Ever since mankind first set foot on Earth, we’ve looked at the world around us and analyzed what we’ve perceived of. We’ve had to do that in order to survive.
As mankind has evolved over a long period of time, we’ve continued to gain knowledge about systems around us, and we’ve realized that a very effective way to learn about how things work, is to break them down into subsystems. Often times it’s easier to understand how higher level systems work by first analyzing how their subsystems work. We’ve done that process of subdividing and analyzing over and over again until we can’t perceive of subsystems that are any smaller in scale. In that process, we’ve ended up looking at some very small particles and we’ve come to the natural conclusion that there are four fundamental forces in nature (i.e., weak nuclear, strong nuclear, electromagnetic, and gravity) that control all events. We’ve concluded that everything that happens at higher system levels is a direct result of forces exerted from lower system levels. In summary, our science has led us to the conclusion that lower level forces add together and determine what happens at higher system levels. (Note: “Random” events and their relevance to predeterminism and living forces are discussed later on the website.)
Long ago, our "best science" (i.e., knowledge) taught our children that the world was flat and the sun revolved around the Earth. Based upon mankind’s past, we know that our best science at any given time may not be completely true. Isn’t it therefore possible that mankind may be missing something important today, just like we’ve missed in the past, and perhaps for the same reason—because mankind’s natural human references cause him to draw false conclusions?
Okay, here’s what we’re currently missing in a nutshell: When mankind divides higher level systems into lower level systems and analyzes what’s going on, he’s always looking at the “net sum” of forces after the sum has occurred. Think about that. When you look around yourself at reality, you're looking at the result of the net sum of all forces at each moment of time. Due to your human references, it’s very difficult for you to perceive of forces exerted at other system levels. This concept is totally key in being able to understand the idea of living forces, so let’s stick with it for a little while longer. What I’m trying to say, is that humans don’t currently have the ability to sense what forces are exerted from a “plant” system level or a “grasshopper” system level, and all we see is the net sum after it’s occurred. Whenever we divide a plant into subsystems and analyze what’s going on, we’re still looking at the result of the net sum, and of course all of the observable activity appears to abide perfectly by the laws of physics (i.e., a summation of lower level forces appears to be controlling reality).
The truth is, the net sum is also affected by forces exerted from the plant level and the grasshopper level. Those are the “living forces” that humans haven’t recognized yet, and it’s okay that we haven’t perceived of them to date—it’s simply part of mankind’s evolution. Very soon, science will come to realize that living forces exist, and reality isn’t predetermined from the bottom up.
Let’s do a quick mental experiment right now to illustrate why it’s naturally difficult for humans to perceive of living forces. Imagine two people standing separately inside 2 ea. large cardboard boxes (e.g., refrigerator boxes) that are placed one foot apart. A one-inch diameter hole is cut in the side of each box at waist level and a cut-off broom stick is pushed through the two holes so part of the stick is located inside each box. The person inside each box holds onto one end of the stick and all you can see as an outside observer are the two boxes and the one-foot length of stick between the boxes. Now imagine that those two people begin exerting independent random gentle pushing and pulling forces on the stick – not so hard as to cause the other person to lose their grip. The stick moves left and right between the two boxes and its movement is controlled by the net sum of the forces exerted by the two people. While viewing that pushing and pulling as an outside observer, you only perceive of the result of the net sum of forces. You only see the resulting action of the stick caused by the net sum of forces, and you cannot perceive of the individual forces exerted by the people inside the boxes. That same principle applies when we attempt to perceive of which system levels are exerting which forces in nature. We simply can’t relate – we only see the result of the net sum after it occurs, and therefore we don’t sense the existence of living forces exerted at different system levels.
During the experiment described above, think of the forces exerted by one person located inside one box as representing the forces exerted from a “grasshopper” system level. Then think of the forces exerted by the other person in the other box as representing the forces exerted from the atomic level of the grasshopper’s body. The forces from both system levels add together and form a net sum which thereby controls the grasshopper’s body movements (represented by the stick’s movement in the experiment).
Okay, that’s a quick introduction to living forces; let’s wait until later to discuss them in more detail.
August, 2012: Over a period of time I’ve realized how important this section of the website is, so I’ve expanded it a little further.
The text shown below pertains to the same fundamental human reference issue described above, but I’ve presented the ideas from a different angle to help the reader better understand what I’m trying to say.
Let’s do another mental experiment.
Imagine that one of your friends is standing in front of you, and she’s holding a 12 ounce bottle of root beer in her right hand. Now, look down at her hand and notice how her fingers are formed around the bottle. Imagine the forces that are exerted between her fingers and the bottle (i.e., model the feeling of those forces in your mind). That’s fairly easy to imagine, isn’t it?
The reason it’s easy for you to model those forces in your mind, is because you’ve experienced similar forces directly when you’ve held a bottle of soda in your own hand. When you see someone else holding a bottled drink, you don’t actually feel the forces they’re exerting (i.e., you don’t sense the forces directly), you simply model the forces in your mind based upon the visual image and your own prior experiences.
Okay, let’s go a step further now and imagine a more difficult scenario: There’s a 500 lb man standing in front of you on a concrete floor. Imagine the forces (i.e., model them in your mind again) between the bottom of his shoes and the floor. Perhaps that’s a little more difficult to imagine than the previous example. When I attempt to imagine those forces, I pretty much draw a blank. (Perhaps you have a better imagination than me and you’re able to model those forces just fine.)
Okay, let’s go another step further in difficulty… Imagine that you’re stopped at a traffic light, and you look out the left window of your car and see a large 18-wheeled truck that just pulled up next to you. The front of the truck is even with the front of your car, and you can easily see the right front tire of the truck. Now look down where the tire presses firmly against the surface of the road. Imagine the forces exerted between the bottom of the truck tire and the road. When I try to imagine that, I definitely draw a blank; I’m totally clueless how to model those forces in my mind. Yes, I can calculate an estimated numerical force (e.g., Tons) that exists between the tire and the road, but I can’t imagine experiencing the actual force.
Here’s the last example I’d like you to consider, just in case there are a few diehards out there who were able to model the truck tire force in their minds. Imagine that you’re in a large theater, waiting for the movie to begin. The lights are still on and you can see everything inside the large cavernous space all around you. Now look up at the high ceiling, and scan all the way around thereby observing where the ceiling meets the vertical side walls. Imagine the complex distributed forces that exist between the ceiling and the tops of the vertical support walls. Isn’t it fair to say that it’s pretty much impossible to imagine those distributed forces?
Okay, here’s where I’m going with this: The only reason humans are able to model forces in their minds, is because of their previous experiences in life. During our first months of life after being born, we experience a relatively narrow range of new forces. Therefore, since it takes time to learn and grow, we aren’t able to initially model a wide range of forces in our infant minds based upon what we see around us. As we grow older, our experiences cause us to develop a library of force memories that is stored in our physical brains. Using that library of experienced forces, we learn how to model many different kinds of forces – forces associated with the visual images that we perceive of today. Each of us develops a different capability regarding the different kinds of forces that we’re able to model in our mind, and that capability depends upon our past experiences.
Now imagine that you’re looking at a tree in your backyard. Think about the many forces that exist in a distributed manner throughout the physical 3-space of the tree. Do you have any idea what those forces might be? Are you able to model those forces in your mind? Isn’t it true that imagining those tree forces is similar in difficulty to imagining the distributed forces exerted between a theater ceiling and its vertical side walls? If you’re like me, you have no idea how to model the complex distributed forces located inside a living tree. Perhaps the tree exerts forces from the “tree level” and those forces affect the way the tree grows. Since humans cannot sense the forces that are exerted inside a tree, how will we ever know what exists therein?
The reason humans cannot create models in their minds of living forces exerted by other system levels (e.g., tree forces exerted at a tree level), is because we haven’t had any prior experiences in our lives that have caused us to build a library of living force memories in our brain. We’ve never directly experienced *any* living forces exerted by other system levels because our human bodies simply aren’t capable of sensing living forces. It’s a fundamental human reference issue.
During any given moment of time, your physical body is able to sense relatively few forces, but since you’ve learned throughout your lifetime how to model *many* forces in your mind, you feel connected to your environment by interpreting the images that you currently see. When you perceive of the world around you, you aren’t directly sensing a large number of forces. Instead, you’re effectively modeling a large number of forces by using your brain. Take a moment right now and look at the physical things located around you. Without moving your body, try to sense the forces they’re exerting. For example, look at the table across the room and attempt to sense the forces exerted between the bottom of its legs and the floor. As soon as you attempt to do that, you’ll understand what I mean when I say that you only model forces in your mind, you don’t sense them directly. Yes, you can model some of the forces related to what you’re seeing, but the fact remains; you cannot sense those forces directly.
If humans don’t have the ability to sense forces exerted by other systems, then what are the chances that humans will ever discover the existence of living forces? Therein lies the fundamental reason why it’s taken mankind so long to realize that living forces exist.
If you believe that living forces exist and you try to communicate that realization to mankind, what are the chances that science will believe in your ideas? Therein lies the fundamental reason why mankind needs to develop arguments that prove living forces exist.
Let’s take a step backwards for a moment, and ask ourselves what the difference in meaning is between the words “causality”, “determinism”, and “predeterminism”. The word causality means that one event causes another event—it’s that simple. For example, if I throw a water balloon at someone, I cause them to react. We experience causality in our lives every day—event A causes event B. There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that causality exists—it’s real.
Okay, so what does determinism mean? Determinism means that given forces “A1” and “A2” within force field “A”, those two forces add together and “determine” a resulting force “A3”. Determinism has a much stronger meaning than causality, because event “X” may cause event “Y” without determining how event “Y” unfolds or happens. For example, if I throw a water balloon at someone, I’ll cause them to react, but I won’t determine what their reaction is. The person may laugh, they may become angry, or they may simply stand there wondering how they’re going to drive home in their wet clothes. (Note added on 1/23/14: A more formal way of understanding this concept, is to say that entity A may cause entity B to come into existence, wherein entity A doesn’t determine all of the emergent properties associated with entity B. All causes have causes, but some causes may not be predeterministic in nature.)
Okay, what does predeterminism mean, and how is it different from determinism? Predeterminism has a much stronger meaning than determinism (which we already said has a stronger meaning than causality). Predeterminism is by far the strongest of the three words in its meaning. The fundamental idea of predeterminism is that there’s only one way that things can possibly happen in reality. The future is already determined based upon the past—the future is predetermined.
Before moving onward, let's make sure we understand the basic difference between determinism and predeterminism.
Determinism: The path of reality is controlled (i.e., determined) at each moment of time by the net sum of all forces, including emergent living forces. The future will be determined when forces existing in the future add together and form a new net sum that controls reality (i.e., the future isn't already determined).
Predeterminism: The four fundamental forces of physics are solely responsible for controlling all events in reality for each moment of time, and since those forces are constant in nature, the future not only "will be" determined, it's already predetermined. Predeterminism advocates that no new forces (i.e., living forces) emerge over time, add into the net sum, and affect the path of reality.
The ideas of causality and determinism seem reasonable to me, and I believe they represent the truth. Let’s now take a closer look at predeterminism and think carefully about what it implies. Let’s start by asking ourselves; what’s really required in order for there to be only one possible future? Well, we know from experience that forces are required for anything to change in reality. If there were no forces, nothing in the universe would ever change, everything would stay the same, the future would be the same as the past, and everything would be in steady state. Conclusion: forces cause change.
Now what if there were only 4 ea. fundamental forces that were constant in nature. If that were the case and you had sufficient computing power, and you knew all of the starting conditions, then yes, you could predict the future for all of time. But in order to do that, it would require that no living forces are ever created and add into the mix thereby affecting the path of reality. Predeterminism requires that only steady state fundamental forces exist, and that’s precisely where predeterminism runs into its fatal flaw: Living forces exist.
If a new force is created that doesn’t result from a direct sum of subcomponent forces located in that same force field, then a living force is created and the chain of predeterminism is broken.
Scientists may easily perform experiments that prove multiple forces existing in a single force field add in a predeterministic manner. That’s been done over and over again. However, scientists have never shown that multiple forces that interact in one field and cause a higher-level system to emerge which then exerts a new emergent force in a different field is predeterministic in nature. Scientists have never proven that forces A1 + A2 in field A determine how force B1 emerges in field B. For example, scientists can prove that lower-level electro-chemical reactions cause thoughts to emerge in your mind, but no one has ever proven that those electro-chemical reactions also determine the forces exerted *by* your thoughts (i.e., the intelligent interaction of your thoughts).
Okay, that’s an argument suggesting why we don’t need to believe in predeterminism; it simply hasn’t been proven to be true. Now let’s see if we can take a giant step further and prove that predeterminism is false.
A person who believes in predeterminism believes that all of your thoughts are caused by and determined by lower-level electro-chemical reactions in your brain. They would say that you’re merely conscious of your thoughts – you don’t actually control them. The four fundamental forces of physics (4FFOP) are controlling everything from the bottom-up, and your thoughts simply emerge in your mind.
Well, if someone really believes in that theory, then they must also believe that any apparent interaction between thoughts in their mind is simply a coincidence. Thoughts don’t interact with one another at the “thought level” and then exert forces back into the electro-chemical level based upon conclusions reached. Thoughts only “result” at the thought level. The BIG problem with that theory, is that it means all of the “sense” or “logic” in any argument that anyone comes up with, originates from the 4FFOP and it’s a total miracle that any person’s conclusions ever make any sense.
Let’s think about that just a little bit more… Imagine a person thinking for six weeks about a complex problem and they finally figure out a solution. Did their entire thought process over that long period of time have nothing to do with their thoughts interacting with one another? Was all of their apparent logic simply a coincidence and the solution was somehow predetermined by forces exerted at the atomic level?
Thoughts may be modeled as complex patterns of neurological activity that exist in a distributed manner within the three-space of a physical brain. A thought isn’t simply associated with one or two neurons, it’s associated with billions of neurons that coordinate simultaneously thereby causing the thought to emerge. Therefore, when one thought affects another thought in your brain (i.e., mental causation), there’s interaction at the “pattern level”, not simply at the neuron level. Yes, neurons are affected when your thoughts interact, but the control doesn’t happen only from the neuron level – it also happens from the thought level (i.e., the pattern level). If that weren’t the case, your logic wouldn’t be based upon interaction of thoughts, it would be based upon intelligence that’s somehow innate to the 4FFOP.
If mental causation is true, then we must also believe that new forces emerge at the thought/pattern level and those new forces add into the mix thereby affecting the path of reality.
The following section explains how neuroscience views the interaction of two human thoughts (as of April-2012). Hopefully these ideas will help the reader understand that the intelligent interaction between human thoughts isn’t controlled solely by the 4FFOP.
Neuroscience (NS) claims that human thoughts interact in a predeterministic manner.
Here’s why NS believes that:
NS has examined the interaction of two human thoughts located inside a physical brain, and they’ve concluded that the intelligent forces associated with the interaction are not exerted from the “thought” level. NS doesn’t believe that thoughts exert living forces (i.e., new emergent forces that aren’t a direct sum of preexisting forces). NS believes the intelligent interaction of human thoughts is controlled in a deterministic manner from lower level activity located within a physical brain.
In addition, NS has examined the next lower system level associated with human thoughts in a physical brain; the “pattern level” of neural activity, and they’ve concluded that there are no living forces exerted from the pattern level. NS believes the intelligent interaction between two neural patterns in a human brain is controlled in a deterministic manner from lower level activity within the brain.
In addition, NS has examined the next lower level; the “neuron” level, and they’ve concluded that there are no living forces exerted from the neurons. NS believes the intelligent interaction between neurons is controlled in a deterministic manner from lower level activity within the brain.
In addition, NS has considered the next two consecutive lower levels; the molecular and atomic levels, and they’ve concluded that there are no living forces exerted from the molecules or the atoms. NS has examined the full 3-D spectrum of processes within a physical human brain. During that analysis, they’ve repeatedly subdivided and studied those processes until they’ve reached the smallest 3-D scale that mankind can perceive of. Their natural conclusion: the intelligent interaction between two human thoughts is controlled by the 4FFOP.
In summary, NS has made the same mistake that mankind has naturally made since the beginning of science. By repeatedly subdividing processes and then analyzing the sub-processes using our normal human references (i.e., looking at the result of the net sum of forces after the sum has already occurred for each moment of time), NS hasn’t been able to perceive of new intelligent forces (i.e., living forces) that emerge somewhere within the 3-D spectrum of scale inside a physical brain. Philosophers aren’t claiming to know exactly where in the 3-D spectrum the intelligent forces emerge, and philosophers aren’t requesting a specification from NS. Philosophers are simply asking NS to acknowledge that new intelligent forces must emerge somewhere within the spectrum of 3-D scale inside a human brain and those forces affect the interaction of multiple thoughts in an intelligent manner. It’s simply unreasonable for mankind to believe that the intelligent forces originate from the 4FFOP (e.g., gravity). The intelligent forces associated with the interaction must be an emergent property of processes that occur within a physical brain, and those forces add into the net sum thereby affecting the activity within a human brain.
I believe that NS would agree with the following statement: Somewhere within the three-space of a physical brain, there’s intelligent interaction between multiple human thoughts, and that interaction is controlled by forces which affect neural activity. What we need next, is for NS to agree with the following three statements: The intelligent forces that control the interaction of human thoughts don’t emerge simply as a summation of the 4FFOP. Instead, those intelligent forces are caused by, but not determined by the lower-level activity of millions/billions of neurons firing in a coordinated manner. Those new intelligent forces are emergent “living forces” and they exist primarily in a different force field – a “thought” field.
When analyzing the interaction of two ocean waves that run into one another on the surface of the ocean, we could begin by looking at the top-level forces (i.e., at the wave level). Then we could work our way down through various system levels comprising the waves (i.e., at smaller 3-D scales) while examining the subcomponent forces exerted from each level until we reach the bottom level - the atomic level. Our analysis would consistently make sense from the top all the way down through the full 3-D spectrum until reaching the bottom. Based upon that analysis, we could conclude that all of the activity associated with the interaction of those two ocean waves was controlled solely by the 4FFOP.
When NS analyzes the interaction of two human thoughts, they naturally utilize the same method as the ocean waves example, which thereby causes NS to end up with a similar conclusion; the interaction of two human thoughts is controlled solely by the 4FFOP. But ocean waves and human thoughts are significantly different entities in nature, and there’s an obvious problem with the NS conclusion; the source of human intelligence isn’t directly from the 4FFOP.
When NS reads the argument shown above, their response will likely be the following: The intelligent interaction between two human thoughts is controlled by the current neural net wiring of a person’s physical brain, and all of the activity within that neural net is controlled solely by the 4FFOP. Initially, the NS response may seem reasonable. However, it leads us right back to the fundamental problem stated above, wherein NS believes the source of human intelligence is directly from the 4FFOP.
Here’s why I say that:
NS claims that our thoughts are controlled solely by the 4FFOP in a bottom-up manner, and our thoughts don’t exert any new emergent forces. Therefore, NS must also believe that our thoughts don’t affect neural activity while we’re learning something new; our thoughts don’t exert the intelligent forces that change our neural net wiring on the fly while we’re learning. NS cannot believe that neural activity is controlled solely by the 4FFOP while also believing that neural activity is controlled by our thoughts, since that would be a contradiction. Therefore, NS believes that the intelligent forces that change our neurons on the fly while we're learning, sum directly from the 4FFOP.
In conclusion, the NS theory has two fundamental flaws. First, NS believes that your thoughts have nothing to do with learning processes that occur within your physical brain. Does that belief seem reasonable to you? How many people do you know, that can learn lots of new things without doing any thinking? A student may hear a professor giving a lecture, but if the student isn’t thinking about what’s being said, and the student isn’t forming ideas in his brain related to the lecture, then the student won’t learn from the lecture.
The second fundamental flaw: NS believes that the source of human intelligence is directly from the 4FFOP.
I know the following text may seem out of sequence on the website, but it fits in with this subsection. Here’s a formal argument that supports the hypothesis that Living Forces exist:
Premise # 1: The source of human intelligence isn’t directly from the four fundamental forces of physics (e.g., gravity).
Premise # 2: When a person is learning something new, intelligent forces are exerted which change the person’s neural net wiring on the fly. (The reader will likely agree that some type of force is exerted when a person’s neural net wiring is changed. In addition, the reader will likely agree that there must be intelligence associated with those forces; otherwise, the changes made to the neural wiring would be random in nature thereby causing the person to become less intelligent overall; they wouldn’t learn anything.)
Premise # 3: The intelligent forces that change a person’s neural net wiring on the fly don’t result solely from a direct summation of the 4FFOP. (This follows from the first two premises.)
Conclusion: The intelligent forces that change a person’s neural net wiring on the fly while they’re learning something new, are an emergent property of processes within that person’s physical brain, and those intelligent forces aren’t simply a summation of existing forces (i.e., the 4FFOP); they are new emergent forces (i.e., living forces).
In addition to supporting the hypothesis that Living Forces exist, the argument shown above also supports the idea that free will exists. I say that because if new emergent forces exist within a physical brain, and those forces affect neural activity, then it’s reasonable to believe that our thoughts aren’t determined solely by the 4FFOP. Our thoughts have life to them – they exert living forces (i.e., free will forces).
I believe the reader will now agree, that there are only two possibilities for neuroscience to advocate: 1. The source of human intelligence is directly from the 4FFOP; or 2. Intelligent forces are an emergent property of processes within a physical human brain.
Okay, let’s move on...
Another BIG problem with predeterminism, is that it advocates your conclusions don’t cause your body to move. Please consider the following argument:
* Multiple thoughts within your mind sometimes affect one another and cause conclusions to be reached. (e.g., After thinking about several things that I need to do today, I've realized that I don't have enough time to do them all.)
* Some conclusions reached cause your body to move. (e.g., If I'm going to get anything done today, I need to get moving.)
* In order for a thought (i.e., a conclusion) to cause your body to move, the thought must interact with electro-chemical reactions that occur within your physical brain. The thought must exert forces.
* If you agree that your thoughts exert forces into the electro-chemical level of your brain, isn't it fair to say that not all events that occur within your physical brain are predetermined by the four fundamental forces of physics in a bottom-up manner?
Some philosophers argue that your thoughts are abstract and non-spatiotemporal entities. They believe your thoughts cannot be part of causal relationships in physical reality. If you believe that, and you believe your thoughts cannot exert forces that affect the electro-chemical reactions occurring in your physical brain, please try the following experiment:
1. Hold your body as still as you possibly can; try not to move any muscles.
2. While remaining still, think of five different ways you can move your body. Then choose one of those five ways and move your body. Leave the rest of your body still, and move just that one part.
3. Now ask yourself this question: "Did my conclusion to move a certain part of my body interact with the electro-chemical level of my physical brain and cause my body to move, or was it simply a miraculous coincidence that a specific set of neurons fired in my brain and sent electro-chemical signals down through nerve bundles within my body to the muscles that moved?"
4. If you think it may have been a coincidence, try performing the experiment again. Through repeated experience, you'll realize there is a causal relationship.
There is no better experiment in the entire universe for a human to perform to prove causality exists, than the four-step process shown above. The experiment allows you to experience causality first hand; no person needs to explain it to you. Your experience clearly shows that your thoughts have the ability to cause your body to move. Learning about causality in that manner (i.e., by personal experience) is the same way you've learned about causality throughout your entire life. Imagine how surprised you'd be if your thoughts couldn't cause your body to move.
In summary, if you believe that one thought in your mind has the ability to affect another thought in your mind in an intelligent manner, and the conclusions that you reach exert forces back into the electro-chemical level of your physical brain, then you cannot believe in predeterminism without believing in a contradiction.
Let’s stop training our children to believe in predeterminism; there is no reason to continue.