2. Is the robot any more or less culpable for its crime than any human criminal is for theirs? How?

Conclusions?

  1. Biological lives are also programs, so we deserve the same culpability as robots — none.
  2. Biological lives also have no free will.


Image for post
Image for post

Late last year my friend Mark asked if I considered constant rational thinking to be an ideal cognitive state. An unusual question to be sure, but it fit well in the context of our conversation. My answer was a quick yes, but by being pushed to explain myself in writing, I detected a better case for rational thinking. That is to say a motivation to think rationally better than the one that propelled me towards rational thinking previously. I’m aware there’s a nontrivial amount of guesswork in analyzing motivations, but it feels good to try nonetheless.

From as far back as I can remember, I’ve understood my support of rational thinking as something…

About

Nick

I like turtles

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store