Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Free Will and Harley Guys

It would not be wise to piss off Harley guys.

However. If any happen to be reading this, they'll be the ones with a sense of humor.

We're counting on that.

Harley guys ride Harley Davidson bikes. Harleys (as in, the bikes) are all pretty different. You can get them built to your own specs. So that, you know, it's not like all the other Harleys.

And then you get dressed to ride your Harley. Then you ride off to meet with all the other Harley guys.

Might be your own little group from the local Harley hood. 

Might be Sturgis. Which is the annual mating grounds of Harley guys. Don't Google Sturgis. Disturbing pics.

Harley guys are fiercely individualistic. They set themselves apart from regular guys. They are fiercely different. They are not like anyone else. They stand alone. Fiercely.


They all kinda 

look alike.

So do their bikes.

They fiercely want to look different from all the other guys.

But not that different from, well,

Each other.

Because they want to belong to that group. They want to be a Harley guy. So they gotta ride a Harley and dress like a Harley guy.

Totally naked Harley chick.
Even gotta have a Harley chick on the back. And she's gotta dress (or not) like a Harley chick.

So here's a subculture that fiercely values free will. Individualism. Freedom. Liberty. The Right To Be Your Own Person.

As much or much more maybe than any other subculture in the world.

But that's gotta be balanced with the even more fierce desire to belong, to fit in, to look right, act right, dress right.

So. Are Harley guys fiercely acting out of free will, or are they just one more version of 

Pavlov's Dogs?

I'm gonna say this cuz I think it's pretty much true: the only people who are truly different from everyone else

tend to be certifiably nuts.

Because if normal people show up to their group of buds and they don't look like the rest of the buds, then the social pressure (as in, making serious fun of the idiotic way they look) is huge and they tend to show up next time fitting into the norms.

Even if they are all Harley guys.

Because. We all want to belong. To fit in. To be like the people we want to be like.

There are (I propose) two things in life that motivate us.

One. To belong. To be loved. To be a part of something that is greater than ourselves.

Two. To matter. To make a difference. To leave a mark. To leave the world a different (presumably better) place than it was. We want our lives to have a meaning and purpose.

And we will largely do whatever it takes to get those two things done.

Pavlov. Those are our stimuli. To be loved. To matter. And we will slobber with all the dogs to be loved and to matter.

There may be no free will about it. OK, maybe we choose which groups we want to be a part of, but I'm thinking that we are (mostly?)(completely?) influenced in that decision by the experiences we have.

For example. I have no desire to be a Harley guy or for my wife to be a Harley babe.

Not cool. Totally not cool.
But I love to ski. I'm really good. So I want to look like a really good skier. I want to dress like one. I want to have skiis and boots and even poles that really good skiers might have. I want to have a fine-looking ski jacket, and fine- looking goggles, and a cool helmet, and cool gloves, and even (this is true) cool skier long-underwear.

Now. If I have all of this cool gear and then I ski like a dork, well, that's not cool. Then I'm pretending to belong when I don't.

But I don't ski like a dork. So I get to belong. And my wife is a fine skier. So I have a beautiful ski wife. Awesome. It's the whole package. If I call her a beautiful ski babe or ski chick, I'm going to find one of my ski poles lodged in an uncomfortable place. So I'm not going to do that.

So here's the question. If life pulled a Tom Hanks "Cast Away" trick on me and I ended up alone with a volleyball in a deserted ski resort, would I still ski? Am I making a free will decision to ski, or am I doing it because I want to belong to cool skiers?

Aye. That's a good question.

Because the reasons that I am a skier are 1) my parents took me skiing in Colorado, and then 2) we moved to Switzerland when I was in high school, and 3) skiing was The Thing To Do in Winter in Switzerland, and we had a ski team and I was on it (briefly) and so 4) skiing is totally cool. To me, anyway.

Curling groupies. Clearly nobody would look like this
by making a free will decision to do so.
Curling to me is not cool. It's ridiculous. But to curlers, curling is awesome. There might even be curling groupies. Of course there are curling groupies. Clearly not a free will decision to be a curling groupie.

I'm fully convinced that curling was invented by drunk "people" (meaning drunk "guys") in the Far North who said to themselves one night, what can we do with ice, a big rock, and some brooms? And can we wear ridiculous pants, too? Awesome!

Anyway. So the question is, are ALL of our decisions caused by influences outside of ourselves, or just MOST of them? And if it's MOST, then where does free will actually start?

And the answer is...

Nobody really knows. 

So everybody just makes stuff up.

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