/ What is your greatest achievement

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subtle 05 Jun 2019

A depressing tale - one of the little darling doing a school project, to do a biography of a family member, chose me but one of the question was "what is your greatest achievement" - I struggled to answer.

Survival?

Spawning children?

Having a job?

Owning a car?

Climbing a certain grade?

Summiting a hill?

Being a kind person?

All seemed quite trite and I genuinely struggled to give an answer to this so my question to you is - what do you consider to be your greatest achievement - not necessarily just related to climbing (but it can be if you want)

1
Lemony 05 Jun 2019
In reply to subtle:

The other night I threw the night time dog poo bag into the bin from 10 metres away. Not an open topped bin either, one with a letterbox shaped opening.

It's gone straight onto my linkedin profile.

Wanderer100 05 Jun 2019
In reply to subtle:

In my youth me and my mates entered the world pea shooting championship.  We'd had a skinful and the more we drank the better we got until the semi finals at which point my pea got stuck in the shooter and dribbled out the end...we lost to the reigning world champions. I look back and think, if only.......

Post edited at 09:02
DerwentDiluted 05 Jun 2019
In reply to subtle:

I'm not too sure, but I'm looking forward to it.

evilscoop 05 Jun 2019
In reply to subtle:

For me its an easy one.....surviving cancer at 11 years old

Im now 46, and everyday Im glad to be here and consider every day borrowed time....after all could get hit by a bus :D

Rigid Raider 05 Jun 2019
In reply to subtle:

Bringing up a son who at the age of 19 has turned out to be well-balanced, open, bright, confident, friendly and not at all shy like I was. I can only think that this must be the up-side of having a child when you are 43 and not 23. 

3
wercat 05 Jun 2019
In reply to subtle:

Plucking up the courage to give my phone number and address to a German lady as I dropped her off at the Arden House hostel after giving her a lift from Skye.

Pursued by a bear 05 Jun 2019
In reply to subtle:

Remaining sane* in spite of provocation.

T.

* for a given value thereof, obviously.

Rigid Raider 05 Jun 2019
In reply to wercat:

Did you end up giving her an Arden?

1
girlymonkey 05 Jun 2019
In reply to subtle:

I completed a full time masters course at university while also managing to still do about 2 thirds of the usual freelance work that I do most years. It was a REALLY hard year, and I was very glad it was over at the end of it. I really value that now though, both the skills that I gained during the course and the fact that I learnt how much I really could fit into my days if I was motivated enough!

mick taylor 05 Jun 2019
In reply to subtle:

Children, who are both amazing.  Although throwing a basketball into the hoop without touching the sides from past the halfway line whilst facing the wrong way was pretty good (and I'm rubbish at sports).  And people saw it.  Ego went sky high.

Toby_W 05 Jun 2019
In reply to subtle:

I'd pick any number of things just to write an interesting piece but to be honest all these things are in the past and it's future challenges and continuing to try to be better in anything that matters to me.

The things that make me feel best about myself though are where I have given someone a chance/taught/supported them and this has changed their lives.

Cheers

Toby

MrsBuggins 05 Jun 2019
In reply to evilscoop:

> For me its an easy one.....surviving cancer at 11 years old

> Im now 46, and everyday Im glad to be here and consider every day borrowed time....after all could get hit by a bus :D


Likewise - getting through four months of chemo and being told I would not need radiotherapy. Four years into remission and still keeping active

Cú Chullain 05 Jun 2019
In reply to subtle:

Driving to Cape Town and back

Timmd 05 Jun 2019
In reply to subtle:

This exchange between Tom Patey and Don Whillans from One Man's Mountains came to mind. 

D 'It's a good life, so long as you don't weaken'

T 'What happens if you weaken?'

D 'They bury you' 

It's kinda bleak, but it's a challenge to survive sometimes.  We can't all do something dramatic or noteworthy to others, but surviving and having little positive effects on other people is good in itself, and bringing up nice children.

Getting a distinction in my level 3 diploma following the death of my Mum 3 months into it is something I'm proud of, and thinking my way out of paranoia and PTSD, and anxiety and panic attacks, it wasn't an easy time. I'm most pleased about/proud of being remembered as the older cousin who made my younger ones charge about and get excited, nice human connections and impacts are always good.

Post edited at 13:12
1
deepsoup 05 Jun 2019
In reply to subtle:

In 2010, I was one of the organisers of the British Juggling Convention - we brought 2,000 jugglers to Huddersfield, took over a local college and the town hall, and had an amazing week. I think that was the most fulfilled I've ever felt with a task

Ridge 05 Jun 2019
In reply to subtle:

I'm with you. I don't consider anything I've done as an "acheivement", let alone have a "greatest" one. I'm just getting on with life.

Northern Star 05 Jun 2019
In reply to subtle:

Despite rarely ever playing darts, and despite being generally rubbish when I do there was one night things all changed.  Fueled up on Lakeland beer, and whilst standing more than three times the normal distance away from the dartboard downstairs in the Cuckoo Brow Inn, I threw a dart hard across the room and towards the dart board.  To my surprise it thudded home to a perfect bullseye!  My mates though it was fantastic and handed me back the dart.  Bet you couldn't do that again they said.  So I threw the dart again and once more it hit a clean bullseye.  Everyone was utterly amazed.  I declined to throw a third dart for obvious reasons!

Flinticus 05 Jun 2019
In reply to Lemony:

No way! 

And its great to find someone else engaged in this sport! I can't beat 10m. I haven't measured it but it's probably 4-5m, also letterbox shaped (an important aspect).

WaterMonkey 05 Jun 2019
In reply to Northern Star:

I was on my annual boys' trip to Cornwall and equally fuelled up on  beer. We decided to play darts despite not being darts players or anything.

We were all the usual rubbish standard, occasional 20, maybe a 5 and a 1 etc when I suddenly declared that with my next 3 darts I'd get a 180, still don't know why I said it, but I threw the darts with huge confidence and sure enough got a 180! (My first and last)

I like to think it is the power of the mind. Or beer.

Rog Wilko 05 Jun 2019
In reply to wercat:

And what happened? Hope she is now the love of your life. :0))

Gordon Stainforth 05 Jun 2019
In reply to subtle:

There are personal achievements, of course, but all that really matters 'at the end of the day' is what you give to the world - whether it be bringing up nice, balanced children or doing or creating things that add something good to the world (however small).

Rog Wilko 05 Jun 2019
In reply to subtle:

It's really difficult to answer this question if you're forced to give just a single answer because there are so many spheres of life between which it is impossible to judge. So I'm going to cheat.

Academic - getting a place at University of Sussex in 1963 when only 1 in 20 of those interviewed got a place. Can't imagine what I did right.

Family - producing (with assistance) two wonderful daughters who are both so much nicer and better people than I am (though it's a low bar).

Sport (trivial matters):

1. getting 2nd place in the classic Charlotteville 50 mile time trial (also in 1963) when still at school, and then repeating the feat 2 weeks later in the slightly less classic Bon Amis 50. My cyclist father was ecstatic!

2. scraping inside 3 hours in the inaugural White Peak marathon in 1977 on the Tissington and High Peak trails.

3. winning the 40+ age class at the 1986 British Orienteering Championships.

Nothing in the climbing category, you'll notice, but I'm quite proud of these three. Thanks for giving me the excuse to share them.

Incidentally, the sporting things are all feats which I sometimes feel were achieved by someone else, so far are they beyond what I could do now. Sob, sob.

PS as far as climbing is concerned I think my greatest achievement was surviving the first few years of my climbing career, with a potentially deadly combination of ignorance, youthful assumptions of immortality and rudimentary protection.

Post edited at 14:16
Alyson 05 Jun 2019
In reply to subtle:

Such an interesting thread! I think very often the things which we work hard towards are least recognisable as 'achievements'. There is little glory to be found in being a kind person, raising fantastic kids or managing your finances wisely, but most of us work at these things on a daily basis.

Chris Craggs Global Crag Moderator05 Jun 2019
In reply to subtle:

Writing 25 guidebooks I guess over the past 30 years, loved almost every minute of it. Haven't got too many more in me now!

Chris

Baron Weasel 05 Jun 2019
In reply to subtle:

Wife and child aside.

Probably walking the Lost Arrow Spire highline in Yosemite, on-sight and full man (which is slacker for both ways). A very flow experience!

gt 05 Jun 2019
In reply to subtle:

Being born

WaterMonkey 05 Jun 2019
In reply to subtle:

Producing two fantastic daughters, one of whom is studying to be an astro-physicist and the other who is currently doing her GCSE's but aims to become an officer in the army.

Studied in my own time, whilst holding down a full time job and family, with the OU for my degree.

Mountain biked from John O'Groats to Lands End unsupported for charity (14 days)

Kayaked across the country from Avon-mouth to the Isle of Sheppey unsupported for charity. (8 days)

In reply to subtle:

Still being alive, solvent and smiling😊 

Pete Pozman 05 Jun 2019
In reply to wercat:

> Plucking up the courage to give my phone number and address to a German lady as I dropped her off at the Arden House hostel after giving her a lift from Skye.

... and? 

Rog Wilko 05 Jun 2019
In reply to Chris Craggs:

> Writing 25 guidebooks I guess over the past 30 years, loved almost every minute of it. Haven't got too many more in me now!

> Chris

And I'm sure there are many on here would love to thank you.

Pete Pozman 05 Jun 2019
In reply to Chris Craggs:

> Writing 25 guidebooks I guess over the past 30 years, loved almost every minute of it. Haven't got too many more in me now!

> Chris

Thanks for all your good work. 

Deleted bagger 05 Jun 2019
In reply to subtle:

Training as a nurse and working in the NHS for several decades. Plus, being part of a team that saved a few lives.

Lord_ash2000 05 Jun 2019
In reply to subtle:

A difficult question indeed, I've done many things in my life and I'm sure I'll do many more in the future, but greatest achievement? I can't really think of anything noteworthy. 

I've been moderately successful in a range of things, from climbing, to personal life, to business etc. But I can't think of one particular "great" thing I did. I suppose for me it would just be persistence. The accumulative effect of doing alright at most things for most of my life.   

lithos 05 Jun 2019
In reply to willworkforfoodjnr:

> In 2010, I was one of the organisers of the British Juggling Convention - we brought 2,000 jugglers to Huddersfield, took over a local college and the town hall, and had an amazing week. I think that was the most fulfilled I've ever felt with a task

in 2000 I was the main organiser, along with a brilliant team, of the British Juggling Convention at York Uni bringing the worlds greatest juggler to the UK for first time. That was pretty good.

Mac fae Stirling 05 Jun 2019
In reply to subtle:

Almost effortlessly achieving a consistent level of utter mediocrity at no matter what I venture to turn my hand to. Without fail. Year after year.

tripehound 05 Jun 2019
In reply to Rigid Raider:

> Bringing up a son who at the age of 19 has turned out to be well-balanced, open, bright, confident, friendly and not at all shy like I was. I can only think that this must be the up-side of having a child when you are 43 and not 23. 

In reply to Rigid Raider:

I had a daughter when I was 19, she is well balanced, confident, has a first class honours and a PHD ( no its not a sleeping bag) and a great job. I think your hypothesis falls down somewhere

2
Sean Kelly 05 Jun 2019
In reply to subtle:

Personal climbing/mountaineering goals are not that important in the greater schemes of life. I would certainly imagine that teaching for 30 years in an inner city comp and getting the children to realize their potential in whatever ambitions they aspired. I believed that very few pupils had no skills or talent. It was my task to unearth that talent, that ability and nurture it. It often amazes me when I receive feedback from former pupils or parents how little things made a big difference. When we are gone a little of what we have achieved and influenced remains. In this digital age perhaps even more so.

The only other thing that I feel is not so much achievement but something that has given me enormous pleasure is designing and making four gardens including a woodland garden in Nant Peris that hadn't been ravaged by sheep or goats!

Post edited at 18:45
marsbar 05 Jun 2019
In reply to Sean Kelly:

There are a few kids I've managed to keep in education and get away from trouble.   

There are kids I've taught that others just couldn't get through to.  

I suppose that's an achievement.  

Timmd 05 Jun 2019
In reply to marsbar:

> There are a few kids I've managed to keep in education and get away from trouble.   

> There are kids I've taught that others just couldn't get through to.  

> I suppose that's an achievement.  

It sure is. It's made an impact on them for the rest of their lives, and impacted on who they come across in life too. 

It's something which ripples outwards in it's effects I think. 

Post edited at 21:25
keith-ratcliffe 05 Jun 2019
In reply to subtle:

One thing that came to me that is climbing related was that when we recently had a family visit they asked to go climbing at our local wall and we had a great session with three generations enjoying climbing together. I thought it was great that I have managed to pass on my passion for climbing to my daughters and grandchildren.

elsewhere 05 Jun 2019
In reply to subtle:

Marriage

Being able to hold my mother's hand as she died. My dad's last words to me were to tell me to look after her. Duty done.

Most years help a few people into entry level positions with companies I know. Sometimes see them found their own companies later.

Post edited at 22:30
wintertree 05 Jun 2019
In reply to subtle:

Catching myself before my belayer and protection kicked in and regaining my nerve on my only lead fall - a very wet “Long Chimney” at Almscliff.

I was going to say making a 5.5 sigma detection in a biology experiment on micro animals - but getting it published is going to be the more “important” and much less engaging achievement...

Most days we all achieve things that would have seemed impossible to humans from a century ago, but we can’t take credit for that.  I like to think I’m doing a little bit to help people a hundred years from now do likewise.

I am rather proud of nailing Hollandaise sauce on the first go.

Timmd 05 Jun 2019
In reply to elsewhere:

> Marriage

> Being able to hold my mother's hand as she died. My dad's last words to me were to tell me to look after her. Duty done.

I was minutes too late when my own Mum passed, but I'd seen her a lot in the days leading up to it. Getting back to a point of knowing that I'm trying my hardest again, and keeping that promise, is probably key to everything I now do.  

Post edited at 23:38
PaulJepson 06 Jun 2019
In reply to subtle:

I beat Olympic silver medallist Kriss Akabusi at a game of tennis when I was 14.

Rob Exile Ward 06 Jun 2019
In reply to PaulJepson:

I can beat that. I made Jonny Woodward use both hands before he could burn me off bouldering on the Oldridge Pinnacle.

Rog Wilko 06 Jun 2019
In reply to PaulJepson:

> I beat Olympic silver medallist Kriss Akabusi at a game of tennis when I was 14.

Well done! Would have been much better if he were silver medallist in tennis, though.

PaulJepson 06 Jun 2019
In reply to Rog Wilko:

> Well done! Would have been much better if he were silver medallist in tennis, though.

Stop splitting hairs.

DenzelLN 06 Jun 2019
In reply to subtle:

Starting again at 27, winding up my business, fending off HMRC and multiple other vultures and going to uni, i finish next June. I can't believe I've stuck at it to be honest. 

I strongly advise anyone that is in a similar position to what i was that you can change things, and things will get better. I enjoy pointing those people in the right direction when the need arises.

Roadrunner6 06 Jun 2019
In reply to Rog Wilko:

Good answer, it varies depending on aspects of my life.

My daughter.

Sobriety.

PhD

Running 2:36 marathon, sub 6 JFK, 4th and Gold team medal World Champs, 2 x GB athlete. As someone who wasn't a natural runner, knocked knees that they wanted to break at an early age, that was just miles and miles of running and hardwork.

Solo winter paddy buckley in full on winter conditions in 25.5 hrs.

But still running well under sub 3 in my 40th year pleases me and basically 30 years of competing in various sports.

Post edited at 16:04
Rog Wilko 06 Jun 2019
In reply to PaulJepson:

Reminds me of my orienteering days. Beat an olympic gold medallist (Chris Brasher) on several occasions - as did many other people. He was still a good runner at the time but didn't have much of a clue about navigation.

krikoman 06 Jun 2019
In reply to subtle:

My kids, so far they're doing well and are happy.

Starting and keeping my business going after 15 years.

Convincing a couple of Jewish friends to come on a pro-Palestinian Rights march ensuring them they would neither be lynched or abused, and they would see little to no anti-Semitism. Both were very apprehensive and expected trouble; they're both going on the next march, and bringing others.

Edit: Climbing an E1 ( I was really proud of that ). Unfortunately, I almost immediately lost my major for climbing and took about a year and a half away. I'm back now and enjoying it more than ever, but it taught me a lesson about goals and wishes.

Post edited at 16:21
krikoman 06 Jun 2019
In reply to gt:

> Being born


Isn't that the easy bit?

krikoman 06 Jun 2019
In reply to wintertree:

> I am rather proud of nailing Hollandaise sauce on the first go.

Sounds like it's  a little too gloopy if you can nail it to something.

mbh 06 Jun 2019
In reply to Rog Wilko:

Jo Konta is the first British woman to reach the French Open semis since Jo Durie in 1983.

Well, Durie's brother was one of the athletic stars of my school in 1981 (or was it 1980?) and I beat him at cross country.

Really, though, in athletic terms, I think it was a 3:10 Grizzly, followed shortly after by running 9 miles from work at 7:11 pace, in my fifties, to get a lift home from my wife. That and a sub 6 RAT.

In work life it's a paper in Nature.

In life life, it's somehow managing two marriages, and everyone still smiling at each other after all these years.

Rog Wilko 06 Jun 2019
In reply to mbh:

> In life life, it's somehow managing two marriages, and everyone still smiling at each other after all these years.

Not simultaneously I hope.

yodadave 06 Jun 2019
In reply to mbh:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RGKm201n-U4

various thoughts above made me think of this. I hope i can say something similar of myself oneday

Gordon Stainforth 06 Jun 2019
In reply to Rog Wilko:

Simultaneously would be a greater achievement ;)

mbh 06 Jun 2019
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

Not one that I am up to or aspire to, however

arch 06 Jun 2019
In reply to subtle:

Not really an achievement, but something I'm very proud to have done. Was along with my three brothers, carrying our father's coffin into the crematorium. Two days previously I'd had a knee operation and was told I couldn't do it. Yeah right.

Tom V 06 Jun 2019
In reply to Sean Kelly:

Similar to your first point, I am glad that I was one of the few teachers in my school who actually lived in the community and pleased that it seems to have engendered an amount of respect or  affection among at least a few ex pupils.

A case in point was a cricket match at the club where I watch the odd game. Having just retired, I came across an ex pupil of a year or so watching the match with his parents on the boundary: he came over to say hello and addressed me fairly formally as "Sir". I said that since we were both finished with school he should address me by my first name and he nodded a bit unsurely. Just at that moment a big red haired lad of about thirty  dived at our feet collecting the ball to stop a certain four. Jumping to his feet he noticed me and said "EYUP, sir! How ya doin'?"

Name Changed 34 06 Jun 2019
In reply to subtle:

Spelling and punkyouateing a post no u c k whotoit any mistakes 

Post edited at 19:59
2
NorthernGrit 06 Jun 2019
In reply to subtle:

I once ate a fruit pastille without chewing it.

Pete Pozman 06 Jun 2019
In reply to lithos:

Hiya mate 

Timmd 07 Jun 2019
In reply to krikoman:

> Isn't that the easy bit?

I learnt fairly recently that I was the only premature baby to come out of the neonatal baby unit alive, from the hospital I was born in in the early 80's. It's rather thought provoking when I remember and ponder it.  I wouldn't count it as an achievement, but I'm gradually trying to make learning that change how I live. It's a biggie to ponder.

Post edited at 18:59
1
Tom V 07 Jun 2019
In reply to Timmd:

>  It's a biggie to ponder.

Even bigger if you can remember it! 

Andy Clarke 07 Jun 2019
In reply to subtle:

Being headteacher of a school of which I was fiercely proud. 

1
French Erick 07 Jun 2019
In reply to subtle:

Being , I believe anyways, a reasonably reliable friend. I’m not great but l’m there in case of need as long as it does not put my family on the line. This is a work in progress and I hope to continue doing so for a whiley yet.

Deadeye 07 Jun 2019
In reply to subtle:

Having a great relationship with my parents and now with my kids.

My first scientific paper published in a I.P. 5+ journal.

The feedback from the people I mentor.

Being a/the key person in significantly improving diabetic control for >1m people.

Surviving being benighted in the Alps, without bivvi gear, on a *very* cold night (following a "least proud" moment/set of moments).

Post edited at 19:40
Timmd 07 Jun 2019
In reply to Tom V:

> Even bigger if you can remember it! 

Ha, I don't remember being in the hospital. ;-) 

1
marsbar 07 Jun 2019
In reply to Timmd:

That is quite thought provoking.  

1
Jon Stewart 07 Jun 2019
In reply to subtle:

Can't think of anything (not even a sarcastic one about going to the toilet or masturbating).

For 2 reasons. 1 practical, I haven't achieved anything of any note. And 2, philosophical: I don't believe in free will, and don't claim moral responsibility for anything I've done. It's all just a matter of events playing out according to the laws of nature, and me giving myself a running commentary in my head which feels like I'm in the driving seat when really there's no-one there.

What does it mean to be proud of something? It means you did something which is in some way good, i.e. it was helpful for your survival, or the propagation of your genes, or it made you appear trustworthy or kind to others and thus increased your social standing. And what happens when you do things that are good? The neurons in the reward circuits of your brain fire, giving you a feeling of goodness, so you're motivated to do it again, helping you on your way in the world (and keeping your behaviour on the tracks for getting on in the group, creating a cohesive society).

I know that's pissing on everyone's chips, but you know, they were only chips.

Post edited at 21:49
11
Gordon Stainforth 07 Jun 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Well, you've certainly pissed on my chips. One of the saddest and most depressing posts I've ever read here. It's so contrary to my whole experience of life. But I won't argue about it; I don't want to. It would take far too long, and I want to get on with enjoying life and creating things.

1
marsbar 07 Jun 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

That's an interesting way of looking at it.  So you don't ever feel responsible for decisions because you aren't in control, your instinct is?  

Jon Stewart 07 Jun 2019
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

Sorry you found it sad and depressing. But, it's a totally compelling view, to me and is consistent with everything we know to be true. Note that the same philosophical position could be framed in a cheery, upbeat "the wonder of consciousness and humanity" way had I chosen to do so. Yes, what I'm saying is a form of nihilism (in contrast to religious or other worldviews that invoke magic to make us feel better) - but this kind of nihilism isn't inherently depressing, it's neutral.

3
Gordon Stainforth 07 Jun 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

I'll argue it, one day, perhaps, if I survive long enough, in a philosophical book that I've been wanting to do for years. That would only be one aspect of it ... though I have some arguments there that I've never seen in print before. And, final point, it makes me really quite angry when you drag in religion and magic to denigrate my position. I repeat: mine will be a purely philosophical argument.

PS. I don't think for a moment that I'm pre-destined to write that book. I want to do it, my will is there, but maybe I'll lose the energy and enthusiasm to do it? Or other things will get in the way (like health). Or another, more interesting book project/idea will crop up. I've no idea. But I want to do it, and I probably will.

PS2. Your argument is NOT 'consistent with everything we know to be true.'

Post edited at 22:59
FactorXXX 07 Jun 2019
In reply to Timmd:

> I learnt fairly recently that I was the only premature baby to come out of the neonatal baby unit alive, from the hospital I was born in in the early 80's. 

That's a bit strange as it means an awful lot of babies must have died in a facility intended to keep them alive.

Jon Stewart 07 Jun 2019
In reply to marsbar:

> That's an interesting way of looking at it.  So you don't ever feel responsible for decisions because you aren't in control, your instinct is?  

I *feel* responsible for decisions, because that's what it's like to be human: I feel good if I do something good and I feel bad if I do something bad. But if I really examine what's happening, I'm just chucking out loads of behaviour and internally stringing together reasons to try to make a consistent story out of it. When in fact the behaviour is pretty inconsistent and reactive to what's going on around.

If I had different genes, and had a different environment, I wouldn't be me. I didn't choose to be me. I can't take any credit for being a rock climbing optometrist in the Lake District posting philosophical ramblings on UKC. That's just how it turned out. I could quit my job and take up scuba diving tomorrow, but I wouldn't be any more responsible for that - I didn't choose the events that led up to it. There is just no place to shoe-horn free will and moral responsibility into the causal machinery of the universe. We're not magic.

Post edited at 23:05
6
marsbar 07 Jun 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Makes sense to me.  

marsbar 07 Jun 2019
In reply to FactorXXX:

I think full term babies who needed nursing care for any reason would be in neonatal care not just premature babies.  

"Research at University College Hospital, London, one of the leading neonatal units, found survival rates for babies born very prematurely had doubled in the past 20 years.

It showed that a third of babies born between 22 and 25 weeks survived in the early 1980s but this had risen to 71 per cent by the late 1990s."

Post edited at 23:14
Jon Stewart 07 Jun 2019
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> And, final point, it makes me really quite angry when you drag in religion and magic to denigrate my position.

I'm not denigrating your position - I don't know what it is! I just can't see a way to shoe-horn free will into a universe that's made of atoms governed by physical laws. (So-called compatiblists just redefine free will so it doesn't mean anything). 

> PS. I don't think for a moment that I'm pre-destined to write that book. 

I'm not a fatalist, I don't think the future is pre-determined. I just think that since you don't choose your genes, and you don't choose your environment, your life is a matter of events that play out according to the laws of nature. Those laws don't give predictable outcomes for anything more complicated than a single atom sitting in isolation not doing anything - so nothing is pre-determined nor predictable (the same thing).

> PS2. Your argument is NOT 'consistent with everything we know to be true.'

Well I've never come across anything in the world that is inconsistent with this position. The feeling of choosing to write this doesn't cut it, I'm afraid. The argument that the feeling is an illusion is much more compelling than the idea that by virtue of being human, or conscious, or something else, I've managed to break free of the causal laws of nature. I've heard a few arguments for free will and they're either the compatiblist con, or they're an appeal to magic. I shall take it on trust that yours is neither, so I shall await the book with baited breath  

Post edited at 23:22
Gordon Stainforth 07 Jun 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

You sound a bit like dear old Bishop Berkeley to me. Sorry.

Edit: I don't mean 'a bit', I mean 'very'.

2nd edit: Please don't take this thread off its subject, which was people's achievements.

Post edited at 23:25
Jon Stewart 07 Jun 2019
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> You sound a bit like dear old Bishop Berkeley to me. Sorry.

> Edit: I don't mean 'a bit', I mean 'very'.

He had a point, but I'm a full-on materialist. Spinoza is more my bag.

1
Jon Stewart 07 Jun 2019
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> 2nd edit: Please don't take this thread off its subject, which was people's achievements.

Fair enough, I'll stop going on about it. But I think it's interesting and relevant to consider whether the feeling of an achievement might be an illusion. Think about it with an open mind - there's no need to get angry or depressed by me giving my view just because it doesn't chime with self-congratulation.

4
Mark Kemball 07 Jun 2019
In reply to subtle:

Family - walking my daughter down the aisle.

Climbing The Old Man and The Sea (E5 6b) and hopefully the Culm guide when it comes out (but very much a team effort).

Clarence 08 Jun 2019
In reply to subtle:

I can't decide which of two things is my greatest achievement. On the one hand I had a small part in the Chernobyl cleanup, checking the code for the refit and decomissioning of similar power stations in the former soviet union. On the other hand I had a small part in the development of the first edition of Warhammer 40K, bringing plastic space pixies to nerds since 1987. Its a tough call.

1
FactorXXX 08 Jun 2019
In reply to marsbar:

> I think full term babies who needed nursing care for any reason would be in neonatal care not just premature babies.  
> "Research at University College Hospital, London, one of the leading neonatal units, found survival rates for babies born very prematurely had doubled in the past 20 years.
> It showed that a third of babies born between 22 and 25 weeks survived in the early 1980s but this had risen to 71 per cent by the late 1990s."

Timmd's statement was quite clear in that he said that he was the only premature baby to ever survive a particular hospitals neonatal care in the early 1980's.
Sorry, but something doesn't ring true there.

Rob Exile Ward 08 Jun 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Some of the stuff I've 'achieved' (fwiw) involved forcing myself to do things I really, really didn't want to do. For instance; I parked up for an hour once, collecting myself before summoning the courage to tell my client that I couldn't make the system I had proposed work... But that I had a Plan b...

Which led me to become a total Access nerd in the 90s, which I'm proud of, and helped me design database based systems later which will almost certainly outlast me.

Post edited at 01:41
Timmd 08 Jun 2019
In reply to FactorXXX:

> That's a bit strange as it means an awful lot of babies must have died in a facility intended to keep them alive.

That's struck me as well. It's a long time ago - medically speaking, which possibly has something to do with the survival rate of early babies at the time. 

Post edited at 03:27
1
Timmd 08 Jun 2019
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

> Some of the stuff I've 'achieved' (fwiw) involved forcing myself to do things I really, really didn't want to do. For instance; I parked up for an hour once, collecting myself before summoning the courage to tell my client that I couldn't make the system I had proposed work... But that I had a Plan b...

I guess the question remains, whether when we've done some of the things we didn't want to do, there was something making us do them because they were for our long term benefit?

I'm not sure of the best way of putting it, but my perspective seems to shift, so that I'll ponder free will along the lines of Jon (who I do think is essentially correct), and then decide that even if I have none, I still have the reward mechanisms I have - and so should do whatever makes me feel happier. I work on the unimaginative principle of 'This makes me happier, because it does, so this is what I'm going to do'.  It's good to ask ourselves about why we do things, and explore what makes us human, but we can't escape how we're hardwired, is what I mean.

I think there's potentially a certain amount of 'double think' needed towards being happy/happier, like along the lines of seeing humans are 'essentially good', when if looked at objectively, we can be rather tribal and combative, and often only generous up to a point - in a way which might be seen as transactional and nothing which endangers our self interest.  The 'double think' aspect potentially apply to all aspects of being human in the end.

It's an interesting one, this being human. 

Post edited at 03:52
Yanis Nayu 08 Jun 2019
In reply to tripehound:

I know what he means having had a daughter when I was 32  - I’ve often thought how much better a job I’ve done as a dad than I would’ve done if I’d been 10 years younger. Of course that’s just a reflection on me, and who’s to say I wouldn’t have grown up fast and been exactly the same? Girl I work with had 2 kids by the age of 20 and is a fantastic mum (and person). 

Yanis Nayu 08 Jun 2019
In reply to subtle:

I don’t think I’ve done anything remarkable enough to warrant inclusion. There’s lots of little things I’m proud of, of course. 

Gordon Stainforth 08 Jun 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Think about it with an open mind - there's no need to get angry or depressed by me giving my view just because it doesn't chime with self-congratulation.

You made a minor point here that I didn't take you up on. At no point did I talk about self-congratulation, indeed I think I'm about the only person on this thread who hasn't mentioned any personal achievement. There's a reason for that, and I'm going to leave it that way.

Robert Durran 08 Jun 2019
In reply to subtle:

Probably coming to terms with my own mediocrity. Sort of anyway.

Pete Pozman 08 Jun 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

For someone who's not there, you have an awful lot to say. 

2
wercat 08 Jun 2019
In reply to Rog Wilko:

we are approaching our 20th wedding anniversary later this year

wercat 08 Jun 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

do you think the whole of future history was determined at the Big Bang?

(I'm not sure how we could ever disprove that short of creating Universes experimentally and then watching them for a very long time)

Post edited at 08:53
wercat 08 Jun 2019
In reply to Yanis Nayu:

this thread isn't requiring boasting about world beating achievements.  Just about something you've achieved that you consider to besignificant in your life.

> I don’t think I’ve done anything remarkable enough to warrant inclusion. There’s lots of little things I’m proud of, of course. 

Post edited at 08:59
Rog Wilko 08 Jun 2019
In reply to wercat:

> we are approaching our 20th wedding anniversary later this year

Excellent! You've brought a smile to my face on a grim grey morning

Jon Stewart 08 Jun 2019
In reply to wercat:

That's fatalism, which I don't think is correct. The laws of nature don't provide a single predictable path for the universe, it's inherently unpredictable.

But the fact that the universe is unpredictable doesn't make way for magic intervention in the causal chain (free will). There's definitely a paradox here though - if the process of consciously deciding to do something doesn't really do anything, then why did we evolve it?

I think the solution might be found when we understand how the brain generates on consciousness - but I find it totally impossible to get around the fact that who you are is determined by factors (genes and environment) you do not choose. How can you claim responsibility for things outside your control? 

2
Jon Stewart 08 Jun 2019
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

> Some of the stuff I've 'achieved' (fwiw) involved forcing myself to do things I really, really didn't want to do.

The frontal cortex does occasionally manage to wrestle control from the primitive "emotional brain". Is only the activity of the frontal cortex "you", but when you succumb to base instincts, that's not "you"? It's all just brain activity and there isn't really a "you" controlling any of it. It's just happening whether you like it or not. 

Rob Exile Ward 08 Jun 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

I suppose that was the point of my post. I had a decision to make at a moment in time, and after a dark night of the soul made a decision that was hard to implement, uncertain of outcome but 'the right thing to do ' Felt like free will to me; particularly as I know others in the same position  who have taken a different path. One as recently as last week; they've now had to leave their job and have let a lot of people down. That could have been me; it wasn't.

PaulTclimbing 08 Jun 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Providentially speaking..... 'you canna change the laws of physics'...but we don't know what they are yet!

Coming 2nd by 2 seconds to a mysterious winning runner ( who was not ahead of me)  in a championship I didn't know I was in... to get a national silver medal...when the dibbers didn't do their dib dobbing very well for the meddle and or the stewards completely messed up...as though it could have been better ...is still my morally greatest latest achievement. And with my little pick and shovel I was there!

Post edited at 09:29
Thrudge 08 Jun 2019
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> There are personal achievements, of course, but all that really matters 'at the end of the day' is what you give to the world - whether it be bringing up nice, balanced children or doing or creating things that add something good to the world (however small).

Absolutely nailed it there, Gordon. Bravo. 

1
john arran 08 Jun 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

The decisions made by our brains are too complex for our conscious reasoning to process, and because we seem to be suckers for believing any old rubbish in preference to admitting or accepting unknowns, we've invented this catch-all process called 'free will' to hide the complicated details. We maybe should call it 'free will syndrome'.

Yanis Nayu 08 Jun 2019
In reply to wercat:

Go on then:

Along with my wife I’ve brought up a cracking daughter. 

I’ve been a good and supportive friend to various people in times of need.

I’ve had to deal with people at the worst moments in their life in my work and I’ve done it kindly, sensitively and diligently.

I put my own central heating in.

Name Changed 34 08 Jun 2019
In reply to john arran:

and because we seem to be suckers for believing any old rubbish in preference to admitting or accepting unknowns, we've invented this catch-all process called 'free will' to hide the complicated details. We maybe should call it 'free will syndrome'.

And I thought that we called it religion 

john arran 08 Jun 2019
In reply to Name Changed 34:

> And I thought that we called it religion 

Good point. Two sides of the same self-delusion, I suppose. Except one seems far more effective in influencing/manipulating the behaviour of others.

Danm79 08 Jun 2019
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> 2nd edit: Please don't take this thread off its subject, which was people's achievements.

Quite right - The people haven’t got to hear about me scoring past the (later disgraced) former Wimbledon goalkeeper Hans Segers yet!

Thrudge 08 Jun 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> there's no need to get angry or depressed by me giving my view just because it doesn't chime with self-congratulation.

I'm neither angered or depressed by this view, but I do think it's an unfair characterisation of the experiences people have related here.

From the ones relating to purely personal and relatively trivial actions (e.g scoring a 180 in darts) to the richly substantive such as teaching or bringing up children, they don't, to me, seem to hold any element of self congratulation. They appear far more to be expressions of mild astonishment and gratitude. 

This sour view of your fellow human beings does you little credit, and them even less. Of course, it may be that you spoke hastily - we all make mistakes. In either case, I believe you owe them an apology. 

4
Pete Pozman 08 Jun 2019
In reply to wercat:

Bravi! 

Pete Pozman 08 Jun 2019
In reply to john arran:

Used to be believing in God was Bronze Age superstition now it's believing in Self. 

Jon Stewart 08 Jun 2019
In reply to Thrudge:

> This sour view of your fellow human beings does you little credit, and them even less. Of course, it may be that you spoke hastily - we all make mistakes. In either case, I believe you owe them an apology. 

I think you're looking for reasons to be offended on other people's behalf, based on personal grudge, thrudge.

I don't think anyone's being a smarmy arrogant back-patter on here, but by definition, the subject of one's greatest achievement is the subject of self-congratulation. That's just what it is, and I can't apologise for that.  There needn't be anything particularly harsh or cynical about relinquishing the idea that you're responsible for what you do - the eastern hippy traditions get to the same point by sitting on their arses pondering the nature of their consciousness. This view that the self is an illusion represents a convergence of eastern philosophy and western science: so I wouldn't be too quick to dismiss it as "sour".

Have a think about it and see if you can come up with any grounds for taking responsibility for the interaction of your genes with your environment - which is all you are and all you do.

2
ericinbristol 08 Jun 2019
In reply to subtle:

In narrow personal terms becoming a Professor at a high-ranked  University, and based on doing, rather than abandoning, things I care about in the world. I struggled to believe I would manage to do an MSc, then a PhD seemed even less believable and getting to Prof something utterly beyond me. I had to work very hard for many years, while fully aware that there are plenty of academics around me in a completely different league from me in publications, citations etc but I stuck at it and got there. 

Post edited at 11:01
1
wercat 08 Jun 2019
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

you could have been predestined by physics to so exercise your free will

Thrudge 08 Jun 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> I think you're looking for reasons to be offended on other people's behalf, based on personal grudge, thrudge.

That's a) incorrect, and b) something you habitually do on behalf of Muslims.  Sir appears to be projecting with this comment  ;-)

> I don't think anyone's being a smarmy arrogant back-patter on here, but by definition, the subject of one's greatest achievement is the subject of self-congratulation.

Not necessarily, because your attitude towards your own great achievements can be one of gratitude - 'thank God I was able to do that', or more commonly, 'I feel I was able to pay the world back by putting some good into it'.  And this very much appears to be case with those who have posted so far - with many of whom, I might remind you, I have had profound disagreements in the past.  If he'll forgive me for using him as an example, Krikoman springs to mind.  Our disagreements on other matters are irrelevant here, and I found his account admirable and lacking in any kind of self congratulation.

I'm far from naive, but it very much seems to me that there has been an admirable honesty (for instance in the admissions of great difficulty) and a lack of ego in most of what I've read so far. 

3
Jon Stewart 08 Jun 2019
In reply to Thrudge:

> Not necessarily, because your attitude towards your own great achievements can be one of gratitude - 'thank God I was able to do that', or more commonly, 'I feel I was able to pay the world back by putting some good into it'.

Well that's lovely. The point I made was that I don't believe we can claim moral responsibility and therefore talk of one's achievements doesn't make sense to me, not that everyone on here was being a smug wanker. You just chose to interpret it that way, which is your prerogative - that's fine.

1
PaulTclimbing 08 Jun 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Earlier I thought it was an achievement...but now I'm thinking its not and something else is the achievement. I've changed my mind. It wasn't an illusion by David Blaine.  I think that i'll think, i'll think it again when I think about it.

edited.  after reading that, I think I might be overthinking all this.

Probably......hang on, probability was only invented @100 years ago, and as that's the current basis for proof....oh ....bother, I don't know?

Post edited at 12:53
Robert Durran 08 Jun 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> There's definitely a paradox here though - if the process of consciously deciding to do something doesn't really do anything, then why did we evolve it?

Maybe to give us the illusion that life isn't utterly pointless, which might make us more likely to procreate?

LeeWood 08 Jun 2019
In reply to subtle:

I don't think its a fair discussion for either contributors or readers in this thread; better to ask what we judge as acvhievements in other people's lives 

Jon Stewart 08 Jun 2019
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Maybe to give us the illusion that life isn't utterly pointless, which might make us more likely to procreate?

Didn't work on me, in either respect.

I think consciousness is probably a really neat trick that's actually very efficient. We make decisions by feeling our way through the world (people with damage to the emotional brain circuitry who are forced to make decisions without gut feelings have enormous problems making even the simplest choice - I think Jonathan Haidt gives the evidence of this somewhere). In order to have social creatures engaged in cooperation, competition, sexual selection and stuff, it's kind of a must-have feature. Since consciousness is an extremely craftily edited account of what's going on in the brain (reflecting and dependent on what is going on in the world outside), it's not that surprising that the sense of being in the driving seat is part of it: what would it be like without it?* This feeling of self and being in control makes things make sense at the superficial level of going about your business.

It doesn't make much sense though when you start to examine how it could possibly work in a causal, natural universe. It's "the brain's greatest con trick"-  Bruce Hood.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pdBdsqSF-bg

*It would be like deep meditative states or tripping super hard on stacks of acid, the "ego loss" experience. Not a very productive state of affairs.

1
marsbar 08 Jun 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Didn't work on me, in either respect.

> I think consciousness is probably a really neat trick that's actually very efficient. We make decisions by feeling our way through the world (people with damage to the emotional brain circuitry who are forced to make decisions without gut feelings have enormous problems making even the simplest choice...

Anecdotal evidence only of course, but I have alternative brain wiring (autism and adhd) and quite probably some brain damage due to complications at birth which could have been much worse.

Whilst I am generally fine there are times when I get frozen or stuck and simply can't complete the processing needed to make a very simple decision.  

john arran 08 Jun 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

>  There needn't be anything particularly harsh or cynical about relinquishing the idea that you're responsible for what you do - the eastern hippy traditions get to the same point by sitting on their arses pondering the nature of their consciousness. This view that the self is an illusion represents a convergence of eastern philosophy and western science: so I wouldn't be too quick to dismiss it as "sour".

The fact that we have always been reacting to events simply according to our 'wiring', which uniquely determined our response, doesn't mean we can't be proud of the way we've responded, or the things we've achieved. We can be glad that we're the kind of person that responds that way and therefore has achieved certain outcomes, even without accepting the existence of free will.

BnB 08 Jun 2019
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Maybe to give us the illusion that life isn't utterly pointless, which might make us more likely to procreate?

I’ve never needed an excuse to at least try ;-)

Jon Stewart 08 Jun 2019
In reply to john arran:

> The fact that we have always been reacting to events simply according to our 'wiring', which uniquely determined our response, doesn't mean we can't be proud of the way we've responded, or the things we've achieved. We can be glad that we're the kind of person that responds that way and therefore has achieved certain outcomes, even without accepting the existence of free will.

I'm *glad* I'm not an axe murderer, but I'm not *proud* not to be one. I can't see how you can be proud of something while acknowledging it was just a matter of luck, events playing out. You can *feel* proud, such is the illusion of free will, but then when you realise you don't have free will and it was just luck, it makes more sense to acknowledge how the universe works and just feel glad that your life didn't go tits up.

Jon Stewart 08 Jun 2019
In reply to marsbar:

> Whilst I am generally fine there are times when I get frozen or stuck and simply can't complete the processing needed to make a very simple decision.  

That's quite fascinating. I've had experiences where I've felt completely compelled to do a certain thing even though a rational decision would be to do the opposite. It's all just neurons doing their thing.

1
john arran 08 Jun 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

I think we're getting into semantic difficulties here, and given that the terms 'glad' and 'proud' have both evolved in an environment in which free will is generally accepted, that's hardly surprising. I would say that 'proud' could still apply in a world of inevitability, but would relate only to actions taken personally, whereas 'glad' could apply to external actions too.

Rog Wilko 08 Jun 2019
In reply to subtle:

When I first saw this thread I was very unsure whether or not I should join in, in case I were to be perceived as being vainglorious in the context of a list of less-than earth-shattering achievements. Perhaps by some I was so perceived. But I eventually decided to join in, if only to be a part of a swapping of stories with fellow climbers. Now, with all the philosophical discussion which has followed, I wish to make it clear that, though I am quite proud of some of the things I have achieved (because those achievements were not made without a considerable amount of effort and determination), I am fully aware that only a small part results from my own virtues . This is not to say that I am specially well-endowed in the effort and determination departments, (in fact I am all too aware of the fact that I am at my best when things are going well and my most feeble when things get unpleasant), or that I was not fortunate in so many ways which helped make the efforts bear fruit. It is not to my personal credit that I was born into a family with positive attitudes to physical activity where encouragement was strong. It is not to my personal credit that I was born healthy and physically able and never suffered serious health problems. It is not to my personal credit that I was born with above average brain power, or that I have lived my life in a largely peaceful place and era where such inconsequential things such as sporting achievements can flourish. I am among the first to protest and scoff when so-called self-made men (usually men, I find) criticise the least well-endowed members of society because they need to rely on such shameful things as benefits, when those self-made men had a huge list of exceptional benefits which helped them to reach their lofty positions.

Thrudge 08 Jun 2019
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

>  all that really matters 'at the end of the day' is what you give to the world 

This reminds me of a shift in my own thinking that occurred many years ago. I'd always taken the phrase, "it is better to give than to receive" to be a stern moral injunction, and an untrue one. I eventually discovered that it is literally true - giving does actually feel significantly better than receiving. It was quite an eye opener. Atheism notwithstanding, I've got to say hats off to Jesus for that one  ;-)

Gordon Stainforth 08 Jun 2019
In reply to Thrudge:

Another way of putting it is that two people gain from the transaction, yourself and the other person. Or, of course it can be the kind of thing one gives to lots of people. I think what really matters is that you are adding something, giving something to the world outside yourself. ((Of course, if you put aside the religion - if you wish – everything Jesus said was supremely wise, a superb 'code of conduct'. imho.)) 

Pete Pozman 08 Jun 2019
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

Love is something if you give it away 

Timmd 08 Jun 2019
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

> I suppose that was the point of my post. I had a decision to make at a moment in time, and after a dark night of the soul made a decision that was hard to implement, uncertain of outcome but 'the right thing to do ' Felt like free will to me; particularly as I know others in the same position  who have taken a different path. One as recently as last week; they've now had to leave their job and have let a lot of people down. That could have been me; it wasn't.

I see my sense of the right thing to do as being instilled in me by my parents and two older brothers, I can look back on a few instances where they knocked the edges off me with a 'That's not very nice'. I occasionally think that I might be rather dishonest potentially from following my 'base instinct', if I'd grown up in a different environment (regarding parents and wider social/family networks and financial circumstances), which would have been something beyond my control. As it is, I have speculative thoughts and then my conscience kicks in. 

When I look back on the number of people who told me 'how to be good' while I was developing, I find it hard to claim very much credit for doing the right thing, I do what feels right to feel at peace in the end, it doesn't feel quite like a choice if only one option leaves one feeling at peace.

Edit: This is all thinking aloud, I could easily be wrong.

Post edited at 16:25
Timmd 08 Jun 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> I'm *glad* I'm not an axe murderer, but I'm not *proud* not to be one. I can't see how you can be proud of something while acknowledging it was just a matter of luck, events playing out. You can *feel* proud, such is the illusion of free will, but then when you realise you don't have free will and it was just luck, it makes more sense to acknowledge how the universe works and just feel glad that your life didn't go tits up.

There's a human need to think and feel 'I'm a nice person', though, which IIRC even Saddam Hussain saw himself as, because of how it helps so much towards feeling happier, as a previously guilt ridden Catholic - now an atheist, the opposite of feeling as such is more or less a living hell (an ex Catholic from Asia recently said the Catholic gloom seems to be a UK thing).  Even if who we are comes down to things out of our own control, we still need to look at ourselves and claim a certain amount of credit, to feel good about ourselves and where we're at.  

Post edited at 16:51
Jon Stewart 08 Jun 2019
In reply to Timmd:

> Even if who we are comes down to things out of our own control, we still need to look at ourselves and claim a certain amount of credit

I'm not going to, because it isn't true!

> to feel good about ourselves and where we're at.  

You (one...) can tell yourself whatever you like, that you're amazing and life is fantastic; or that you're a miserable failure and it's not worth getting out of bed. Unless you're a saint or an axe murderer (in which case there's a pretty good consensus to rely on) there isn't really any fair standard to judge by.

As such I agree it's generally helpful to construct a reasonably optimistic story of your existence rather than wallow in all the things that have gone wrong, to save yourself from despair and give yourself the best chance of having a positive effect on the world. Although it doesn't always work out like this: some people have a terrible self-image yet act well and help others; while others think they're great and act like arseholes. Either way, I'm not going to take credit for a chain of events that occurred quite naturally through the normal laws of cause and effect.

1
wercat 08 Jun 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Why should free will be an attribute of consciousness when our self is made up largely of subconsciousness too?  From a brain point of view I agree that conscious free will/choice might be an illusion but it is only an illusion in the larger part of our selves if the the 4 dimensions of which we are aware were all determined in every detail at the start of the universe or within the data or substance of the process that created.it.

To limit the ability to make choice to conscious self-awareness (I think subconscious self-awareness is real too) is to make it meaningless

Post edited at 17:34
Timmd 08 Jun 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

That's fair enough. 'Mostly good - with the capacity to be better' probably describes many of us in the end.

On a different note, regarding human nature and self fulfilling consequences, it struck me while going to bed, that so long as one is a reasonable judge of character, seeing the best in people and humanity as 'basically good' could be something which ends up creating a life which reflects that belief for the individual, due to their openness and positiveness with other people towards making friends, until they end up surrounded by a beneficial network of friends and people they know. 

I knew of somebody who was described as shrewd after they passed away, who seemed to see the best in people and take an interest, and by the end of their life they had a good network of friends and ex-colleagues. Quite interesting to observe, and informative in certain ways.

Post edited at 17:44
Rob Exile Ward 08 Jun 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

You must have felt proud when you finished you pre-reg; you must have felt a buzz the first time you helped someone see better than they ever expected. And you achieved that because sometimes you stayed in to study when you *really* just wanted to party or go climbing.

'if it walks like free will; quacks like free will; maybe it is some form of free will.' Even if you believe it was all determined at the Big Bang it certainly helps make the world a better place if we take some responsibility - and credit - for our actions.

Nik Jennings 08 Jun 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

You appear to have a particularly low opinion of axe murderers.

Timmd 08 Jun 2019
In reply to FactorXXX:

> That's a bit strange as it means an awful lot of babies must have died in a facility intended to keep them alive.

I just meant out of the 'batch' of babies who went in around the same time as me. 

Lusk 08 Jun 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

I've barely read this thread, but the jist I'm getting is that you're a non free will, it's all pre-determined type of guy?

In light of all the quantum speak on the colour thread, I'm calling bollocks on your thoughts.
Considering things like paritlcles can spontaneously sprout in and out of existence at random, choas theory, predicting the orbits of more than 2 or 3 celestial bodies etc etc, bugger all is pre-determined.

1
Jon Stewart 08 Jun 2019
In reply to wercat:

> Why should free will be an attribute of consciousness when our self is made up largely of subconsciousness too?  From a brain point of view I agree that conscious free will/choice might be an illusion but it is only an illusion in the larger part of our selves if the the 4 dimensions of which we are aware were all determined in every detail at the start of the universe or within the data or substance of the process that created.it.

> To limit the ability to make choice to conscious self-awareness (I think subconscious self-awareness is real too) is to make it meaningless

I think *you're* redefining free will to make it meaningless! Something you're not conscious of is certainly not "will", let alone free.

Ask anyone what they understand "free will" to mean, and they'll say something along the lines of "it's being able to decide what to do" - and deciding is something you do with consciousness, it's not a decision if it happened by some unconscious process you're not aware of. 

And you can have a universe that isn't determined, that evolves in an unpredictable way (like ours), but still have no room for free will. We live in a natural, causal universe that evolves in accordance with the laws of nature, and which contains some conscious creatures. Some of those creatures feel like they have a "self" that directs their behaviour, but that's just a trick evolution came up so we could interact with each other in groups. You can redefine our "selves" to describe the whole of our physical existence, but that's not the self I'm talking about. If I'm in a coma, my "self" has disappeared, but my body's still as present as ever. When I write this, I feel that my "self" is choosing what to say (kind of - on closer examination, the words are just being created without me thinking of them first). It's this conscious sense of self which is required for free will, and which I believe is an illusion.

Jon Stewart 08 Jun 2019
In reply to Lusk:

> In light of all the quantum speak on the colour thread, I'm calling bollocks on your thoughts.

> Considering things like paritlcles can spontaneously sprout in and out of existence at random, choas theory, predicting the orbits of more than 2 or 3 celestial bodies etc etc, bugger all is pre-determined.

The randomness of quantum physics does away with a predetermined universe (which isn't what I believe in), but it is no help for free will. Free will requires that you're actions aren't *caused* by prior events, it's not about whether we can predict everything - we can't.

Jon Stewart 08 Jun 2019
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

> You must have felt proud when you finished you pre-reg; you must have felt a buzz the first time you helped someone see better than they ever expected. And you achieved that because sometimes you stayed in to study when you *really* just wanted to party or go climbing.

I'm not totally immune to feeling good when something goes well, but on reflection, I don't consider anything to be an achievement. It's all just events happening, each one caused by the ones that went before.

> 'if it walks like free will; quacks like free will; maybe it is some form of free will.' Even if you believe it was all determined at the Big Bang it certainly helps make the world a better place if we take some responsibility - and credit - for our actions.

It's got pros and cons. Yes, it's helpful to feel responsible for your actions to motivate pro-social behaviour. This is probably a lot to do with the evolution of it. On the other hand, blaming people for their actions when they're just the consequences of events they didn't choose is totally destructive - in the context of the justice system, and policy more generally.

Anyhow, I'd rather base the way I act on a correct understanding of the world, rather than believe some nonsense because it seems helpful at face value. I think we've made a right pig's breakfast of history by believing things that aren't true.

Timmd 08 Jun 2019
In reply to FactorXXX:

> That's a bit strange as it means an awful lot of babies must have died in a facility intended to keep them alive.

I was the only baby out of 'a batch' to come out alive from the neo natal unit, rather than to ever come out alive. 

1
Timmd 08 Jun 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> It's got pros and cons. Yes, it's helpful to feel responsible for your actions to motivate pro-social behaviour. This is probably a lot to do with the evolution of it. On the other hand, blaming people for their actions when they're just the consequences of events they didn't choose is totally destructive - in the context of the justice system, and policy more generally.

I completely agree, there's a fair few people I know of who got a shitty end of the stick during their childhood and early years who've turned out pretty dysfunctional/criminal. I can remember Labour coming out with an early intervention policy while talking about the first 3 to 4 years being pivotal towards how well or badly somebody turns out later on. 

> Anyhow, I'd rather base the way I act on a correct understanding of the world, rather than believe some nonsense because it seems helpful at face value. I think we've made a right pig's breakfast of history by believing things that aren't true.

Yes we have. 

wercat 08 Jun 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

you say "deciding is something you do with consciousness" as if it is self-evident which I find to be an incredible assertion.

It just shows how well we can be fooled by the consciousness!

People are obviously different but I learned from early adulthood that a lot of what I think of as my mind and its capabilities lies below the threshold of conscious self-awareness.  I use that term not carelessly but carefully and deliberately to contrast it with unconscious self-awareness.

Post edited at 22:28
Timmd 08 Jun 2019
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

> 'if it walks like free will; quacks like free will; maybe it is some form of free will.' Even if you believe it was all determined at the Big Bang it certainly helps make the world a better place if we take some responsibility - and credit - for our actions.

I buy New Scientist occasionally, and when my Dad lived in the same city as me I regularly read his, current scientific thinking basically surmises that there's no evidence for free will, and some evidence that the brain has already decided what we're going to do, before we decide to do something in our conscious mind. 

Post edited at 22:29
wercat 08 Jun 2019
In reply to Timmd:

I have seen some of those reports and I dispute they disprove free will.  They probably do reduce the importance of conscious will and show that subconscious will can act in advance but to asser free-will is disproved because of this is a non-sequitur.   Perhaps some people are less aware of their subconscious mind and thus more prone to believe that consciousness is the be all and end all of the mind.  That really is a back seat driver being a bit arrogant, a bit like a project planning engineer thinking they have somehow performed and deserve the credit for the project on whose progress they are simply reporting.

As we are just at the beginning of understanding the universe I dispute that it is possible to know whether history is pre-determined and pre-determined history certainly would preclude free-will of any kind, except for the fib telling of consciousness.

Post edited at 22:34
Timmd 08 Jun 2019
In reply to wercat:

If the sub conscious is by definition something we're unaware of, at least during the moment we're being prompted to act by whatever is within it, doesn't that reduce our degree of free will? The sub conscious is something which is 'below conscious' - that's what sub conscious means.

Enty 08 Jun 2019
In reply to subtle:

I'll tell you what my worst achievement was. Last year doing 93 days alcohol free as part of a OYNB challenge. (One year no beer)
Biggest waste of my remaining years ever.

Enty

Pefa 09 Jun 2019
In reply to subtle:

My greatest achievement is non-achievement. 

I have had to consciously fight very hard every day for my entire life to constantly suppress my undeniable ability to be the greatest dancer/rock star/dj /Model /guru/movie star/singer/scientist/inventor/revolutionary / surgeon and rocket scientist that the world has ever seen, in order to let others have all the glory.

Thanks. 

wercat 09 Jun 2019
In reply to Timmd:

There is subconscious awareness.  Have you ever been into a child's bedroom and see the eyes open while still asleep and a smile form when you're seen before the eyes close?

I rather suspect that this kind of thing is sometimes involved in being able to wake up just before the alarm clock.  We think we are totally unconscious but the intention to wake makes the subconscious check on the clock time.

What makes me think this is that I'm pretty certain that my subconscious tries to scare  part of me that is conscious in dreams by playing nasty tricks sometimes - pretending you have woken up to then see something terrible at the end of the bed, or a very specific example ..

I had a terrifying dream where I was warned by a scared looking person that the devil would appear at a particular moment - say 11 minutes past 2.

Something did indeed did begin to form out of the air at that time in the dimly lit deserted factory in which the dream was set at that moment.  I woke up gabbling and my wife wondered what was wrong.  She said, don't worry, it can't be true as it is already after 2.15 am.   After a moment I remembered that the alarm clock was set 7 minutes fast so 2.11 was just approaching.

I conclude that the subconscious was definitely involved in this rather bad "joke" which was the most spectacularly spooky of many dreams over the years. Having seen the awareness of surroundings in children still asleep but aware of things in the room I rather think that this would be an explanation.

Perhaps a lot of my mind is embedded in my subconscious and I'm sure it varies from person to person and the level of consciousness and subconscious division in the mind floats up and down from moment to moment but I don't rate what you call the conscious as rakning very highly in decision making - unless you are talking about emotive choice - emotions are definitely the governor of conscious reactions.

Post edited at 10:33
wercat 09 Jun 2019
In reply to Timmd:

> If the sub conscious is by definition something we're unaware of, at least during the moment we're being prompted to act by whatever is within it, doesn't that reduce our degree of free will? The sub conscious is something which is 'below conscious' - that's what sub conscious means.


that doesn't mean that the sub conscious (a pretty vague term anyway) is all there is to mind and decision taking.   The subconscious is pretty rational and can come up with incredibly detailed thought in problem solving - that is when the little voice shouts out "of course - you haven't updated the extent counter in the file control block" as you walk in the dark beside a sea loch.

1
john arran 09 Jun 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

It occurs to me that this whole 'free will vs predetermined outcome' question is actually rubbish. At any point there will be a decision to make and we (at some conscious and/or subconscious level) are the ones making it. There will be one outcome that, on the basis of everything that has made us who we are and everything we know about the situation, we will consider the 'best' one for us to choose - even though we may not be sure why and it may seem like an odd choice to others, perhaps even to our conscious selves as well. Free will is the processing we perform to arrive at that decision. Arguing that we would ever make deliberately 'wrong' decisions (as opposed to ones that just appear to be against our interests but which have underlying motive that may not even be apparent to us) doesn't make a lot of sense as that would be anarchic - and if we thought anarchy would be right in a situation then that would become the 'right' choice and would no longer be anarchic!

The bottom line is that we make decisions based on our background and our situation. The 'free will' to make apparently altruistic or self-damaging decisions is precisely the same decision process as the deterministic processing explanation. And if the same decisions are arrived at in the same circumstances, whether we call the process 'free will' 'deterministic reasoning' matters not a jot as it's really just a label. Ultimately we do what we think is right and society judges us on the decisions we make.

Timmd 09 Jun 2019
In reply to wercat:

> that doesn't mean that the sub conscious (a pretty vague term anyway) is all there is to mind and decision taking.   The subconscious is pretty rational and can come up with incredibly detailed thought in problem solving - that is when the little voice shouts out "of course - you haven't updated the extent counter in the file control block" as you walk in the dark beside a sea loch.

It isn't something one has control over, though, the 'off course' comes out of nowhere - that's my point about the subconscious, it's not about the rationality, it's that it's not in 'the present mind'. 

Timmd 09 Jun 2019
In reply to john arran:

What gets me, is that people seem quite ready to accept that psychopaths are inherently different (somehow) to the general population, but that that doesn't raise questions about how much agency we have about what we do and how we live as people. That is, if they've not chosen to be psychopaths, why should have any of the rest of us chosen to be more moral and altruistic, or kinder - can't it instead be something more inherent in us than 'choice', something fundamental within that is biologically different which makes us live in a different way?

Post edited at 14:31
Mark Bannan 09 Jun 2019
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

> Even if you believe it was all determined at the Big Bang it certainly helps make the world a better place if we take some responsibility - and credit - for our actions.

Very well said - although I am not religious, I still agree with this viewpoint and the aspiration to make the world a better place.

For me, hillwalking and climbing have helped improve my mental state and IMHO helped me to do more to make the world a better place.

I find it hard to choose a best personal achievement, but I have found that my sporting life has helped me make sense of the world more and therefore become a better person than if I had not climbed. I suppose it's the closest thing to religion for me, a fairly non-religious person overall.

Superb, thought-provoking thread, btw.

Post edited at 15:12
Jon Stewart 09 Jun 2019
In reply to john arran:

Like Timmd, I think the existence or not of free will and moral responsibility makes a difference in how we think about society. Many people are quick to point out that the idea of moral responsibility makes the world a better place - without it, we'd just do whatever we pleased for our own ends.

I disagree: I think we can make good decisions about how to act by thinking through the consequences of what we do. And the idea of moral responsibility provides the excuse for blaming people who have miserable lives for their lot. "If I worked hard at school and got a good job and a house, why can't this inept heroin addict: she just needs to take responsibility for her life rather than looking to others for handouts". Believing in the illusion of free will and moral responsibility leads to retributive justice and negates compassion for those whose lives are dysfunctional.

Post edited at 19:12
Jon Stewart 09 Jun 2019
In reply to wercat:

> you say "deciding is something you do with consciousness" as if it is self-evident which I find to be an incredible assertion.

When I say I decided to do something, I'm describing the conscious experience. The ultimate causes of the decision aren't accessible conscious, I agree.

> People are obviously different but I learned from early adulthood that a lot of what I think of as my mind and its capabilities lies below the threshold of conscious self-awareness.  I use that term not carelessly but carefully and deliberately to contrast it with unconscious self-awareness.

There's a few terms there I don't quite understand! To me the term "mind" means consciousness - if it's not in consciousness, then it's just brain activity and isn't part of the mind. I guess some stuff is kind of on the edge of consciousness, like a dream you can barely recall. But I don't believe that there are "subconscious" desires or reasons for acting along the lines of Freud, nor anything like the "collective unconscious" of Jung. That stuff just seems like unfalsifiable nonsense to me.

john arran 09 Jun 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Like Timmd, I think it free will and moral responsibility makes a difference about how we think about society. Many people are quick to point out that the idea of moral responsibility makes the world a better place - without it, we'd just do whatever we pleased for our own ends.

> I disagree: I think we can make good decisions about how to act by thinking through the consequences of what we do.

I completely agree. I think of it as a higher plane of selfishness, or even 'intelligent selfishness', one that sees apparent selflessness or altruism as having benefits in some other way to one's self-interest that outweigh the apparent losses.

> And the idea of moral responsibility provides the excuse for blaming people who have miserable lives for their lot. "If I worked hard at school and got a good job and a house, why can't this inept heroin addict: she just needs to take responsibility for her life rather than looking to others for handouts". Believing in the illusion of free will and moral responsibility leads to retributive justice and negates compassion for those whose lives are dysfunctional.

I don't think the concept of moral responsibility is necessarily a problem. I will do what I think is best for me, and perhaps people will consider some of my actions to be morally responsible or altruistic, but fundamentally I think we all act in what we each perceive to be our own intelligent self interest. Maybe even the act of "blaming people who have miserable lives for their lot" is an act of self-interest as it will be intended to portray the speaker in a relatively better light and therefore serve their self-interest. If I do something that society regards as morally irresponsible then I will need a very good reason - in terms of spinoff benefit - to justify it in terms of my own self-interest.

wercat 09 Jun 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> When I say I decided to do something, I'm describing the conscious experience. The ultimate causes of the decision aren't accessible conscious, I agree.

I think "I decided to do something" is better described, in terms of consciousness, as "My conscious being experienced a decision to do something", which is consistent with the second sentence above.  My esperience of conscious self suggest that it is rather like a crosshair cursor in which the degree and angle of travel from centre expresses my emotional reaction to inputs to the crosshair.

The crosshair may or may not be in a state of equilibrium,  It may be already responding to an external input from the senses or from any combination of those and memory, modified by learned responses when any new stimulus arrives, resulting in further emotion of the crosshair (E - from, motion, movement) either towards equilibrium or away.  Of course if I'm depressed then my crosshairs will already be responding abnormally to stimuli and internal information.

The result of the displacement can be used to trigger further action from the hidden portions of the mind either directly or through moderation by verbalisation (eg talking yourself out of panic or getting scared by applying logic)

But the experience of all this doesn't mean it is in charge.  Don't know about Freud et al, never read any but I do try to examine my own experiences and draw conclusions and always have.  My own experience is that self awareness exists in conscious layers and those hidden below.  I experience a dialogue between the two and when I discussed this in a CBT session the therapist said it made complete sense as CBT is about having a dialogue with ones self to respond more positively and less negatively to situations.

wercat 09 Jun 2019
In reply to Timmd:

The present mind can be aware that it is possible to "submit" a task for background processing in parallel with the froth of conscious experience floating on the top thinking it is responsible for everything.  My conscious mind makes a complete hash of some things, like working out the present time by thinking about it.  Yet if the first I know of it is hearing my voice saying what time it is without conscious intervention the answer is more often correct.

Sometimes information is said without consciousness being involved that provides very useful information without apparent thought, like directions to finding a tiny lost object in a wide rough area. Weird i agree.

Post edited at 19:36
Jon Stewart 09 Jun 2019
In reply to john arran:

> I don't think the concept of moral responsibility is necessarily a problem.

I think the cons outweigh the pros - I'll explain...

> I will do what I think is best for me, and perhaps people will consider some of my actions to be morally responsible or altruistic, but fundamentally I think we all act in what we each perceive to be our own intelligent self interest.

Yes, there's maybe a bit of group-success motivation in there too. If I behave in certain "good" ways, there will be a better society for my relatives to live and reproduce in as well as being better for me. Whichever way, we've evolved co-operative and sometimes seemingly altruistic patterns of behaviour because they're adaptive. If we passed on more copies of genes by just being arseholes and fighting the whole time, then we'd do that.

> Maybe even the act of "blaming people who have miserable lives for their lot" is an act of self-interest as it will be intended to portray the speaker in a relatively better light and therefore serve their self-interest. 

Absolutely, which is why I think the idea of moral responsibility is a problem. If we all believe in moral responsibility then this may (theoretically) encourage some helpful controls on bad behaviour; but it also means that it's in each individual's self-interest to blame others rather than help them, and to seek retribution. I propose that we should look for the causes of problems and seek solutions that are best at reducing suffering: but this requires that we relinquish the ideas of blame and punishment.

A good illustration used by Sam Harris and many others is the story of Charles Whitman, who shot a load of innocent people, his wife and himself after a brain tumour grew to the size of a golf ball and pressed up against his amygdala. Most people would agree that this absolved him of at least some moral responsibility for his actions...but I'd argue that it's a case of "tumours all the way down". Every action, good or bad, has an explanation in the particular wiring and firing of the brain. Do you only have moral responsibility if your brain is certified as "normal"? What is normal and who decides? What type of abnormality starts to erode your responsibility? Or is everyone, even those with severe brain disease, equally responsible for their actions? 

These are questions that those who believe in free will and moral responsibility need to have answers to if they want to justify their position.

(There's a great Radiolab called "Blame" on this, with a similarly disturbing story to the Charles Whitman case - the legal outcome is interesting...).

Post edited at 19:44
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john arran 09 Jun 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

That's a good example of why punitive sentencing should only be to serve the joint purposes of protecting the public and preventing reoffending. There really is no such thing as teaching people the error of their ways, unless of course it then becomes part of their 'wiring' that such illegal actions will have consequences that are not aligned with their self-interest.

Timmd 09 Jun 2019
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

> You must have felt proud when you finished you pre-reg; you must have felt a buzz the first time you helped someone see better than they ever expected. And you achieved that because sometimes you stayed in to study when you *really* just wanted to party or go climbing.

> 'if it walks like free will; quacks like free will; maybe it is some form of free will.' Even if you believe it was all determined at the Big Bang it certainly helps make the world a better place if we take some responsibility - and credit - for our actions.

I was thinking about this while cycling to a BBQ today. I cycled past a house today, outside of which I'd seen a lady struggling to get some large white square builders sacks of wood out the boot of her estate car a while ago, I was on my way for a take away and nipped across in the dark to help her, and between us they came out easily and she said I was very kind. Today, it struck me that through the parenting I'd received I'd developed empathy/compassion, and also had the reward mechanisms in place so that I felt good after doing something helpful.  It felt like freewill to go and help her, but I didn't choose my development as a child, or to have the reward mechanisms in place which make me feel good for being kind. None of this pondering makes any difference to how I live my life, but it's set me thinking that rather than free will, we might just have agency within certain parameters, which govern how we behave and which are created by things beyond our control, being our biological inheritance and the environment we develop in.

Post edited at 22:56
wercat 10 Jun 2019
In reply to Timmd:

I think it's fair enough to say that we experience the sense of Free Will and using to positive or negative effect.  Beyond that it has to be a philosophical debate, but I am firmly against dismissing it on grounds of subconscious mind doing it all before our apparent conscious self is aware of it.

To me my mind is a whole and includes all levels above the autonomous nervous system.  Perhaps I  have a slightly different experience of life in that I have always doubted the abilities of apparent conscious self, perhaps it is just a lack of "self confidence"?

Incidentally, do you ever talk to yourself out loud?  I have done since quite an early age when I've been alone.  IIRC research has shown that this is a good way of parts of the brain that are not in contact with each other so much finding another communication channel as the process of speaking out loud and hearing it invoke extra brain processes from pure internal thought.

I suppose it could also be analogous to early computer memory based on mercury accoustic delay lines containing information circulating round and round as the act of talking introduces a delay and could thus prolong the holding of a thought and make it more deliberate, perhaps.

Post edited at 09:07
krikoman 10 Jun 2019
In reply to Thrudge:

>   If he'll forgive me for using him as an example, Krikoman springs to mind.  Our disagreements on other matters are irrelevant here, and I found his account admirable and lacking in any kind of self congratulation.

Blimey a mention in dispatches

Thanks xx

john arran 10 Jun 2019
In reply to wercat:

> To me my mind is a whole and includes all levels above the autonomous nervous system. 

The way I see it, what we're discussing here is whether or not our whole brain, including conscious mind, is actually part of what you're referring to as 'the autonomous nervous system', i.e. we're simply responding to stimuli in a (theoretically) predictable manner.

wercat 10 Jun 2019
In reply to john arran:

no, by autonomous nervous system I'm referring to it (controlling respiration and basic bodily functions, reactions to intense stimuli etc) in contrast to the CNS, central nervous system.   Obviously there are some areas that cross over, like the complexity of the gut where there are basic functions which can affect higher functions, state of mind etc as well as parts of the nervous system that carry signals to the brain as well as to carry out instant reaction.

Post edited at 11:19
john arran 10 Jun 2019
In reply to wercat:

I know that you're drawing a distinction, and a common one. But I'm questioning whether such a distinction has any real meaning beyond our wishful thinking that it should? At the most basic level it's all just electrochemical responses to stimuli.

Timmd 10 Jun 2019
In reply to wercat:

> I think it's fair enough to say that we experience the sense of Free Will and using to positive or negative effect.  Beyond that it has to be a philosophical debate, but I am firmly against dismissing it on grounds of subconscious mind doing it all before our apparent conscious self is aware of it.

It's a philosophical debate until one starts to think about the criminal justice system, I think, because of the questions raised about what could have been making people behave in certain ways - if it is indeed true that we don't have Free Will, but only agency within parameters which are beyond our control. Rates of illiteracy and being abused as children (for example) are higher in prison populations than average, but there's the biological inheritance side, and what environment they grew up in, too, which of course doesn't mean that society shouldn't be protected from dangerous people. All sorts of ethical questions may come up as medicine advances too.

Post edited at 11:38
Andy 1902 10 Jun 2019
In reply to subtle:

My greatest achievement - not to get involved with religious/political/theoretical/navel gazing threads on UKC/H.....

Ooops - must try harder

Jon Stewart 10 Jun 2019
In reply to wercat:

> I think it's fair enough to say that we experience the sense of Free Will and using to positive or negative effect.  Beyond that it has to be a philosophical debate, but I am firmly against dismissing it on grounds of subconscious mind doing it all before our apparent conscious self is aware of it.

> To me my mind is a whole and includes all levels above the autonomous nervous system.

I don't think the brain/mind is structured in this way. The brain has got a lot of bits which are specialised to do certain things. Some of these functions never contribute to consciousness, but many do. And we have no idea *how* any brain region actually goes about influencing the content or character of consciousness, the best we can do is look for correlations.

So I can only see the "mind" as referring to consciousness; and "brain activity" referring to everything going on in the brain, some of which is involved in consciousness. I can't make sense of any other categories/levels. 

Roadrunner6 10 Jun 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

I find it really interesting how different people look at their successes. I look at some people and they really have their success all over their social media. They use it to really define who they are.

I've been flamed on running face book groups for saying I'd sell medals. I don't even know where my World Championship Gold medal is. The moment went, it was great but the memories count but its pretty fleeting. A finishing medal like at Boston is flung in the garage and never looked at again. For me they are very materialistic successes. 

Yesterday I tried and failed a 75 mile FKT route so today feel shit, all the other successes don't matter.

I'm having a second time around in my running and consider myself setting new PR's. I probably won't beat my old one's but they are from a different age and no longer matter. They are literally split seconds in time and no longer relevant to me.

Things like my daughter, my marriage, my sobriety can still go, they still need work. They are the achievements I carry with me every day.

Post edited at 15:15
Roadrunner6 10 Jun 2019
In reply to wercat:

> I

> Incidentally, do you ever talk to yourself out loud?  I have done since quite an early age when I've been alone.  IIRC research has shown that this is a good way of parts of the brain that are not in contact with each other so much finding another communication channel as the process of speaking out loud and hearing it invoke extra brain processes from pure internal thought.

I've heard this is why it helps to write things down when we are troubled, just writing out your issues, the people you've hurt etc helps. 

Post edited at 15:05
DaveHK 10 Jun 2019
In reply to Roadrunner6:

> Yesterday I tried and failed a 75 mile FKT route so today feel shit, all the other successes don't matter.

You succeed, you feel good, you fail, you feel shit then you start looking around for some other challenge to lay to rest the ghost of that failure.

I get this a bit and I think it's probably a really unhealthy way to view success and failure!

Roadrunner6 10 Jun 2019
In reply to DaveHK:

Haha probably. I certainly go through and look at lessons and failure is almost always good. If you don't occasionally fail I don't think you are being ambitious enough.

Yesterday was just a glorious day, but too glorious, 81F after a cold wet spring. But this morning I'm already looking at new challenges. But I won't go back for that until next year.

Post edited at 15:51
wercat 10 Jun 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

so would you regard the solving of complex problems as being performed by the mind?

or only  the emotive experience part, that of feeling the satisfaction of having solved a complex problem?

For example, when faced with a very complex problem of program failure I used to accept that my conscious mind wasn't always the best way to solve a problem.  So, on those occasions, instead of panicing about finding the fault, I would set it to tidying up poor code layout, crappy comments in the program that didn't help much.  Magically the solution would just pop out of that conscious activity.   So that wasn't mind working then?

Is mind only the emotions and experience or could it include "mental" arithmetic where the answer is obtained by delegating the answer to lower processes that the mind was trained to use to remember tables?

Presumably the mind can't be trained as by that processes would cease to be of the mind once compiled into lower levels not requiring experience to take place, except perhaps satisfaction that they are done?

ps - presumably I'm not using my mind to communicate with you as my use of language is merely a trained part of the brain that I don't need to use as part of my mind, so not a thought process at all?

Post edited at 16:01
wercat 10 Jun 2019
In reply to Roadrunner6:

> I've heard this is why it helps to write things down when we are troubled, just writing out your issues, the people you've hurt etc helps. 


I think it also shows how much this extra task processing makes note-taking (as opposed to just listening passively) improve both understanding and memory when hearing detailed information. 

Studies have shown that jurors recall detail better and can make better sense of the case if they have been taking notes.

Post edited at 16:07
elsewhere 10 Jun 2019
In reply to wercat:

funny too how often you get the vital creative spark to solve a technical problem whilst you sleep, you just wake up knowing the right approach.

Roadrunner6 10 Jun 2019
In reply to elsewhere:

When I did my PhD I worked with an old retired guy who would come in and give advice occasionally. He told me to always sleep with a pad and pen next to my bed to write down those thoughts. 

wercat 10 Jun 2019
In reply to elsewhere:

I'm rather inclined to the consciousness wearing a striped blazer and straw boater and loafing around taking the credit for clever things it manages to persuade underlings to do off stage so it can impress the ladees!

Jon Stewart 10 Jun 2019
In reply to wercat:

> so would you regard the solving of complex problems as being performed by the mind?

> or only  the emotive experience part, that of feeling the satisfaction of having solved a complex problem?

I use "mind" to mean the same as "consciousness" (although it kind of implies more of a history of every conscious experience, rather than just a momentary current experience).

> Magically the solution would just pop out of that conscious activity.   So that wasn't mind working then?

I'd say your brain is bevering away doing the work, outside of consciousness, and then it finds some useful answer and it pops into consciousness. The same way a much simpler task of just trying to remember the name of something pops into consciousness hours after the task was initiated.

> Is mind only the emotions and experience or could it include "mental" arithmetic where the answer is obtained by delegating the answer to lower processes that the mind was trained to use to remember tables?

Everything is done by the brain - somethings are "promoted" into consciousness and processed with deliberation, other things are done in the background.

> Presumably the mind can't be trained as by that processes would cease to be of the mind once compiled into lower levels not requiring experience to take place, except perhaps satisfaction that they are done?

Part of the process of training is things going from conscious, requiring thought and effort, to automatic. Some things always require conscious effort, no matter how much training you do - but of course you can get better at any such task (so therefore you can train the "mind").

> ps - presumably I'm not using my mind to communicate with you as my use of language is merely a trained part of the brain that I don't need to use as part of my mind, so not a thought process at all?

Using language is a really fascinating example - it kind of feels like it's a conscious choice, but I'm not really thinking of the words and then writing them. I'm just fully aware of what I'm writing and what my intention is. I don't plan what I'm going to say, but I'm never surprised by it either. It's an insight worth some consideration!

Gordon Stainforth 10 Jun 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Your last four sentences seem to me to describe the exact opposite of the process of creative writing. 

1
Dave the Rave 10 Jun 2019
In reply to subtle:

Today I saved a bee. It was looking a little lifeless on the window sill so I dropped some sugar and water by it. It lifted its front left leg as if to say don’t kill me! 5 minutes later it was tucking in. It ate for about ten minutes then started to buzz its wings. I opened the kitchen window and sat outside. It flew off and gave me a fly by.

Jon Stewart 10 Jun 2019
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> Your last four sentences seem to me to describe the exact opposite of the process of creative writing. 

I would imagine that's very different to talking (or writing a message), as I would expect you'd consciously deliberate over the words? 

Do you ever write in a more direct 'flow' state and reflect and edit later? Do other writers?

Is there a marked difference between how much conscious deliberation you put into creative writing, versus simply talking?

Gordon Stainforth 10 Jun 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

There are moments when it flows out spontaneously, but usually after a lot of forethought. And then there's the bigger overall structure. The art of telling a story is very difficult; it doesn't 'tell itself'. There is also a huge amount of development and revision involved.

doz 16 Jun 2019
In reply to Dave the Rave:

How nice

It'll be back tomorrow with all its pals.....

ericinbristol 16 Jun 2019
In reply to Dave the Rave:

Absolutely lovely. Thank you for doing that.

Lee Proctor 16 Jun 2019
In reply to Lemony:

> The other night I threw the night time dog poo bag into the bin from 10 metres away. Not an open topped bin either, one with a letterbox shaped opening.

> It's gone straight onto my linkedin profile.

CLASS ;-)

Enty 16 Jun 2019
In reply to subtle:

I walked past my 13 year old daughter's bedroom the other day and she was listening to Three Feet High and Rising by De La Soul. We had DJ Shadow on in the car the other day and she has all The Gorillaz albums on vinyl - my work here is almost done.

Enty

Timmd 16 Jun 2019
In reply to Enty: Good work. I absorbed what felt like 'just about all of the music from the 60's' from my own parents, and I find that pretty cool, and some jazz and blues and stuff like AC/DC too.

People alive now are lucky to have such a long legacy of music to hand to enjoy, going back to the 1930's circa, your daughter has the music you've shared all that came before it, which is great.

Post edited at 15:07
FactorXXX 16 Jun 2019
In reply to subtle:

Seven in one evening.

Timmd 16 Jun 2019
In reply to marsbar:

> That is quite thought provoking.  

It makes me ponder 'Blimey, hmmmn I'd better crack on and grasp life' each time I think of it.

Post edited at 17:44
J Whittaker 16 Jun 2019
In reply to subtle:

My greatest achievement? Still managing to force myself to go to work despite my complete apathy towards it. Ah well only 37 years left.

Gordon Stainforth 16 Jun 2019
In reply to J Whittaker:

That is very depressing. What is your job, and why are you condemned to be stuck with it?  Nearly half a million hours of life wasted (unless my rather poor arithmetic is mistaken).

2
Timmd 16 Jun 2019
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

If his profile is up to date, it's oil rig work. 

Post edited at 21:42
J Whittaker 17 Jun 2019
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

Because, as much as at times it can suck i really really don't want to go back to the Monday-Friday 9-5. I work my 21 12 hour shifts, then have 21 days off when i get to go climbing etc. and enjoy doing stuff.

I was being a little sarcastic in my original post, its not quite as bad as all that. Though its its not a job in which you feel any immense satisfaction from. As far as my actual greatest achievement im not actually sure. My masters degree perhaps? Converting my T5 panel van in to a camper with no previous DIY skills? Maybe one of those two.

Blue Straggler 18 Jun 2019
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

>   Nearly half a million hours of life wasted

What an extraordinary statement, Gordon! Do you genuinely consider every single hour of a person's work, to be a waste?

Gordon Stainforth 18 Jun 2019
In reply to Blue Straggler:

More or less the exact opposite. You've misunderstood how that snippet of conversation went.  J Whittaker spoke of having to work for 37 years in a job he has complete apathy towards. I was as shocked as you are by this concept.

Jon Stewart 18 Jun 2019
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

How can you be shocked?

Think about the economy: it's 99% people doing boring stuff. People who manage to make a living by doing what they love are in a tiny minority - has that never occurred to you?

Personally, I've settled for doing something that feels reasonably meaningful some of the time, and has plenty of rewarding moments, but is at the end of the day just a job. Because I know what it's like to do a job that isn't rewarding and feels meaningless (I was a civil servant for a decade), this to me is a great state of affairs, because I don't work full time, can move where I want, the pay's fine, etc. Practical benefits that allow one to do things like raise a family in comfort, pursue a passion like climbing, etc, are what motivates most people to do their work - only in very few cases is the actual work itself the motivating factor.

How do you think the economy works? By people following their passion to sell printer cartridges, and fill in spreadsheets in HR Departments, and deliver goods from city to city by HGV...?

Post edited at 11:34
Blue Straggler 18 Jun 2019
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

I had already understood the nuance and deliberate exaggeration in J Whittaker's post. Sorry for having been a little bit ahead of you  

Blue Straggler 18 Jun 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Maybe Gordon subscribes to this statement attributed to R Buckminster Fuller:

“We should do away with the absolutely specious notion that everybody has to earn a living. It is a fact today that one in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest. The youth of today are absolutely right in recognizing this nonsense of earning a living. We keep inventing jobs because of this false idea that everybody has to be employed at some kind of drudgery because, according to Malthusian Darwinian theory he must justify his right to exist. So we have inspectors of inspectors and people making instruments for inspectors to inspect inspectors. The true business of people should be to go back to school and think about whatever it was they were thinking about before somebody came along and told them they had to earn a living.”

1
Gordon Stainforth 18 Jun 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> How can you be shocked?

> Think about the economy: it's 99% people doing boring stuff. People who manage to make a living by doing what they love are in a tiny minority - has that never occurred to you?

Of course it's occurred to me. It occurs to me every day. Perhaps 'shocked' was the wrong word; I think 'depressed' (which is what I first said) is better.

You in turn are probably exaggerating how many people find their work boring. At a complete guess I'd say it's probably more like 85%, certainly not 99%.

1
Jon Stewart 18 Jun 2019
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Great quote! I think as plan for how to go about life, the approach might benefit from a little more work on the practical implementation side...

Post edited at 11:41
Gordon Stainforth 18 Jun 2019
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Again, that's almost the exact opposite of what I believe. I don't see how one can live satisfactorily if one is not earning (unless you're an aristocrat, royalty, have inherited a large sum of money, or are being supported by someone else.) One just won't have enough to live on. I take satisfaction from supporting myself (freelance). I admit that I'm fortunate in enjoying what I'm doing; but I expect to be paid for it. I'm not doing it for fun; I believe completely in the commercial world.

Jon Stewart 18 Jun 2019
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> You in turn are probably exaggerating how many people find their work boring. At a complete guess I'd say it's probably more like 85%, certainly not 99%.

A hard thing to measure. I don't know if I would fall into the category or not - sometimes my work is really fun, very occasionally it's fascinating, sometimes it's a total pain in the arse... The point is just that the human animal has to get food and shelte, and with the remaining resources they can sing and paint and play games. I don't think there's anything depressing about that - I don't expect my life to be drudgery free, I've got to earn my living so I can go out and play. There's nothing wrong with it!

Gordon Stainforth 18 Jun 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

There are plenty of professions that involve 'singling and painting and playing games'. Why always this antithesis? There are loads of creative jobs/ crafts. 

Jon Stewart 18 Jun 2019
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> There are plenty of professions that involve 'singling and painting and playing games'. Why always this antithesis? There are loads of creative jobs/ crafts. 

What % of the economy do you think they make up?

Roadrunner6 18 Jun 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

I'm with Gordon,

Teachers, those in the medical profession and numerous other professions enjoy their work, some times.

I generally enjoy coming to work and miss the students over the summer.

Timmd 18 Jun 2019
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> There are plenty of professions that involve 'singling and painting and playing games'. Why always this antithesis? There are loads of creative jobs/ crafts. 

I think antithesis can sometimes come from disenchantment on a certain level, or from feeling at odds with society, either or both (or neither - to avoid placing inaccurate labels on him ). 

Post edited at 13:35
krikoman 18 Jun 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

>  - I don't expect my life to be drudgery free,...

It would be like expecting a life without pain, either physically or mentally, it's what makes us rounded human beings.

Rob Exile Ward 18 Jun 2019
In reply to krikoman:

There's another side as well: quite a lot of my job is hard, frustrating and boring. But that's the pain that is necessary to create something - in my case, create a company supplying the best frigging software in our marketplace  - which I can look at with some satisfaction and yes, pride. 

Blue Straggler 18 Jun 2019
In reply to Timmd:

> I think antithesis can sometimes come from disenchantment on a certain level, or from feeling at odds with society, either or both (or neither - to avoid placing inaccurate labels on him ). 

I don't think antithesis means what I think you think it means

Blue Straggler 18 Jun 2019
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> Again, that's almost the exact opposite of what I believe.

An friendly observation, here, Gordon. 

You often rebuke my posts questioning your statements, by declaring that I have accused you of saying "almost the exact opposite" of what you meant. 

Given that I never set out to deliberately twist anyone's words around, and really only am asking in order to clarify some ambiguity or (acknowledged on my part) potential misinterpretation, do you think maybe that you need to try to to be a bit more straightforward with some of your posts?
 

Gordon Stainforth 18 Jun 2019
In reply to Blue Straggler:

You've lost me there. I was saying that that passage from Buckminster Fuller was almost the exact opposite of what I believe. It's not my fault that he says something I strongly disagree with. 

The previous one was curious too. I said I found it depressing that J Whittaker felt he was going to have to force himself to do a job for 37 years that he had 'complete apathy towards.' Which surely is more or less the same as saying that it was 37 wasted years. I simply re-expressed it in hours rather than years. You then took it to be my opinion rather than his. 

Post edited at 14:29
Blue Straggler 18 Jun 2019
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

Not that one. 

This one

https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/off_belay/what_is_your_greatest_achievement-705631?v=1#x9007505

And several elsewhere in older threads, that I am not about to dredge up.

It's not a big deal, only an observation

Post edited at 14:37
Timmd 18 Jun 2019
In reply to Blue Straggler:

> I don't think antithesis means what I think you think it means

Thanks for asking if all was well in the world of Timmd a while ago BTW, so long as I kick myself up the behind enough towards make headway, things are well. 

I had in mind, that in being (vaguely) disenchanted with one's lot, one could think 'It's not like as if working life is dancing and singing', like Jon Stewart is, when actually it can be.  

Sometimes too, things within the self can 'seep out sideways' as it were, apparently it's the level of nurturing one receives from one's parents which determines how at odds with society one feels (or not), which is something that is almost inevitably going to affect how at peace one is, and with being at peace and self knowledge and the kind of parenting one receives while growing up generally being intertwined, this could feed back into how successfully one finds an enjoyable job (success in this area sometimes being down to things like self worth and feeling worthy of one's dreams), and any level of antithesis somebody feels about working life. I've typed this in a rush because I'm about to go out, but I hope this makes sense?

Edit: Which is why I wanted to be careful about applying any labels to Jon too readily.

Post edited at 14:32
Gordon Stainforth 18 Jun 2019
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Our posts crossed. I was adding a reply to the first example while you were writing that.

Blue Straggler 18 Jun 2019
In reply to Timmd:

I meant that I thought you might have muddling antipathy with antithesis. 

Roadrunner6 18 Jun 2019
In reply to krikoman:

Its strange, in the US they seem to want to suffer and moan. No holidays. no family leave. work and die type mentality.

Its a massive issue for my wife and I, culturally I was brought up to work to live, not live to work. I enjoy work but I work so I can have holidays, spend my money. She will work a hundred hours a week, 7 days a week. There's times when I felt we were just existing. Wake up, take the kid to day care, work until 5:30, go home, feed the kid, put her to bed, work at home, sleep, repeat. My wife wouldn't see our toddler for days at a time as she went to work so early  and came back so late.

I won't go out with her work mates because all they do is complain about a life they fought to get and are very lucky to be in. They'll all be very rich very soon. But they are missing a huge part of their healthy years.

Rob Exile Ward 18 Jun 2019
In reply to Roadrunner6:

I always find it strange that most US workers seem to work all the hours God sends: when do they get the time to play?

Roadrunner6 18 Jun 2019
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

They don't.

They work, finish work at the weekend, work. Its an endless cycle. Kids get packed off to camps at the weekend. After school sports are literally extended day care. It's a very dysfunctional society but its built into their mentality, there is considerable resistance to any federal family leave.

Lots of jobs have no vacation time for the first year, then 10 days. It's much much less than in other nations.

I like teaching because I work 185-190 days a year with significant holidays built in. I don't earn a great wage but it gives me the time to enjoy my life and I do enjoy most days at school.

1
Timmd 18 Jun 2019
In reply to Blue Straggler:

> I meant that I thought you might have muddling antipathy with antithesis. 

Aah, I see.  

Having absorbed a few things on psychology by osmosis from facebook friends, I can probably attribute deeper meaning to some things than is warranted.   (I don't at all think I know a lot. )

Post edited at 19:20
Blue Straggler 18 Jun 2019
In reply to Timmd:

Are you saying that you had not muddled antipathy with antithesis?

Timmd 18 Jun 2019
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Yes.

Post edited at 20:20
Blue Straggler 18 Jun 2019
In reply to Timmd:

What do you think antithesis means and can you explain how it fits in the context of your post? I am genuinely confused now, and seeking to become educated - always happy to be proven "dumb" publicly, it's all for the greater good. To me your post that I keep questioning, still doesn't make sense in face of your protestations that you know what you are on about. One of us is wrong and I still think it isn't me but I am quite peckish and ready to eat humble pie, Timmd. 

1
Blue Straggler 18 Jun 2019
In reply to subtle:

This actually is a depressing OP, it mostly reminds me of the beautiful sadness of the film About Schmidt, and the title character's voiceover letter at the end saying what a failure he has been. 

I don't feel I've done anything notable. I've made some trivial technological discoveries none of which warrant even a single academic paper. Probably not dropping out of university, and indeed choosing to then further my studies with a Master's degree, would be a big thing. Not the gaining of the Master's, but the CHOOSING to do it. And that was half a lifetime ago. 

Don't misunderstand, I am not being depressive here - I am happy and believe it or not, well-balanced, well-rounded and well-adjusted. But the stark question of actual ACHIEVEMENTS is a tricky one. I know it would be ludicrous to think that all humans should be in some sort of continual effort to ACHIEVE, but given that I am (globally speaking) in a privileged position, it does sometimes feel that I "should" have done more or be aiming to do more. 

And then the more depressing thing. When someone DOES have an easily identifiable "achievement" under their belt, we have to ask "well, was it any use to anyone?" e.g. a sporting achievement. You get the picture! 

2
Ridge 18 Jun 2019
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> There are plenty of professions that involve 'singling and painting and playing games'. Why always this antithesis? There are loads of creative jobs/ crafts. 

There are, but they tend not to pay too well as competition is fierce. I can see if you have a passion for something then you'd accept that, as it's almost a lifestyle choice.

I'm not wired that way, unfortunately. A job is something I get paid to do, and I accept I'd rather be doing something else most of the time. It's a question of how much I need to earn to finance my life and retire at a reasonable point, and finding the least tedious/stressful job that enables that. It'd be a huge bonus if it was something I enjoyed, but in 35 years I've not found it. 79 months to go if it all pans out

Timmd 18 Jun 2019
In reply to Blue Straggler:

> What do you think antithesis means and can you explain how it fits in the context of your post? I am genuinely confused now, and seeking to become educated - always happy to be proven "dumb" publicly, it's all for the greater good. To me your post that I keep questioning, still doesn't make sense in face of your protestations that you know what you are on about. One of us is wrong and I still think it isn't me but I am quite peckish and ready to eat humble pie, Timmd. 

To me, it fits in the context of my post, in that if somebody ends up in a place in life, in which they're vaguely discontented in their work life (for whatever reason), they can end up seeing work and fun being in opposition to one another, which is where the antithesis part comes in, ie, there's work, and then there's enjoyment. 

From the internet; antithesis - a person or thing that is the direct opposite of someone or something else. "love is the antithesis of selfishness''

So, one might have antipathy about one's work, and as a result perceive work and enjoyment to be the antithesis of one another, seeing work as the antithesis of enjoyment. The roots of the antithesis might be in antipathy about work, but antipathy being present doesn't exclude the antithesis, rather, it's the source of it. 

Post edited at 22:52
1
Gordon Stainforth 18 Jun 2019
In reply to Timmd:

An antithesis is simply a counter-argument, typically in direct opposition. Put simply, my view is that work is not necessarily in direct opposition to pleasure/enjoyment, and many jobs/professions provide a huge amount of satisfaction/pleasure/enjoyment, indeed meaning to life.

Gordon Stainforth 18 Jun 2019
In reply to Ridge:

> There are, but they tend not to pay too well as competition is fierce. I can see if you have a passion for something then you'd accept that, as it's almost a lifestyle choice.

Sorry, a lot of creative professions are very well paid, particularly in the entertainment and film industries. And what's so lovely about those is you don't need any qualifications whatever to get into them. You just have to be (very) good at your particular craft. 

> I'm not wired that way, unfortunately.

The weird thing is that I've always been wired 'that way' - unlike anyone else in my family. I've never done an ordinary 9-5 job, have always been freelance. It's meant taking huge risks (and meant that I've been extremely hard up at times) but the rewards have been immense ... as well as the frustrations and disappointments. 

Timmd 18 Jun 2019
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

It seems to be a counter argument, and an opposite too?

antithesis

noun: antithesis; plural noun: antitheses

1.

a person or thing that is the direct opposite of someone or something else.

"love is the antithesis of selfishness"

synonyms: (direct) opposite, converse, reverse, reversal, inverse, obverse; 

More; a contrast or opposition between two things.

"the antithesis between occult and rational mentalities"

synonyms:contrast, opposition

"the antithesis between sin and grace"

a rhetorical or literary device in which an opposition or contrast of ideas is expressed.

"figures of speech such as antithesis"

2.

(in Hegelian philosophy) the negation of the thesis as the second stage in the process of dialectical reasoning.

Post edited at 23:03
Blue Straggler 18 Jun 2019
In reply to Timmd, Gordon and thread:

Here is the Timmd post I originally responded to:

"I think antithesis can sometimes come from disenchantment on a certain level, or from feeling at odds with society, either or both (or neither - to avoid placing inaccurate labels on him"

Hopefully you can see why I was questioning Timmd whilst all along thinking "he MUST know what antithesis means"

Maybe I am wrong but antithesis can't "come from" somewhere, at least not from disenchantment. Antipathy on the other hand can easily come from disenchantment. 

I am still baffled, possibly more baffled given that Timmd has confirmed my suspicion that he very well knows what is the definition of antithesis.

Timmd, sorry but I don't think you are using language very well here. Again, I'm happy to be corrected but your post just now still doesn't make sense (and please don't defend it by claiming some Timmd horse-whisperer hippy deeper understanding thing. There are basic rules in language)

I speak as a friend. 

Timmd 18 Jun 2019
In reply to Blue Straggler:

What I meant, was, seeing work as the antithesis of enjoyment could come from feeling antipathy about work. If one was happy about work, one wouldn't see work as the antithesis of enjoyment. 

There has to be an unhappy/negative emotional root to seeing work and enjoyment as opposites to one another, or one as the antithesis to the other, or else the antithesis wouldn't exist (in one's mind). 

One can't see work as being the antithesis of enjoyment, if one doesn't have antipathy about work ( and that antipathy has to come from somewhere)....

No worries, by the way.

Edit: Ah, I see what you mean now, I should have worded myself more clearly from the start. In the context of work and enjoyment, there has to be some antipathy about work to see work as the antithesis of fun, and what I was going on/musing about was the cause of antipathy about work, ie what could bring a person to see work as the antithesis of fun.

Post edited at 23:18
Blue Straggler 18 Jun 2019
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> Sorry, a lot of creative professions are very well paid, particularly in the entertainment and film industries. And what's so lovely about those is you don't need any qualifications whatever to get into them. You just have to be (very) good at your particular craft. 

Sorry, the well-paid people in creative professions represent a tiny tiny percentage of the people who try to enter those professions, you even acknowledge this implicitly in your post. 


A huge number of people trying to make a living in the creative professions get nowhere and lose out on years of work experience in less creative professions and feel left behind, having to start (for want of a better word) "normal" work at a level way below their peers of a similar age. 

Julianne Regan who WAS very good at her creative job (songwriting and singing and playing music in the folk-Goth band All About Eve) later ended up spending some time as a hotel cleaner. No offence to hotel cleaners but that's not really a creative profession. 

Be careful with suggesting/implying that there is room for loads of people to thrive (on a national economy scale) in the creative professions. For every Ridley there are 100 Jack Sholders, and Jack Sholder is someone I can at least name (and Jack surely has a decent income but he could tell you that for every Jack Sholder there are 100 waiters and cleaners...)

Gordon Stainforth 18 Jun 2019
In reply to Timmd:

Yes, it can be used in both senses.

Blue Straggler 18 Jun 2019
In reply to Timmd:

Here is a handy tip for you to bear in mind, Timmd. 

Things aren't black and white. 

A lot of us would be happy if we didn't HAVE to work our Mon-Fri 9-5 job. 

We might sometimes say "oh God, Monday tomorrow, back to the grindstone"
We might sometimes say "I wish I were financially independent, I hate going to work every bloody day"

These things do not actually infer a genuine antithesis between work and spare time. 


Here is an example. 

My life. 

I work a Mon-Fri 9-5 basically, with a fair bit of work travel thrown in there which is sort of interesting sometimes but mostly an imposition. I'd love to be able to live without having to do this. Or perhaps work three days a week or something. 

But - prepare for the Timmd mind to be blown - I don't consider my work to be the opposite of my leisure. I am interested in it and engage with it and sometimes even look forward to going in to my office. Only sometimes, though. Hence "it's not black and white"

 

Gordon Stainforth 18 Jun 2019
In reply to Blue Straggler:

What about the hundreds of thousands of people who are carpenters, electricians, decorators, etc.? A very large amount of those I've met seem to get a lot of satisfaction out of their work. The guy who put in my new doors and windows, here in Derbyshire, was absolutely awesome. I've seldom ever seen anyone take such care with his work, and he seemed very happy doing it.

I believe a lot of people think they are more trapped in their particular profession than they actually are. All this, of course, only applies to young people because once you have a family etc. room for manoeuvre virtually disappears.

Post edited at 23:24
Blue Straggler 18 Jun 2019
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

I agree 100% with this 23:21 post of yours. It could be that I have a different definition of "creative profession" and and wrongly not including electricians in that. 
In some way I sometimes like to think that my profession is creative, but that's a bit of a stretch. There is some subjectivity to what I do, though, and I enjoy that. But that's by the by. 

For the record, I never said or implied that people in non-creative professions can't or don't take pride in what they do. 

The New NickB 18 Jun 2019
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

Gordon, you are obviously passionate about your work. However, for a lot of people work is means to an ends. It puts a roof over our heads, food on the table and a little money to do other things that we are passionate about.

I’m lucky, I enjoy my work, certain parts of it are important to me, but it still essentially a way of me supporting my family and pursuing other interests. If I didn’t have to work I wouldn’t and hopefully another thing that my job will help me do is retire at a reasonable age.

Gordon Stainforth 18 Jun 2019
In reply to The New NickB:

I absolutely accept and respect what you are saying. The trouble is, because of my career path, I'm absolutely unqualified to say anything useful about it. All I would say is, I hope you've thought hard about what you will do when you've retired because, as you surely know, many people seem unprepared for it and fall apart/decline very rapidly.

Deviant 19 Jun 2019
In reply to Rog Wilko:

> Family - producing (with assistance) two wonderful daughters who are both so much nicer and better people than I am (though it's a low bar).

> .

Okay, it was great giving you a helping hand but I thought we'd agreed to keep it quiet ? 

natehd9 20 Jun 2019
In reply to subtle:

An 'A' level physics teacher at school once told me that I'd never amount to anything in Engineering. Well, I'm pleased to say I'm now a mediocre engineer in a mediocre company, that'll teach him...

He also stated that anything I do achieve in life will be worth far more than anyone else in my class due to me being ginger, colourblind and Welsh.

krikoman 20 Jun 2019
In reply to natehd9:

> He also stated that anything I do achieve in life will be worth far more than anyone else in my class due to me being ginger, colourblind and Welsh.

Way to battle adversity!!

Dave Garnett 20 Jun 2019
In reply to natehd9:

> He also stated that anything I do achieve in life will be worth far more than anyone else in my class due to me being ginger, colourblind and Welsh.

Absolutely, although presumably the gingerness is made more bearable by the colour-blindness.

natehd9 20 Jun 2019
In reply to Dave Garnett:

I only know I'm ginger due to the (nearly) 30 years of abuse.

Rob Exile Ward 20 Jun 2019
In reply to natehd9:

My youngest son is vaguely ginger and I am amazed - and horrified - at the abuse he gets.

Post edited at 20:00
krikoman 21 Jun 2019
In reply to natehd9:

> I only know I'm ginger due to the (nearly) 30 years of abuse.


Wait till you're 60, it'll be twice as bad.


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