The Illusion of Freedom
There appears to me to be a great bit of confusion when looking into the term of freedom. Something I feel that should be addressed for future discussion. There will be certainly some subjectivity however I hope that it will be treated as objective as it can be ;). I will certainly try my best to keep it as objective as I can (which in itself is somewhat impossible given the conversation).
This is a good visual example of what I’m about to explain. Think of the above image as describing the freedom of choice between two options given their outcome (assuming you know it). In particular while I’m not a fan of digging into religious discussions (mainly because it tends to get bitter even if you don’t want it to) but I feel a particular ‘choice’ is very useful for illustrating my point.
For a choice to be free it must not, in the case of a fully and properly functional organism, contradict the very nature of self preservation. A praying mantis male may sacrifice its own being but it does so in an act to feed it female and to press on the likelihood that it’s seed/genes (and in essence its very being) will pass on. In many cases the actions an organism does that appear to contradict it’s natural inclination for survival are indeed actions that are required for such. Drinking from a stream that has a predator in them is a necessity where the danger of the predator does not outweigh the danger of dying of thirst.
This is where the image comes into play. It works in a negative correlation (or sorts), the further you move in either direction (to the left towards option A or to the right for option B) the less likely the opposing option becomes. If you enter the red range of the Freedometer you have essentially left the realm of freedom. It’s not necessarily that once you pass 50% you are no longer free in all cases, I’m using the simplest example to help explain my point with the least amount of thought (so you can use your extra resources to expand the concept).
In essence if you place a gazelle in the situation where it must drink or it will die, the odds of dying while drinking are outweighed, if they were not outweighed it would not do what it does. This is why some animals do indeed starve or dehydrate (I imagine there is a better term) to death, the odds of them being eaten far exceed the odds of them dying at the current moment. It’s a sad state of affairs.
If you are presented with a ‘simple choice’ one with two outcomes. You either believe in a single an entity, or you spend the eternity damned to a torturous nothingness. You are no longer provided a free choice, you are given an ultimatum. It is a choice only in the most literal of terms, but it is not free. In the case of an ultimatum you are placed in the extreme red zones, a point in which no properly thinking and functioning beings would choose the other option. Whenever you are placed in a position in which one of the options is not an option that the organism would choose it is no longer a choice and the illusion of freedom is the only freedom that is truly present.
I am not sure if this has made anything more clear, but at the very least I’d hope that the next time someone reads about a ‘free choice’ that they remember the Freedometer and remember that at a certain point even a choice is not a choice.