Tuesday, 19 January 2016
Tracks In A Canyon
By contrast, SM Stirling's Draka war hero, Eric von Shrakenberg, writes not only novels but also "Meditations on Life," (Central Press, Archona, 2003).
In his "Meditations," von Shrakenberg compares life options to "...tracks within canyon walls." (quoted in Stirling, The Stone Dogs, p. 424)
There are two constraints on freedom:
the canyon walls fix our main direction;
effort is necessary even to move our "wheels" to another track.
I go further. The "effort" is necessary to overcome social conditioning and mental habit, which are the psychological equivalents of momentum and inertia. Of two men who believe that they should move to another track, one possesses will-power sufficient to overcome this resistance whereas the other does not. However, neither man has chosen, or could possibly have chosen, to be born either in a particular society or with a particular degree of will-power. Therefore, I argue that neither of these men has "free will" in relation to a hypothetical creator.
A man is unfree if coerced or restrained but is free for practical purposes if his fellow mortals do not impede/interfere with etc his actions whereas none of us is or can be free in the absolute sense implied by the philosophical concept of "free will."