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Full Version: Does free will exist? Do we have a choice?
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"Free will" was mentioned several times in many threads. Let's a have a dedicated one.

What are your thoughts on "free will" and "free choice"?
Did you know that the brain makes decisions up to 30 seconds before we consciously know about it? Moreover, the brain sends a calming signal telling that it's "us" who made the decision.

Some materials on the subject:
Interesting phrase, I totally agree with: "Without self-observation there is no free will".

And a quite precisely worded (long) article:
We must believe in free will. We have no choice
― Isaac B. Singer

Man can indeed do what he wants, but he cannot want what he wants
― Arthur Schopenhauer
If the brain takes the decision and then sends "us" a message to calm down, who do you think, is the brain?

It is quite obvious, that not all decisions are made consciously, but there is no evidence, that we are controlled form elsewhere.

But after all, I think, it has first to be found out, what self-awareness is (or rather, who/what is actually aware) , before we can start answering the question of free will. As long as there is no physical/chemical explanation for this, physics/chemistry is not in charge of the answer about free will.

Until then, it is a matter of belief. And believe me, I don't want to redeem criminals by saying, there is no free will, they had no choice but to become, what they are... But since humans always want answers, we have created philosophy. The only downside of philosophy is, that all answers, that it gives, are debatable.

PS: Nobody forced me to post this post. Perhaps, it was just an act of free will. But perhaps, I was only following my (perhaps genetically defined) disposition to enjoy impossible debates and this post is just a result of having an opportunity at the right moment? Who knows...
Yep, what "I" is is still unknown to the Western science.

But still, my "I" thinks, that we both have free will and have no free will, and it's one of those "collapsed binaries" or "empty terms". Apparently, it should be obvious to the enlightened, or in one of the dhyana states or samadhi..
To add to our background conversation with @princesitanatty:

An article on quantum mechanics (simplified) and multiverse. Very interesting conversation in the comments.
I think we can be free from certain causes and restrictions, but we are never free from causes and restrictions. Our freedom is always relative, never absolute. And that's enough for us, for our lives and our ethics.
There are two things, which are always good to remember:

If all "free will" is in the end only the result of action and reaction, it still is presenting itself as such to other people.

If "the brain" takes many decisions 30 seconds, before we are aware of them, it doesn't mean, that we haven't prepared these decisions previously. Two examples for this:
- I am playing a game, it is late. Whenever I achieve a goal, I could save and quit, but I keep thinking "just a bit more". Eventually, I will stop and go to bed. This is not active free will, it seems quite random (and always pretty late).
- Same situation, but I consciently take the decision to quit two rounds (or whatever) later, which might be 10 minutes. Two rounds later, I still think "just a bit more", but I also have that previous decision, which often wins. It is hard to break this down to the significant bits, but I think, it is a hint towards free will.
I think that the amount of choices is inversely related to the freedom. The more freedom, the less wishes. The absolute freedom leads to having zero wishes, zero desires, hence zero choices.

The more we bound to the society, the less freedom we have. We are bound to duties, bound to necessities, bound to debts, bound to desires, bound to relationships, bound to our bodies, bound to our abilities. Too many things are happening simultaneously, too many priorities we have to bounce around, too many choices to make to buy ourself some "freedom". And this is not something we would accept willingly, should we have a free will.

In my opinion, there is no such thing as "free choice", it's an oxymoron. It's either "free" or "choice".
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