Archive for the ‘Free Will’ Category

Why People Like To Kill People; Consequences

March 27, 2015

There are many reasons why people like to kill people: greed, anxiety, misperceptions, pain etc., are common. Here I shall focus on a particular reason. A 27 year old German co-pilot locked himself in the cockpit, and while the captain pounded on the door, flew himself and another 149 persons, including tens of babies and children, into a cliff at the base of a mountain that towered another 1,500 meters higher.

Insanely enough, the murderous maniac may have view it as an act of love. Dying among those mountains he knew well, and loved. The area may be the most famous in the world for glider pilots: enormous mountains with a warm sun create tremendous updraft. The valleys are full of airports. Wingsuit flying was invented there.

Typical Valley of Hautes Alpes & Provence. Most Are Wild

Typical Valley of Hautes Alpes & Provence. Most Are Wild

This is not the first time a plane is crashed deliberately by a pilot. At least a dozen cases are known, or suspected, in the last few decades. Some of these planes carried more than 200 people.

Conventional humanism has no answer.

I do. And the consequences are not just vast, but ominous. They plead for direct democracy.

Some will say: ’Why to care about insane maniacs crashing planes? Stuff happens.’

Well, you know, we are living on a spaceship. Spaceship Earth. And, potentially, a handful of self-glorifying and glorified maniacs are in the cockpit. Think about it. I will show that, what looks like maniacal, and it is, such maniacal behavior is an all too normal part of human ethology.

We are all flying through space, we have forgotten it all too long.

Flying is the human metaphor.

Since Icarus, flying has been an obsession, and it is closely related, in the subconscious collective, with hubris going too far. “Air disasters” thus loom large.

But there is more. Human beings are technological, scientific beings. We can fly only because we have great mastery of technology. Science, technology are, to an ever greater extent a near-Faustian bargain; we get comfort, grow and multiply, and travel all over. In exchange, we destroy the biosphere.

A co-pilot of Egyptair succeeded to crash a jumbo jet into the ocean, while the captain was fighting next to him to pull up the plane, begging the “god is great” screaming insane maniac in the other seat to help him out.

Is it not our fate nowadays? Are we not all passengers on spaceship Earth, at the mercy of megalomaniacal, deluded maniacs in the cockpit?

So why all the murderous hatred from the maniacs?

Those who don’t believe in mass murderous insanity are invited to contemplate the lynching of a 27 year old Afghan woman. Allegedly for burning a book… Then she was burned herself, to a crisp. The accuser recognized later he made the book burning up. Oops. Back in New York, the Afghan president ironically pretended that Afghanistan would have a woman president before the USA. I guess it’s supposed to be all very funny.

For the lynching:

So why the hatred from the maniacs? Why so many maniacs?

Because human beings are all a bit prone to insanity, and murderous rage. No offense meant, just a crucial observation carried out. Yes, I am aware that woe is to be visited onto the one who calls attention to that scandal whose name is man.

And the craziness of man is not just a scandal: it demands to reorganize human society. A commenter on this site, Duviel, suggested that I played with fire. According to him, by being too critical with the present human society, I risked to turn the USA, or Europe, into Syria, Libya, or Afghanistan.

Thus he suggested that the collective mental state is so very fragile, than a few words would lead civilization to savagery. Why so fragile?

Human beings are born as babies who depend upon love for survival and creation of their minds. However, when full grown, human beings discover that the greatest danger to them is other men.

This has been like that for two million years, about 100,000 generations, plenty of time to anchor behavioral change genetically, and epigenetically.

So man is all about love, first, and then quite a bit about hatred to. How is the mix allocated? Well, one can just look at epigenetics: it is a control system that varies the activation, or des-activation of genes, according to circumstances.

A great progress in Evolution Theory in recent years is that one has demonstrated, theoretically, and experimentally, that genetic behavior, implementation and even inheritance depends, to sometimes a great extent, upon the environment. (Lamarck was right all along!)

One can only guess that it is the same for character and personalities themselves: they depend upon the environment. From full love to full hatred. In the case of fishes, the epigenetic transformation can change a female into a male, and then, maybe even a super-male.

What triggers this? A change in the environment. The absence of males.

It is the same in humans. For two million years, at least, having too many people around was a death sentence. For the species. So the species comes equipped with a meta-ecological control system; the WILL TO EXTERMINATION.

Nietzsche did not think of that one: he only spoke of the Will To Power.

De Sade, the “Divine Marquis” was sharper. De Sade, one of the engineers of the Revolution of 1789, found himself in a leadership position during the Revolution. He warned his colleagues not to try to expand the Revolution by force. He said it would backfire.

Why? Because De Sade knew well how the Dark Side of man worked: it is always looking for excuses to get rolling.

The WILL TO EXTERMINATION just finds excuses to get rolling.

In the case of this 27 year old pilot, whatever demons rambled in his head led him to deliberately lock that door, push the manual override to prevent its unlocking, remove the automatic pilot, set the Airbus on a descent, ignore all the calls from Air Traffic control, and other planes, the pounding on the door, and the ground proximity alarms. He suffered, and human ethology told him it was other people’s fault. They had to be exterminated.

This is not different from the Nazis’ main reasoning (I am not saying Nazism was in any sense conducive to this particular maniac’s behavior; there are hints that the mysterious disappearance of that Malaysian jumbo over the Indian airline was also a suicide: who set the Automatic Pilot to fly towards Antarctica?)

The Nazis (and most Germans, then) suffered, and they wanted to exterminate (the fact that the absence of Revolution in Germany was the cause of their suffering did not escape Hitler, and most Germans; they just went for the wrong type of Revolution).

Conclusion for today’s world:

We, the World, are led by very few people. 2,000 people or so, have unimaginable powers in their hands. Many of them are ignorant twerps, like this 27 year old dissimulating pilot (a doctor had ordered him to stop working; he tore up the order). Putin’s weird, mass criminal behavior is a case in point.

Nuclear weapons are an extreme danger. So much power in such small devices.

However, so are those leaders we have: so much power, in such small minds.

One has to take measures to reduce the powers of the few. It should be civilization mission number one.

Seven billion led by a few people, each of them harboring, deep inside, the fundamental human insanity of rage supreme, is not a sustainable proposition.

Too much power led by too little intelligence is flying us into a cliff.

Patrice Ayme’

 

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Why God Is Evil

March 24, 2015

The Victorian philosopher and mathematician W. K. Clifford’s following admonition is at the core of the moral call of the “New Atheists”, a few mini philosophers who make the Anglo-American divine plutocratic order tremble: “It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence.”

An academic philosopher appropriately called “Ruse” concludes his article “Why God Is A Moral Issue” with: “[Clifford’s] universal claim may be too strong. But too often religious believers seem oblivious to Clifford’s admonition and accept things with way too little evidence. That I much suspect is what motivates the New Atheists and in fact expresses the deepest and most powerful moral objection to theism.”

Difference Between Us & Grizzlies? Not Much Greater Love, But Much Greater Smarts.

Difference Between Us & Grizzlies? Not Much Greater Love, But Much Greater Smarts.

[Smarts is what religions kill, and humanity with it, as I will pound below.]

Clifford was a great mathematician. He pushed further the idea of Riemann that force and curvature are roughly the same (this is the core intuition in the Theory of Gravitation commonly attributed to Einstein).

I agree with Clifford, sort of, but I am going to go much further.

Is it wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence?

Sure. However, it is unavoidable. And this is not really the problem with “isms” such as Christianism and Islamism.

The distinction between guessing and believing is, in general, not too clear, and insufficient evidence is more frequent that certainty (that’s called science).

But clearly believing something important with insufficient evidence can be a maximum moral wrong, when it is about life and death of entire populations.

What Superstition Based Religions Kill.

Some religions have actually orders, in their sacred texts, not just to tax, or punish, but even to kill various “unbelievers” if they are “culprit” of some behaviors. This is all over the Qur’an, as I generously documented in “Violence In The Holy Qur’an“. Yet the Qur’an was following the Old Testament by  11 centuries, and the new one (where Christ also recommends to kill unbelievers) by 6 centuries or so.

The nature and consequences of the evidence supporting a “belief” is of the utmost importance. If one believes that jumping from the fourth floor will have adverse consequences, it’s good, especially for passerby.

Yet, precisely, some religions have been organized so as to make one believe completely incredible feats (one son of god walked on water, came back from the dead, another “messenger” flew on the back of a winged horse from Mecca to Jerusalem, etc.).

These unbelievable details are not there by accident. They are there to dull the sense of critique people learn to exert in early childhood.

Learning to believe in unbelievable, absurd details is a preparation for the ultimate sin:

“It is the highest criminality always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything potentially capable of oppressing, exploiting, stealing, abusing, invading, threatening, torturing and killing millions for insufficient or flimsy reasons.”

Seven Jewish children just died in New York. It was Shabbat, a sort of Jewish sorcery day. The order then, from the god of the Jews, is that no work ought to be done. Including turning off the hot plate. So the hot plate, or god, whatever, set the house on fire. God is great! Alleluia!

(This sort, of we-shall-do-nothing, Inch Allah (god wills it), dieu-le-veut, led to millions killed, the latest major example in sight being the holocaust of the Jews at the hands of the Nazis: Jews did not resist as much as they could have, but, instead, the “Judenraten” collaborated with Hitler. The simplest way to stop Hitler was just to tell all Germans what the Nazis were truly doing, assassinating the Jews, and add that they were all responsible, and would be punished accordingly. That could have been done with little pieces of paper dropped from planes at the same time as the bombs.)

Both Islam and Christianity have in their sacred texts, “verses of the sword” where holly script recommend to “kill unbelievers”. (Yes, as already said many times, Christ too; one good enough reason for crucifixion!)

Once one has become so morally inferior as to be ready to do such terrible things to millions, for so little cause, one is ready for even much worse.

Religions based on knowing god, and giving their followers deadly recommendations on how to deal with “unbelievers” incite human beings to the ultimate inhumanity.

Not just because of the potential, theoretical, experimental, and historical mayhem they are prone to.

How could one do something worse than being willing to kill millions for little cause?

Not simply by transforming human beings into vicious human beings. But into even worse creatures.

How could that be?

It is as monstrous as it gets. What is the definition of the human species? Intelligence.

What does dulling human beings’ sense of critique to the point that one would kill for a drawing, or for looking at ancient art, or listening to music?

It is very simple: religions that extreme in light of the lethal consequences their beliefs may bring, makes human beings into stupid beasts.

In case you don’t believe me, look at Abraham tying up his son, so he can stab him.

See my “Follies That Bind.” Where you can see the great Judeo-Christiano-Muslim hero stabbing a child. (Hey, His boSS told him to! You know, you should always obey the boss, both the Qur’an, S 4, v 59, and its parrot, Hitler, said so.)

So Abraham stabs children, and Christians lick his toes. Precisely because he stabs children. Then Catholics and other mentality untalented sinkers, claim to be surprised that priests rape children and the like. Well, but, of course! Those good Judeo-Christo-Islamists are following Abraham, the most cruel, and thus adored beast in the known universe!

And that, willful beastly stupidity of the most criminal type, is the ultimate sin, because it is the ultimate denial of morality.

This is no coincidence: both Christianism and Islamism have been imposed by war chiefs (Constantine, Jovian, Theodosius and other emperors for Christianism; Muhammad and the four initial Caliphs). They had a vested interest to make the people they ruled over credulous, immoral, subdued, and not smart.

They were highly successful.

And this is why American plutocracy reintroduced god massively to the USA in the 1930s (as even the New York Times recently explained), and why then it made a pact with Ibn Saud to push the ideology of Islamism in the Middle East, in 1945 (See the “Great Bitter Lake Conspiracy“).

Not that this was an accident: the USA made deals with Egypt “Muslim Brotherhood” in the late 1940s, and Khomeini’s Shiites in Iran in 1953, to organize a coup against Parliamentary Democracy (and then proceeded to back stab both of them, of course). Same in Pakistan.

You reap what you sowed. Plutocracy sowed superstitious religion and stupidity, it is reaping the best plutocracy in a century. What could go wrong, when wrong has been defined as good, and, even, divine?

If it is good to kill your son, as Abraham and his robotic followers claim, how could things ever get worse? How dumber can one get?

Patrice Ayme’

Three Neurons, Free Will

March 15, 2015

Modern Slaves Are Predictable, Free Worms Are Not:

Enough of these sad songs about how plutocracy, stupidity, cowardice and greed rule! Worms are smart, and willful! Yes, even worms have Free Will. Too bad for those who thought god controlled everything. Too bad for those who thought animals were machines. Too bad for those controlled by a decerebrating media: they are predictable, whereas worms are not.

That worms have free will is what a study led by Cori Bargmann shows. She is, among other titles, Torsten N. Wiesel Professor, head of the Lulu and Anthony Wang Laboratory of Neural Circuits and Behavior at Rockefeller University (Americans love complicated titles, they aspire to aristocracy; Wiesel a Swedish neurologist, got the Nobel, and was president of Rockefeller).

Brainy Blonde Cori Bargmann “Think Like A Worm”

Brainy Blonde Cori Bargmann “Think Like A Worm”

Researchers can genetically engineered just two, or three neurons in the worm’s head to glow bright green if those neurons respond.

Each neuron in the worm’s brain is assigned a three letter name. By zapping specific neurons with a laser beam, the neuron’s role is deduced from whatever function the worm lost.

So doing, working through the 302 neurons of Caenorhabditis elegans, Cornelia Bargmann discovered that just one neuron control worm hibernation and that worms have a sense of smell, and taste.

In 2011, Bargmann was asked what would be required to understand the worm’s nervous system fully. “You would want to understand a behavior all the way through, and then how the behavior can change. That goal is not unattainable.”

Well, in the end, I believe the behavior of neurons will be found to boil down to Quantum, or even SUB-Quantum physics. So, in the end, there will be no full understanding, just good guesses.

This is indeed what Bargmann discovered in 2015 points towards.

[See below much of the press release from Rockefeller. Also a 2011 NYT’s article on Bargmann’s lab, “In Tiny Worm, Unlocking Secrets of the Brain” may help.]

***

FREE WILL WORM GNAWING OLD PHILOSOPHY:

First, let me philosophize on this recent scientific discovery, which is bound to shatter many old illusions. Philosophy means guess further, or observe, what it all means, or could mean.

Saint Bernard made a rather enlightened observation: “the animal spirit or soul is limited by time – it dies with the body.” Descartes, five centuries later, advanced the grotesque thesis that animals were machines. It was grotesque, because anybody familiar with animals can tell they have free will.

Now neurologists have put Free Will down to as little as three neurons.

Indeed, then, worms are not machines, at least not in the classical sense. Given an input, they behave in unpredictable way, differently from classical machines. That is what the neurologists found.

Do we know of machines behaving that way? Yes. Quantum machines. A Quantum machine is driven by the unpredictable certainty of Quantum Waves.

Are worms then Quantum machines? Yes and no, as Abelard would say. Not necessarily, but probably.

Worms were exposed to a stimulus, a delicious smell. The same smell, always, but it did not give rise to the same reaction. Sometimes worms wormed their way towards the source of the smell, sometimes not.

Conclusion?

The worms’ thinking prevent us to predict its behavior. (Worms are smarter than politicians, the latter being thoroughly predictable!)

Plato famously considered his cave, where people were described as watching shadows on a wall. That was supposed to depict the relationship between humans and reality. The image is still popular among philosophers, and so consequences of it trickle down to the masses.

Plato’s picture is interesting, and it sure applies to propaganda from the powerful, and the way it is received by most. But only as such. As a depiction of how the minds of free worms, let alone, free humans, works, it fails utterly.

However, as far as what science says, and thus, what philosophy ought to confirm, buttress, and fly from, Plato’s picture is now completely obsolete, deprived of reality and imagination.

If a network composed of only three neurons can have an internal mind of its own, a cave of its own, we have to review and change, the concept of mind.

So, what is a mind? A mind, even reduced to three neurons, a network of a mind, has its own mind. How could that be?

Minds are worlds, this is why and how they will. Let me explain.

Quantum Physics describes the behavior of Quantum Waves. Quantum Waves sort-of think (one thousand and one naïve philosophers screaming at this point).

What is thinking? Roughly, “looking”, or perceiving (somehow) what is out there, and then conducting a computation (of sorts) taking what is out there in consideration.

This is exactly what Quantum Waves do.

The roundworm, our hero of will, has 2,000 genes controlling its sense of smell (twice what the rats have, and rats have excellent olfaction). Roundworms do not hear, and do not see, they are all about smell.

That world of smell occupy (part of) their 302 neurons, and build up the rest.

Could we made a “classical” model of a three neuron network? Perhaps, in first order. Actually, even classical model, complete with guiding waves, have been partly made, not just on a computer, but experimentally… for Quantum Waves.

However, in the end, Quantum processes will be found to be non-local (because, well, they are). That will ultimately limit classical, guiding waves models of Quantum waves, Black Holes, or even Roundworms three neuron networks.

If a piece of a worm’s mind is a world, entangled with the rest of the galaxy at a distance, philosophy also has to stretch.

Some would say that whether minds are Quantum, or entangled at a distance, will not bring the bacon on the table: this is neither here, nor there, as it has no practical effects. They would be wrong. Indeed, Non-Local philosophical models, Non-local, Quantum models of thinking, will allow to stretch human understanding so far that it may end up meeting reality itself.

Patrice Ayme’

***

Here is much of the press release from Rockefeller University:

Analysis of worm neurons suggests how a single stimulus can trigger different responses

March 12, 2015 | Science News

Even worms have free will. If offered a delicious smell, for example, a roundworm will usually stop its wandering to investigate the source, but sometimes it won’t. Just as with humans, the same stimulus does not always provoke the same response, even from the same individual. New research at Rockefeller University, published March 12 2015, in Cell, offers a new neurological explanation for this variability, derived by studying a simple three-cell network within the roundworm brain.

Worm brain: All the neurons within this microscopic roundworm are highlighted, with the large cluster at one end representing the brain. Coelomocytes, a type of immune cell, appear as dots along the body.

“We found that the collective state of the three neurons at the exact moment an odor arrives determines the likelihood that the worm will move toward the smell. So, in essence, what the worm is thinking about at the time determines how it responds,” says study author Cori Bargmann, Torsten N. Wiesel Professor, head of the Lulu and Anthony Wang Laboratory of Neural Circuits and Behavior. “It goes to show that nervous systems aren’t passively waiting for signals from outside, they have their own internal patterns of activity that are as important as any external signal when it comes to generating a behavior.”

… By changing the activity of the neurons individually and in combination [researchers] could pinpoint each neuron’s role in generating variability in both brain activity and the behavior associated with it.

The human brain has 86 billion neurons and 100 trillion synapses, or connections, among them. The brain of the microscopic roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans, by comparison, has 302 neurons and 7,000 synapses. So while the worm’s brain cannot replicate the complexity of the human brain, scientists can use it to address tricky neurological questions that would be nearly impossible to broach in our own brains.

Worms spend their time wandering, looking for decomposing matter to eat. And when they smell it, they usually stop making random turns and travel straight toward the source. This change in behavior is initially triggered by a sensory neuron that perceives the smell and feeds that information to the network the researchers studied. As the worms pick up the alluring fruity smell of isoamyl alcohol, the neurons in the network transition into a low activity state that allows them to approach the odor. But sometimes the neurons remain highly active, and the worm continues to wander around – even though its sensory neuron has detected the odor.

By recording the activity of these neurons, Gordus and colleagues found that there were three persistent states among the three neurons: All were off, all were on, or only one, called AIB, was on. If all were off, then, when the odor signal arrived, they stayed off. If all were on, they often, but not always, shut off. And, in the third and most telling scenario, if AIB alone was active when the odor arrived, everything shut off. “This means that for AIB, context matters. If it’s on alone, its activity will drop when odor is added, but if it’s on with the rest of the network, it has difficulty dropping its activity with the others,” Gordus says.

AIB is the first neuron in the network to receive the signal, which it then relays to the other two network members, known as RIM and AVA; AVA sends out the final instruction to the muscles. When the researchers shut off RIM and AVA individually and together, they found AIB’s response to the odor signal improved. This suggests that input from these two neurons competes with the sensory signal as it feeds down through the network.

Scaled up to account for the more nuanced behaviors of humans, the research may suggest ways in which our brains process competing motivations. “For humans, a hungry state might lead to you walk across the street to a delicious smelling restaurant. However, a competing aversion to the cold might lead you to stay indoors,” he says.

In the worm experiments, the competition between neurons was influenced by the state of the network. There is plenty of evidence suggesting network states have a similar impact on animals with much larger and more complex brains, including us, says Bargmann…“In a mammalian nervous system, millions of neurons are active all the time. Traditionally, we think of them as acting individually, but that is changing. Our understanding has evolved toward seeing important functions in terms of collective activity states within the brain.”

 

 

Tax Power Absolutely

December 9, 2014

The following reflections were inspired by recent meditations from Bill Gates (‘Good guys like me should not be taxed, because we are so good), Vlad Putin (‘I will not say I will be president for life, because I may not want it, when the time comes’). Paul Krugman will be spared today, as he just declared: “Just to be clear, I’m not calling the Obama-era economy a success story.

Light is finally reaching the long winter which has been Krugman’s mind.

And the good professor to explain: “We needed faster job growth this time around than under Mr. Bush, because the recession was deeper, and unemployment stayed far too high for far too long. But we can now say with confidence that the recovery’s weakness had nothing to do with Mr. Obama’s (falsely) alleged anti-business slant. What it reflected, instead, was the damage done by government paralysis — paralysis that has, alas, richly rewarded the very politicians who caused it.”

And first among those were, with all due respect, Mr. Obama, Pelosi, and company. They were actually consulted, and decided, upon the measures to be taken, even before Obama became president (Bush had washed his hands of the whole thing: although the crash happened below his watch, the real decisions which had led to it, were taken under Clinton, thanks to massive deregulation).

So the economy may be improving, but for whom?

Having more slaves employed makes a better economy for plutocrats, but not necessarily for common folks. Similarly, greater riches, if they only go to the .1%, may boost GDP, but not the average family.

Actually, the more powerful the plutocrats, the worse the society. Thus one has to look not just to the employment rate, but also to how much common folks earn. The employment rate stays deeply depressed, and so does median income.

Economics without the correct social indicators, is only ruin of the soul.

Bill Gates believes he uses power better than others. In: Wealth and Capital. Why Inequality Matters, Bill explains why he should be taxed less:

“But rather than move to a progressive tax on capital, as Piketty would like, I think we’d be best off with a progressive tax on consumption. Think about the three wealthy people I described earlier: One investing in companies, one in philanthropy, and one in a lavish lifestyle. There’s nothing wrong with the last guy, but I think he should pay more taxes than the others.”

I propose, instead, a more general sort of tax. And a much more powerful one:

Tax power directly, and absolutely.

Bill Gates has much power than his wealth simply suggest. By heading a giant foundation, the Bill and Melinda, Gates doubles what the money he controls can buy. Plus, he gets to meet with whichever leader he wants to meet. If he wants to meet with Obama, Xi, or Putin, he just can hit Skype any time he wants.

Money buys power. Even political power.

When asked whether the president’s chair was with him “forever,” Putin told TASS: “No,” adding: “This is not good and detrimental for the country and I do not need it as well.” Apparently, too much criticism causes even Putin to melt…

Yet, even after Putin steps down, will his wealth (at least 40 billion), and his network of plutocrats and secret service types step down? Not a chance.

And what about Bill Gates’ control of immense wealth and networks? Will they step down, those wealth, networks, and power structures? Not a chance. Here is Bill again, deploying his stem argument:

I fully agree that we don’t want to live in an aristocratic society in which already-wealthy families get richer simply by sitting on their laurels and collecting what Piketty calls “rentier income”—that is, the returns people earn when they let others use their money, land, or other property. But I don’t think America is anything close to that.

Take a look at the Forbes 400 list of the wealthiest Americans. About half the people on the list are entrepreneurs whose companies did very well (thanks to hard work as well as a lot of luck). Contrary to Piketty’s rentier hypothesis, I don’t see anyone on the list whose ancestors bought a great parcel of land in 1780 and have been accumulating family wealth by collecting rents ever since. In America, that old money is long gone—through instability, inflation, taxes, philanthropy, and spending.”

Bill is (deliberately?) naïve. Or even downright silly. Look at the Congress of the USA. Many among the richest inherited their wealth. Actually the richest Senator is Jay Rockefeller, and he is an heir of the oil tycoon by the same name. If one added all the wealth and influence of the Rockefellers heirs, one would get astonishing numbers: there are lots of heirs.

The Roman Republic had an absolute cap on the wealth a family could own. It also had varied caps on absolute power. So it lasted 5 centuries, the absolute record for a Republic, so far.

What we have to limit is power. Gates has too much power, Putin has too much power. He seems to understand this. Power sucks in, it’s a disease of the soul. In general, plutocrats are too much power.

Even Paul Krugman has too much power. He talks, he talks, and then the New York Times makes readers believe comments have been allowed. But actually all my comments are severely inspected, many are censored (be it only because they don’t fit the mood that the New York Times wants to impart; say, a few years ago, that Obamacare was perfect). Most are delayed until noon the next day (so nobody reads them).

Krugman and the New York Times are just a tiny part of a gigantic problem: if we want truth to be blossom, the right of answer has to be systematic against any authority whatsoever. The enormous computing power we have at our disposal would allow to classify objections by categories and dimensions, bringing forth the most substantive critiques. Then those ought to be debated.

Elect ideas, not people. And use the right of answer to do so. That right of answer, by any citizen, was viewed as fundamental for Athenian democracy, in the National Assemblies. It even had its own name.

That was 25 centuries ago. Some progress is in order. The Christian Apostle Luke sniffed with disapproval that “the Athenians spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.“(So Luke hated novelty, thus secularism, no surprise there.)

Well, we are heading in an ever newer world every day, we need to debate it ever more, and in novel ways. And a few minds, be they Bill, Paul, or Vladimir Vladimirovich, are just not smart enough to replace the massive debates which are needed.

The most important product is not oil, or money, but truth. We cannot get to it, without limiting individuals’ power, when it extends beyond truth.

We have to limit power, and that means to limit how much power a single mind, physical or moral, can express without democratic challenge.

Patrice Ayme’

Even Vladimir Vladimirovich seems to come to realize that he has been collapsing under his own enthusiastic self-admiration, and metastatic power: he would have cut at the last moment some blistering criticism of the Ukrainian Republic, in a recent speech.

Free Will, Modernized

October 22, 2014

Converted Canadian Muslims crush, and shoot Canadians. Hey, they read it in a magazine! Do those killers have free will? Or are they just Qur’an programmed machines? This is the sort of quandary which advances in neurology show the ancient debate on Free Will ought to be about. Here is a tiny refresher about the Qur’an:

Quran (2:216)Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knoweth, and ye know not.”

Quran (3:56)“As to those who reject faith, I will punish them with terrible agony in this world and in the Hereafter, nor will they have anyone to help.”

Quran (3:151)“Soon shall We cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers, for that they joined companions with Allah, for which He had sent no authority”.  This speaks directly of polytheists, thus including Christians, since they believe in the Trinity (Muhammad incorrectly believed that Christians had ‘joining companions to Allah’… as his mentor was a relative, a Coptic monk!).

Quran (4:74)“Let those fight in the way of Allah who sell the life of this world for the other. Whoso fighteth in the way of Allah, be he slain or be he victorious, on him We shall bestow a vast reward.”

Quran (8:12)“I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them”

Quran (8:39)“And fight with them until there is no more fitna (disorder, unbelief) and religion should be only for Allah”

OK, I stop here with Qur’an machine’s quotes, because this essay is not about Islam, but about Free Will. The preceding makes it clear that whoever really believes textually and literally in what’s written in the Qur’an ought to march into the Parliament in Ottawa, and destroy the disbelief there, to gather the vast reward.

And the question is: do these people have Free Will?

The modern debate about Free Will has not been about that. It has been, for centuries, about “gratuitous acts” [actes gratuits]. This has been an entirely stupid debate, the provinces of lost philosophers; any bear or lion hunter knows free will exists, not just in humans, but in the minds of ferocious beasts (thus making them hard to predict; once I found myself weaponless, 10 years old, and facing the largest lion I ever saw; I carefully paid my respects, and backed off slowly as I anybody in such circumstances ought to do, acknowledging the splendor of the king of beasts, making Him feel very good about Himself, and thus making my on-going existence something which, however minute and unworthy, represented an element of satisfaction for the Lord of Africa).

Modern brain scanning techniques have brought a twist on that: the launching of an act is preceded by unconscious brain preparations, several tenths of second prior.

That is totally unsurprising. The brain is like an immense, giant machine, with millions of programs and preparations running simultaneously. Consciousness looks, and can only look, at very few of them.

At least, we know this now.

For example the latest Nobel in Biology was attributed for the discovery of tiny hexagonal networks of neurons which act like microscopic Geostationary Positioning Systems. Such circuitry is active continuously, to provide a sense of place. It influences consciousness, and thus Free Will.

(Say: if the internal GPS indicates we are falling off, the Free Will debate will be shut-down. Instantaneously.)

The free will debate is thousands of years old. It became acute after Constantine’s terrorizing dictatorship imposed as state religion an omnipotent, omniscient god. How can be free, if god is everything?

That had the pleasant consequence that intellectuals, instead of worrying about the dictators, conducted 17 centuries of sterile debates about whether god allowed them to be free (in truth it’s Constantine and his tyrannical successors who did not allow them to be free).

When a bell rings, Pavlov discovered that the dog’s digestive system sprang to attention. The free will is the one who rings the bell. But what if it was not an individual ringing the bell, but history itself? Would we be conscious of it?

Of course the phenomenon of springing to attention is familiar to macho men seeing a beautiful woman in the distance. Conditioned reflexes are all over. But could it be that the exaggerated masculinity of those who spring to attention when seeing a woman, be itself a conditioned neural, glial, and neurohormonal system of sorts?

It is well known that people learn to fake emotions and behaviors: homosexuals living in the closet have long done this. But not just them. I claim it’s all over the place. Even in the fascination with wine. So some will reach happiness only when they can drink a bit of alcohol, etc. This conditioning is cultural: Bacchus has been celebrated, and associated to wine, for millennia. A fundamental sensation, happiness has been subjugated to a cultural notion.

Each nation has its crazes, its conditioned reflexes, its own notion of free will. Most of the minds are made from the outside, complete from ideas to emotions, to what to say in most situations encountered. And so it is, all over.

But then what happens to fee will? Is it all about conditioned reflexes from elaborated systems of mood and thoughts, many of them culturally given?

When called to exert free will, all what is happening is a cocktail of conditioned reflexes of long, and subconsciously established, systems of thoughts, emotions and moods. In other words, most people are just puppets from the genealogy of ideas, morals, moods, emotions, and conditioned reflexes.

What’s Free Will?

I started with Qur’an programmed robots. But then the Anglo-Saxon enslaving West is not a place exempt from the most absurd, obnoxious and criminal programmation.

I recently partook in an exchange on Free Will on an interesting and open minded philosophical site. The author had extolled the “philosopher” David Hume as the “first psychologist” Let’s roll a quote from that great Anglo-Saxon genius. Here is David Hume, enthusiastically buttressing the Anglo-Saxon slave masters’ system:

“I am apt to suspect the Negroes to be naturally inferior to the Whites. There scarcely ever was a civilized nation of that complexion, nor even any individual, eminent either in action or speculation. No ingenious manufactures amongst them, no arts, no sciences. On the other hand, the most rude and barbarous of the Whites, such as the ancient Germans, the present Tartars, have still something eminent about them, in their valour, form of government, or some other particular. Such a uniform and constant difference could not happen, in so many countries and ages, if nature had not made an original distinction between these breeds of men. Not to mention our colonies, there are Negro slaves dispersed all over Europe, of whom none ever discovered the symptoms of ingenuity; though low people, without education, will start up amongst us, and distinguish themselves in every profession. In Jamaica, indeed, they talk of one Negro as a man of parts and learning; but it is likely he is admired for slender accomplishments, like a parrot who speaks a few words plainly.”

This grossly racist quote is from whom some Anglo-Saxons searching for respect call the “first psychologist”, David Hume. It brings the same question about Free Will.

Notice that Hume does not just imprint with offensive notions about “negroes”, but also offensive emotions about them. And by “offensive” I mean just that, inducing an offensive, that is, an attack.

That anti-human Hume’ notion of sub-humanity sprang from the greed of gross exploitation: having armies of slaves overseas made many a plutocrat in Western Europe extremely wealthy.

In this, it does not differ from the Qur’an’s main axis of attack. We know from the Hadith (a book gathering all what was said about the life of Muhammad by direct witnesses) that the context of the very first (2; 216) quote is that Muhammad the Prophet, then Master of Medina, was trying to convince his followers to go attack and raid some caravans.

It’s an axis of attack, but also an axis of imprinting, of making people into assault machines, enslaving, killing, “striking off their heads and striking off every fingertip of them”. As seen on TV.

So what’s Free Will if we are just machines programmed, emotionally and logically, from the outside? Even for the most inhuman tasks?

If any, Free Will has to incorporate the impact, the struggle, one is having feeding one’s brain with seriously, strenuously examined data. It is exactly what parrots do not have.

One cannot decide when to decide. One can only decide to examine with an open mind, what one’s deciding structures will be constructed with. At best.

Patrice Ayme’