What is consciousness?

Consciousness is a philosophical and scientific axiom. It requires a brain. It is real but not material. It is our means of knowing reality (though existence is the primary axiom). The conceptual (rational) faculty builds on the material provided by the senses. Consciousness as a faculty includes the conscious mind and material stored in the subconscious, which can become conscious. Both aspects work together, with the conscious mind being active and the subconscious relatively passive. Reason is fallible and requires an epistemology and the choice to expend effort. Consciousness is our main means of survival and of human progress.

Edwin A. Locke, The Illusion of Determinism

This is a nice little summary of the objectivist view of consciousness and free will. I share this view, but I have to say that I still think that the term “free will” is misleading and redundant.

First: People tend to understand the word “free” in an anarchist kind of sense (just as the free-market economy is often understood as anarchism), as if the will was completely detached from existence, i.e. context-free. That this is not the case, and that this circumstance is no proof of determinism, is what Edwin Locke explains in the book quoted above.

Second: It is simply unnecessary to put the adjective “free” before the term “will.” Through our capacity for conceptual thinking, we are able to make choices, so, unlike animals, we can consciously choose between alternative actions. This constitutes our freedom, because we are not completely determined by causality.

Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed.

Francis Bacon, Novum Organum

But we have to consciously set and pursue goals based on a moral code. That’s our will. In other words: The will is free by definition, otherwise it would not be will.

This also raises the exciting question of whether AI can ever develop a consciousness without (free) will (if it is even possible to produce a consciousness or an awareness process with algorithms).

Violence in Videogames

People often claim that the difference between movies and games is that in games you yourself are the one perpetrating the violence, whereas in movies you are passive.
But that’s exactly the reason, why violence in games is often negligible: Players are to busy playing the game and taking care of so many things simultaniously that one doesn’t have the time to really focus on even the most violent things.

Plus even the best graphics are still miles away from being even remotely as realistic as movies with their elaborate special-effects. You may observe the corpses after a fight, but even when they do have bullet wounds or something similar, textures and details get blurrier and mushier the closer you look. So if at all, watching even relatively harmless movies like, say, Pirates of the Carribean is more „damaging“ than playing a plain shooter, because as a passive viewer you have more time to focus on every bloody detail.

Also people are exaggerating the effects of violence through gore in my opinion, whereas the „psychological-violence“ (can’t think of another term) has the far greater effect. The Last of Us (TloU) for example has considerably less gore and dismemberment than Bulletstorm, a game which is wholly designed for killing the enemies in the most brutal and creative way possible. Yet I would argue, especially with regard to the prologue and the end of the “Winter”-Chapter that TloU is emotionally far more brutal and traumatizing than Bulletstorm.

Besides, it does not matter what kind of violence is displayed in games. Since there are no real persons being hurt, nobody has the right to forbid anything.

However, as the critics of video games often prefer to just attack the most commonly known shooters (especially even the harmless ones like Counterstrike), they demonstrate that they have not concerned themselves with the topic of violence or games in the slightest and are not willing to do so. One could almost ignore such ignoramuses if they did not always try to dictate what one should consume.

When Dead Space 2 was evaluated by the USK (the german ESRB) at the time prior to its release, they checked it five (!) times before it finally received the “Keine Jugendfreigabe”-seal (the equivalent to “M” in the ESRB-rating). The Christian Social Union (CSU) did not like that at all. So they pulled out some old paragraph nobody has ever heard of to force the USK to check the game a sixth (!!) time – a game where you should know at first glance: “Yep, Mature” –  and so tried to prevent the release. Fortunately, the USK was reasonable and granted a release. God it was satisfying to read about these christian-wannabe-fascists “outrage”…

http://www.pcgames.de/Dead-Space-2-Spiel-21034/News/Dead-Space-2-Deutsche-USK-von-Bayern-in-Frage-gestellt-807600/

Mises: The welfare state and socialisms goals


“No longer should individuals by their buying or abstention from buying determine what is to be produced and in what quantity and quality. Henceforth the government’s unique plan alone should settle all these matters. ‘Paternal’ care of the ‘Welfare State’ will reduce all people to the status of bonded workers bound to comply, without asking questions, with the orders issued by the planning authority.”

“To abolish private property in the means of production, to make the means of production the property of the community, that is the whole aim of Socialism.”

Ludwig von Mises, Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis

“Nicht mehr sollte der Einzelne durch seinen Kauf oder Kaufverzicht bestimmen, was in welcher Menge und Qualität produziert werden soll. Fortan sollte der einzigartige Plan der Regierung alle diese Angelegenheiten regeln. Die “väterliche” Betreuung des “Wohlfahrtsstaates” reduziert alle Menschen auf den Status eines Schuldners, der verpflichtet ist, die von der Planungsbehörde erteilten Anordnungen zu befolgen, ohne Fragen zu stellen.”

“Das Privateigentum an den Produktionsmitteln abzuschaffen, die Produktionsmittel zum Eigentum der Gemeinschaft machen, das ist das ganze Ziel des Sozialismus.”

Ludwig von Mises, Die Gemeinwirtschaft – Untersuchungen über den Sozialismus (1922)

That is the ultimate consequence of socialism. Whether you like it or not. Therefore, it can not work and will never work, because people have free willand reason. And they have to use them to sustain their lifes. A system that reduces people to drones is EVIL, out of touch with reality and can not work – no matter how much the oh-so-social left writhes. It is stupid and paradoxical to even call this system “socialism” because it is the exact opposite of social.
No offense, but people who defend something like that either have no idea, are cowards or just hungry for power.

Picture source: wiwo.de/politik