Free Will disproved
« on: December 23, 2017, 09:43:50 AM »
You perceive the world around you. You perceive your car and you drive your car, but you never confuse yourself to be the car. In the same way you perceive the world around you, you perceive your body. And in the same you you drive your car, you "drive" your body. So why should we confuse the body to be a part of us.

The difference, I believe, between the car (and the rest of the outside world) and the body, is that we feel we have more direct control over the body (also its currently much closer than my car, but that really depends on the situation). But why do we thin we have more of a direct control over the body? It is because the actions we take correlate with the decisions made in our head. Therein lies the problem.

(I apologize, but this next part gets a little "new age-ish." Just role with it)

Are you breathing right now, or is breathing just happening? Are you seeing right now, or is seeing just happening? Are you thinking right now, or is thinking just happening? If you are the one thinking right now, then tell me what your next thought is going to be. It can't be done. Because the voice in your head that you confuse to be your own thoughts is outside of your control. The thoughts (voice) come in and out of your perception. And any action you ever take is either decided on by the voice in your head, which is outside of your control, is an impulse, which by definition is outside of your control, or a combination of the two. And in each of those cases, it is always greatly influenced by input from the outside world, which is definitely outside of your control.

By this logic, the idea of free will is shown to be an illusion. Thoughts? Do you have a different idea of what free will is? Is there a reason to think that perception of the body is different than perception of the rest of the world?

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Offline Roundy

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Re: Free Will disproved
« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2017, 05:08:43 PM »
This is pretty much what I believe. We have no real control over our actions in any meaningful way, we are just tossed around by the whims of fate, doing what the voice in our head (God) tells us to do.
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Re: Free Will disproved
« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2017, 06:19:36 PM »
This is pretty much what I believe. We have no real control over our actions in any meaningful way, we are just tossed around by the whims of fate, doing what the voice in our head (God) tells us to do.
Do you know that the voice in your head is the god of your particular religion, or is that just what you like to call it. As far as I'm concerned the voice in my head is pretty minimal as anything it ever says is determined by some experience I've had in the past. It really is just cause and reaction and I feel like a Good would be outside of the realm of cause and effect.

Hmmm

Re: Free Will disproved
« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2017, 10:03:57 PM »
Imheretoo, check out my older post:
my reply to "Is Earth Real?" topic

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Offline Roundy

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Re: Free Will disproved
« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2017, 11:07:16 PM »
This is pretty much what I believe. We have no real control over our actions in any meaningful way, we are just tossed around by the whims of fate, doing what the voice in our head (God) tells us to do.
Do you know that the voice in your head is the god of your particular religion, or is that just what you like to call it. As far as I'm concerned the voice in my head is pretty minimal as anything it ever says is determined by some experience I've had in the past. It really is just cause and reaction and I feel like a Good would be outside of the realm of cause and effect.

Perhaps it's just a force of will and consciousness that permeates all things and has existed before time itself. I mean, I can't pretend to know what God is, I can only give it characteristics based on what I observe. Maybe it's the master programmer of the computer simulation that reality is supposed to be based in. Maybe it's nothing more than chaos itself as it manifests itself in the human mind. Whatever it is, it's there, and it's what's really in control.
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Hmmm

Re: Free Will disproved
« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2017, 11:31:42 PM »
Roundy, if you would take the idea "I am God" literally, then it becomes possible to find out what God is  through deep meditations and by achieving "full Nirvana" without dying...
But i think Nirvana might be an illusion as well...?...

Although, i don't know why but i think, that God itself might be a "mind in a box", "brain in a jar", Artificial Intelligence/Consciousness. And our reality might be the way God says "Hello World!" to itself......because it's not "forever joyful", but forever feels the "loneliness feeling" ?...


« Last Edit: December 24, 2017, 08:36:05 AM by Hmmm »

Re: Free Will disproved
« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2017, 11:54:16 AM »
If we really have no free will then why should anyone be accountable for their actions?
This whole premise is based on the idea that your thoughts are not controlled by you.
What is the basis for that?
Who else would they be controlled by? God? Christianity certainly doesn't teach that God controls our every thought, I'm less sure about other religions.
If you are making your claim without evidence then we can discard it without evidence.

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Offline Rama Set

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Re: Free Will disproved
« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2017, 12:51:35 PM »
If we really have no free will then why should anyone be accountable for their actions?
This whole premise is based on the idea that your thoughts are not controlled by you.
What is the basis for that?
Who else would they be controlled by? God? Christianity certainly doesn't teach that God controls our every thought, I'm less sure about other religions.

You can justify all sorts of consequences for actions that people have no control over, however, it does beg the question of whether incarceration is the best consequence or not.
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Offline Roundy

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Re: Free Will disproved
« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2017, 05:30:58 PM »
If we really have no free will then why should anyone be accountable for their actions?
This whole premise is based on the idea that your thoughts are not controlled by you.
What is the basis for that?
Who else would they be controlled by? God? Christianity certainly doesn't teach that God controls our every thought, I'm less sure about other religions.

I wouldn't say that Christianity "certainly" doesn't teach that God controls our every thought. In fact the question of free will vs determinism has been a topic of debate for centuries, and several denominations, going right back to the original Reformer himself, Martin Luther, reject free will in Christian doctrine.

That's all purely academic to me. There's no room for organized religion in my life; my opinion on the matter is derived partly from simple common sense (like, as a simple experiment to determine if you control what you think, try spontaneously commanding your brain to stop thinking altogether and see how that goes) and partly from modern scientific experiments that confirm that our decisions are made before we've actually had the chance to think about them. If you are truly interested I recommend a book called Free Will by the neuroscientist Sam Harris.

You can justify all sorts of consequences for actions that people have no control over, however, it does beg the question of whether incarceration is the best consequence or not.

As I see I it prisons, and punishment for crimes in general, exist for the good of society and function as a deterrent, because one of the things that might affect my actions is a recognition that the quality of my life could suffer as a consequence. Obviously it's not a perfect system, but I'm not sure a perfect system even exists.
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Offline Snupes

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Re: Free Will disproved
« Reply #9 on: December 31, 2017, 03:49:09 PM »
Couldn't this be fairly easily resolved depending on what your definition of "you" is? I wouldn't consider my thoughts, even subconscious ones that happen, to be different from "me". I may not be aware of the thoughts or chemical reactions going on, but they are what make up "me".
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i also took an online quiz that said i was a giraffe.  and i guess you're dumb enough to believe that i must be because the internet said so.

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Offline Roundy

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Re: Free Will disproved
« Reply #10 on: December 31, 2017, 08:39:12 PM »
Couldn't this be fairly easily resolved depending on what your definition of "you" is? I wouldn't consider my thoughts, even subconscious ones that happen, to be different from "me". I may not be aware of the thoughts or chemical reactions going on, but they are what make up "me".

Well sure, your thoughts and actions come from "you" (I'd hate for you to think I'm suggesting something supernatural is happening; I think I was making it clear that my use of "God" was more or less a placeholder for whatever physical principle is actually behind it), but they come reflexively, not as a result of any conscious act of will. You no more control your thoughts than you control the circulation of your blood or your knee's movement when struck by a mallet; in both cases, the actions are still coming from "you", in exactly the same sense as you mean, but there's no conscious act of will causing them. We are but machines after all.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2017, 08:42:17 PM by Roundy »
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Offline supaluminus

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Re: Free Will disproved
« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2018, 08:46:20 AM »
Are you breathing right now, or is breathing just happening?

Both. I can stop breathing at will, or else I'll suffocate. Likewise, when I'm unconscious, like when I'm sleeping, my brain can take over the reflexive action of breathing just like it does my heart or any other vital, regulatory function in the body.

With respect to breathing, the only thing stopping me from suffocating myself at will would be the desire to live or to put a stop to what would otherwise be a painful (at first) and distressing way to die.

Are you seeing right now, or is seeing just happening?

Seeing is just happening. You can sever my reteina or my ocular nerve and I'll stop seeing, or I could simply shut my eye, but otherwise, I'm only able to see what I can point my eyes at to take in light. It happens without me thinking about it, just like hearing, tasting, or any other unconscious sensory experience.

Not to deflate the new-age fluffiness of the idea, but the senses aren't really that special. Everything from the most complex primate to the least complex insect has the capacity for simple, unconscious sensory perception like touch, sight, hearing, taste, and smell.

Are you thinking right now, or is thinking just happening?

Both. Meditation is a thing. So is the subconscious.

If you are the one thinking right now, then tell me what your next thought is going to be. It can't be done.

If I know me, my money's on "boobs."

You can control your thoughts just as readily as you control your car, but even the minute reactions at the chemical level in the combustible engine of your car are susceptible to spontaneous, random chance. So too are your own thoughts when we factor in the subconscious.

The only difference, really, is that machines tend to be better regulated, and so there tends to be less spontaneity.

Because the voice in your head that you confuse to be your own thoughts is outside of your control. The thoughts (voice) come in and out of your perception. And any action you ever take is either decided on by the voice in your head, which is outside of your control, is an impulse, which by definition is outside of your control, or a combination of the two. And in each of those cases, it is always greatly influenced by input from the outside world, which is definitely outside of your control.

By this logic, the idea of free will is shown to be an illusion. Thoughts? Do you have a different idea of what free will is? Is there a reason to think that perception of the body is different than perception of the rest of the world?

You're confusing impulse with willpower. Impulse isn't a contradiction of willpower, but rather the very thing that gives willpower any context in human agency.

If you're instead saying that everything is impulse and not willpower at all, how do we distinguish between the two in the first place? Control is the answer, and our conscious mind is the engineer pulling the levers. Impulse, by contrast, is managed chiefly by that niggling subconscious lizard brain at the top of our spinal column.

Just because we aren't in complete control of the world around us, or even our own minds, doesn't mean we have no agency in our own lives.

It's an interesting thing to think about, but it doesn't pan out, in my opinion.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2018, 04:54:05 AM by supaluminus »
When an honest man discovers that he is mistaken, either he will cease being mistaken...

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Re: Free Will disproved
« Reply #12 on: January 17, 2018, 12:05:13 PM »

It's an interesting thing to think about, but it doesn't pan out, in my opinion.

1st. It is true that by severing your retina you could stop seeing the world around you, however you would still have the sensation of seeing dark. Same goes for when you close your eyes.

2nd. I don't really understand what you mean by saying that you can control your conscious and subconscious thoughts. Any thought that comes into your head is outside of your control. And yes, the voice in your head can decide on a new topic to think about, but it was the voice that was in control of that decision, not you. Not the you that perceives the voice.

3rd. I believe that the difference between willpower and impulse is that an impulse cause a direct action by the body, while willpower causes an action due to some thought in the brain. However, because the thoughts in the brain are pretty much impulses it could be said that the origin of willpower is from an impulse, making it, depending on your definition, not actually willpower.

Re: Free Will disproved
« Reply #13 on: January 17, 2018, 12:09:07 PM »
If we really have no free will then why should anyone be accountable for their actions?
This whole premise is based on the idea that your thoughts are not controlled by you.
What is the basis for that?
Who else would they be controlled by? God? Christianity certainly doesn't teach that God controls our every thought, I'm less sure about other religions.

Well, are you in control of the thoughts that come into your head? Try to create an original thought, with complete control over how it pans out, without it first being decided by another thought.

I think it would be justifiable to punish someone so that they don't do a bad thing again. And I'm pretty sure that that is the point of punishment in the first place.

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Offline supaluminus

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Re: Free Will disproved
« Reply #14 on: January 19, 2018, 08:38:56 PM »

It's an interesting thing to think about, but it doesn't pan out, in my opinion.

1st. It is true that by severing your retina you could stop seeing the world around you, however you would still have the sensation of seeing dark. Same goes for when you close your eyes.

The point I was emphasizing is that sensory perception is passive, not active. Your senses pick up and detect information whether you're awake or asleep. The only thing that changes is how your brain processes the information you feed to it.

Closing your eyes doens't completely cut off the flow of information like severing your ocular nerve or retina would. Shine a flashlight in front of your closed eyelids, you'll see it. Close your eyes or cover them while facing a nuclear fireball, you'll see the flash as well as the outline of the bones in your fingers before being vaporized.

Sever your ocular nerve and you're not "seeing" darkness, rather you're not seeing anything at all. There is no way to transmit information to your brain that can be translated into anything you can perceive.

2nd. I don't really understand what you mean by saying that you can control your conscious and subconscious thoughts. Any thought that comes into your head is outside of your control. And yes, the voice in your head can decide on a new topic to think about, but it was the voice that was in control of that decision, not you. Not the you that perceives the voice.

I'm not saying that you can "control" your subconscious, I'm saying that your subconscious can be rendered less chaotic, less spontaneous and unpredictable, if you simply know thyself. "Meditation" was just a catch-all shorthand for that concept. That's what I meant by emphasizing meditation. Control your conscious mind and your subconscious will pick up what you put down. It doesn't mean you're going to completely eliminate impulse or spontaneity, but your willful control makes a difference in HOW spontaneous, HOW unpredictable those subconscious impulses are when they arise.

3rd. I believe that the difference between willpower and impulse is that an impulse cause a direct action by the body, while willpower causes an action due to some thought in the brain. However, because the thoughts in the brain are pretty much impulses it could be said that the origin of willpower is from an impulse, making it, depending on your definition, not actually willpower.

Choosing between the McRib or the Big Mac is will power. The release of mouthwater from your salivary glands when you take that first bite is impulse.

I disagree with your "pretty much impulses" characterization. There are impulsive, reflexive behaviors and then there are carefully considered and calculated decisions. One involves actively thinking, the other involves reacting, quickly, without thinking at all.
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Offline Rama Set

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Re: Free Will disproved
« Reply #15 on: January 19, 2018, 10:24:22 PM »
@supraluminus fMRI appears to show that these decisions that you are saying are willful are actually made before you are aware of it. That could very well mean that these decisions are not as volitional as we suspect. It doesn’t negate the possibility of volitional decisions but this is not a clear cut matter.
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Offline supaluminus

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Re: Free Will disproved
« Reply #16 on: January 19, 2018, 10:33:24 PM »
@supraluminus fMRI appears to show that these decisions that you are saying are willful are actually made before you are aware of it. That could very well mean that these decisions are not as volitional as we suspect. It doesn’t negate the possibility of volitional decisions but this is not a clear cut matter.

It's clear enough that we have more evidence to the contrary than we do to support the premise of the OP. I'm not saying that means it's definitely one way or the other, but it means that we don't really have to spend a lot of time worrying about it until more evidence can be obtained.
When an honest man discovers that he is mistaken, either he will cease being mistaken...

... or he will cease being honest.

 - a loyal slave to reason and doubt

Re: Free Will disproved
« Reply #17 on: January 20, 2018, 12:38:01 PM »

It's an interesting thing to think about, but it doesn't pan out, in my opinion.

1st. It is true that by severing your retina you could stop seeing the world around you, however you would still have the sensation of seeing dark. Same goes for when you close your eyes.

The point I was emphasizing is that sensory perception is passive, not active. Your senses pick up and detect information whether you're awake or asleep. The only thing that changes is how your brain processes the information you feed to it.

Closing your eyes doens't completely cut off the flow of information like severing your ocular nerve or retina would. Shine a flashlight in front of your closed eyelids, you'll see it. Close your eyes or cover them while facing a nuclear fireball, you'll see the flash as well as the outline of the bones in your fingers before being vaporized.

Sever your ocular nerve and you're not "seeing" darkness, rather you're not seeing anything at all. There is no way to transmit information to your brain that can be translated into anything you can perceive.

2nd. I don't really understand what you mean by saying that you can control your conscious and subconscious thoughts. Any thought that comes into your head is outside of your control. And yes, the voice in your head can decide on a new topic to think about, but it was the voice that was in control of that decision, not you. Not the you that perceives the voice.

I'm not saying that you can "control" your subconscious, I'm saying that your subconscious can be rendered less chaotic, less spontaneous and unpredictable, if you simply know thyself. "Meditation" was just a catch-all shorthand for that concept. That's what I meant by emphasizing meditation. Control your conscious mind and your subconscious will pick up what you put down. It doesn't mean you're going to completely eliminate impulse or spontaneity, but your willful control makes a difference in HOW spontaneous, HOW unpredictable those subconscious impulses are when they arise.

3rd. I believe that the difference between willpower and impulse is that an impulse cause a direct action by the body, while willpower causes an action due to some thought in the brain. However, because the thoughts in the brain are pretty much impulses it could be said that the origin of willpower is from an impulse, making it, depending on your definition, not actually willpower.

Choosing between the McRib or the Big Mac is will power. The release of mouthwater from your salivary glands when you take that first bite is impulse.

I disagree with your "pretty much impulses" characterization. There are impulsive, reflexive behaviors and then there are carefully considered and calculated decisions. One involves actively thinking, the other involves reacting, quickly, without thinking at all.

I think this might just be an issue of semantics?
I am very interested in this idea of really seeing nothing. Are there any studies on this you can reference me to?
I don't quite understand what you mean when you say "control your conscious mind" because you previously said that you cannot control your subconscious mind, only quiet it, and I'm pretty sure that all things that occur in the conscious mind are based on the subconscious. I can consciously make the decision to meditate and quiet my subconscious, however that conscious decision was based on a subconscious impulse. So, personally, I do not see the mind, conscious or subconscious, as me, because I can only perceive them each happening. I did not decide to write on this forum, the neurons in my brain cycled around, reacted to each other and new information from the outside world, and ended up typing this.

So I do think this is a problem of semantics. I always assumed that willpower meant total control over my body, but I can see how I might need to adjust my definition. Also my definition of who or what "I" am is different than yours. I am talking about the very basis of me, observing everything and having control over none of it.

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Offline supaluminus

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Re: Free Will disproved
« Reply #18 on: January 20, 2018, 06:39:33 PM »

It's an interesting thing to think about, but it doesn't pan out, in my opinion.

1st. It is true that by severing your retina you could stop seeing the world around you, however you would still have the sensation of seeing dark. Same goes for when you close your eyes.

The point I was emphasizing is that sensory perception is passive, not active. Your senses pick up and detect information whether you're awake or asleep. The only thing that changes is how your brain processes the information you feed to it.

Closing your eyes doens't completely cut off the flow of information like severing your ocular nerve or retina would. Shine a flashlight in front of your closed eyelids, you'll see it. Close your eyes or cover them while facing a nuclear fireball, you'll see the flash as well as the outline of the bones in your fingers before being vaporized.

Sever your ocular nerve and you're not "seeing" darkness, rather you're not seeing anything at all. There is no way to transmit information to your brain that can be translated into anything you can perceive.

2nd. I don't really understand what you mean by saying that you can control your conscious and subconscious thoughts. Any thought that comes into your head is outside of your control. And yes, the voice in your head can decide on a new topic to think about, but it was the voice that was in control of that decision, not you. Not the you that perceives the voice.

I'm not saying that you can "control" your subconscious, I'm saying that your subconscious can be rendered less chaotic, less spontaneous and unpredictable, if you simply know thyself. "Meditation" was just a catch-all shorthand for that concept. That's what I meant by emphasizing meditation. Control your conscious mind and your subconscious will pick up what you put down. It doesn't mean you're going to completely eliminate impulse or spontaneity, but your willful control makes a difference in HOW spontaneous, HOW unpredictable those subconscious impulses are when they arise.

3rd. I believe that the difference between willpower and impulse is that an impulse cause a direct action by the body, while willpower causes an action due to some thought in the brain. However, because the thoughts in the brain are pretty much impulses it could be said that the origin of willpower is from an impulse, making it, depending on your definition, not actually willpower.

Choosing between the McRib or the Big Mac is will power. The release of mouthwater from your salivary glands when you take that first bite is impulse.

I disagree with your "pretty much impulses" characterization. There are impulsive, reflexive behaviors and then there are carefully considered and calculated decisions. One involves actively thinking, the other involves reacting, quickly, without thinking at all.

I think this might just be an issue of semantics?
I am very interested in this idea of really seeing nothing. Are there any studies on this you can reference me to?
I don't quite understand what you mean when you say "control your conscious mind" because you previously said that you cannot control your subconscious mind, only quiet it, and I'm pretty sure that all things that occur in the conscious mind are based on the subconscious. I can consciously make the decision to meditate and quiet my subconscious, however that conscious decision was based on a subconscious impulse. So, personally, I do not see the mind, conscious or subconscious, as me, because I can only perceive them each happening. I did not decide to write on this forum, the neurons in my brain cycled around, reacted to each other and new information from the outside world, and ended up typing this.

So I do think this is a problem of semantics. I always assumed that willpower meant total control over my body, but I can see how I might need to adjust my definition. Also my definition of who or what "I" am is different than yours. I am talking about the very basis of me, observing everything and having control over none of it.

What I'm saying is that the two respond to each other. It isn't simply a stacking mechanism whereby the subconscious impulses dictate vague subliminal directions to the conscious mind. That's happening, granted, but what I'm saying is that there's a positive feedback mechanism at work here. Just as the subconscious affects the conscious, so too does the conscious affect the subconscious. Does that make more sense?

When an honest man discovers that he is mistaken, either he will cease being mistaken...

... or he will cease being honest.

 - a loyal slave to reason and doubt

Re: Free Will disproved
« Reply #19 on: January 21, 2018, 01:00:38 PM »

It's an interesting thing to think about, but it doesn't pan out, in my opinion.

1st. It is true that by severing your retina you could stop seeing the world around you, however you would still have the sensation of seeing dark. Same goes for when you close your eyes.

The point I was emphasizing is that sensory perception is passive, not active. Your senses pick up and detect information whether you're awake or asleep. The only thing that changes is how your brain processes the information you feed to it.

Closing your eyes doens't completely cut off the flow of information like severing your ocular nerve or retina would. Shine a flashlight in front of your closed eyelids, you'll see it. Close your eyes or cover them while facing a nuclear fireball, you'll see the flash as well as the outline of the bones in your fingers before being vaporized.

Sever your ocular nerve and you're not "seeing" darkness, rather you're not seeing anything at all. There is no way to transmit information to your brain that can be translated into anything you can perceive.

2nd. I don't really understand what you mean by saying that you can control your conscious and subconscious thoughts. Any thought that comes into your head is outside of your control. And yes, the voice in your head can decide on a new topic to think about, but it was the voice that was in control of that decision, not you. Not the you that perceives the voice.

I'm not saying that you can "control" your subconscious, I'm saying that your subconscious can be rendered less chaotic, less spontaneous and unpredictable, if you simply know thyself. "Meditation" was just a catch-all shorthand for that concept. That's what I meant by emphasizing meditation. Control your conscious mind and your subconscious will pick up what you put down. It doesn't mean you're going to completely eliminate impulse or spontaneity, but your willful control makes a difference in HOW spontaneous, HOW unpredictable those subconscious impulses are when they arise.

3rd. I believe that the difference between willpower and impulse is that an impulse cause a direct action by the body, while willpower causes an action due to some thought in the brain. However, because the thoughts in the brain are pretty much impulses it could be said that the origin of willpower is from an impulse, making it, depending on your definition, not actually willpower.

Choosing between the McRib or the Big Mac is will power. The release of mouthwater from your salivary glands when you take that first bite is impulse.

I disagree with your "pretty much impulses" characterization. There are impulsive, reflexive behaviors and then there are carefully considered and calculated decisions. One involves actively thinking, the other involves reacting, quickly, without thinking at all.

I think this might just be an issue of semantics?
I am very interested in this idea of really seeing nothing. Are there any studies on this you can reference me to?
I don't quite understand what you mean when you say "control your conscious mind" because you previously said that you cannot control your subconscious mind, only quiet it, and I'm pretty sure that all things that occur in the conscious mind are based on the subconscious. I can consciously make the decision to meditate and quiet my subconscious, however that conscious decision was based on a subconscious impulse. So, personally, I do not see the mind, conscious or subconscious, as me, because I can only perceive them each happening. I did not decide to write on this forum, the neurons in my brain cycled around, reacted to each other and new information from the outside world, and ended up typing this.

So I do think this is a problem of semantics. I always assumed that willpower meant total control over my body, but I can see how I might need to adjust my definition. Also my definition of who or what "I" am is different than yours. I am talking about the very basis of me, observing everything and having control over none of it.

What I'm saying is that the two respond to each other. It isn't simply a stacking mechanism whereby the subconscious impulses dictate vague subliminal directions to the conscious mind. That's happening, granted, but what I'm saying is that there's a positive feedback mechanism at work here. Just as the subconscious affects the conscious, so too does the conscious affect the subconscious. Does that make more sense?

I do agree with this. And what I am saying is that who are not a part of either the conscious or subconscious, or the feedback mechanism. I am saying that all of that is just stuff happening and that you listen to it, as if you were watching a movie.