Will Out of Mind: agency and the challenge of complexity

Agency is to justice as meritocracy is to capitalism as free will is to the God of Abraham.

The artificial intelligence pioneer Marvin Minsky once defined free will as “internal forces I do not understand.” People intuitively believe in free will, not just because we have this terrible human need for agency but also because most people know next to nothing about those internal forces.
— Robert M. Sapolsky, Behave

 

Why do you do what you do? It’s an inquiry as intricate — and unknowable — as why something and not nothing.

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Julie LessegComment
The Conspiracy of the Common Good

To fly like a butterfly and conspire like a crow. 

In the face of difference, the common good is an achievement, not a fact. 
— William A. Galston

 

True, the common good is a butterfly, and that is a good thing, but what I’m saying is it could also use a little crow in its day-to-day operations, its scattering of little sophisticated ethics and community-building bombs. It could use a little conspiracy, “the act in harmony toward a common end” degree of conspiracy, but a Drop D harmony that vibrates the nerves.

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Julie LessegComment
American Tribal

There is pleasure in this.
There is pain.

He thought about the amassments, the material crush, days and nights of bumper to bumper, red light, green light, the fixedness of things, the obsolescences, going mostly unseen. 
— Don DeLillo, Cosmopolis


The argument has to be approached through jouissance. Translated directly from the French, jouissance is “enjoyment.” What’s lost in English, however, is the implication of “pleasure in displeasure.” There is pain. We recognize the pain clearly as pain, but remain unwilling to abdicate the act — the feeling, the object, the thought — generating the pain.

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Julie LessegComment