In our series of reflections
we have reached the
examining human mental activity.
Here we have a new element
that deserves our special attention.
Not because it has some special
significance for the
but because it is of great
importance for us.
We know very little yet about the
functioning of our brains.
We do not know what the
mechanism of thought is,
how an inspiration emerges,
how we take a decision.
But since we are not examining the involvement
of extra-natural forces,
we must accept that
in our brain cells some biological processes
are taking place which ultimately can be
reduced to simple physicochemical phenomena
which have their origin on a molecular level.
Phenomena which obey the same laws
as the rest of the Cosmos.
In the case of our painter
we have a whole series of
whose mechanism we know little about.
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>He studies the picture critically.
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>He brings his left hand to his beard.
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>He takes two steps back.
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>He tries to find out what is missing in the picture.
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>He has the idea to paint another boat on the canvas.
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>He is not sure what colour he should use.
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>He decides on red.
We cannot say in detail
which cells in the
brain of our painter,
under which internal molecular processes
and after which interactions between them,
led to the decision to make the boat red.
Certainly this decision was not independent
of elements affecting his brain:
experience from images of nature or of
colours already used in this picture and
his sense of balance of colours in a painting.
light, the temperature and the relative
humidity inside the studio.
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>His mental state.
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>The proper functioning of his liver at the time.
A complex series of deterministic
sequences were influencing him.
A number of constraints which he probably
didn’t realize at
he made his decision.
If our assumption about the absolute
accuracy in the determination
Natural Law is true, then this is the case.
Only that the painter did not know it.
He believes that he freely decided
that he should
add a boat to the almost
finished seascape, and justifiably spent
some time trying to decide whether he
should make the boat yellow or red.
He did not know that, just as for everything that happens
in the universe, the
decision about whether the
boat would be yellow or red had been made long before.
It had been made in the
moment of the Big Bang.
At that time
the list of successive
(more precisely the long chain of collisions)
was specified in every detail. Events which
led to what he considers as a decision of
his own free will about the colour of the boat.
Just as at the moment of the Big Bang it was determined
that the person
who is writing these lines would use
the example of the painter to refer to free will.
The poor man!
He believed he had
made a free choice,
when he decided to use artistic creation
as an example of free will.
It seems that these ideas have
got us into really very deep water.