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« What Religion?(Sujatha) | Main | A New Blog in the New Year »

January 03, 2007


Congratulations to the entire A.B. crew on hitting the 500 post milestone! Ruchira, you may be behind on your reading but you can take pride in livening up the blogosphere for at least a few people (including me) with your most excellent commentary!

Congratulations on the 500th blog post, Ruchira. I definitely hope that you will continue with AB instead of stopping in your 2nd year, as you mentioned in your comment on Joe's post!
I found this fascinating assertion in the NY Times article about
"But most of the action is going on beneath the surface. Indeed, the conscious mind is often a drag on many activities. Too much thinking can give a golfer the yips. Drivers perform better on automatic pilot."
How true. I've noticed, for example, that while playing the piano, especially a well-worn practised music piece, the moment I become aware of the fingers moving is the moment I lose control and stumble. I guess that exercising conscious control of the exact mechanics of playing has in some way corrupted the flow which I had originally achieved without the interruption of thoughts.
Free will could indeed, in my opinion, prove a stumbling block to achieving a flow through existence as we perceive it. If we go by the ancient concept of Maya, or the world as an 'illusion' totally dependent of the perceiver's perception (perhaps Shunya might like to weigh in on this), on a certain level, even this solid feeling keyboard and the fact that I'm typing is all just an illusion of 'me, my self, my body' separated from the underlying cosmic reality. So is 'Free Will' also a case of Maya? I find the concept highly appealing despite the high mumbo-jumbo factor.( I accept that it will not change the fact that there is no Free Will in having to cook dinner and do the dishes in this life.;) Those are all part of my current perceived realities!

Not sure why, but I've never been able to will myself to debate free will. ;-) Sujatha, your doubts about the real and illusory have an ancient lineage. This is how Chuang-tzu, the Chinese Taoist master, philosopher and comedian of the fourth-century BCE, described his own moment of existential doubt:

Once Chuang-tzu dreamt that he was a butterfly, fluttering around, happy with himself, absolutely carefree. He didn't know that he was Chuang-tzu. Suddenly he woke up: there he was in the flesh, unmistakably Chuang-tzu. But he didn't know if he was Chuang-tzu who had just dreamt that he was a butterfly, or a butterfly now dreaming that he was Chuang-tzu.

Shunya, you are doing a pretty nifty job at your own blog.

Sujatha, you (and Joe, Anna and Dean) of course contributed mightily to the milestone. Thanks.

The free will article was fascinating - the monkey of free will riding the tiger of the sub-conscious was a rather humbling analogy.

As for the free will to not cook dinner, I have mastered that one ever since the kids left home!

What does this say about free will AND altruism?

Was it free will in the case of Mr.Autrey or an unthinking instinct born of his experiences in life ( Construction worker, ex-Navy- points to a high level of alertness and ability to react in split-seconds to dangerous situations)? He left his 4 and 6 year daughters on the platform as he jumped down, and one of the first things he did after the train stopped was to call out to the onlookers to reassure his kids. Putting myself in his situation, I would have clutched on to my kids for dear life and been part of the onlooking crowd. So, in essence, we should all be glad that there was somebody with the instincts and skills to jump in and save Mr.Hollepeter from a dire fate.

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