Consciousness and how it got to be that way

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Two Questions I Was Apparently Predestined to Ask

To those who think free will is an illusion: why does it seem like we have free will? More to the point, why do we perceive a special point in time we call "now"?


  1. If there's no free will, we're just a run of collapsing particle dominoes. Why bother to do anything in that case?

    "Now" seems to be a given. That's just reaction to immediate stimulus. In 7th grade, we put a drop of vinegar on a slide of pond water and watched the 'wee beasties' flee.

    What's special is the ability to maintain a memory of "past" and conceive of possible "futures," and then apply that knowledge to modify reactions to "now" stimulus.

  2. But if there's no free will, then the universe and its entire history are just a frozen block of space-time. Why would this not be obvious to an observer that's part of this frozen block? Why would there be a special space passing through this block (like a plane moving through a 3-dimensional block of Flatland spacetime)?