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Free will (for the umpteenth time)
Archer
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Post: #1
Free will (for the umpteenth time)
Assuming some kind of cosmological reality in which there is a Divine Maker . . .

Humans do the Maker's Will; the Maker has decreed (though direct creation, or evolution, or simple construction of the laws of physics) that humans cannot fly without outside aid. We lack wings. No matter how much a human might want to fly, no matter how much a human might think they choose to fly, jumping off a building will result in a fast fall. This is however not an infringement on our "free will" - wanting/choosing to do something that is impossible, and not being able to do it, does not mean free will is limited. It simply means that the individual is not omnipotent.

Angels do the Maker's Will; the Maker has decreed (through direct creation, or programming, or simply putting all pieces in place to guarantee the desired outcome) that angels cannot make certain choices, choices that go against the Maker's plan. That an angel cannot curse the Maker or act in direct contravention of the Maker's rules or feel hated for the Maker is not an infringement on that angel's free will . . . it is simply that they are unable to do certain things, given that they are not omnipotent.

Which raises the question of "falling". Perhaps an angel disobeying orders is analagous to a human growing wings - it does not necessarily have any moral component as such, but it is in contravention of the laws of the universe and as such the act of warping those laws also distances the individual from the person who made them. To use an analogy: if you're in a LARP, and you decide to drop out of character, change into jeans, and start singing Clash songs . . . you haven't done anything morally wrong. But, by your actions, you have removed yourself from the LARP and made it so the gamemaster cannot reasonably allow you to continue playing.

Just a paradigm that occured to me as I sat here, slightly drunk, thinking about life.

Ubi Dubium, Ibi Libertas

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2010-04-18 0:38
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Seraphyna
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Post: #2
Re: Free will (for the umpteenth time)
I like your LARP analogy, Archer...especially since I'm of the belief that a fall is not permanent. You can always make the decision to get back into character so to speak.

I look at it this way. Angels are created for certain tasks, purposes, etc. so it's not that an angel has no choice but to do X, Y, or Z, but said angel will probably not be particularly inclined to go against what they were created for. It's not to say they can't, just that they most likely won't.

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"All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost."-Tolkien
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2010-04-18 2:32
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Post: #3
Re: Free will (for the umpteenth time)
See, I'm no longer certain I agree with the "not particularly inclined" school of thought. Going against orders, in the context of angelic duty, strikes me as impossible as it is for me as a human to fly. In order to do it, you gotta either fuck with physics (grow wings, become lighter than air, get a mutant power), find a loophole (but volcanic ash has aeroplanes grounded) or find yourself in exceptional circumstances (I'll be seeing you bouncing round the rings of Saturn).

In everyday life, to all intents and purposes, it's impossible to fly . . . just as I believe it's impossible for an angel to break the apropriate rules.

What I don't see, though, is that that limitation is an infringement on free will. I can't fly - that's something I simply cannot do, no matter how much I might want to. This doesn't limit my free will. With angels, the same - except it's not flying that's impossible, it's disobeying orders.

Ubi Dubium, Ibi Libertas

Quote:"I have suffered from being misunderstood, but I would have suffered a hell of a lot more if I had been understood."

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2010-04-18 3:01
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Acta non Verba
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Post: #4
Re: Free will (for the umpteenth time)
Your definition of free will seems predicated on possessing the ability to make certain decisions. That being that if one does NOT possess the required mechanism, then there is no lack of free will.

That being said, IF angels WERE given the ability....then to force them not to, once they ahve the ability, would violate their free will.

Ok.....so where do we get the idea that angels were built without the ability to disobey their deity?
2010-04-18 17:21
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Post: #5
Re: Free will (for the umpteenth time)
Somehow, I connected incarnation into this mix.

Going by your theory. It's like LARP, you get out of character, but you can chose to go back. What if incarnation is this act of getting out of character? By doing this, you sacrifice something (wings) for the benefit of something else (free will). That way, you would have a clear understanding of both things; wings and free will. And for some reason, those two things can't exist at the same time. It would be like trying to LARP out-of-character. It just isn't done.

But then that leaves the definition of Falling...and now I'm confused again...

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2010-04-18 22:39
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Post: #6
Re: Free will (for the umpteenth time)
Acta non Verba Wrote:Your definition of free will seems predicated on possessing the ability to make certain decisions. That being that if one does NOT possess the required mechanism, then there is no lack of free will.

That being said, IF angels WERE given the ability....then to force them not to, once they ahve the ability, would violate their free will.

Ok.....so where do we get the idea that angels were built without the ability to disobey their deity?

One of the (several) common views of angelic decision making is that they lack or have limited free will. They cannot go against the Maker's* wishes to perform certain tasks. Non-angelic beings (humans, for example), within this viewpoint, are perfectly free to embrace their Maker or not, to believe or not, to decide their own role.

The thinking is that if angels (or any individuals, for that matter) have restrictions on what they can choose to do or think then that is a limit on their free will. I disagree, because in my opinion a thought or a decision is an "act" the same as kicking a ball is. As such, an angel built with the rule "you cannot disobey" is an angel with every bit as much free will as a human built with the rule "you cannot fly". I may have already made that clear - if so, I apologise for repeating myself.

Now, on to your question . . .

What possible utility is there in making an angel that is capable of disobeying orders? Circular saws are built with safety guards and such so that they cut wood, but not your arm off. Hammers aren't built so that sometimes they hammer nails, but they're also capable of refusing to leave the toolbox. Computer programs aren't created to perform a task - sometimes adaptively - but not to delete the data from your harddrive unintentionally and then melt your motherboard. And these are things built by imperfect human engineers.

They question isn't "Why would angels be built without the ability to disobey the Maker?" - the question is "Why would the Maker deliberately built angels with the capacity to refuse to do the job for which they were built?"



* I say "the Maker" as opposed to "their Maker" because I find the concept of multiple-separate-deities-with-their-own-separate-angels to be nonsense, really. I'm not saying I know who the Maker is, though. But when I talk about "angels" and "the Maker" I'm not referring to any constructs made by a big dude with a scary voice; only to constructs made by the one that also made Everything. If there is no such one, then it's all academic anyway.

Ubi Dubium, Ibi Libertas

Quote:"I have suffered from being misunderstood, but I would have suffered a hell of a lot more if I had been understood."

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2010-04-18 23:17
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Post: #7
Re: Free will (for the umpteenth time)
Anetiel Wrote:Somehow, I connected incarnation into this mix.

Going by your theory. It's like LARP, you get out of character, but you can chose to go back. What if incarnation is this act of getting out of character? By doing this, you sacrifice something (wings) for the benefit of something else (free will). That way, you would have a clear understanding of both things; wings and free will. And for some reason, those two things can't exist at the same time. It would be like trying to LARP out-of-character. It just isn't done.

I think incarnation is a separate issue.

Some angels incarnate for a purpose entirely in keeping with their rules and reason and such, even if they aren't aware of it. Some might have ended up in the cosmic meatgrinder somehow. I don't think living in a human body of itself says anything about why the person is there.

Re understanding . . . well I think angels have as much free will as humans so I don't think living as one or the other is going to help understand free will, heh. I also don't think it's necessary to live as a human to understand being a human; if the Maker felt that an angel could do its job better by understanding humans, then *pop* and install the human-understanding component and there you go. Desiring to live as a human is not the same thing as getting utility from understanding them.

Quote:But then that leaves the definition of Falling...and now I'm confused again...

Well if you're working from a "humans = free will but no wings; angels = wings but no free will" we're discussing different concepts anyway, so I guess it depends what "Falling" means to you.

Ubi Dubium, Ibi Libertas

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2010-04-18 23:24
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Post: #8
Re: Free will (for the umpteenth time)
Seraphyna Wrote:I like your LARP analogy, Archer...especially since I'm of the belief that a fall is not permanent. You can always make the decision to get back into character so to speak.

Sorry, forgot to comment on this earlier!

If someone acts like a dick at a LARP, and the gamemaster asks them to leave (with varying amounts of politeness), then "Can I come back?" is probably not going to get an unconditional "Yes!" It might take a bit of work to convince the boss that you're not going to dick around any more, that you want to play, that you want to be part of the story. And the longer you wait to apologise and explain yourself, probably the harder it will be to return . . . even if the boss would love to have you back.

Which ties in with Falling as an ongoing choice. If you act like a dick, chances are it will be a while before you realise it was dickery (if you ever do). And the longer it takes to realise, the more of a dick you've been, and therefore the harder it is to go back with your tail between your legs. Easier sometimes to walk away, blame the other guy, and say you did nothing wrong in the first place. So Falling isn't being a dick . . . it's choosing to remain a dick and not mend things.

Hmmm.

Ubi Dubium, Ibi Libertas

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2010-04-18 23:29
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Post: #9
Re: Free will (for the umpteenth time)
Oh yes, the umpteenth time indeed.

So as I've basically said, and I like the idea of that LARP analogy. The way I see it is that each and every sentient being has Free Will as the ability to make decisions on their own. Angels are an interesting bit for a number of reasons. They for the most part were created from the ground up to fulfill a specific purpose, such as a computer program being written to perform a certain task.

I do not feel they are the same in that I believe Angels are sentient. Any sentient being can change of their own accord from changes in their learning or environment or whatever else they decide to do. In the LARP, you have a set character you are supposed to be, but you are not a character in a book flowing along the lines that the author has written, you are free to continue to write the story as you perform it.

I believe an Angel can decide one day that they dislike the LARP, the people running it or just the entire idea and perform acts to expel themselves as was pointed out. Even though they were built to be that person, they might one day change so much as they are not the being they were built to be.

On the issue of Falling, I am of the belief that one day those who have Fallen will be able to return, however at the current moment re-applications are on hold so to speak. Falling is having been a dick, after a current case proceeding, whether you continue to be a dick or not will be taken into consideration.

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2010-04-19 1:25
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Post: #10
Re: Free will (for the umpteenth time)
Archer Wrote:Assuming some kind of cosmological reality in which there is a Divine Maker . . .

Angels do the Maker's Will; the Maker has decreed (through direct creation, or programming, or simply putting all pieces in place to guarantee the desired outcome) that angels cannot make certain choices, choices that go against the Maker's plan. That an angel cannot curse the Maker or act in direct contravention of the Maker's rules or feel hated for the Maker is not an infringement on that angel's free will . . . it is simply that they are unable to do certain things, given that they are not omnipotent.

Just a paradigm that occured to me as I sat here, slightly drunk, thinking about life.

Okay, this idea that my entire race is on auto pilot was born of... some medieval brain with a superiority complex and for once, I'm not talking about silly ass angels who send all their time worrying about how superior they are to humans. I have free will. I have always had free will. The fact that it is in my nature to prefer not to disobey is irrelevant. If angels hadn't had free will, the first war never would have happened. I'm not programmed to do anything. I've been taught to do a lot of things. I've learned how the hard way to do a lot of things. I have NOT been "programmed" to do anything.

The other thing I want to point out is that everyone is always talking about God's rules. It's my experience that God doesn't really have rules. God asks for two things really--- Love him, and love each other. Everything else flows from that. The rules are created by angels and created by men. Initially, they were to help us do those two things but they took on a life of their own to the point of ridiculous. I'm not suggesting we all go nuts and drop the rule of law. I'm suggesting we remember what it's there for.

In Heaven an angel is nobody in particular.
- George Bernard Shaw
2010-04-19 2:11
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