You can find all previous installments HERE.
Book 4: Find Out!: The Real Way You Are Supposed to Act
Installment 4 (Below)
Chapter I: Seeing Through Illusion: Bridging The Gap
“When I say that attributing behavior to physical laws and force of nature takes us off the hook, I mean mentally in the way we beat ourself up. One’s body is forced by nature to be in its place and status of activity for the extent of its life, barring no moment. Putting that into the mental equation that otherwise blames the individual for their “choices” is mind-blowingly freeing because of the way we automatically assume “we” were the reason we landed in a certain situation and acted as we did. Though we cannot escape our lot, however it unfolds, we can recognize that we did not create ourself or any aspect of our path. Because we tend to have a quiet respect for all things “Nature” (even though we overlook the fact that our brains are determined by physical processes that follow laws of nature), being forced by nature to behave as we do can have a similar blow to the ego as contracting a terminal illness or having been taken by a natural disaster—in terms of believing we had any way to prevent it.
Typically, when philosophers and scientists speak of hard incompatibilism and a lack of free will and moral responsibility, they back it up with scientific referencing of the brain and its unconscious processes. This is of course useful and grounded. However, I introduce another way to capture the reality of nature’s command of our body’s full functioning on every level, without having to be privy to microscopic neuroscientific capacities. It is not hard to do this, only it requires a training in seeing through the illusion of the packaged story our mind feeds us that we never question. It tells us how we should act, and we believe it. Unfortunately, introspective directives often defy how we actually act, leaving no one to blame (morally) but ourself. If we can see (without a microscope) how it is we are forced by nature to live our life the way we do, we can diminish some of the emotional pain we are used to enduring.
How can we see without a microscope? We see with our naked eye what our body is doing, that is, its current bodily movements. This might seem silly, and obvious, but because our focus is habitually on the mental commentary of our life, it rarely is observing our skeletal activity. This is where my work attempts to bridge the gap between the narrative and the scientific. We can capture the scientific account without a microscope because just looking at what our body is actually doing is so contrasted with the way our minds report our life story to ourself. What I mean by bridging the gap is what is meant by the word action and, in particular, our moment-to-moment behavior. Because we think of action as something coming out of mental gesturing or introspective conversation, we don’t realize our real actions are just our bodily movements in the spaces we are occupying. I call this an observable physical reality as opposed to the type of physical reality that requires microscopic utilization. In essence, we can do our own private science experiments whenever we are reminded to do so.
I’m going to extend this discussion of seeing our behavior from a scientific angle to say that when we think of looking at our organism’s unconscious, scientific behavior, we assume the necessity of a microscope because we presume we will be looking internally. This is where I challenge us to consider the external and internal of a human being to be one and the same. This approach is part of my way of bridging the gap between what is thought of as human behavior being something mental versus physical. When we look at each other, we obviously see the outer body and not the innards. But we don’t even do that, because we describe lives (in our head) via a mostly interpretative, opinionated commentary–a narrative that includes a million ways of detailing our life (and that of others’) that has often little to do with how we (or others) actually physically spend time, which is the only thing actions are. When we look at each other, or even ourself in the mirror, we see the story in our head about that person or ourself. This is wildly interesting and why I prefer the scientific angle.”