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Welcome to Freedom
A human being is part of the whole called by us ‘universe,’ a part limited in time and space. We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest. A kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from the prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty…. The true value of a human being is determined primarily by the measure and the sense in which they have obtained liberation from the self…. We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if humanity is to survive. (1)
|(1)||Einstein in "The world as I see it' - Alice Calaprice, The New Quotable Einstein (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005)|
Generating behavioural alternatives isn’t the same as agency, but it’s a necessary condition. It’s in the selection from this range of choices that true agency consists.
For us, humans, ‘free’ choice is typically effortful,
- involving the conscious contemplation of imagined future scenarios based on past experience.
- It demands an ability to construct an image of the self within our environment: a ‘rich cognitive representation’ that allows those scenarios to be imagined in sufficient detail to reliably predict outcomes.
- It also requires an ability to maintain a focus on our goal in the face of distractions and disturbances. (1)
|(1)||Philip Ball - Aeon 2020|