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Thread: Illusions of Choice

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    Default Illusions of Choice

    Me and my good friend in various long conversations have always been coming up with revalations towards life. Our most recent revelation was on the philosophy of choice and the thories of Fate and its role in our lives. Cause frankly I want to believe that I have control of my decisions, but we've always come up with some thought that proves contrary and then spend quite a lot of time trying to prove it wrong so we feel better towards our own choices in life.

    In order to understand this recent theory that we've come up with, first I'll have to explain some simple concepts and theories. The first is that of the decision making process. Every decision that is made is done through the rational mind. And this is consitant for every single person on the planet. Societly norms have often dictated that some can be constured as irrational thought, but it is still in fact their rational mind and the irrationality it merely diversions of the norm of society.

    The second theory is that of causal events. A causal event is simply defined as any event that cause a subsequent event to occur. Like for example, me typing this sentence will eventually cause the event of you reading it. The theory of causality is that every event is a causal event in some method. Whether it be direct like my above example or an indirect causality.

    So in simplicity.

    Fate is merely the determination of subsequent causal events.

    Now every decision you make goes through a process. A simple decision of "What to wear" consists of things like weather, what your doing, where your going, etc. These are simple factors are uncontrolable for the current decision. They are a compilations of every previous causal event that occured before it. As soon as your brain has taken into consideration all these previous causal events. It then moves it to your rational mind. And this is where the decision is made, now that your brain has taken into consideration all the previous causal events, your rational mind forms the next causal event in succssion which is the final decsion to be made.

    Now I want you to consider this idea for a bit, although every individual has a different rational mind and thus a different rationalizing process in their decision making, if I could figure out exaclty how your rational mind works then I can foresee every single decision that your going make. But the interesting conundrum is that its impossible to predict a persons choice, because prediction requires informing the person of your forsight, and by informing them of your foresight, you thereby introduce a new causal event of their consideration and thereby change their ultimate decision.

    So if a person can foresee another persons decisions prior to them being made, does that person still have the choice. Me and Lee have named this idea the "Illusion of Choice" because the person still makes the choice themselves, however the choice was forseeable by anyone with a potential understanding of your rational mind. Think of a game of chess. They say that the chess masters play the game foreseeing it 5 moves ahead. This is true because what they are doing is figureing out their opponents rational mind and determinging what their next move will be and then formulate their own move and so on.

    Now if you imagine, most of us have made some sort of decision in life that there is no way someone could predict it. And this is true for most people. This brings me to the theory f choice and what is a true choice in life. Every decision you make has a concept of understanding to it. And its that understanding that determines foreseeability. For as before, you have to understand to foresee. Since its impossible for any other person to understand a decision prior to the person making the decision. Although a percieved understanding can occur, no true understanding can happen in a prior incident.

    So for a decision to be an illusionary choice, the understanding of the decision is done prior to the decision benig made. For example, a person deciding what to wear cause its -40C outside and choose a winter jacket, gloves, etc.. They have an understanding of the decision prior to making the actual decision itself. Meanwhile there are occasions where a person makes a decision in their life without the understanding of it. These decisions are often made impulsively and purely on an instinctual basis. Although not all cases are as such and often can be confused with those that are made impulsively but not basically instinctive and as such have a concept of understanding behind them.


    So in a simple nutshell part 1 of the idea.
    The concept of understanding each individuals decision making process allows a person to forsee their intended outcome. And part 2 was the concept of free will and determinism co-existing.
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    Your theory fails on the point that the universe is non-deterministic. The naïve view of a deterministic newtonian universe with cause and effect has long been made redundant by quantum physics.

    To simplify things: If you throw a die, and get a specific outcome, and then somehow rewind time, and throw the same die in the exact same way at the exact same time, you might not get the same outcome.

    This still doesen't mean you have a free will though. You're still very much a slave to circumstance, just that instead of making one decision, you make all possible decisions at the same time.
    Last edited by Eris; 03-03-2007 at 07:51 AM.

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    TOO MUCH WORDS!!! Can't comprehend!
    I'm Back~!

    Sorry I was gone so long! I had so much to do!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hitsugaya389 View Post
    TOO MUCH WORDS!!! Can't comprehend!
    Then why are you pestering us about it?

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    Then don't post at all, Hitsugaya, you idiot. Stick with what you know such as Pokemon or Narutard discussions on Sasuke and Sakura.

    Eris, what you said just brings me to one of my own conclusions about the universe. The best I can do is make the best choice at the best time given to me.

    We can't control very much, and we can control the choices we make. Now I know that gets broken down into "right and wrong" choices but take it at face value.

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    To simplify things: If you throw a die, and get a specific outcome, and then somehow rewind time, and throw the same die in the exact same way at the exact same time, you might not get the same outcome.
    But that's a die. He's talking about choices made by people. Right?

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    wow most of that actually sounds rationalized and well thought out
    try thinking about how others decisions affect you and therefore affect your own decisions
    and vice versa
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eris View Post
    Your theory fails on the point that the universe is non-deterministic. The nave view of a deterministic newtonian universe with cause and effect has long been made redundant by quantum physics.

    To simplify things: If you throw a die, and get a specific outcome, and then somehow rewind time, and throw the same die in the exact same way at the exact same time, you might not get the same outcome.

    This still doesen't mean you have a free will though. You're still very much a slave to circumstance, just that instead of making one decision, you make all possible decisions at the same time.
    I have heard and read about quantum physics but I still don't believe that there is such a thing as a random occurance. There is always a smidge of faith in these things, after all science is just the best explination we can give. There are still holes that scientists have to try to make best guesses, it is still just theory.



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    Quote Originally Posted by bakakame View Post
    I have heard and read about quantum physics but I still don't believe that there is such a thing as a random occurance. There is always a smidge of faith in these things, after all science is just the best explination we can give. There are still holes that scientists have to try to make best guesses, it is still just theory.
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    Blasphemous Fiend, Eris, and Sagat.

    Just a quick question... how old are all you?
    Are all of you majoring in these things? Personally, I'm blown away by it all. I sit around during school, not paying attention to whatever my teachers are saying, and I try to just think about... well... everything. Nothing I've ever thought of is as complicated as this. This stuff is just amazing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ~Aisu~ View Post
    Blasphemous Fiend, Eris, and Sagat.

    Just a quick question... how old are all you?
    Are all of you majoring in these things? Personally, I'm blown away by it all. I sit around during school, not paying attention to whatever my teachers are saying, and I try to just think about... well... everything. Nothing I've ever thought of is as complicated as this. This stuff is just amazing.
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    I for one cannot force myself to believe that each person is nothing but a puppet controled by an invisible puppeteer known as Fate or Destiny. I could also never figure out why people like to try and prove things that can never be proven or completely understood. Like stated in some of the posts above, doing something, then go back in time, and do the same thing again to see if the same outcome will occur. Such things can never be proven considering time travel is impossible. As far as completely understanding how another individual thinks and how choices are made, I can say that is almost as impossible as time travel. We can never understand exactly how another peson thinks because no two people can think exactly alike.

    Even if we could completely undertand these things, I just cannot see what the point of all of it would be and what could possibly become of it. We can never truely know how such things work no matter how much we think about it or how much we talk about it, it would only end up being more questions that could never be answered.

    One last note, this post is not directed towards anybody, please understand this is only my opinion.
    Last edited by Koshiro; 03-04-2007 at 06:49 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bakakame View Post
    I have heard and read about quantum physics but I still don't believe that there is such a thing as a random occurance. There is always a smidge of faith in these things, after all science is just the best explination we can give. There are still holes that scientists have to try to make best guesses, it is still just theory.
    I hope you mean "theory" in the model sense, because the "best guesses" part implies that you are using the common definition in a scientific context.

    Quote Originally Posted by Koshiro View Post
    I for one cannot force myself to believe that each person is nothing but a puppet controled by an invisible puppeteer known as Fate or Destiny. I could also never figure out why people like to try and prove things that can never be proven or completely understood.
    They aren't saying Fate exists and controls ones actions. They are saying that ones actions are controlled by ones experiences. Think of yourself as a computer program. You have coded yourself into doing certain things in certain ways based on the data you have received. Some Data you handle one way, some another. But if you add 2+2, you will always get 4. You can still change your programming if you will it, but the only reason you would is if you are programmed to feel you should.

    I'll put it this way. Can you separate the being that you are from the things you have experienced? Your wants, needs, aspirations, personality, beliefs, etcetera? I know I can't. The only way that free will could exist is if people existed independent of their experiences.
    Last edited by Manhattan_Project_2000; 03-04-2007 at 07:21 PM.
    Ehhh, I dunno if I'll stick around. We'll see.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Manhattan_Project_2000 View Post
    They aren't saying Fate exists and controls ones actions. They are saying that ones actions are controlled by ones experiences.
    I know, I just meant I do not believe in fate.

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    To be honest, I'm not even sure myself anymore, I've long since lost the desire for long explinations. The few times I've ever gone through the trouble explaining myself, I was either completely ignored or someone disagreed without giving any good explination..... wait...

    Quote Originally Posted by bakakame
    I have heard and read about quantum physics but I still don't believe that there is such a thing as a random occurance. There is always a smidge of faith in these things, after all science is just the best explination we can give. There are still holes that scientists have to try to make best guesses, it is still just theory.
    huh... guess it's contagious.

    well, anyway, I guess what I was trying to say is that random occurances don't make much sence to me. I tried to rationalize that by stating that science is still subject to change. The model of the atom has changed over time. I feel that we will eventually come to understand subatomic activity well enough to find an actual reason why some activity seems random.

    I have a very linear view of the world, essentially that an action is simply the sum of the forces acting on it.

    ...yea, I know I suck at explaining myself...



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    Quote Originally Posted by Rukia Kun View Post
    But that's a die. He's talking about choices made by people. Right?
    There really isn't that much of a difference. Most decisions would probably come out the same, because they're not "sealed" at the instance of the decision making, but earlier--unknowingly, by random events that come to affect how you think.

    If you were to re-live your life, you would most likely make some very different decisions. You know the butterfly effect (not the movie, the idea): How very insignificant random events can have major effects on other parts of the same system. This is basically what I'm talking about. Someone, in a different part of the world spilling cereal on the floor, a very insignifcant (if unfortunate for the person) event, that might ripple out into a major event in your life.

    Quote Originally Posted by Koshiro View Post
    I for one cannot force myself to believe that each person is nothing but a puppet controled by an invisible puppeteer known as Fate or Destiny. I could also never figure out why people like to try and prove things that can never be proven or completely understood.
    I think the explanation might lay in the word "escapism." They're basically saying "fate did it!" as a way of getting out of their shortcommings cheap.
    Last edited by Eris; 03-05-2007 at 02:47 AM.

  17. #17
    Senior Member genericusername2 has a reputation beyond repute genericusername2 has a reputation beyond repute genericusername2 has a reputation beyond repute genericusername2 has a reputation beyond repute genericusername2 has a reputation beyond repute genericusername2 has a reputation beyond repute genericusername2 has a reputation beyond repute genericusername2 has a reputation beyond repute genericusername2 has a reputation beyond repute genericusername2 has a reputation beyond repute genericusername2 has a reputation beyond repute genericusername2's Avatar
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    You main point appears to be that, should someone know the choice that you are going to make, you no longer have complete control over that choice: it is no longer free. However, I would say that it is only because you have free choice, and (by whatever means the choice you are going to make was determined) simply the fact that someone took into account your personal preferences (e.g. despite the cold, you have a particular penchant for wearing Hawaiian shirts), they have not taken away your ability to choose, they have simply worked out exactly what you will choose. The same can be said true of fate - something may well only be predestined (hypothetical one here) because you have the ability to make choices, and because of the choices you are going to make. In the end, it can be summed up by the statement that 'You are going to make a decision, and hence there will be an outcome'. Simply predicting that does not remove the decision from your control.

    Now with regards the actual science behind understanding and predicting the mind, it need not be hypothetical. Zoom right out, and take the simplest decisions possible. You want to cross the road, but a lorry is coming, so you decide to wait 'til it has passed. Now, any other sane person could have predicted that you would do that, but you still made that choice, irrelevant of their prediction or not. Also, I fail to see why you must tell someone your prediction. Why not tell a third party? Or you could tell them a prediction, and take their thoughts on that into account to predict the resultant outcome after you have told them.
    Last edited by Santa Clause : 25/12/1bc at 00:00 AM. Reason: I felt like it, you idiot.





  18. #18
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    Well think about all the day to day choices that you make. Although there is the appearence that you are making those choices, the question remains, if what your going to choose is determinable, then is it really a choice? Thats why we've coined it an illusionary choice. Because although you technically make the choice, it was determined by past causal events and them affecting you and and your future choices.

    Now the idea of prediction and forseeability, is simply this. Prediction implies telling the person what they will do. Whilst Forseeability is more to not telling the person. Even telling a different person is more in line with forseeability than predictability. Its simply definitional variations between the two terms

    The other thing to think about when talking random dice rolls persay is that the dice outcome isnt your decision. What is your decision was to roll the dice in the first place. And deciding to roll the dice is a forseeable decision.

    And one thing I'd like to point out in refutation by current standards it may seem impossible to understand a persons rational mind and thought process. But thats besides the point.

    What if someone in the world could do it? Sure it may seem impossible, but it is within the relm of possibility. The human mind may seem like it can be unpredictable. But the decisions you make are based on some form of rationality by your mind, the decsion made by individual A amy be different from individual B with the exact same set of external circumstances, but thats the nature of forseeing a persons decision. Each individual may be different, but each has their own predictable pattern of decision making whether that be flipping a coin, or choosing the Hawaiian shirt, or the 5 layered full winter arctic gear.

    When you take a look at people like FBI Profilers, their job is to understand the criminal mind to try and figure out their future decisions so that they can catch them.

    ~Aisu~ I do not major in this sort of topic, just friendly conversation and discussion.
    Last edited by ███; 03-05-2007 at 06:54 AM.
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  19. #19
    Senior Member genericusername2 has a reputation beyond repute genericusername2 has a reputation beyond repute genericusername2 has a reputation beyond repute genericusername2 has a reputation beyond repute genericusername2 has a reputation beyond repute genericusername2 has a reputation beyond repute genericusername2 has a reputation beyond repute genericusername2 has a reputation beyond repute genericusername2 has a reputation beyond repute genericusername2 has a reputation beyond repute genericusername2 has a reputation beyond repute genericusername2's Avatar
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    Theoretically, it's completely impossible to understand what goes on in someone's head. It's just too complex; and even if you could, their mind could take a 90 degree turn and leave you in the dust. If it was possible to understand and estimate a choice or whatever, they could simply change their mind and complicate the entirety of the situation. Probability and statistics could enter the picture, however. You always have so many chances to contemplate what someone will do, and only have so many choices to choose from. Also, when you talked about the rolling of the dice. (Even if that's not what you are refering to.) There are two sides of a coin, if someone flips it, you only have two choices. 50/50 chances. Like I said, the only way to even come close to being able to take a guess at what someone will do in the midst of a situation depents entirly on your knowledge of that person. If you even have the most remote knowledge of the persons personality, you can do one of two things: Simply take a wild guess or...you can attempt to read what they will do. This would be by far the more diffucult of the two on the grounds that no one can read minds (technically). For example, there's this person I know really, really well, and I can almost guess what she will do in certain situations because of my knowledge of her personality. There are some people who are laid back and won't do anything in the middle of a crisis; and there are those people who will do anything to fix a problem, the aggressive ones. The human mind has proved to be a subject far beyond the comprehension of anyone who has tried to grasp it. There are just too many choices a person can make before they actually make them, giving you (the 'mind reader') more than enough time to make an enourmous mistake big enough to throw off your entire theory on the matter. In my opinion, it's just too stinkin' hard.

    And...there's always the issue of twins. Can they really tell what the other is thinking? I've never seen any hard evidence to support this fact but, it's always highly possible. There are many pieces of the puzzle that would lead one to believe that, yes, in fact, twins can read each others mind. This leads back to the theory that the only way to come even close to estimating a person's actions is to know that person. Twins are so alike in the physical, mental, and sometimes...both, that theoretically they could take a shot in the dark and get somewhere close to the choice. 'Great minds think alike' so it stands to reason that two normal minds could too...If both their minds work so closely together, than if one made an estimate on a desicion or whatever the issue was, then it would be in the same ballpark as if the other actually made the desicion in reality.

    The basic reality is...there's just too many factors on the table to predict something like someone's desicions. It's just too complicated. There are unlimited possibilities to the choices one can make during a situation. Whatever your point may be, it would take tons of practice, time, study, and actual experience in the arena of 'Thereapy' to contemplate something like this.

    But there are always conradictory statements.
    Last edited by Santa Clause : 25/12/1bc at 00:00 AM. Reason: I felt like it, you idiot.





  20. #20
    Actually bigger than you. miniPhil has a reputation beyond repute miniPhil has a reputation beyond repute miniPhil has a reputation beyond repute miniPhil has a reputation beyond repute miniPhil has a reputation beyond repute miniPhil has a reputation beyond repute miniPhil has a reputation beyond repute miniPhil has a reputation beyond repute miniPhil has a reputation beyond repute miniPhil has a reputation beyond repute miniPhil has a reputation beyond repute miniPhil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eris View Post
    To simplify things: If you throw a die, and get a specific outcome, and then somehow rewind time, and throw the same die in the exact same way at the exact same time, you might not get the same outcome.
    I dont see how that works, If you throw the die in the exact same way and it lands in the same way including wind or any other forces. You are going to get the same answer. The die isnt a random object.
    This is a Sig. It's horribly out of date.

  21. #21
    There's nothing new Manhattan_Project_2000 has a reputation beyond repute Manhattan_Project_2000 has a reputation beyond repute Manhattan_Project_2000 has a reputation beyond repute Manhattan_Project_2000 has a reputation beyond repute Manhattan_Project_2000 has a reputation beyond repute Manhattan_Project_2000 has a reputation beyond repute Manhattan_Project_2000 has a reputation beyond repute Manhattan_Project_2000 has a reputation beyond repute Manhattan_Project_2000 has a reputation beyond repute Manhattan_Project_2000 has a reputation beyond repute Manhattan_Project_2000 has a reputation beyond repute Manhattan_Project_2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by miniPhil View Post
    I dont see how that works, If you throw the die in the exact same way and it lands in the same way including wind or any other forces. You are going to get the same answer. The die isnt a random object.
    A die is often used as an example of something that is random, even though it is completely predictable in a Newtonian physics sense. Don't be so literal.
    Ehhh, I dunno if I'll stick around. We'll see.

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  22. #22
    Actually bigger than you. miniPhil has a reputation beyond repute miniPhil has a reputation beyond repute miniPhil has a reputation beyond repute miniPhil has a reputation beyond repute miniPhil has a reputation beyond repute miniPhil has a reputation beyond repute miniPhil has a reputation beyond repute miniPhil has a reputation beyond repute miniPhil has a reputation beyond repute miniPhil has a reputation beyond repute miniPhil has a reputation beyond repute miniPhil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Manhattan_Project_2000 View Post
    A die is often used as an example of something that is random, even though it is completely predictable in a Newtonian physics sense. Don't be so literal.
    Fair enough, i apoligise. I only said it because it is similar to another topic me and some friends were discusing a while back, can you change the past? Even if you had a time machine, could you do it? I firmly believe you can not and that is why is made that last post.
    This is a Sig. It's horribly out of date.

  23. #23
    Moderator / Chat Admin Cless Alvein has a reputation beyond repute Cless Alvein has a reputation beyond repute Cless Alvein has a reputation beyond repute Cless Alvein has a reputation beyond repute Cless Alvein has a reputation beyond repute Cless Alvein has a reputation beyond repute Cless Alvein has a reputation beyond repute Cless Alvein has a reputation beyond repute Cless Alvein has a reputation beyond repute Cless Alvein has a reputation beyond repute Cless Alvein has a reputation beyond repute Cless Alvein's Avatar
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    I don't believe that Predetermination and Entropy can coexist.
    Not all people and things are rational. Irrationality begets Entropy. Entropy
    dilutes causality. If causality is not pure, choices cannot be predicted,
    controlled or traced. This is, to me, the same as Free Will.

    Also, I look at it this way. Even if the entire ebb and flow of existance could
    be predicted according to measurements of all causal effects working upon it
    in the entire history of space and time, it is irrelevant unless some entity is
    actively controlling and directing all of them. It would still appear random
    enough to be subject to Entropy, which gives an end result equivalent to
    Free Will. This entity would have to be what most people refer to as "God."
    I don't want to get bogged down in religion so I'll summarize why this is
    irrelevant.

    If you believe in God in a religious sense, you almost certainly also believe
    that God gave humans Free Will. This is at least true in most if not all
    religions with which I am familiar. End of argument, ne?

    If you do not believe in God in a religious sense, then the concept remains
    to you in its pure form - a label designed to embody that part of the universe
    which we as humans cannot comprehend. That is to say, the intricate
    workings of the universe which we measure scientifically. Science supports
    Entropy, and we return once again to what, for all meaningful purposes and
    appearances, equates to Free Will.

    Fate and Destiny are just poetic labels for "The stuff that happens," mildly
    tainted with an attempt to explain "Why?" when we lack true understanding.
    Kind of like God.

    AnimeGlobe.com Editor
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Manhattan_Project_2000 View Post
    I'll put it this way. Can you separate the being that you are from the things you have experienced? Your wants, needs, aspirations, personality, beliefs, etcetera? I know I can't. The only way that free will could exist is if people existed independent of their experiences.
    there may be new knowledge from the experiences but that doesn't mean it cant just be ignored
    or such experiences can be forgotten
    then thinking changes
    (HYPOTHETICAL WARNING)someone who has had a bad experience with water may develop an irrational fear but in some emergency situation could break that fear
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  25. #25
    There's nothing new Manhattan_Project_2000 has a reputation beyond repute Manhattan_Project_2000 has a reputation beyond repute Manhattan_Project_2000 has a reputation beyond repute Manhattan_Project_2000 has a reputation beyond repute Manhattan_Project_2000 has a reputation beyond repute Manhattan_Project_2000 has a reputation beyond repute Manhattan_Project_2000 has a reputation beyond repute Manhattan_Project_2000 has a reputation beyond repute Manhattan_Project_2000 has a reputation beyond repute Manhattan_Project_2000 has a reputation beyond repute Manhattan_Project_2000 has a reputation beyond repute Manhattan_Project_2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grim Scythe View Post
    there may be new knowledge from the experiences but that doesn't mean it cant just be ignored
    or such experiences can be forgotten
    then thinking changes
    Whether or not you learn from or retain what you have learned from your experience is itself determined by how you have programmed yourself with your experiences, although genetics probably have a small part to play too. And certain brain injuries.



    (HYPOTHETICAL WARNING)someone who has had a bad experience with water may develop an irrational fear but in some emergency situation could break that fear
    The ability to act against that sort of Pavlovian conditioning is based on ones willpower (Walking into the water to retrieve something valuable), or the pull of instincts (i.e. Jumping into the water to escape a burning boat). One's willpower correlates with how one is raised, but few people are more afraid of water/spiders/heights/etcetera then they are of the death or dismemberment of themselves or those close to them. But then again, how afraid they are is determined by their experiences.

    Nether of your points disagree with anything I've said.
    Ehhh, I dunno if I'll stick around. We'll see.

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