Rock, paper, lines of force

It wasn’t until the machines that they noticed it was like Faraday had said.

As always, what we want is to have our cake and eat it to. We want that when we push a rock, the rock moves. The rock, pour soul, faces no choice, it’s just gotta move. Because we pushed it. But we also want that we can choose not to push that pour soul, the rock. And that choice, our choice, we don’t want it to have been chosen for us. We’re not rocks, damn it, and by golly it’s a wonderful problem because it doesn’t look so easy.

This problem, the problem of free will (which our pour rock does not have) has consumed philosophers (both natural and unnatural), preachers, and college kids smoking weed in their dorm room probably since the dawn of our consciousness. I will not dare to tread on such hallowed ground as the reasoning from conclusions to assumptions that these scholars had developed.

What happened was we got stuck.

No one could figure out how to make the computers exhibit free will. They’re run an experiment, say with a computer hooked to a robot arm and a rock, and see if they could get the computer to choose to push or not push our rock (who is now quite irritated at being the target of all this fuss.) But when we would look to try to understand what the computer had chosen, there was always a history that seems to show the causes for each of the actions that led the computer to its decision.

We’re not sure who it was who decided to press his head up against the laptop during the experiment. Maybe one of those free will explorers after too much weed.

But when they did, when they placed their head in close proximity to the chip running the computation, suddenly the computer began to make choices that could not be explained by the logs.

It turns out that free will, like electricity and magnetism, is a field. Every point in space is endowed with a value of this field. And our brains are big sources of the lines of free will force (which, of course some folks like to just call “the force”).

Which might explain why you see all these folks these days with their heads up against rocks asking them to “please move”.

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