Tuesday, 24 January 2017

The Illusion Of Free Will

Alma Warren in Jerusalem (London, 2016), like Alan Moore in Voice Of The Fire, reads New Scientist. Of Alma, we read that:

"She's convinced that no-one really needs free will as long as there is a sustainable illusion of the same to stop everyone going mad." (p. 782)

James Blish's character, Dana Lje, had already addressed the issue:

"'...there are never motives behind actions. All actions are fixed. What we call motives evidently are rationalizations by the helpless observing consciousness, which is intelligent enough to smell an event coming - and, since it cannot alter the event, instead cooks up reasons for wanting it to happen...'"
-James Blish, The Quincunx Of Time (New York, 1983), p. 76.

When Dana received messages from the future informing her that she was going to practice an elaborate deception in order to join the Earth intelligence bureau and marry its director, she listed the advantages to herself of this course of action and those advantages became her motives. Thus, she consciously experienced the rationalization that usually occurs unconsciously.

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