Ah, in the whole, you’re just afraid of being unfree,
But, hey, look, behold! There is still so much beauty!
It’s a sublime law, indeed,
Otherwise what beauty could there be?
So here the coin’s other side speaks—
A toss up, weighted equally.
It’s from the searched finding of truth—not of fright,
Though determinism is really not a very pretty sight.
Beauty exists either way, for there is still novelty,
But ‘determined’s opposite is of an impossible currency.
How dare you curse the freedom to be;
It’s because you are scared of He!
What greater proof of inner freedom then
Could His gift of wild flight to us send?
Really, it not of a scare that He is there,
But because ‘random’ cannot even be there,
For, then on nothing would things depend—all bare,
If it could even be, but it has no clothes to wear.
I swear I am more—that I do act freely!
Don’t pass off my passions so calculatingly.
I’ll let the rams butt their heads together;
One absolute position subsides for its brother!
Yes, it seems that we can choose, even otherwise,
But what is within, as the state of being wise,
Knows not the hidden, non-apparent states below,
For that is a ‘second story’, having only one window.
One rigid mode of thought’ score
Consumes the other with folklore,
Unbending, unyielding with perfect defense,
To orchestrate life’s symphony at the song’s expense.
We’re happy to just find out the truth;
However, when subjected to the proof,
We wish that the coin could stand on its edge,
And see that it cannot, which is knowledge.
So lets define the world and human existence
On a couple hundred years of material witness,
Or burn the measuring eye to the stake!
After all, our freedom’s what it seeks to forsake!
Evolution didn’t work by chance for us to live,
For natural selection is the scientific alternative
To Intelligent Design from something outside;
The coin of determination has no other side.
The secret is simply that a secret does exist
And no amount of data can take away this,
But this doesn’t mean a ghost in the machinery;
But perhaps the heart isn’t just a pump, the liver a refinery.
We often forget the secret, willingly,
In order to live life excitingly,
Which it still would be, either way,
As we’re still part of the play, anyway.
But of course there is a past of ‘whethers’,
Through which we’ve been weathered.
Surely we are moved as dust from gust to gust,
But is two-twice-two as four always a must?
Math, too, is a must, and we try, as ever,
To predict a week ahead the weather,
Yet the data seem to much to work with,
But indetermination measures not random’s width.
Is not an unfree will a blatant contradiction
Developed from the an ‘enlightened conviction’?
If I’ve made a choice then I have willed it
And if it’s been willed then freedom’s fulfilled it.
This what I mean, that the will willed one’s self,
Which is that one does not will the will itself.
The neurons vote, based on who one is—
No one else is there to answer the quiz.
And of course it’s in and of a misguided pit
To say that from the past we’ve distilled it.
Is not the idea of complete self-autonomy a ruse
Born from the illusion of the existentialist blues?
We distill what comes into us, too,
For it has to become part of us, new,
For mirror neurons act it out, while we are still,
Invading our sanctum and altering the will.
But of course, this is to be much expected
From a culture that lacks all mythical perspective.
‘Nonsense’ we call it, a virtue of not thinking,
From which we have long since been departing,
So now will behold in all its transparency
Beyond childish ideals of essence and archaic fantasy.
That’s close, but it’s thinking that has grown,
By science and logic informed from reason sown,
In place of feeling, sensation, wishes, and the pleas
To have the universe be what it ought to be.
Do not distort with a desire for meaning.
Oh, the babe, lets leave the child a’weening,
But I ask of you: have you not tried in-betweening?
There are two ways of living, sometimes merging,
One of just ‘state of being’, of its only showing,
And one of the being plus the under-knowing;
As with our life’s wife, we dwell not on hormoning.
And in that same breath we say all is forgiven;
Why hold humans responsible, leading to derision?
Of course an eye for an eye was an unjust decision.
Well, we have a system that draws a line between
A crime of passion and a thought-out, sought-for infliction.
“The universe made me do it,” says the accused,
And the Judge replies, “Well, this does excuse,
But I still have to sentence you to the pen,
Until the universe can’t make you do it again.”
Why must it be a question of absolute freedom
As complete randomness over an unbending system
That structures everything that ever was, is, and will be,
Right down to the elementary structures
What is set forth in the beginning
Is ever of itself continuing,
Restrained by time, yes, but unfolding,
For there is nothing else inputting.
I may understand why this has to be;
I have felt the rapture of black and white toxicity,
But why subjugate all possibility for novelty?
It will still be novel, even such as a new parking lot,
For the dopamine neurotransmitters will stir the pot.
New is still new, on the grand tour through life;
Then do some predicting, to then avoid some strife.
Can such a thought hope to cast a wrench into these gears,
A tool so heavy that dissuades all of our fears?
Will all order and inertia be torn asunder?
Will we have giant ants wearing top hats over,
With all rationality considered a blunder?
The truth was not sought to drop a spanner into the works,
But it even turns out to grant more of compassion’s perks
For those afflicted with the inability for learning,
Thus eliminating the great annoyances burning.
Am I simply a delusional puddle here,
Perceiving just my liquid perimeter,
As I think to myself I can control
The very rain that expands my rule.
And the humidity that thins
Should I condemn as that which sins?
There are no sins, but just destiny’s fate,
Which even includes one’s learnings of late.
We and all are but whirl-pools, of the same oscillations,
Some lasting longer, yes, but of the same instantiations.
Outputs without inputs cannot ever be,
Or the actions would pop randomly,
Yet to some people that’s the enemy,
A useless state that’s not here, thankfully.
WILLING THE WILL THAT WILLS?
What is the “secret” of human behavior,
One that’s really so much the saviour
That we may even keep it from ourselves
Rather than very far into it try to delve?
What is it that should be so confidential,
Classified, and undisclosed—its potential
Kept under wraps, so very contra;
Informally: hush-hush; formally: sub rosa?
Well it’s a revelation of splendor,
One that’s often good to surrender
But is also very well to remember.
Is the will free to will one’s actions otherwise?
Can antecedent conditions be ignored?
Can the self be an unmoved mover?
And what of those tendencies of evo’s realm
That have been imprinted on one’s genetic film—
Those of temperament, role preferences,
And even one’s most revered moral choices—
Those invoices from which one rejoices?
Well these are not choices
At all in and of any free will voices;
In essence, from the basis of one
And from all that one has become
From life’s total behavioral reactions,
There are probabilities of actions—
Some patterns that are very likely
And some patterns highly unlikely.
Is free will a necessary fiction,
A kind of a religion?
No and yes if it’s to provide an essential berth
For one’s morality, meaning, and worth.
So then, with this “free will” become,
One might then succumb
To systematic deception
About one’s causal connection
To that of nature,
A roadblock, a detour
That’s neither possible,
Necessary, nor desirable.
The enemies to these “free will” motifs
Would be the mythical cultural beliefs
That explain behaviors and feelings
In terms of unknowable forces and beings.
But to protect one’s moral virtues
Should one still believe oneself’s purview
To be as an ultimately responsible agent, lo—
A self creation ex nihilo,
A God-like, miniature first cause who chooses
Without it being determined by one’s own muses?
Well maybe but nay, really not, nil,
For there is no contra-causal free will.
What the good then
Of this fix we’re in?
Such it is then that we can gain a measure of peace
Rather than the anger of resentment’s crease
When someone does or says something bad,
Even those close relatives you once had.
For the civil-law-breakers
And all those ungiving takers
We’ll no longer incarcerate
For punishment, being so irate at the jailbait,
But so that society will be protected
And that they might emerge corrected
From the swill of a prison mill,
Fulfilled with a new unfree will
That points more toward goodness
Or at least away from badness.
Thus the action
Of metaphysical justification
For a total retribution
Then greatly softens,
A relief from the stress so often,
For it’s no longer induced
From the abuse produced.
Indeed, we become less self-conscious,
More playful, less noxious, more gracious,
Less callow, and less likely to wallow
In the sorrow that is so hollow and shallow
In its excessive self-blame, pride,
Envy, or resentment—now all put aside.
Aren’t we changing the will here as we go?
Yes but mostly no,
For the will must ever follow what we know.
Then we are learning—
The only hope for larger earnings
From the will’s then wider yearnings!
Yes, we’re overturning.
What if to learning we are averse?
What a curse! Might as well call the hearse.
So then, all in all, though a tempt,
It is that we humans are not exempt
From the laws of physics—as a preempt
Although we’ve been wired to make the attempt—
A seeming violation by nature
Of its own universal law and structure.
No it’s not a violation I would call,
For science still did tell us all.
It’s all part of the structure;
One can never cheat Mother Nature.
Hail, then, to the physic.
Well it’s not so bad, is it?—
Although we can never will the will,
Its motives ever our intent to fulfill;
It is that we have no free will.
True, plus we can expand the will’s horizoning
Through our broader learning’s wisening.
Yes, learn today and by tomorrow, say,
The will may have a different sway.
I wouldn’t want it any other way,
For then I wouldn’t be me—my screenplay.
What other ways can we improve the play?
Well, we have patience and delay,
For we don’t have to act right away.
Until a more creative solution appears?
Yes, from any frontier, Shakespeare.
Do you control your thoughts or do they control you?
Could you, silly as it seems,
Just be falling, hook and line, for your thoughts?
Think about it—thoughts may tell you the answer!
The brain’s decisions are determined by
Memories, associations, and
Learned behaviors right up to the instant;
So—our decisions are predetermined.
The “free” in free will has no real meaning,
Unless we take it to mean random, that
One’s will depends on nothing but dice rolls;
What good would such a brain be anyway?
Can you start or stop your thoughts? In other words,
Can you will that which does the willing? Try it.
Oops, a surprise thought just came from the blue;
You did not will it—the will is unfree!
A mind is perhaps many little minds,
Each a simpleton awaiting control,
Such as when we eat, socialize, or fight,
None of them very complex at all.
The brain, with its hundred billion nerve cells,
Does all of our decision-analysis,
Only making its results known, at the last,
To the brain’s highest level: consciousness.
People act, robot-like, since they know not
The why of what they do, for decisions
Are made blind, by brain networks, just before
They’re presented to us in consciousness.
Consciousness comes three hundred milliseconds
After the brain does its analysis,
And, thus, has but last-second veto power,
If any, over what the brain comes up with.
Decisions are not made by consciousness,
Although, this fine picture in the mind’s ‘I’,
Merely the brain’s perception of itself,
Is fed back whole for future shortcutting.
Not much of what the brain does reaches
Consciousness, and even when it does,
The mind’s last to know, being like a tourist—
For decisions precede their awareness.
First-level people have beliefs and desires,
But second-level people can have beliefs
And desires about their beliefs and desires,
Becoming able spectators of themselves.
Although our decisions of the instant are
Fully determined, and are therefore not free,
We may happen to learn something new—and make
Choices tomorrow we wouldn’t make today.
Thoughts good and bad come and go, as the brain
Looks at itself without assigning values.
Still, lucky that others can’t read our minds,
’Though forbidden thoughts are normal and sane.
If you try hard not to think of something,
Then you will just think of it all the more
So, if told to avoid impure thoughts, you’ll
Think of people naked beneath their clothes!
We may fall for our thoughts, hook, line, and sinker:
Conditioned responses, reflexes, or
Overwhelming emotions, spurious,
Or ancient, planted by evolution.
When extreme thoughts arrive, uninvited, as
Most thoughts do, we veto them, saying “don’t”,
For while we can never will that which does
The unconscious willing, we have some “free won’t”.
We’re all robots, but no one notices
Since there are so many different kinds,
Which, though making life quite interesting,
Obscures the fact that the will is unfree.