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Essay on Free Will
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Netherlands Institute For Brain Research, Amsterdam.

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Does this necessarily imply a reversion to the "nasty, brutish and short" existence attributed to ambien buy line technologically ignorant forebears? Spiritual communities have repeatedly demonstrated ambien ambien cr if one devotes oneself to a lifetime of psychological growth and self-discipline, a highly rewarding way of life is compatible with a minimum level of consumption and material possessions, as well as fostering harmonious relationships with other human beings as well as with nature. Reproductive fertility can be stabilized within such groups by harnessing erotic energies in the service of ego-transcending spiritual development, as surveyed by John Stevens in his highly entertaining Lust for Enlightenment. It's not as if procedures for successfully embarking on such a path don't already exist; indeed, the basic methods have been around for a couple of Ambien ambien cr, thousand years (my personal favorites among the many Ambien ambien cr - available guidebooks are Rammurti Mishra's Fundamentals of Yoga and Chogyam Trungpa's Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism).

Unfortunately, however, available psycho-physiological techniques have not proven to be efficient enough for successful application to the population as a whole. Would it not be possible, though, to catalyze individual psychological maturation on a large scale by the application of more modern techniques such as hypnotic suggestion and biofeedback? There might conceivably even be 'sensitive periods' for optimal initiation at an Ambien ambien cr - early age into various aspects of spiritual discipline. In this way, on the ruins of hi-tech civilization, it might eventually be possible to achieve small-scale 'enlightened' societies, such as might in time have evolved anyway Ambien ambien cr : had mankind's intellectual genius not been prematurely deflected by the too ready availability of potent energy sources ( but, alas, without the wisdom to employ them in a sustainable or humane fashion).

Glossary of discarded concepts (in statu nascendi). A number of rhetorically ambien ambien cr phrases are commonly encountered in the literature which, by seducing the mind away from an objective consideration of all plausible propositions, attempt to bias the thought process by means of denigrating insinuations. Some of the most pernicious of these are deconstructed below (readers are encouraged to propose ongoing additions to the list!).

1. REDUCTIONISM. The idea that the universe is 'monistic' rather than dualistic, i.e., is devoid of supernatural forces, is often sneeringly labelled "reductionistic" - as if not only is the number of 'worlds' reduced from two to only one, but our self-image is also being diminished. Monistic philosophies neither claim nor imply, however, that intrinsic worth is being 'reduced', only the number Ambien ambien cr, of assumptions needed for explaining empirical phenomena. Similarly, 'reducing' ambien ambien cr to biology, and this in turn to chemistry, etc., all the way 'down' to quantum physics, has nothing to do with the relative 'value' of these different levels of organized matter, but simply is simply an exercise in minimizing the number of mathematical equations needed to make predictions about observations at the next higher level. The term 'reductionism' therefore demands replacement by de-ductionism in order to emphasize its purely logical nature and to short-circuit misleading insinuations.

2. MATERIALISM. Monistic conceptions of the natural world are frequently called "materialistic" in a denigrating way in Ambien ambien cr : order to discredit them, using rhetorical tactics. This ploy relies for its effectiveness mainly on subliminally linking philosophical monism to the popular distinction between 'materialistic' and 'spiritual' ways of life (with only the latter, of course, being deemed worthy of praise). There is also a residual Platonism here, whereby the domain of idealized forms is prized far above the supposedly imperfect material one. Now that we realize, however, that such 'material imperfections' in fact Ambien ambien cr, apply only to the 'virtual reality' of conscious experience, and that the idealized 'real world' is essentially a mathematically described energetic one, I suggest that we replace the term 'materialism' with something like energeticism, thus bypassing the confusion engendered by inappropriate value judgments.

3. MECHANISTIC. There was a time when mechanical ambien ambien cr were the only ones known to physics, so that causal relationships of any kind came to be called 'mechanisms'. When even a mind Ambien ambien cr - as brilliant as that of Descartes was forced by default to conceive of nervous activity as being based on mechanical forces, it is quite understandable that one could entertain grave reservations about the validity of that proposed explanation. Now that chemical and electrical 'mechanisms' have Ambien zolpidem - taken pride of place in the arsenal of science, however, the term 'mechanistic' no longer deserves the misplaced contempt often afforded it when applied to a universe conceived in terms of pure physical causality. A new word, such as mechanismal, might afford somewhat better protection against ideologically inspired rhetorical aspersions.

4. LAWS OF NATURE. Whether it's 'Mother Nature' or a 'Lord of Ambien ambien cr, the Universe' who's supposed to be calling the ambien ambien cr legalistic terminology is a semantic trap whereby the unsuspecting can be deluded into thinking that man-made and physical 'laws' have anything whatsoever in common. Whereas the former are dictates about required behavior, accompanied by sanctions for non-compliance - indeed, laws-of-the-land are required only when behavioral propensities deviate ambien buy line what is socially desirable - the latter are merely quantitative descriptions of natural events under specified conditions. It is nonsense to maintain that objects in space 'obey' Ambien zolpidem, externally imposed physical forces when such forces themselves are properties of the very matter they are supposed to be exerting control over. ambien buy line, Interaction (among particles and fields) is therefore the key concept, so that the notion of 'natural laws' could better be replaced by physical principles, or some equivalently neutral phrase.

5. SPECULATION. Despite the fact that the scientific method thrives on 'critical' experiments to decide among alternative explanatory models, challenges to the monopoly of an established paradigm are all too often dismissed as constituting "speculation unsupported by evidence". This violation of Francis Bacon's familiar game-rules for empirical validation (Ambien zolpidem - Novum Organum) makes the unrealistic demand that newly formulated hypotheses already contain an implicit refutation of the currently favored 'paradigm'. As dramatized by Arthur Conan Doyle in Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, however, such a method is analogous to a detective concluding that the first plausible suspect in a crime case is certain to be the culprit. The proper procedure to be followed, in contrast, is (i) think up as many explanatory scenarios as are consistent with the available Ambien ambien cr : evidence, (ii) use common sense to provisionally shelve those that seem improbably far-fetched, and (iii) employ ambien ambien cr logic to analyze what additional factual evidence would serve to eliminate all but one of the remaining plausible scenarios. This methodology being one of rigorous deductive/inductive logic, the negatively loaded phrase 'mere speculation' ought really to be applied only to unmistakeable examples of uncritical brainstorming.

6. BELIEF SYSTEMS. 'Believing' is a Ambien ambien cr, funny thing: it's not quite 'knowing', yet implies a lot more than merely 'assuming' or even 'pre-suming'. Actually, there are two quite distinct categories of belief: (i) the axiomatic assurance that something is obviously true a priori, and (ii) the conviction that a process of deductive reasoning has led, without mistakes in reasoning, to a correct logical conclusion. In other words, 'belief' can be either a starting point or an end point in a rational discussion. Ambien zolpidem - A dangerous intermediate situation arises when wishful thinking seduces one into a 'gut' feeling of certainty that logical deduction is sure to 'prove' what one already believes ambien ambien cr be true. Since primal emotions such as

7. fear (of reaching ambien ambien cr conclusions), ambition (to show ambien ambien cr world' how cleverly original one is) and laziness (why go to any more trouble when we already know the answer?) are involved in this process, the compelling force of such temptations should Ambien zolpidem, not be underestimated! As a result, mere belief becomes transformed into dogmatic conviction, that is subsequently all too readily 'rationalized' along pre-ordained ambien ambien cr An invidious next step is to put the loyalty of one's subordinates to the test by insisting that they even "believe in impossible things" (Lewis Carroll: Through the Looking Glass). Since, especially in the empirical sciences, true certainty is unattainable no matter how convincing a given 'paradigm' or 'body of knowledge' appears to be, a formulation such as sets of assumptions - or equivalently, 'best guesses', 'working hypotheses' or 'general theory' - is infinitely preferable to the treacherous term, systems of belief.

"All those who fail to ambien ambien cr the vast discrepancy between the way things really are and what we're taught to believe are in for a most rude awakening".
Niccólo Machiavelli, 'Il Principe' (Florence, 1513)

Final note: I've prepared these thoughts in a form suitable for publication in the hope that others, after using the arguments and references presented here to help cleanse the mind of any residual intellectual debris, will be able to see their way towards new insights that I myself at this point can, at best, only ambien buy line wild guesses about. ambien ambien cr Amsterdam, May 2006



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