Written SATURDAY, OCTOBER 29, 2016
While sitting across from my brother at a picnic table in a rural campground in Oregon we discussed free will. At one point, mid circular logic loop, I looked down at my hands and tried to imagine that it was all due to prior states and that no agent was responsible for the actions "I" was witnessing. That there might not be a "me" inside. That "I" is just a name for an observer with no real control over anything. If this is true then "who" was playing cards? The universe? I don't think so.
I think that I was playing cards because both "I" and anyone who would watch me would also say "I" was playing cards. "I" is not only the current contemplation of the present and subconscious analyzation of incoming stimulus, it is also the conglomeration of developing cells communicating, learning, recalling and developing. With consciousness, the ideal self is developed and conceptualized, and becomes refined and altered over time as biology and environment shape the mind, the mind also shapes the mind. The mind is part of the body and just as one arm can chop off the other the mind acts to integrate new information, such as the desire to quit smoking, from consciousness to subconsciousness. Focusing on a goal and training the body through repetition and experience the ideal self can be slowly but surely realized over time.
SO, does this mean that I trained myself to play cards in the woods with my brother? I think so. I think that I used my physical brain to reach out into the physical world in the same way that the world reaches out to effect my brain. I knew that being out in the woods and talking with my brother would effect my body and mind in a way that I imagined would increase my perception of peace and happiness. So I decided to go and do those things both consciously and subconsciously.
Assuming that the mind is unable to effect the body and the outside world through the body is to assume the mind is nonphysical or passive like the liver. Just ingesting the world and spitting out perception. If the mind is a computer then consciousness is a programmer making subtle and significant changes to the code. Adjusting toward an ideal is what free will is all about. It's about being able to see two outcomes and deciding that one is better than the other based on internal values.
It seems that determinism is a bottom up approach to explaining physical forces and free will is a top down approach. I am not sure why we can't have both. It is in the midst of physics the conscious mind appears and stretches out to shape the future.