Is free will a myth? No way. How do we know? Because I am free to think we have free will; and you, if you disagree, are free to think we do not.
The definition of free will is thinking. Thinking is something you initiate and sustain — or refuse to initiate or sustain. You can think, or not think. Either way, it’s a choice. Your thinking might be provably right or wrong, but the choice to think is up to you.
When considering arguments against free will — and there are many — always consider the source. Get out of the realm of philosophy for a moment. Think of a person in your life who would try to convince you that you have no free will. Such a person might want to control you. “If I can convince him there’s no free will, I can get him to do what I want.” Or such a person might really believe it. “Life is hopeless. I’m miserable. You must be miserable too.” Wow. There’s a good, inspiring friend or role model for you!
The arguments against free will come from every direction. Religion often teaches there’s no free will because, it claims, everything is controlled by god. Fascists and socialists find it convenient to preach against free will because it means more power and influence for them, and their programs for social control.
As comedian-philosopher George Carlin used to say, it’s all B.S. — and it’s all bad for you. The people preaching against free will always have an agenda. And it’s never good.
Free will and freedom of choice are not the same thing. It’s possible for someone to hold a gun to your head, take you hostage and eliminate your freedom of choice, at least for a time. It’s also possible for gangs and armies to come together and hold an entire society hostage for years or decades. Generally that’s called fascism or socialism. Or it’s called by the euphemism of “democracy” or “brotherhood” or “change”.
People say corporations control us, and therefore we have no free will. But where is the coercive power of corporations? A private enterprise cannot force you to do or buy anything against your will. Corporations only have power the extent to which they get in bed with the government. If the government would not permit this, it would not happen. So only the government — along with criminals — can subvert your freedom of choice. But even they cannot alter your nature as a being with the capacity for the choice to think. Even when held hostage by a kidnapper, your mind remains your own.
Claims by those who argue against free will, even in psychology? It’s all B.S. and it’s all bad for you. Because even if you disagree with every word I’m saying, you’re still exercising the capacity for thought. You’re doing so by even taking the time to read these words and thoughts. Anybody can subvert your freedom of choice. But nobody can alter the fact you have free will. Not for a minute.
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