Sunday, April 13

Slavishly outraged

I have been wondering upon my facility for outrage recently as I appear to have passed through several months without anything really incensing me. In fact, in terms of these blog posts, the last post detailing an occasion that measured as highly as this on my Outrage Richter Scale (ORS) was the Madonna adoption blog I suspect.

But it seems this week is the week for outrage blogs, so I will add to frenzy too!

So what is this occasion that registers a clear 6 on the ORS, Natalie? You say.

Free will. Or the [mis]conception of. I reply.

And to elaborate, the difference of opinion on the issue of: can we control our emotional responses to circumstance?

It was posed to me that we CHOOSE our emotional responses. We can CHOOSE to be happy, sad, angry etc. when an emotive circumstance presents itself.

If my mother dies, I CHOOSE to be grief-stricken...apparently.

(that was the crunch moment when my gauge started its incline)

And not just grief. Any emotion in fact. WE CHOOSE to respond to Incident/Cause A with Emotion A or Emotion B or Emotion C.

I of course have to dwell on what this would say about love.

And I have have never yet met anyone who able to MAKE themselves fall in love. Indeed the mere expression itself connotes the fact that it is an unintentional, uncontrolled occurrence.

Or rage. In what circumstance could someone sit and say ‘And now, I choose to be enraged’ You simply can’t FORCE an emotion. You feel it/ it is there – or it isn’t. You can’t force a feeling that isn’t there.

Philosophers have spoken about free will for generations; most of us have a deep conviction that we live our lives with “free will”. Free will, hard to define, but loosely in the sense of a human beings’ faculty for making and acting on reasoned choices.

Ignoring for the moment issues action choices (i.e. when a cause C event happens – can we REALLY ever be said to have CHOSEN action A or action B – and whether is it not instead the case that whether A or B ensues, it was NECESSITATED by who you are and the forces acting upon you at the time of your ‘choice’. No free will at work – only an inevitable outcome caused by who we are. You can’t avoid doing other than what you end up doing. You are the person you currently are and cannot respond in any other way unless you were to be someone other than you.) for now let us just deal with emotions. Because to me self-determinism in respect of emotions is even more self-evident a truth self-determinism in respect of actions.

Emotional responses are utterly beyond our control. Emotions present themselves to us as ‘knee-jerk’ reactions. When Cause A occurs – emotions do not sit on a waiting bench within us to be called up when the being owning them decides which emotional response he would like to carry out. Emotional responses are immediate – they AUTOMATICALLY ensue from A. The response occurs spontaenously –the emotion is nothing more than a mechanical reaction.

To say that you could have felt, or acted otherwise, is a fallacy. We can’t do anything other than what we end up doing, our behaviour and emotion is utterly determined by circumstances and biology i.e who we are. In a same molecule-for-molecule situation, we would always respond in the same way – why would or could anything else change it?

If this were not the case – where does the ‘part’ that makes a different choice or response come from – where does it sit? If not in the mind – the genes the molecules, then where? A supernatural element, a ghost in the machine?

And if this supernatural or ‘other non-biological, circumstances’ based element exist – how does it make its choices? Utter chance? Random chaos. How is that then a free choice?

Some quotes from guys thinking about lack of freedom in respect of emotion:

“You are free to do what you want, but you are not free to want what you want” Arthur Schopenhauer

“I suppose it’s possible that you might have acquired this want because you wanted to. It’s theoretically possible that you had a want to want to have a want. But this is very hard to imagine, and the question just rearises: where did THAT want come from? You certainly can’t go on like this forever. At some point your wants must be given. They will be products of your genetic inheritance and upbringing that you had no say in. In other words, there’s a fundamental sense in which you did not and cannot make yourself the way you are” Galen Strawson

For more discussion on Self-determinism – check out Steven L Converse: ‘Free Enough: Doing what come naturally’... who I plagiarised pretty much everything from...

Except for my outrage. That was determined ;)

Wednesday, April 9

Mr Camus' pearls of wisdom

Am very much enjoying my current read at moment and thought I'd share part of a particular passage that amused and resounded with me. I do try to remind myself of my existence and by doing so, appreciate it, though believe it's not perhaps necessary to do it by such afflictive means!

Query: How to contrive not to waste one's time? Answer: By being fully aware of it all the while. Ways in which this can be done: By spending one's days on an uneasy chair in a dentist's waiting room; by remaining on one's balcony all a Sunday afternoon; by listening to lectures in a language one doesn't know; by travelling by the longest and least-convenient train routes, and of course standing all the way; by queueing at the box-office of theatres and then not booking a seat. And so forth.

Tuesday, April 8

Note to the pusillanimous: a lexiphanic blog

I am yet again at a loose end at work so thought I would engage in a little bafflegab as a mithridate to my boredom until the hour to absquatulate arrives.
I have nothing that is not picayune to discuss but am hoping to fistigate my personal challenge to use fifteen words from in one small post. This is not so mattoid as it may on first sight appear, I've been lollygagging for almost three long hours on various retro clothing website but, have found myself full of floccinaucinihilipilification in respect of most items I came across.

As may be obvious, I am a hyperpolysyllabicsesquipedalianist and admit to being twitterpated with using sesquipedality to squabash people in debates.

It is a pinchbeck trick which smacks of the sciolist but, neverthless, I admit freely to it.

Given this fact, I thought application of wordlwidewords to this pages as an oyez so that I may use them to vellicate my sister when next I meet her so that she may accuse me of fanfaronade more so than she usually does. I do not mind. She is nought but a jobbernowl and should know to be more fidimplicitary when I am around.

Wednesday, April 2

On the Superiority of the Structured Hat

OK, clearly we need head and hair protection given that we live in Grey, Pissy-Little Britain. True, true. Thus, our protection-mechanism is of some import to us.

I'd like to point out therefore something that may have eluded your attention in this respect. The Structured Hat.

And I'd like to suggest you give it a try (on).

The advantages of a Structured Hat over an Umbrella:

1. It doesn't break in the wind.

2. You are less likely to forget it.

3. It looks 'fetching'.

4. It doesn't imperil the eyes of your fellow pedestrians.

5. It doesn't require constant opening and closing.

5. It doesn't impinge on your bodily-freedom

6. It's longer-lasting.

7. It acts as an eye-mask to aid sleeping on the morning train journey.

8. It retains warmth.

Thus: quite clearly superior to the Umbrella.