Friday, April 26, 2013
Thursday, August 23, 2012
Saturday, January 21, 2012
Friday, January 20, 2012
Saturday, April 9, 2011
This is not a necessarily groundbreaking thought; I suspect many physicist perhaps toyed with the idea - i wouldn't know. Skipping ahead a few steps, one is usually presented with a quantum reality of probability, which is rather different from strict determinism. At a fundamental level, or better said, at the limit of our window of peeping into the workings of everyday life, things happen in an unexplainable manner, but each event has instead of clear route from cause to manifestation, a probability that it might indeed happen. The basic building blocks of matter both exist and not exist at the same time, sometime are present, and other not, however the ratio between the existence and non-existence part of the single block is fixed. We do not know why.
It might be that the reality of things are this. If we imagine "nothingness" or the precondition of existence, we are usually left baffled that something happened at all - there are no reasons - in deterministic terms - for the universe to have happened. No matter which side of the theological argument you lean towards, there is one point where things cannot be explained by things before them. In Philosophy it was St. Aquinas who, centuries ago, posited this paradox: if you try to explain things in terms of other things you'll end up with an infinitely long explanation - in other words the condition of the first cause is its nonexistence, thus determinism falls apart. Quantum physics tells us that at some point deep down we can only talk about the existence of things in terms of probability - nothing exists for certain at all times.
Perhaps the further you go towards the precondition of existence, the probability gets lower and lower, but also more diverse. Let's suppose that "nothingness" is not a situation in which nothing is possible, but another where everything is possible. If that were to be the case, our universe is that narrow possibility of where events become coherent with one another. For this to work we can posit the following framework:
At all times everything is possible. As we move more towards the reality of our own universe only those things that matter are taken into account in an increasing fashion - in other words, probability increases with every increase in the level of complexity. At some point the probability of occurrence of an event is high enough to allow for determinism.
in other word, there is a mechanism of "filtering out" (and by that we mean "ignoring") events from the condition of "everything is possible" to a condition of "only one thing is possible": the current physical reality of the universe, or what some call Newtonian Physics.
Interestingly enough, the determinism of Newtonian physics, is thought to be able to assemble into superstructures of complex systems which increasingly challenge determinism. The Physicalist stance is that the Mind - the locus of free will - is nothing more than an extremely complex physical system that allows for non-deterministic events to occur, such as free will, understanding and even sensation.
Behavioralists - a good chunk of the psychologists' community - note that there are reason to believe that humans often behave in a predictable, deterministic fashion. Or in other terms, that our free will is not all that "free" but rather constrained. Philosophers call this constraint our "animal" or "instinctive" side, over which we have limited control.
If we care to extrapolate for the sake of it, we can imagine that if there existed a physical system of a higher complexity than that of a human brain (Mind) then that system would be even less deterministic - or in other words, have a higher degree of Free will.
All those who live or have at some point in their lives lived in a democratic society knows pretty much the spiel on voting: if you're old enough and are a citizen, you have the choice - when the time comes - to go to the booth and chose a candidate (or in some countries like Brazil it is legally required to vote). This is a very simplistic system, and not yet truly democratic. Why? because its rather restraining, and one is always presented with the scenario of "chose the lesser evil" as opposed to "chose your actual preference".
The Brits are trying to make some progress: the introduction of a ranking system for the contending MPs, where one instead of choosing one over the other, gives a list of preference in descending order. This they call Alternative Voting or AV. And of course there is considerable resistance to introducing this change. Please refer to your search engine for more information on this topic.
My criticism is that AV does not differ fundamentally from the earlier system. Sure it probably a better statistical tool to chose between alternatives, but in the end, the voters are still faced with the scenario of electing the lesser evil. And this is by all means a limitation. One can easily imagine how voting apathy is at the very least encouraged by such a limitation.
Here's a proposed change in the voting system. The ability to say "NO!". Perhaps none of the candidates are good enough. In mathematical terms this would be a negative point. Even in the AV system, one should be able to rank some MP negatively, expressing how deep their disapproval for that certain potential representative is.