Can a team of misfits save their kingdom?
Adventuring is always a dangerous profession, but recently things have
gotten bad. Very bad. Teams of expert fortune-hunters are getting
"morted," suffering great losses against enemies that are better
prepared than ever. In the taverns and Adventurer's Guildhalls,
whispered rumors speak of the return of an evil that once all but
destroyed civilization. But as many great and famous adventurers fall
to this growing threat, perhaps a bunch of losers - called "The Frayed
Knights" (but never to their faces) - might just be the heroes the
world really needs.
Transient Global Amnesia
A lot of my inspiration for these conversation topics come from WNYC's
Radiolab and this one is no exception. In the episode Loops they
describe the condition Transient Global Amnesia, which is something I
had never heard of. If I understand it correctly it is the temporary
loss of your ability to form short term memories. Yeah, you heard that
right, as in, you don't remember what just happened. Interestingly
doctors do not know what causes it or how long it lasts, usually less
than a day, or for that matter how to fix it.
Well, if you listen to the podcast a daughter and mother pair sit down
after the mother is diagnosed and has a conversation that literally
resets every 90 seconds. She starts by asking what day it is, then is
surprised that she has missed her birthday, the conversation turns to
her trying to recall her last memory, the daughter tells her the story
of how she ended up here, and the next question is what day is it? What
struck me is not only is the flow of the questions nearly identical
every single time, but the way she says things is the same.
Every time she laughs the same, she says "darn" the same way every time
she realizes she missed her birthday, it's SUPER creepy.
So where am I going with this? Free will. I've always tried to explain
to people that in the right conditions humans don't exhibit free will
at all. You study it in consumer behavior class, but basically the
reality is in the above example it shows that humans can be 100%
predictable. Faced with the same set of variables the woman replies
with the exact same answers every, single, time. Since she
has no short term memory it is the only time that I have ever been able
to cite something as a specific example of this phenomena.
This leaves us with a heavy question: There are basically 3
main paths you can pick on the debate on free will. 1) We don't have
any free will. If we knew all the variables we could accurately predict
behavior with 100% accuracy from birth to death. 2) We have
complete free will and our decisions are inherently unpredictable. 3)
We have some kind of mix of free will, where our moment to moment
decisions are predictable but taken as a whole we are
unpredictable. In this example a second key question arises,
where is that dividing line between what makes us predictable and what
makes us unpredictable?
So that's it guys: Do we have free will? Is the above series of events
definitive proof that, at least to some degree, that we do
not? Listen to the podcast yourself from about 7:30 ~ 15:00.
I know if you reply it will be because you have no free will to resist!
Or is it because you have free will to not listen to my jibes?
Words from The Fool: