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Old 08-07-2006, 05:56 PM   #1
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Prove your existence

Here's a question for you; How do you prove, without question, that you are alive? Ignore the obvious biological signs, throw away evolution, cellular structure and immergent behavior; How do you prove that you are an independant being, thinking for yourself, acting on your own behalf, and not simply born preprogrammed in a special way that makes you who you are, and think that you are in control?

Thinking about an action, and then doing an opposite action, is not a clear sign of free will, because what you're simply doing is thinking about one action, then doing the action you were planning to do anyway.

So....any ideas?
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Old 08-07-2006, 06:47 PM   #2
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"alive" means that a physical body is functioning independently.

being alive doesnt mean that you're thinking for yourself or acting on your own behalf!

i need to smoke some to think of something re this subject.
zoek waar je wil, maar het zit in jezelf

oh yeah
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Old 08-07-2006, 09:53 PM   #3
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Forget the answers - I love this question, Lynx, because of course it poses more questions.

So, what type of existence are you talking about?
(How do I know I'm not a character in a dream?)

And by proof, do you mean scientific proof? A philosophical proof?

You wrote:
"Thinking about an action, and then doing an opposite action, is not a clear sign of free will, because what you're simply doing is thinking about one action, then doing the action you were planning to do anyway."

This sounds a little arbitrary and I need further explanation for us to come to agreement about this.

I do believe we have free will - but I don't know how to prove that, except to myself anyway. For instance, take lucid dreaming. I get a horrible nightmare, one that I know that I would not have consciously chosen to put myself through - let's say I'm being attacked by someone with a knife on a bridge. I wake up in a cold sweat, panting. I lie down in the same position and immediately return to the dream state to will something else to happen. This time, I have a gun and try to shoot. In this version of the dream, it's wrested away from me. I briefly wake up and try to return to the same dream, this time deciding not to cross the bridge at all and to go get an ice cream cone.
There is nothing to stop me from going back again and again and imagining different details - even if sleep now evades me, daydreaming can still continue unfettered and is limited only by my own imagination and time constraints that I place upon myself and can either accept or reject in any given moment.
Because I do have a choice there, too. I can lie there like a lazy manfred all day and continue daydreaming/snoozing, or I can consciously drag myself out of bed and go to work, thereby beginning a multitude of daily conscious choices based on experience and desire - an enormous catalogue of decisions to make. What shoes to wear? Breakfast before catching the bus? To eat standing or sitting? To squelch the sneeze or to let it rip? The very act of considering the choices to make and weighing the consequences is a pretty good indicator of free will. One who cannot make these choices (for various reasons - trauma, indecision, fear) ends up mentally and emotionally paralyzed.
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Old 03-14-2008, 03:33 PM   #4
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It's not that you're in control that can prove your existence, but when you're not.

It's your ability to react according to your emotions, feelings, when your instinct drives you to do something that you really feel is right, or needed.

It's when we can't think logically, when we charge into something completely unheeding of the consequences.

Think about it...if you truly cared about someone and they were in trouble, would you stop to think about it, or think about why you're doing it, or would you jump right in and help them?

It's only when we feel we can truly give ourselves away, when we can accept being abused, torn, used as a tool, and would throw our lives away for those we care about, that is really what in the end can prove our existence.

For you cannot prove your own existence, but you CAN prove the reason for your existence to those who you truly care about, and make a difference in the world.
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