I had recently watched a video about the concept of Free Will from a couple of people I admire and they kept referring to "Free Will" or "Will" as the ability to choose freely without influence from an outside source. I quickly typed up this as it struck me as odd that "Choice" was seemingly only given as a conscious act and didn't take into consideration those subconscious choices that go on in the back ground of our psyche everyday.
The problem of defining “Outside” influences with regards to “Free Will” or "Will".
One of Sam Harris’s discussions revolves around the act of a serial Killer. He proposes that if we were to determine there was some tumor causing them to act in such a way wouldn’t we remove it to have them “Choose” (Act) differently? Then he proposes that we are all products of Genetics, Environment and Experiences. Now, to me, the blank slate of WHO we are starts with a baseline of at least genetics from both parents and any genetic mutations that identify us as us in the influence it has on brain development and our psyche. So it is important to note, that the Environment (Where you grew up - with respects to climate, sun exposer, air breathed food consumed provided by parents) could be considered outside sources in that they played a part in your particular physiology and brain development. So let’s table that so I can come back around to WHY that is relevant.
What should also be included in that which makes up you, regarding Brain development, is Experiences. Anything in the spectrum of Violent trauma to mind blowing bliss is considered when we are talking about what creates your psyche . . . the culmination of experiences that effect both your range of choices that actually define the “Free” in Free Will and the more likely choices you make Within “Will” . . . . are most likely based on your particular Worldview. So not all your Experiences may not be from outside sources MANY of them are . . . So let’s table that so I can come back around to WHY that is relevant.
Here is the conundrum for me when we talk about “Will” or “Free Will” and why those things are relevant . . . regardless of cognitive conscious decisions we make throughout our life, those three things that make us who we are have been feeding our brain the chemicals it likes to get. So it is effecting those continual instances of us finding ourselves in repeated or patterned situations by our subconscious brain making micro decisions to adhere us to a Method of Operation (MO). It is the same old story of the Procrastinator saying “Never again.” Yet finding themselves back in a situation where time lines have slipped, and work is due and stress/drama experienced . . . So, is it relevant that we acknowledge the outside influences (Environment and Experiences) that mold our psyche and give our subconscious brain a lot more control then we give it credit for? IF we are intellectually honest, do we not see that some people are held captive by their own subconscious plotting in the back ground to get the chemical fix the brain knows how to get . . . ? And IS the Subconscious necessarily considered when we talk about “Will” . . . or is “Will” only subject to that which has been cognitively chosen as an ACT of “Will”?
Here is a link to that video that got me to write this It is very long - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnQ5Eg_PDsU
I post this for thought, not for discussion---use it as you will.
I have seen it written that at the moment of choice we are at once both at our most pre-determined and simultaneously most free---in the same way that we are both infinitely superfluous and infinitely necessary. Certainly it is a paradox.
And yet, how can anybody else but we be responsible for our actions---even acknowledging that there may well be mitigating or aggravating factors which may diminish our subjective "guilt" that we incur for any of our actions.
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