September 30, 2016 Daniel Pleșa

Free will. Free from what?

Free will has always been debated by philosophers all across history. But first, let’s dissect and see what this is all about.

Will, refers to a property of the mind, and an attribute of acts intentionally committed. Actions made according to a person’s will are called “willing” or “voluntary” and sometimes pejoratively “willful” or “at will”.

So will is a property of the mind. For this, it is essential to understand what mind is. Mind is nothing but a bundle of thoughts, which seem to be connected with each other. Can we have mind without thoughts? No! Can mind be found anywhere? As thoughts can’t, neither can mind.

Entonces, what if free will is nothing but…a thought? What if, the whole idea of cause and effect is just that: an idea, an imagined reality?

“but how can this be? If I want to raise my hand, I do it. If I don’t want to eat, It just doesn’t happen” Is it so? If I tell you to think of a pink elephant, can you not think of one? Can you control your thoughts? Think of a car…did you get to choose what brand/color that car is? Is there such thing as a partial control?

“but if this is true, then I can go on the street and kill everybody, without individual responsibility” Can you? You THINK you could, but you are conditioned by your genes, environment, circumstances in such a way that you most probably won’t. And those who are conditioned to do so, will do it despite any restriction or consequence.

“but then, where is the need for authority, police, judges, prisons, churches, priests…” Well, there is none, as things either way just happen, with or without all these.

Secondly, the “free will” contains the term “free”.

We saw that “will” refers to intentional action, and we saw that what we call intention is a thought saying “I did this” which, like any other thought, can’t be controlled, and is just a label added over the real experience.

But what about free will? Is this supposed to be the opposite of conditional will? If it’s free will, the question comes: free from what? Free from any conditioning? What kind of conditioning are we referring to? What could normally condition our will? Maybe the environment, the culture, the personality, the surroundings, the genes etc?

When I choose Coke instead of Pepsi, what conditions my free will? My taste. What conditions my taste? Memories I associate that particular taste with…and so on.

It has been proven that the decision we make occurs 5 seconds or more before we actually make it.

If you still can’t believe this, try finding who is exercising this free will. If it doesn’t work, maybe you trust the most recent discoveries in science.

And of course, feel free to share this…if you are already conditioned to do so 🙂