Taoist mythology, Lanna history, mythology, the nature of time and other considered ramblings

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Location: Chiangrai, Chiangrai, Thailand

Author of many self-published books, including several about Thailand and Chiang Rai, Joel Barlow lived in Bangkok 1964-65, attending 6th grade with the International School of Bangkok's only Thai teacher. He first visited ChiangRai in 1988, and moved there in 1998.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Shock, resentment and free will

Shock, fear, attraction, sorrow and nostalgic sentiments do not correspond to sequences of measurable, or even very describable internal physical motions. Yet, they do result from occurrences, especially series of occurrences. And, emotional states exhibit physical manifestations. So, the free will vs. determinism debate seems destined to continue (as if we don’t witness ourselves making, and re-making, decisions).

We know of physical causes impairing mental function: physical tiredness and exhaustion, hunger, illness, poison, intoxicants… and also that shock doesn’t usually occur completely separate from external physical event. Memories have been evoked by physical means, including pressure applied on brain cells.

But feelings like resentment haven’t been artificially produced – they come only from interactive event. One may believe in the existence of effective love potions, but not shock potions. We’ve yet to be found fully programmable, manipulate-able or explicable.

And the excellent work for which Kurt Gödel is best known strongly suggests we never will be. Whether or not he was right about the “river of time” having whirlpools which could wrap itself into a spiral (was he tripping or what? But hey, many great thinkers and imaginative people weren’t all that solid, stable and sane).

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