En Route
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En Route • Posted: Feb 20, 2009 11:41:54Comments WelcomeVote CoolPhotoblogsPurchase a PrintShare

In the previous post The Language of Love I commented on mounting evidence that free choice is little more than an illusion. The evidence comes from studies investigating the biological underpinnings of behavior. Discover a given behavior is mediated by a certain chemical, then block that chemical and you largely eliminate the behavior. For instance, the motivation to have sex. Deplete testosterone and you largely diminish all desire to have sex.

I also commented in the post Facing the Future that conscious thought seems to function biologically as a source of variation within the processes of evolution. Conscious thought includes choice. Members of a species making bad choices perish. Members who don't flourish. In other words, where choice exists it functions as part of a larger biological process.

Reading the news, it is abundantly clear people make what they claim to be their choices based on a mixture of evidence and belief suggestive of what outcomes can be expected. However, folly and disappointment abound because belief is faulty, evidence is incomplete, interpretation is faulty, and the modeling of outcomes is unreliable. Yet people are never at a loss for fabricated explanations as to the why of actual outcomes. Free choice perhaps exists in fashioning the stories we all tell ourselves and others as to why we currently are or are not facing disappointment. But most such stories are bent on assuaging emotions by assigning blame instead of increasing wisdom for another try. Once again, chemistry is controlling our choices.

Since by the current state of affairs so little of what we hope for will ever come to pass and so little of why will ever be understood, perhaps the best most of us can hope for is a memorable journey toward an admirable end point. May you choose wisely your desired end point and more often than not find ample reason to enjoy the journey.

Monday, December 25th, 2006