The Opening of Eyes

I was pleased to see [philosopher Tamler] Sommers readily admit that "there would be a good amount of variation" in response to the abandonment of contra-causal free-will belief. I think as humanists, we tend to unquestionably accept the enlightenment notion that "all men are created equal" as a sort of article of faith. Tamler did not do that, which shows him to be more of a naturalist than a humanist. I think he made excellent points in the piece. My own experience of losing my free-will belief was a bit bumpy and painful, but it really did not last long. A big part of my discomfort was simply the trauma and regret for being so wrong about something as fundamental as my will. (I hate being wrong.)

I suspect that a significant minority of the human population is phenotypically incapable  of holding any belief that is contrary to their intuitions. I don't know of any scientific studies of the prevalence of "intuition slavery" in the general population, ruling out cultural influences, but I would be fascinated to see some dependable numbers.

Four years after fully accepting causality and dismissing my free will intuition, the emotional and behavioral changes of have been transformative. My blaming behaviors have all but vanished. Compassion comes more easily and frequently. All my relationships have improved. My thanks to everyone in this forum who opened my eyes on the matter. The "opening of eyes" is one of the greatest gifts we can give or receive.

Mike Layfield

Postscript on the psychodynamics of pride, shame, compassion and self-esteem:

In my own experience, exposure to this group and other influences has caused me to devalue contra-causal free-will belief, and to devalue blame and credit, while at the same time increasing my valuation of causality, forgiveness and acceptance. These re-evaluations have linked to my self-esteem in such a way that when my pride or shame is aroused, it lowers my self-esteem which in turn causes me to re-equilibrate by reassessing my feelings. When my compassion is aroused, it positively feeds back to self-esteem, which then arouses my pride which then negatively feeds back and is quieted, and so on.