No Human Action, It Is All Reaction

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boagie
 
Reply Wed 14 May, 2008 09:37 am
"The actions of man", the statement makes one think of autonomy, of separateness, independent from ones context, when nothing further from the truth could be stated. Just as biology is governed by the physical world in the changes it evokes, so to there is no human action there is but reaction, the world evoking a response in the form of reaction. One can chose among the reactions available to him, he cannot chose not to react, for even inaction to a stimulus is reaction. It is language like this,"Human Action", which structures our conception of the world and ourselves in it, and it is folly.
 
de budding
 
Reply Wed 14 May, 2008 02:10 pm
@boagie,
Would you say we choose our reactions from a pre-determined, limited pallete or, is there always the option to invent new reactions, adding to our selection?

Dan.
 
boagie
 
Reply Wed 14 May, 2008 02:58 pm
@de budding,
de_budding wrote:
Would you say we choose our reactions from a pre-determined, limited pallete or, is there always the option to invent new reactions, adding to our selection?

Dan.
Smile

Interesting, I never really thought about the complexities involved. A person can only react to that which is, not to a potential, nor to a use to be. A reaction is not really invented, as it is a response to a given circumstance or condition. So, in a sense reaction is evoked, there is always choice of reaction, as I have said, even inaction to a stimulus is reaction.
 
Arjen
 
Reply Wed 14 May, 2008 04:19 pm
@boagie,
May I add to that thought saying that it is a potential which reacts to an actual?
 
boagie
 
Reply Wed 14 May, 2008 07:55 pm
@Arjen,
Arjen wrote:
May I add to that thought saying that it is a potential which reacts to an actual?


Arjen,Smile

:)Interesting, back to the chicken or the egg or, the lock presumes its key. Yes, consciousness in general is potential for the actual, as the physical world as the actual, presumes a potential to be known. Sounds a bit like Schopenhauer's subject and object stand or fall together, take one away, the other disappears.
 
Arjen
 
Reply Thu 15 May, 2008 02:08 am
@boagie,
boagie wrote:
Arjen,Smile

:)Interesting, back to the chicken or the egg or, the lock presumes its key. Yes, consciousness in general is potential for the actual, as the physical world as the actual, presumes a potential to be known. Sounds a bit like Schopenhauer's subject and object stand or fall together, take one away, the other disappears.

Vey true, the question comes to mind that this is all just a universal being conjured up by our reason. An explanation for this thought is that it facilitates free will. Without a construction such as this free will cannot exist; only cause and effect can. But that should be no basis for any thought.
 
de budding
 
Reply Thu 15 May, 2008 03:56 am
@Arjen,


The environment is a constant that is unchanging its self, everything (animate and inanimate) is part of this fixed environment, even our own bodies. It is the infinite chore of the conscious of man to manipulate this environment by way of the body so to obtain what they 'will'*.

Every task from breathing to walking to singing requires manipulation of the environment, whether it is exploiting the laws of air pressure with muscles to draw air in, or to utilize leg muscles to propagate from here to there. We are constantly manipulating our environment, resetting the stage as we go.

Now I feel completely trapped, I am now stuck in a world where I can't actually do what I want (will), all I can do is compromise to get the same result as I want. For example I would never say 'I want to be in the kitchen', I would state, 'I'm going to the kitchen' or 'Be right back, I'm off to the kitchen'. I have to manipulate the environment (which includes my body) to get to the kitchen, to get a glass, to pour a drink.

But oddly, I would only consider my freedom being infringed on when I go to get a drink and there are no glasses, is this because I can blame 'someone'? Or an effort issue?
But as I have stated, 'someone' is nothing more than an animate part f my environment, that someone in reality is no more in the way of me fulfilling my 'will' to drink than the sofa was which I had to compromise on the way to the kitchen, or the door I had to open, the wind resistance and friction I had to walk against etc. For me to be truly free* I would need to be able to will myself to drink and with that thought be drinking. Walking is a compromise, a manipulation of the environment as is everything else, and hence everything is a reaction.

But am I know describing a non-free deterministic idea, implying no freedom is possible because of the entrapment of our environment, an environment which is subject to change only as we and others manipulate it by fulfilling 'wills'. Am I now able to redefine a reaction (the only form of human action) as a chosen compromise selected from various methods which would all fulfill a certain 'will' by manipulating the environment in their various ways? Are these really choices?



How on earth do I extract any level of freedom from a world where- I'm limited by the small palette of reactions available to me, where it is impossible to create new ones? On top of that when we do select one of these options we are then enforced to compromise and manipulate our environment to fulfill that option.

I ended up getting three quarters of the way to some existentialist idea of planning ahead to beat the game, by using the chain of reactions to pre determine an ideal environment or something, but then I fell asleep.

Dan.


* When I want a drink the 'will' is- to be in the kitchen with tap running, with a glass, with my mouth open etc. It is the recognized manipulations of the environment required to obtain what we want.
**I am going to propose true free will is to do, as literally as possible, 'what you want'
 
Arjen
 
Reply Thu 15 May, 2008 04:30 am
@de budding,
Nice one de budding, although I do not agree with the outcome of your thoughts. I look at it this way: in a purely causal system no free will exists. Everything is determined by cause. For free will to exist something needs to exist outside of this causality; on another ontological level perhaps. Immanuel Kant states that causality exists in our reasoning, and maybe in reality but we cannot be sure of the latter because we can only check by observing which uses our reason.

If fysical reality s what we think it is (according to science) then there is space and time involved; which makes for causality. If that indeed exists (Kant is an idealist remember), then it is necessary that this "free will" exists somewhere else. That is how the third ontological level is deduced: transcendentality.

This transcendentality can enver be proven by empirics (science) and so it is hard to say if it exists. I for one state that it does not exist in actuality, but in potentiality.

Smile
 
boagie
 
Reply Thu 15 May, 2008 07:17 am
@Arjen,
Arjen wrote:
Vey true, the question comes to mind that this is all just a universal being conjured up by our reason. An explanation for this thought is that it facilitates free will. Without a construction such as this free will cannot exist; only cause and effect can. But that should be no basis for any thought.


Arjen,Smile

Smile"A universal being conjured up by our reason, which facilitates free will?" Do you mean that the physical world is the universal being, how then does the physcial world facilitate free will? The world is a world of possiabilities, there is indeed choice involved, that is the only thing which constitutes free will, choice, but, you cannot not chose, for again, inaction to a stimulus is still, a reaction. Free will exists only in the sense of choices. Cause and effect does not exist, there is but relational reactions often thought of as strife and/or chemistry. I am not at all sure I am understanding you, are you saying that in a world which provides all possiabilities one could react to, it provides no basis of thought?
 
boagie
 
Reply Thu 15 May, 2008 07:23 am
@boagie,
de budding,Smile

:)Excellent!! You really have the wheels turning, rework it and condense it into some basic principles. The one mistake that jumps out at me, was your statement that the physcial world is unchanging, that simply is not true, the physical world is less temporal then all the forms of life, but its state as conditions, is ever changing. Great brain storming de budding!!!!
 
Doobah47
 
Reply Thu 15 May, 2008 07:28 am
@de budding,
de_budding wrote:
I would need to be able to will myself to drink and with that thought be drinking. Walking is a compromise, a manipulation of the environment as is everything else, and hence everything is a reaction.


Buddhist philosophy would say something here... I don't know what it would say so I'll say something:

I might like to say that desire and neccessity are two ends of a pole; a pole known as our will - so if the drink was borne of necessity then there would not be a compromise, when it is borne of desire there is a compromise among those other things you could be doing, such as sitting on the sofa. I'll explain slightly and say that (necessity) if one is walking to the tap one is already engaged in drinking, one cannot separate the walking, turning and consumption required for the drinking to occur.

I wouldn't disagree that most things are a reaction, however 'reaction' in itself is a dichotomy (cause and effect) and I would highly doubt that at the origin of existence we find a dichotomy.
 
boagie
 
Reply Thu 15 May, 2008 08:03 am
@Doobah47,
Doobah47 wrote:
Buddhist philosophy would say something here... I don't know what it would say so I'll say something:

I might like to say that desire and neccessity are two ends of a pole; a pole known as our will - so if the drink was borne of necessity then there would not be a compromise, when it is borne of desire there is a compromise among those other things you could be doing, such as sitting on the sofa. I'll explain slightly and say that (necessity) if one is walking to the tap one is already engaged in drinking, one cannot separate the walking, turning and consumption required for the drinking to occur.

I wouldn't disagree that most things are a reaction, however 'reaction' in itself is a dichotomy (cause and effect) and I would highly doubt that at the origin of existence we find a dichotomy.


Doobah,Smile

:)Very interesting post, I do not have much knowledge of Buddhist thought but it seems delightful. "Reaction in itself is a dicholtomy [cause and effect ] I doubt that at the orgin of existence we find a dichotomy." There is no cause and effect, there are but relational reactions, in such interactions the constitutions of the subjects involved are the essence of the transformations taking place, reality is an emergent quality.
The nature of all reality is that it is relational, cause and effect is part of an over all misrepresentation of reality, starting with the belief that there is such a thing as human action, the very term of which spells autonomy, independance and separation from the world at large, it is quite simply, delusional.
 
de budding
 
Reply Thu 15 May, 2008 01:19 pm
@boagie,
Cheers for the support, but I don't really know how to get past the brainstorming- it's the bit I find exciting, soooo I bought a book called Philosophical Analysis in hope I would learn how to analyze my ideas but, alas all I have learnt so far is that language is very complicated.

I guess I don't really know how to look for constant rules that I could condense down to, I usually just test what I think with lots of variations trying to get the idea to break down.

I know it may sound noobish but, I am a noob, I only know what I find in books... Help

:confused:

Dan
 
de budding
 
Reply Thu 15 May, 2008 01:22 pm
@Doobah47,
Doobah47 wrote:
Buddhist philosophy would say something here... I don't know what it would say so I'll say something:

I might like to say that desire and neccessity are two ends of a pole; a pole known as our will - so if the drink was borne of necessity then there would not be a compromise, when it is borne of desire there is a compromise among those other things you could be doing, such as sitting on the sofa. I'll explain slightly and say that (necessity) if one is walking to the tap one is already engaged in drinking, one cannot separate the walking, turning and consumption required for the drinking to occur.


Yeh I guess your right that there are degress of wanting, those we need and those we like and everything in between. But that's all they are, varying degrees of want, I would say that if I need somthing I am still in the same situation as if I would mearly like it. I just have more of an obligation to do it or- for example, I will die. I would say those governing factors in my life which I really must accomplish for fear of death (excersise, eating, toilet etc.) are even more controlling, even more entrapping.

Doobah47 wrote:
I wouldn't disagree that most things are a reaction, however 'reaction' in itself is a dichotomy (cause and effect) and I would highly doubt that at the origin of existence we find a dichotomy.


My train of thought assumed a completely causal system. Causes causing more causes. I tested by asking 'why am I doing somthing', and finding there was always a cause. Which reminds me.. Boagie I forgot to ask what would art be a reaction to?
 
vajrasattva
 
Reply Thu 15 May, 2008 01:46 pm
@de budding,
According to Thomas Hobbes (if i interpret him correctly), the human mind works on memory, ideas, and impressions. These create experience and imagination. Ideas are more subtle then impressions and as such are more open to juxtaposition with other ideas and impressions which create complex ideas and therefore create new thought or imagination. The juxtaposition of impressions and impression create complex impressions and therefore create new perceptions. So in essence the human mind is a purely reactive mechanism. Due to the fact the the juxtaposition of memory and current stimuli be it on the level of purely a priori mind object in the form of ideas or in the a posteriori level of the physical in the form of impressions or vice versa. The human mind reacts to its objects in the present juxtaposed with the object of mind in memory and imagination. So to answer your question in my view the reactions are not predetermined to a great extent but are limited to the plane of individual experience. Because epistemologically one cannot know or have memory beyond ones own perception according to kant. But in a lifetime of experience coupled with current perception and the theory of imagination according to Hobbes (which i agree with) the amount of reaction is theoretically infinite.
 
boagie
 
Reply Thu 15 May, 2008 03:25 pm
@vajrasattva,
vajrasattva wrote:
According to Thomas Hobbes (if i interpret him correctly), the human mind works on memory, ideas, and impressions. These create experience and imagination. Ideas are more subtle then impressions and as such are more open to juxtaposition with other ideas and impressions which create complex ideas and therefore create new thought or imagination. The juxtaposition of impressions and impression create complex impressions and therefore create new perceptions. So in essence the human mind is a purely reactive mechanism. Due to the fact the the juxtaposition of memory and current stimuli be it on the level of purely a priori mind object in the form of ideas or in the a posteriori level of the physical in the form of impressions or vice versa. The human mind reacts to its objects in the present juxtaposed with the object of mind in memory and imagination. So to answer your question in my view the reactions are not predetermined to a great extent but are limited to the plane of individual experience. Because epistemologically one cannot know or have memory beyond ones own perception according to kant. But in a lifetime of experience coupled with current perception and the theory of imagination according to Hobbes (which i agree with) the amount of reaction is theoretically infinite.


vajrasattva Smile

:)Yes, the human experience is complex, there is the experience of the present but also the historical experience of the individual in play. I think however that it is inescapable that human consciousness is reactionary in nature right across the board. I would tend to agree with Hobbes as well, reaction is theoretically infinite.
 
boagie
 
Reply Thu 15 May, 2008 03:36 pm
@boagie,
de budding,

"My train of thought assumed a completely causal system. Causes causing more causes. I tested by asking 'why am I doing somthing', and finding there was always a cause. Which reminds me.. Boagie I forgot to ask what would art be a reaction to?" quote

:)There really is only one possiablity, art is a reaction to the physcial world, has to be, it is the content of consciousness. There is no such thing as cause and effect, that only appears to be the case when we bring two conditions, two objects together, in order that a relational reaction might occur in both. Thus is explained as well the observation that, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, there is in fact, only reaction in both conditions.
 
Arjen
 
Reply Thu 15 May, 2008 04:35 pm
@boagie,
boagie wrote:
Arjen,Smile

Smile"A universal being conjured up by our reason, which facilitates free will?" Do you mean that the physical world is the universal being, how then does the physcial world facilitate free will? The world is a world of possiabilities, there is indeed choice involved, that is the only thing which constitutes free will, choice, but, you cannot not chose, for again, inaction to a stimulus is still, a reaction. Free will exists only in the sense of choices. Cause and effect does not exist, there is but relational reactions often thought of as strife and/or chemistry. I am not at all sure I am understanding you, are you saying that in a world which provides all possiabilities one could react to, it provides no basis of thought?

I am making the distinction between actuality and potentiality. I think you do not, am I correct in thinking that?

@ de budding:
A comepletely causal system refutes itself because it needs a first mover. That is why I do not think causality can exist without potentiality.
 
boagie
 
Reply Thu 15 May, 2008 05:15 pm
@Arjen,
Arjen wrote:
I am making the distinction between actuality and potentiality. I think you do not, am I correct in thinking that?

@ de budding:
A comepletely causal system refutes itself because it needs a first mover. That is why I do not think causality can exist without potentiality.


Arjen,

It seems to me that the only way one can react to potential is if, as Hume stated, we have learned to have expectations about bringing together certain conditons and/or objects in anticipation of an emergent quality or substance. Hume is correct, this is made possible through custom and/or habit. I am feeling my way around here, for I seem to have lost where you are going with this, if you could clearify, that would be great.

de budding,Smile

SmileA first mover would simply supply one with the first link in the chain of causality, but this is only necessary with the concept of cause and effect. With the realization of relational reactions, relativity I suppose you could say, there is no first anything, as reality itself is relational, a kind of mutualism of on going transformations.
 
Arjen
 
Reply Thu 15 May, 2008 05:28 pm
@boagie,
Boagie Smile

I have gained an insight into this by many hard discussions and many nights staying up late. I am not sure how to explain though. I have made two major steps in this. The first was to understand what a pardox was; how to understand what makes a paradox. The second was to understand the paradox as a whole; in such a way that the paradox is reality. I think you are formulating a paradox in your thoughts concerning this. That usually happens by not making a distinction of by not using all the pieces. So I was asking around to see what was going on. I'll read this topic for a moment or two and I hope to jump in when it hits me.

If not: I bet I'll come up with a few ways to say the same thing over the course of some topics. We'll bump into eachother on this subject again; I am sure of it.

Smile
 
 

 
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