October 6, 2017 Free Will, Change & Righteousness

Sam Harris argues trying to convince someone there is no free will does not negate that there is still no free will – he equates this to knowing that 2 + 2 = 4 – regardless if you know this information or not doesn’t change the fact.

I would disagree if you know 2 + 2 = 4 then that changes your decisions and the way you engage in life. So if information can change our trajectory in life then therefore there is free will because we can pick and choose what knowledge we pursue. (with a caveat 19:75, 76)

Belief changes our mind and ultimately changes our understanding

Neuroplasticity shows that our brains can change. When our brains change it changes our biology. Molecules of emotion. When someone has their brain controlled that makes there hand want to move there is another part of us that wills for the hand not to move out of our control.  – Candace Pert

God designed a system in this world where whatever it is we believe God will lead us by that belief.

This is apparent with the list of cognitive biases that we have that make us so believable to whatever it is we want to believe. 

[10:9] As for those who believe and lead a righteous life, their Lord guides them, by virtue of their belief. Rivers will flow beneath them in the gardens of bliss.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cognitive_biases

[19:75] Say, "Those who choose to go astray, the Most Gracious will lead them on, until they see what is promised for them—either the retribution or the Hour. That is when they find out who really is worse off, and weaker in power."

[19:76] GOD augments the guidance of those who choose to be guided. For the good deeds are eternally rewarded by your Lord, and bring far better returns. 

Tragic Statement: "My mind is made up!"

[2:88] Some would say, "Our minds are made up!" Instead, it is a curse from GOD, as a consequence of their disbelief, that keeps them from believing, except for a few of them.

So how do we change if God veils some people from believing?

[7:146] I will divert from My revelations those who are arrogant on earth, without justification. Consequently, when they see every kind of proof they will not believe. And when they see the path of guidance they will not adopt it as their path, but when they see the path of straying they will adopt it as their path. This is the consequence of their rejecting our proofs, and being totally heedless thereof.

[45:23] Have you noted the one whose god is his ego? Consequently, GOD sends him astray, despite his knowledge, seals his hearing and his mind, and places a veil on his eyes. Who then can guide him, after such a decision by GOD? Would you not take heed? 

How do we come out of being veiled?

How do we know we are fooled vs. if we have the truth?

Abraham

[21:51] Before that, we granted Abraham his guidance and understanding, for we were fully aware of him.* Footnote [21:52] He said to his father and his people, "What are these statues to which you are devoting yourselves?" [21:53] They said, "We found our parents worshiping them." [21:54] He said, "Indeed, you and your parents have gone totally astray." [21:55] They said, "Are you telling us the truth, or are you playing?" [21:56] He said, "Your only Lord is the Lord of the heavens and the earth, who created them. This is the testimony to which I bear witness. [21:57] "I swear by GOD, I have a plan to deal with your statues, as soon as you leave." [21:58] He broke them into pieces, except for a big one, that they may refer to it. [21:59] They said, "Whoever did this to our gods is really a transgressor." [21:60] They said, "We heard a youth threaten them; he is called Abraham." [21:61] They said, "Bring him before the eyes of all the people, that they may bear witness." [21:62] They said, "Did you do this to our gods, O Abraham?"  

Abraham Proves His Point

[21:63] He said, "It is that big one who did it. Go ask them, if they can speak." [21:64] They were taken aback, and said to themselves, "Indeed, you are the ones who have been transgressing." [21:65] Yet, they reverted to their old ideas: "You know full well that these cannot speak."

Secondly, cognitive dissonance is the moment when we see the fault in our logic and we have the ability to change. If we choose to capitalize on it, it is for our own good. And if we choose not to then it is to our own detriment.  

https://aeon.co/ideas/cognitive-dissonance-helps-old-dogs-with-their-new-tricks

 Abraham's Courageous Debate

[2:258] Have you noted the one who argued with Abraham about his Lord, though GOD had given him kingship? Abraham said, "My Lord grants life and death." He said, "I grant life and death." Abraham said, "GOD brings the sun from the east, can you bring it from the west?" The disbeliever was stumped. GOD does not guide the wicked.

Like being on a train track with the occasional opportunity to change tracks 

[13:11] Shifts (of angels) take turns, staying with each one of you—they are in front of you and behind you. They stay with you, and guard you in accordance with GOD's commands. Thus, GOD does not change the condition of any people unless they themselves make the decision to change. If GOD wills any hardship for any people, no force can stop it. For they have none beside Him as Lord and Master.

[9:115] GOD does not send any people astray, after He had guided them, without first pointing out for them what to expect. GOD is fully aware of all things.

Cognitive Dissonance and Changing One's Heart 

Examine Yourself

[18:103] Say, "Shall I tell you who the worst losers are?

[18:104] "They are the ones whose works in this life are totally astray, but they think that they are doing good."

The first principle is that you must not fool yourself – and you are the easiest person to fool. – Richard Feynman

 

************************************* 

Righteousness is all that matters 

What is the real self – people select the best version of themselves as their real self

Phineas Gage

Phineas P. Gage (1823–1860) was an American railroad construction foreman remembered for his improbable survival of an accident in which a large iron rod was driven completely through his head, destroying much of his brain's left frontal lobe, and for that injury's reported effects on his personality and behavior over the remaining twelve years of his life‍—‌effects sufficiently profound (for a time at least) that friends saw him as "no longer Gage." 

Scenario #1

Phineas is extremely kind; he really enjoys helping people. He is also employed as a railroad worker. One day at work, a railroad explosion causes a large iron spike to fly out and into his head, and he is immediately taken for emergency surgery. The doctors manage to remove the iron spike and their patient is fortunate to survive. However, in some ways this man after the accident is remarkably different from Phineas before the accident. Phineas before the accident was extremely kind and enjoyed helping people, but the man after the accident is now extremely cruel; he even enjoys harming people. 

Scenario #2

Phineas is extremely cruel; he really enjoys harming people. He is also employed as a railroad worker. One day at work, a railroad explosion causes a large iron spike to fly out and into his head, and he is immediately taken for emergency surgery. The doctors manage to remove the iron spike and their patient is fortunate to survive. However, in some ways this man after the accident is remarkably different from Phineas before the accident. Phineas before the accident was extremely cruel and enjoyed harming people, but the man after the accident is now extremely kind; he even enjoys helping people. 

All participants rated whether they thought the (improved or deteriorated) man after the accident was still Gage. They rated this on a scale from 1 (still the same person) to 7 (not the same person); those who read the deterioration scenario rated on average 3.48, while those who read the improvement scenario rated on average 2.68. Those who read and rated the ‘Improvement Case’ were more inclined to see the man after the accident as still Gage than those who read the scenario based on the classic ‘Deterioration Case’. This suggests that large changes do not always affect perceived personal identity in the same way: intuitions about personal identity can depend on the direction of change.

Further evidence that direction of change affects identity can be seen in popular examples. Take, for example, ‘The Enemy Within’ (1968), an episode of the original Star Trek television series. A transporter malfunction splits the ship’s Captain Kirk into two people, one with the properties of his negative side, the other with the properties of his positive side. Positive-Kirk and Negative-Kirk are both dissimilar from the original captain, yet the ship’s crew refers to Positive-Kirk as Captain Kirk and Negative-Kirk as the impostor. Improved Positive-Kirk is taken as identical and deteriorated Negative-Kirk as non-identical to the original.

https://aeon.co/essays/how-a-change-for-the-worse-makes-for-a-different-person

When someone rights an obituary they focus on the good things the person did in life (not the bad) 

[7:26] O children of Adam, we have provided you with garments to cover your bodies, as well as for luxury. But the best garment is the garment of righteousness. These are some of GOD's signs, that they may take heed.

[2:245] Who would lend GOD a loan of righteousness, to have it repaid to them multiplied manifold? GOD is the One who provides and withholds, and to Him you will be returned.

[57:11] Who would like to loan GOD a loan of righteousness, to have it multiplied for him manifold, and end up with a generous recompense? 

[64:17] If you lend GOD a loan of righteousness, He will multiply the reward for you manifold, and forgive you. GOD is Appreciative, Clement.