ye gods, early mornings suck. but the french has become kinda-alright. it was the second class, *still* lacan in spite of it not being about him, that was tough... at least i used the opportunity to pound out some thoughts on free will as requested by the woman who interviewed me yesterday:
free will is a paradox. it's not that a person has no choices, but the choices that a person makes are a function of that person's experience (read: culture). the human mind begins in a form that is essentially tabula rasa - not precisely empty, but in terms of what differentiates humans we all begin on a similar baseline position and from there each experience, and each reflection upon that experience (feedback loops), affects our configuration and directs our choices. in that sense we are just like computers: although everyone begins with the same operating system, our installation of applications (skills) and acquisition of data (knowledge) turn each of us into an entirely unique entity.aaaaaand back to work.
although our choices have been pre-programmed, as it were, this does not remove one's responsibility for one's actions. it is the use of the term "free will" that forms the illusion that such a thing exists and is inherent to the human experience: but even though there is no free will in the sense in which we use the term, that does not mean that there is no such thing as choice. each choice is made by an entity determining whether
a) for a "morally negative" act, acquiescing to his desire is worth the penalty of being caught doing so
b) for a "morally positive" act, whether the prize desired is worth the effort it demands.
to carry that idea back to notions of society and morality:
if an entity poses a danger of any kind to a society, then society is obliged to defend itself by removal of this threat. whether that defence is to remove the entity, or to forcibly change that entity, is a choice. if that choice is to force change, there is no definitive method of determining success. if we send a criminal to prison, and he claims to have found religion (or some other moral framework) and accepted society's behavioural requirements, we have no machine that can inform us of the verity of these claims. all we can do is allow him back into society, and punish him again if he returns to a life of crime.
that's if we can catch him, of course.
the problem with a legal society is that one is only punished if one is caught, and therefore morality has come to be defined in terms of one's skills vis-a-vis keeping one's bad behaviour hidden from the police. as it is, a criminal is someone who behaves in a way that at some point was defined as socially unacceptable in spite of the fact that what is socially acceptable is entirely dynamic and in constant flux. insanity is defined in a similar manner: someone who is insane is outside of the norm. considering the fact that there is no way to accomodate a definition of "normal", even internally, being insane is therefore the norm and to be a criminal is to be insane, and so society has no clear method of defending itself from itself and there can be no claims to an absolute morality. this does not preclude the need for morality, however.
for reference: william james - the stream of consciousness (1892), terry pratchett - the science of discworld part ii, james hillman - re-visioning psychology, berger and zijderveld - in praise of doubt - those all happen to be things i consider to be important and entertaining reading in any respect :)
including lunch with the office doofus; he has this really annoying habit of categorizing everyone based on random observation. for example, today he tried to determine if i'm a vegan because i eat salad. ugh :S
it was a long day, issue followed issue, and it ended with me heading off to the boss to say goodbye and getting stuck in his office for forty five minutes explaining to him that the reason for me making a mistake with the business logic is because i'm not part of the business processes. i think he was immensely disappointed, but he seemed to get what i was saying and tomorrow we'll begin hunting meaningful statistics as opposed to performing heavy guessing.
between dinner and getting a few important bits of work done, scrapper and i had a back-and-forth on two ideas we'd traded on friday: he's turned a poem of mine into a musical moment, and performed a good chunk of a dark cover that struck me by way of random inspiration particle a couple of weeks ago. very cool.
i gave $4.1 on captain wossname's behalf: charity water - it's for his birthday! good man, that. better than me, at least.
these are the sounds of "i feel old". have fun.
take back your mind is sweet, followed by calling a spade a utility for digging in the dirt as opposed to a black inverted heart-shaped figure