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The absurdity of freedom leads logically to the absurdity of the fact-value distinction. If we conceive of a world of fact and a world of volition (freedom), the immediate question is: how do we manage to live in both worlds at once? Human bodies are a matter of fact, our values (volitions) supposedly a matter of freedom. But how can I truly be free if a choice to cross over from the world of volition to the world of fact might immediately be canceled by some fact there encountered, which forces me back to the world of volition. Am I doomed to freedom? And therefore not at all free?

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There are a lot of people who think we have free will. Their explanations range from divine decree to belief in minds or souls. But they miss a fundamental contradiction in this assumption. If I had free will, truly, I could choose to give it up. Then I would not be free. Not being free, it is possible that freedom could be forced back upon me. After all, it happened once, why not again? So how free can I be when my free choice to give up freedom might easily be canceled out as soon as it is made? The notion of freedom automatically leads to an absurdity: the idea of a free being who can will the conditions of unfreedom. Like the idea of all powerful god who can create a rock so massive that even she can’t lift it.



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For centuries, western authors have debated the so called “fact-value” distinction. This is the idea that values are fundamentally different from facts, and that no value can ever be logically deduced from any observed fact. This would seem to imply that humans, as the value speaking species, are fundamentally different from all other species. It would also seem to imply that there are two worlds out there: the fact based world and the value based world (sometimes called the kingdom of god), and that a human life properly understood is the occasion for the (very difficult?) ascent from the former to the latter. Authors like Darwin of course threw a metaphysical monkey wrench into the whole affair by proposing a model in which values are the evolutionary consequence of a whole bunch of valueless facts. This is no doubt why there is so much animosity towards teaching his theories in Trump-Pence voting communities. Where do you stand?



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poetry lets me get an emotional truth not bound up by the facts of my life


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In 1920 my grandfather fled the pogroms of eastern Europe for a country he envisioned would protect and support him. His family left behind was soon slaughtered wholesale in a genocide not even born yet.  It is tempting to believe this was an anomaly, something located in a precise space and time, deserving of a special name like The Shoah.  And yet such cruelty is all too mundane as we have seen, as I have seen, time and again.  Understand that on this whole entire planet, there is no teacher, no colleague, no familiar, no lover, no friend who would not sell you out in a moment of weakness, of personal panic.  What would it take for you to walk away from your dearly beloved?  (Everyone has an answer to that question, validated or not.)  That is the price of your own personal holocaust.  It is not as dear as you thought.



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two proofs that light does not exist


1. If light traveled in ordinary space time, we could approach it, because all motion in space time is relative (according to Galilean relativity). But observationally, the speed of light is a constant for all observers, so we can’t approach it, so it can’t be traveling in ordinary space time. Therefore at the speed of light ordinary space and time don’t exist.


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two proofs that light does not exist

2. Nothing can travel faster than the speed of light, because this would be inconsistent with the observational fact that the speed of light must be constant for all observers. And, as we approach the speed of light, space contracts, so at the speed of light, space will have dwindled away to zero, since the speed of light is the absolute limit. If space did not approach zero, there might be another limit beyond the speed of light that could still be approached (if space were not zero at the speed of light, then at the speed of light space would still be contracting, and could potentially contract some more than it already had). Also if space did not approach zero at the speed of light, it would be possible to apply an acceleration that would affect the back of my body before the front, and this would create two distinguishable inertial frames of reference, which is impossible beyond the speed of light because the speed of light is (observationally) the absolute limit. If space is zero, then time must also be zero. Therefore at the speed of light, space and time are both zero. That is they cease to exist



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As a primate with a large brain, I often find myself swimming through an emotionally intense social context. Despite how common this experience is, our culture tends to punish anyone who dares to speak of it. And it seems reasonable to suppose, as many have, that such emotional stigmata may be some of the prime controlling variables for what we call mental illness. With them, it seems to me we get attributions of many fantastic kinds: intent where there is only effect, sin where there is only chemistry, will where there is only want, should where there is only could, evil where there is only occurrence. Reward of endless cruelty and spiraling violence. Can we never see each other as we are?


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When I was a child, the world tried to kill me for my weirdness. I learned to conceal myself as a matter of survival. Recently I learned how to not to live that way any longer. And if the world comes after me again, so be it. They can only kill me once.


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The word delusion simply identifies heterogeneity of thinking and speaking. And it requires a definitional context to be accurately understood. The notion that time and space are malleable was probably seen as delusional by many in the early days of Einstein’s relativity theory. Now we accept it in all of its weirdness. Depend on it even for so many aspects of our daily lives. Are we all then delusional? Or are we simply living in an ever shifting verbal context, with no position of absolute rest from which to measure the world or ourselves?



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