Freedom & Existentialism

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Freedom & Existentialism

Post  Admin on Wed Oct 28, 2009 4:53 pm

What do you think about the existentialists take on freedom? They say that you have to affirm your situation (whether it was determined or not) and that THIS is the most important thing you can do - THIS is the way you resolutely approach your life, accepting the fact that you could have chosen otherwise (you could have gotten up this morning and flown to Alaska). They also suggest that people are afraid of their freedom - that when you get a true sense of your freedom, it scares you - do you agree? Do you try to avoid experiencing the full extent of your freedom? Are you more comfortable 'gonig with the flow' rather than seriously considering your ability to choose and then affirming the choices you make?
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Re: Freedom & Existentialism

Post  Gamov on Wed Dec 02, 2009 9:54 am

Heh, I just had a thought. Sounds like Existentialism is a polar opposite of Daoism. Do you "act" or "go with the flow"?

Anyway, I believe in a materialist world and that everything is run by physical laws. So far the physical sciences have led me to think that any one thing can be predicted once we find out how it works. Decisions we make are just actions stemming from neural commands from the brain; the brain is a system that is not random but just incredibly complex. Of course we do not yet fully understand how it works, but in the future we might, and thus it could be possible to predict this.

Although I think Daoism in general is a bunch of bunk, the underlying tenant that the world has a natural order in it seems correct. Therefore there is no choice. There is, however, a whole bunch of uncertainty, faulty thought processes, and misinformation. I think that all these things factor into the "choice equation" as it were and that is why we think we have free will.

I don't think that knowledge of any of this should keep us from still choosing to do something, because that in itself is motivation. Existentialism is a useful philosophy as a motivational tool. By "convincing" ourselves that we have a "choice" and that we "will" do this, it eliminates some uncertainty or doubt and makes it easier to take an action.
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