Housellama wrote:ParsonIsOP wrote:Balerion wrote:If you give me power and free will, you have no influence on how I decide to use that power. If I can fly, you can't stop me from flying on Tuesdays. If I can talk to an individual, I can insult that individual. When beings are granted the power to communicate with one another, they also have the power to ostracize, the power to belittle, etc. The two are linked, so long as I have free will. You could claim my tongue freezes when I try to insult; but that would override my free will, wouldn't it, if i lose my power when i have decided to use it in a particular way?
Does that even make sense when you read that aloud?
Humans override the will of other humans all the time. If I manage to get a law passed to keep you from flying on Tuesday, then I've achieved a measure of control over your power. Assuming that there are necessary components to make you able to fly, then dismantling that mechanism directly will also keep you from flying, especially if you lack the power to reassemble it (i.e. clipping the wings of a bird).
And I can exercise a measure of control over other people's wills themselves, either by use of soft or hard force. You may have heard of this lobotomy thing.
One of the greatest human projects in any society is education and indoctrination precisely because we know we can try and at least manufacture good character and good manners.
Also, having communication doesn't mean you have the power to harm me. For one thing, I may simply have more power, such that your ability to communicate is irrelevant. For another, while you might say unkind things about me, I might just not care what you think to even be hurt by your opinion. You're trying to establish a general principle that isn't true.
Okay, I wasn't going to get involved in the great Free Will debate, but this is one of my serious philosophical pet peeves.
There is a big difference between coercion and the actual removal of free will. A freaking HUGE difference. Especially when you start talking in terms of higher powers.
Let me define my terms here.
Free will is the ability of an agent to make decisions about his or her actions and the ability to initiate those actions. This does not mean that they have to be successful in the goal of their actions or that the consequences of their actions are not harsh, but the ability to decide and then act on that decision.
Anything that applies to the consequence of an action does not limit free will. The agent still has the free will to decide to take that action, even with the severe consequences. Someone can choose to break a law. Someone can choose to face the consequences. Someone being restrained can struggle. Their options have been limited by their situation, but they still have the free will to act as they may within that situation. Humans have a very hard time actually limiting the free will of another human. We can remove choices and set very high consequences, but actually removing free will is difficult. Now there are arguments to be made about deception and manipulation in regards to free will, but that's an entirely different ball of wax and not relevant to this particular topic. (Hit me up privately if you want to discuss that. I'd really love to actually.)
That's humans on each other. When you bring a higher power into the picture, it gets more complicated. If a higher power sets a system in motion where everyone plays under the same rules and an agents ability to choose is limited only by the situation, then free will exists. A higher power can make non-desirable outcomes impossible to achieve by simply making the rules so they don't occur. The 'physics' of that particular universe do not allow for that choice to be made. Free will is not limited because every agent still has the right to choose for themselves, there is simply less choice.
Now, if a higher power makes an outcome possible for an agent within the system, but removes the agent's ability to choose it, then we have an issue. Agents are physically able to wear blue coats, but are unable to choose to wear blue coats. If a circumstance happened where an agent happened to find his coat blue, he would be able to wear it, but if he took it off, he would not be able to put it back on because agents aren't able to choose to wear blue coats. That's a violation of free will by the higher power because there is a possible outcome that is denied to our agents.
In terms of Erfworld, I believe that what happened is that the Titans set a system in motion where the rules are consistent across the board. Units have free will. They have the ability to do anything they choose within the rules that are set. Everyone plays by the same set of rules. There are no exceptions. Parson's 'hacks' are perfectly legal, if completely unorthodox. Erfworld's physics are as solid as ours. They can't violate them even if they wanted to. I believe that the Titans did not set up a system where there is a point where agents have a valid choice under the rules and are arbitrarily unable to make it. I haven't seen anything like that.
I know the first thing that's going to come up is led vs unled units. When dealing with free will, you have to deal with each individual. Which means each Stabber individually. Take Wrigley, the one unled unit we know of that has died in combat. From our point of view, the rule is that unled units must fight to the death. Must. We view that as no choice. That free will has been violated because the unit has no other choices. Well. Choice is defined by situation. I cannot fly by flapping my arms. Does that mean that God or Allah or insert deity of choice has violated my free will? No. It means that the laws of physics in that situation dictate that I don't have the lift to fly. I can flap my arms all I want, but I won't get the lift needed to counter my own weight. I have the choice to flap my arms. I don't have the choice to fly. Wrigley didn't have the choice not to fight because his unit did not have anyone with the Leadership special. Without that, they had no other orders. Their choices were limited. The laws of Erfworld dictated that they had but one choice, which was to fight.
But Wrigley did indeed see it as a choice. One he, and all of those with him in the unit, made willingly. To fight for Gobwin Knob. They chose to stride forward and meet their end, and did so with their hearts and heads high. I don't say that free will was removed, because they chose to fight. Now you can get into a chicken and egg debate, but in the end, Wrigley and his unit chose to die, rules or no rules. They walked to their deaths willingly and gladly. Free will man. You just can't beat it.
Summation. Coercion does not remove free will. Laws do not remove free will. Exercising your will over another human does not remove free will. The other agent is still free to choose whatever they wish within their situation. Gods can remove free will, but I don't believe the Titans did. This says nothing about their malevolence or lack thereof, but I hate it when people confuse consequence with ability.
Yes, yes, yes. Whatever. I'm well aware of the difference between intent and consequence and I see the miscommunication now. But that isn't entirely what Balerion was talking about. He also specifically said that it's impossible to exert control over either his actions or his will.
Having both power and intent does not prevent me from altering one or both conditions. Nor are actions necessarily a product of will, but simply sometimes of power by itself. If you had read my latter point, it was also that the will itself can be influenced. And clearly, intervening in another person's power is also possible.
This is tangential to the original conversation though. Having one power does not necessarily mean that there is some equal potential in that power for both harm and good, it's necessarily case-specific. What is irrational, is the idea that all our actions have some sorted of equal and pleasing symmetry in them.