tek, thinks & la strada ☯ॐ☢ csmr@kapsi

On free will

A common notion among armchair-scientists is the thought that neuronal-computational model of the mind and consciousness excludes "free will". Idea, that consciousness runs on a kind of biological computer, a fancy molecular clockwork.

Somehow the wetware of neurons is just the same as a digital computer with discreet states following logical consequence. Maybe out of convinience or lack of neurology studies. Of course this epiphenomenalistic view is naive to reality, and relies on ignoring things like limits of ones knowledge relating to our physiology.

Consider fun edge-cases such as a nerve-cell dying of old age in middle of thinking. What happens then in a biological brain? Does the brain error-correct somehow? How would this effect thinking that would be the result of thousands of neurons? This happens all the time and people don't "crash" like computer programs. This kind of Maslows hammer gets you a safe-harbor from the limits of your ignorance.

Stepping out of the epiphenomenalist head-body

Typical materialist or STEMmer thinks with their head. Or at least they think they think with their head: that somehow the person and its motivations results from neurons blinking on and off between the ears. This is a newbie error, and ignores the harsh reality about free will.

Look at the human body

First, I think its reasonable to argue that a functional body with most organs somewhat functional is same as to be a human, and it is not possible to live without organs...

In this body, the idea of the brain as the seat of consciousness, mind and persons "will" is fun cartoon to play around with. This model of Me-as-brain gives one a lot of room to form narratives or explain strange behavior or dysfunction.

In reality, if one considers the major causal mechanisms of the body systematically, the brain has limited roles. These roles are chiefly perception, motor function, language, emotion, logic and memory. The metabolism of the body has dozens of other more fundamental systems. The brain doesn't really run those at all. Instead, the brain is actually on the outer edge of the human experience: a thin layer that helps you count money or form words about the experience.


In the center and at the top of the body-hierarchy are internal organs. The liver, pancreas and the digestive system, also kidney, adrenal cortex, testes or uterus, as well as thymus & thyroid, the pituary and pineal glands and hypothalamus. While other organs like the heart and lungs are vital, their scope is limited, here to blood circulation and oxygen.

This holds true for both most of the basic metabolism of cells, and the resulting high-level functioning of the consciousness, including how one is motivated to act, and to what goal or end. For example, the liver, pancreas and the gut maintain energy levels, storage of energy, and command one to seek more food for energy.


How does the body command one to seek out more food? How can that happen when the liver is outside the brain! The answer is simple, the body keeps the brain on leash using hormones.

It is not the brains neurons, that in a neuronal-computational models can only form mechanistic sequental states like a minuature rationalist clockwork-universe. That's just the ego of the highly trained STEMmer telling itself its special. And it is "special", but thats outside this topic.

Free will

It's not the limited number of "blinks" a limited number of nerve cells in ones brain can achieve in concert.

- No, its the hormones that exclude "free will".

Insulin, leptin, ghrelin, cortisol. Angiotensin II, melatonin, testosterone, estrogen.

Hormones are excreted every second of ones life. If hormonal function ceases, the body usually falls ill and dies. There is no way out.

Copyright 2020 Casimir Pohjanraito

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