The Nature of Consciousness

Piero Scaruffi

(Copyright © 2013 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions )
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These are excerpts and elaborations from my book "The Nature of Consciousness"

Life is Unpredictable

The fundamental problem of free will is how the determinism of brain matter turns into the freedom of the self.

Assuming that humans do have free will, do animals also have the same free will that humans have? Or are they only  machines that move according to formulas?

There is no evidence that at any point in time one can predict the next move of a chicken or an ant. No matter how simple and unconscious animals seem to be, their behavior is still largely unpredictable. You can guess what the chicken will want to do, but you can never be sure, and you can never guess the exact movements. There are infinite paths an ant can follow to go back to the nest and the one it will follow cannot be predicted. At every point of that path the ant can choose where to go next. Two ants will follow two different paths. Each ant seems to have its own personality.

Even the movement of mono-cellular organisms is unpredictable to some extent. No matter how small and simple the organism, a degree of free will seems to be there. Free will seems to be a property of life. What triggers the next move of bacteria, ants and chicken is not just a Newtonian formula. If they are machines, then these machines do not obey classical Physics. There is a degree of freedom that every living organism seems to enjoy. And it doesn't require a sophisticated brain. There is a degree of freedom that just shouldn't be there, if Newton was right.

If these are machines, they are machines that cannot be explained with our Mechanics because at every point in time there are many possible time evolutions and all seem to be possible, and none can be exactly predicted.

 


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