Karim Jessa

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  1. “You are free to do what you want, but you are not free to want what you want.” -- Schopenhauer This quote from Schopenhauer says it all. I don't think there's a higher truth than this. And I don't think whatever I say can express more, or better, than this one sentence. However, as I love saying the same thing in different ways, repeatedly, I'll go ahead and have my say. This is one topic on which I've written a number of articles, and it seems I'm always on the unpopular side. No one likes the thought that they have no control over their lives. It appears to be the quintessential human feature that we have free will. Otherwise we're nothing but automatons. Like cows grazing in the field, awaiting the axe to drop on our neck. But it's not that we don't have free will. We do have it. In fact, I've argued that to say "free will" is a tautology. The will can not be will if it is not free. No other creature has a will; all they have is instinct. Humans are the only species that have a will. And to have a will means to be able to decide you want something, and then to take steps to get it. However, as my guru Schopenhauer says, what you do not have control over is the desire itself. You do not control what your inclinations are. You, or more correctly, we, do not have any control over the desires that arise within us. We can control the desires -- that is free will. We can choose to suppress the desire. But the desire itself comes through no decision of ours. The question of this discussion is: "Is everything predetermined?" Well, yes, and no. If you mean by predetermined that some higher being or authority has decided what I am to be and do, then that is not correct. But if predetermined means what is in our genes, then yes, it's all predetermined. Of course, whatever is in our genes only determines our character. That is, our likes, dislikes, predilections, etc. Remember, though, that the environment plays as great a part, if not greater, in what we shall experience in life. So, free will, yes; yet, it's all predetermined. And this is not a self-contradictory statement, though it does seem paradoxical.
  2. Why others do not believe in global warming?

    Perhaps I should elaborate on what I said regarding nature having to take care of the problem of global climate change (I'm still trying to avoid the term "global warming." It's just too cold for me.) I take humans as being part of nature. Well, I don't have to take them as such; they indeed are part of nature. So, whatever humans do is basically nature doing it. Now, I know this sounds ridiculous. And it seems to give a license to anyone who feels like doing anything stupid. All they have to do is blame it on nature. But really, even psychological problems are now treated from a nature point of view: They're treated as brain disorders; not as evil tendencies. Then again, the diseases that were spread due to migrations into new areas; and the destruction of entire civilizations due to the spread of diseases. All that is nature at work. Would you look back and say migrations were a mistake? This is getting off topic. I'll come back to climate change. The problem is already on our hands -- due to human error. But it's not only our problem. It's nature's problem too, (if you wish to separate humans from nature, that is.) At this particular moment, while we discuss this matter, and politicians twiddle their thumbs, nature is doing what it has to do. This just reminds me of something from quite a few years back. This was when air pollution was already a major problem. I remember reading that scientists had discovered that trees had been storing extra amounts of carbon in the roots. The trees were basically removing excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and depositing the carbon in the roots. Now this is nature at work. No human could have anticipated such a thing. Whatever solutions we, as humans, come up with to counter the adverse effects of our own mistakes, will be nature working through us, while at the same time it will also be working directly in its own sweet way.
  3. Why others do not believe in global warming?

    Without going so far as to deny global warming, I'd like first of all to deny the name global "warming." I see comments about how it's hotter now than before. But really, I feel (literally) that it's colder now than ever before. I do admit that in peak summer, when it's sunny, the temperature is higher. But summer itself has grown shorter. The winters are colder. So are spring and autumn. And now we have snow in October. That's unheard of! So the first thing is to call this "Climate change" rather than global warming. There are people in the northern regions who dreamed of longer summers and milder winters when this whole global warming issue became prevalent. It's been a disappointment so far. Moving on to the whole issue of climate change. We keep saying that humans are the cause of it. Well, yes. But than what's the cause of humans? If humans are contributing to ruining the environment, what's contributing to humans being what they are? This is my rhetorical way of saying that it's all nature. Humans are also part of nature. They can build nuclear weapons; they can overpopulate the world; and they can ruin the environment. They can also come to their senses and work to end nuclear weapons; control population explosion; and begin fixing the environment. Where does that leave the issue of global warming? Well, it remains one of the issues we have to work on. But you'll notice, the world leaders at this particular moment are more concerned with the world economy, than with the world weather. It seems nature will just have to take care of it on her own, as she's always taken care of things which are simply too urgent to be left to human minds.
  4. Reading An Apology -- the lesser apology on http://wibi.us/rcu0yg (via @wibiya)