Friday, August 24, 2007

Past the point of no return...


Wasting time...
Falling throug the cracks..

How exactly does one waste time? Where can it possibly go?

Is the present a real moment?
Or..is it an empty space between the past and the future?

You know, up until last week I thought that there are 3 distinct times Past, Present and Future, and I thought that the only one that was in our control is the Present.

Chassidic thought teaches us that man is where his mind is. Do you want to know where you are? Its not your physical location, rather you are where your mind is.

I suddenly realized that the ONLY time aspect we do not control at all is the present.
For 2 reasons...
A. It is too short to control.
B. It is simply the outcome of whatever you put into motion in the moment directly preceding it.

We can control, therefore exist in the past by regretting or being proud of past actions and we can exist in the future through our plans and preparations for it. But we cannot do anything in the present but lay the groundwork for the next nano-second..

Since our mind holds no sway over the present then it must not exist. It is an empty space between the past and present. Therefore whoever passes life without thinking. Without reflecting on the past and thinking about the future, is borne aloft and passed along on the backs of trilions of nano seconds we call the present and which do not exist and so therefore you life falls through the cracks.

Then I read about an experiment conducted in 1960 and verified a few times since.
A person is told to sit for 2 minutes, and sometime during those 2 minutes he has to wiggle his fingers. While these 2 minutes are passing, his brain is being scanned for activity. What happened next astounded scientists and caused a storm in the philosophcal realm.
Now..to wiggle your finger takes 2 stept. First you decide to wiggle your finger, then you actually wiggle it.
At 1:21:33:11 into the 2 minutes a blip indicates the body getting ready to wiggle the finger THEN at 1:21:33:94 you decide to wiggle your finger and is immediately followed by the actual wiggle.
Instead of the DECISION coming first..your brain was already setting into motion the actual wiggling almost a full second before your decision to do it.
Scientists are still baffled by this mystery...

Could that mean that we have no free will at all in the realm of action? That our free will is strictly in our planning and looking back?
Could it be that the present is entirely out of our control?

A hint of this concept...
The Ohr Hachayim says there are some sins that are simply too difficult for a human to resist. So why then are we punished for them?
We’re punished for putting ourselves in the situation where our body will commit them.

Basically..to sum it all up the Present is the realm of action..at the same time..it’s entirely out of our control. It is simply the outcome of situations we put ourselves into during the preceding moments. So prepare well...because once the preceding moment passes you’re past the point of no return..


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20 Comments:

Anonymous anonym00kie said...

ill say it again.. i love that brain of yours :)
i remember once learning that you dont break shabbos when you pick at your dry lips - you break it on sunday when you dont start wearing chapstick in anticipation of the shabbos lip biting. by the time you get to shabbos.. it's almost too late..
thats why beginnings are so hard.. its where it's all being decided.

one thing im not sure about tho, is where you say that we must not have any free will in terms of actions.
i think in most cases most of our free will is happening, like you said, in the preparations.. but i think it IS possible at the last minute to change our minds - triggered by some soul power - whether for the good or the bad..
maybe it's just wishful thinking..

August 24, 2007 10:22 AM  
Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

m00kie...
Thanks..
Well...the result of that experiments seems to indicate that there is some other force..making you wiggle your finger..outside of your decision (free will)..
So it could be that our free will is in our preparation..and setting up the scenario..but once it passes into the realm of acion..into the present..some outer force actually does it for us..
Hence providence....

August 24, 2007 10:39 AM  
Anonymous anonym00kie said...

i thought of that.. but..
the experiment/science can only measure brain activity.. it can't measure soul activity..
according to natural forces, maybe we first start the action (triggered by free will), then we consciously decide to do it (free will is not longer involved).. but what if there is an additional mystical component which can interfere in the process.

sometimes you see where you're going.. and you watch yourself, in an out of body tyoe of way performing in a way that you dont want to but cant stop yourself...

but sometimes.. some inner strength comes out of nowhere.. and you regain control..
thats what im talking about.. that extra jolt of power that sometimes comes out of the blue, unplanned, unprepared for, maybe even undeserved..and catapults you you back on track..

August 24, 2007 10:56 AM  
Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

So youre saying..our free will (decision making) doesnt originate in the brain? (of course the soul sets it in motion..but it does cause neurological activity..)

you said..
" maybe we first start the action (triggered by free will), then we consciously decide to do it (free will is not longer involved)"

so this cosciously deciding to do it...is just happeneing by itself..because of your excercising ur free will a second earlier?

That inner strength of which you speak is in essence..catching it before it reaches the point of no return..thus rearranging the plotlines..for the coming seconds...albeit more dramatically

August 24, 2007 11:36 AM  
Anonymous anonym00kie said...

how about when you stop in the middle?

and of course free will doesnt originate in the brain. brain is a piece of meat :) free will is what the soul does - but it's reflected through our actions, our brain activity, our thoughts, feelings..

August 24, 2007 11:40 AM  
Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

when you stop in middle...you're cancelling the second half of the act...

free will...is bound to making decisions..which results in the firing of neurons in the brain...

Our souls dont work independent of..but rather through our bodies...

August 24, 2007 11:42 AM  
Blogger dina said...

Yikes!

I second mooks - I love that brain of yours!

August 24, 2007 11:55 AM  
Blogger come running said...

What I'd like to know is if there is a way to scan the brain to see if just putting the thought into their heads started the whole process. I don't know how they could go about this. If it could be broken down into listening to instructions and see if the same part of the brain activates when completing the action.

August 24, 2007 3:55 PM  
Blogger The Dreamer said...

"eizehu chacham? haroeh es hanolad"


it's interesting... in pirkei avos it says "halomed al minas laasos, maspikin biyado lilmod ulilamed lishmor vilaasos"
we learn and prepare in order to do. our life is made up of what we prepare...

August 24, 2007 5:45 PM  
Blogger fashionista cat in a zero gravity shoe-store said...

Part of my studies was neurolinguistics; motor functions and speech functions work the same way in our brains. Many of them are stored in our subconscious once they've become routine (e.g.shifting gears while driving, catching a ball thrown at us, lyrics of songs, lines of prayers etc.). It's not as if our brain were 'mute' until the sensorimotor cortex or broca's and wernicke's area start getting active; it just takes way less 'communication' among the neurons to call up a piece of information that is stored in our subconscious than to actively think about how to proceed. Apparently, there's a 'filter' located in the left hemisphere of our brains that sorts information out to go into the subconscious - consider, your brain's got more storage abilities than even the most powerful computers - so they won't 'get in the way' of actively taking decisions on matters that are not routine yet. (Dimentia patients are encouraged to repeat routine actions or to make actions routine as that kind of informaion is rooted more deeply in the brain.) There are a few people that have suffered left hemisphere damage (savants) that have lost that 'filter' and can call up the most amazing plethora of information at their disposal. I suggest you take a look at this http://youtube.com/watch?v=cBQZ9maHXSk

August 25, 2007 2:12 AM  
Blogger Okee said...

hey guys...
brilliant stuff, but I've just had almost three months of laid back summer...now I start school again on monday, and i am so so so afraid. All of the above, and basically the entire post, almost hurt my brain to read.

I think lack of brain activity made mine rusty, and all that was once subconcious -like reading, understanding, thinking and spelling -is now all stuff I need to learn, and learn fast, before I open my casebook on Monday. Oy vey.

August 25, 2007 9:10 PM  
Blogger Lady Delish said...

And if our decisions are made based on situations that were out of our control anyway like our childhoods then how indeed is there free will? IF what you write here is true then my destiny was descided long before I ever acted. Somehow I feel this isnt so simple.

August 26, 2007 10:32 AM  
Blogger Open Up! said...

huh? where am i? here? there? now? then? front? back? sideways?????????? i'm so foncused

August 26, 2007 9:30 PM  
Blogger exsemgirl said...

What power we have in the present is choice. The consequence is what we have no power over. Choice/planning whatever you want to call it. It is all choice and many times we pass over the choice without even realising we have made it and then we are at the point of no return. Yet there is always the aspect of teshuva and we can change the consequences if we change what that choice and turned us into. Change ourselves is the key.

August 27, 2007 9:46 AM  
Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

Dina..
Thanks..
:-)

come running...
nothing was planted into their heads..
they were just told..that whenever they wish to..the should wiggle their fingers..

dreamer...
I like that comparison..

fasionista...
wow...amazing how well rounded u are..
In this case..though..no one was conditined to do anything...the subject had to decide when to wiggle..
that youtube clip is amazing..Thanks

August 27, 2007 9:11 PM  
Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

okee...
:-)
ok..come back in a month and re-read..

LD..
our decisoons are definitely colored by our past experiences..but it is possible to steer ur life differently..
Lke a ship..if it wants to turn..it cant just make a 90 degree turn..it has to begin a slow turning process..

open...
lol...
just dont think about it..

exsem...
right..but choice effects the future...not the present..

August 27, 2007 9:14 PM  
Blogger fashionista cat in a zero gravity shoe-store said...

The conditioning was already done at baby-stage when people first wiggled their fingers. Stroke patients often can't access that kind of information in their brains anymore; sometimes - if they are 'young' enough - other parts of the brain can take over those functions through constant practice. (Indeed, an aunt of mine is head of a kindergarten, and they had a three-year-old there that suffered a stroke.)

August 28, 2007 2:49 PM  
Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

fashionista...
but..the subject still made a concsious decidion to wiggle his finger..as is evident by the decision blip a second later...

August 29, 2007 10:29 AM  
Blogger fashionista cat in a zero gravity shoe-store said...

Indeed, but the subconscious decision can - and often does - precede a conscious decision. Have you ever dropped something and caught it right away? Reflexes are also subconsciously processed information. You're a father, so you've probably noticed how babies move their hands and rub their legs against each other without any obvious need. That way they train subconscious motoric skills. (That's why sleeping bags are better than rompers for sleeping. Babies can experience more intensely on bare skin, which, as research has shown, translates into better motoric skills.)

August 29, 2007 11:16 AM  
Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

but if its pure reflex..why the need for the cognitive decision?
And is it pure coincidence that the decision comes on the heel of the body preparing to wiggle?
Does ther concious just spin what ur already is doing?

August 29, 2007 7:45 PM  

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