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So it may be with the question by what and how a primary relay is controlled. For there is a stock question in this field: Is there such a thing as Free Will?
I want to make sure that no one shall think I am asking this question in a disguised form. I do not want to let it be thought that a decision in the controversy about Free Will depends on whether the control of a primary relay is effected by a material or a non-material influence, and I believe there is a real risk that this may be thought. For it seems to be very common to identify belief in Free Will with belief in non-material reality. I fear that many will argue: "If the primary relays in the craneman's brain are controlled by his non-material mind, then he has Free Will and he is master of his actions. But if the primary relays are controlled by material means, then determinism is the correct doctrine and the craneman is not master of his actions".
The last of these possibilities is the one that many would reject before giving much thought to it. The reason seems to lie in the notion that only material things can be determinate. But there is no logical justification whatever for such a notion. It is equally arguable that a non-material mind is subject to a rigid determinism. The characteristics that alone describe a non-material influence neither include nor imply Free Will. We have, be it remembered, so far found three such characteristics, all negative: lack of location, inability to transmit energy, inability to be observed by physical means. If the mind has these three characteristics it need not have the further one that its activity is free. It may be that the non-material mind has no free choice whatever but is bound to act exactly as it does. It is not my concern either to support or to dispute this possibility.
As a primary relay cannot, by definition, be controlled by any material object, the controlling mind must be non-material, lacking location, unable to transmit energy, not observable by physical means. This is a conclusion that any one who may find the notion of a non-material influence unattractive would like to reject. But can one find any alternative conclusion? If an alternative can be found and if it can be formulated in clear and precise terms, then it must be considered very carefully. But no one has so far succeeded in suggesting a tenable alternative to the conclusion that the mind does influence our actions and that it is literally non-material. This is hardly surprising, for any interpretation of the facts that assigns location to the controlling mind leads to absurdities.
This becomes apparent as soon as one makes the assumption that a controlling mind has been located and observed as a material device of some kind. "This device", one would then be able to say, "controls the primary relays, and thereby events in the outer world, just as a switch controls the flow of electric current".
But one could not leave it at that. "What further material device", one would be obliged to continue, "controls this one that is being called mind?" To say that mind is a material controlling device is merely to say it is a primary relay and to find oneself in the dilemma mentioned at the beginning of this chapter.