On Thought


How can one be a believer in relativism, and come to any conclusions about the nature of reality? How can one determine anything useful if everything in the universe is ultimately relative?

Say, for instance, that you were in my exact situation. To be in my exact situation, you would have my mind, my beliefs, and my feelings. You would know everything that I know, and so, could it be determined that you would act precisely how I do because your ‘decision’ would stem from factors that would be identical in every way?

Everyone’s actions are understandable, because everything is relative. One might condemn hitler for his actions and arrogantly assert that they would never do such a thing if they were in his position. However, if they were indeed in his position, then their actions would be identical to his, as they would have his opinions, his particular brand of logic, his emotions, his genetics, his experiences, etc etc.

This leads to the question, do we really have free will, or are our decisions products of our thought– and our thoughts simply products of our genetics, our environment, and our situation as a whole?

It is true we can be trained through various disciplines to somewhat ‘control’ our thoughts, but it is ultimately a conditioning of the mind to react certain ways in certain scenarios.  If you wish to stop the occurrence of ‘negative thoughts’ in any given scenario, you can train your mind to react differently;  In order to accept such training, however, one must first think about receiving the training in order to make the decision, so the training itself would be based off of thoughts, not decision.

So thoughts would come from a variety of factors:

Thoughts

Outside influences from our senses

Personal identity (determined by genetics and our environment)

We can’t control any of these. To ‘control’ our senses or our environment would require an action, which ultimately comes from a thought. This means you’d be trying to control a thought with a thought; If you don’t control the first thought and the first thought controls the second through action, then there is no control over the second thought.  Unless one has the power to control the very first thought they had (which, unless they know everything about themselves and the world around them at the first instant of brain functioning, is impossible), they can’t control any subsequent thoughts.  Because action stems from thoughts and thoughts stem from factors beyond our control, free will is ultimately an illusion.

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~ by ZAdoubleQ on May 18, 2011.

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