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AquilaChrysaetos

Do We Really Have Free Will?

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Most people know the science of nurture vs. nature. In other words, how much of who we are is shaped by our genetics, and how much is shaped by our experiences?

It's been up for debate for years now, but that isn't the point I'm getting at. The question I have is whether or not genetics and environmental experiences are the only influences on our lives. Are those the only two defining factors that make us who we are as individuals? If so, I have reason to believe that the concept of free will would be nothing more than an illusion.

Now, I personally believe in the existence of the human soul, and that it is a third factor as well as the ultimate defining factor of who we are as individuals. Therefore I believe that to be what truly gives us free will. However, despite my personal beliefs, I do find this concept quite interesting. For if you take away the existence of the human soul, what you basically have left to define you, is nothing more than a random conglomeration of events that have been interpreted by a random genetic code.

I find it incredibly difficult to come to any other conclusion but this. Which is personally very scary.

What this would basically mean is that your so called "free will" would be nothing more than a genetic roll of the dice on top of all the environmental influences that have happened within your lifetime. Every choice that you make would be entirely influenced on that random outcome. If just one thing were different about you genetically, or one thing different had happened to you in the past, then that would change the outcome of the next decision that you make. It wouldn't be the conscious you. In other words, if everything about you is based on a roll of the dice, then every decision you make is based on that randomness as well.

It's a scary conclusion, but one I find difficult to refute or deny. I want to hear everyone else's thoughts on this. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

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I agree with all you've said there ....... can't really expand on it(maybe tomorrow ..... it's kinda late now :sleepy: ). You're right, it is pretty depressing.

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Most people know the science of nurture vs. nature. In other words, how much of who we are is shaped by our genetics, and how much is shaped by our experiences?

It's been up for debate for years now, but that isn't the point I'm getting at. The question I have is whether or not genetics and environmental experiences are the only influences on our lives. Are those the only two defining factors that make us who we are as individuals? If so, I have reason to believe that the concept of free will would be nothing more than an illusion.

Now, I personally believe in the existence of the human soul, and that it is a third factor as well as the ultimate defining factor of who we are as individuals. Therefore I believe that to be what truly gives us free will. However, despite my personal beliefs, I do find this concept quite interesting. For if you take away the existence of the human soul, what you basically have left to define you, is nothing more than a random conglomeration of events that have been interpreted by a random genetic code.

I find it incredibly difficult to come to any other conclusion but this. Which is personally very scary.

What this would basically mean is that your so called "free will" would be nothing more than a genetic roll of the dice on top of all the environmental influences that have happened within your lifetime. Every choice that you make would be entirely influenced on that random outcome. If just one thing were different about you genetically, or one thing different had happened to you in the past, then that would change the outcome of the next decision that you make. It wouldn't be the conscious you. In other words, if everything about you is based on a roll of the dice, then every decision you make is based on that randomness as well.

It's a scary conclusion, but one I find difficult to refute or deny. I want to hear everyone else's thoughts on this. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

I think that we do. I think all those other influences you mentioned are what is referred to as our "sin nature" or "flesh". The choices we make regarding how much we let them direct our outcomes in life is the expression of free will. For myself, I don't do so well on any given day. I get jealous, prideful, cantankerous and otherwise argumentative. But I also have a guiding conscience that reminds me that those behaviors are wrong headed and I generally steer away from them - most times :)

My point is tha our conscience is an innate part of our makeup that helps us to do the thing our base nature would never do on it's own.

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Wow I find your post incredibly unbelievable.Are you saying that because of my genetics, I cant make a decision right or wrong. No one tells me what to do, so I can't see what you are trying to prove, elaborate please.

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No. We are spiritual beings having a physical experience. The education of the soul is too important to leave it up to chance.

The soul's lessons are embedded in our everyday lives and it holistically imprinted with what it needs to learn regardless of who we are, or where we live, or what we believe.

The more emotional the experience the more powerful and long lasting the memory it creates.

We are here to experience duality and separation, time and space, and make memories of what it was like and how it felt to live in a 3 dimensional + 1 time universe.

Experiencing separation teaches the soul what it means to be separate, something it can't learn in heaven due to those overwhelming feelings of oneness and connectedness so many near death experiencers talk about.

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No. We are spiritual beings having a physical experience. The education of the soul is too important to leave it up to chance.

The soul's lessons are embedded in our everyday lives and it holistically imprinted with what it needs to learn regardless of who we are, or where we live, or what we believe.

The more emotional the experience the more powerful and long lasting the memory it creates.

We are here to experience duality and separation, time and space, and make memories of what it was like and how it felt to live in a 3 dimensional + 1 time universe.

Experiencing separation teaches the soul what it means to be separate, something it can't learn in heaven due to those overwhelming feelings of oneness and connectedness so many near death experiencers talk about.

Why does the soul need to learn this?

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Most people know the science of nurture vs. nature. In other words, how much of who we are is shaped by our genetics, and how much is shaped by our experiences?

It's been up for debate for years now, but that isn't the point I'm getting at. The question I have is whether or not genetics and environmental experiences are the only influences on our lives. Are those the only two defining factors that make us who we are as individuals? If so, I have reason to believe that the concept of free will would be nothing more than an illusion.

Now, I personally believe in the existence of the human soul, and that it is a third factor as well as the ultimate defining factor of who we are as individuals. Therefore I believe that to be what truly gives us free will. However, despite my personal beliefs, I do find this concept quite interesting. For if you take away the existence of the human soul, what you basically have left to define you, is nothing more than a random conglomeration of events that have been interpreted by a random genetic code.

I find it incredibly difficult to come to any other conclusion but this. Which is personally very scary.

What this would basically mean is that your so called "free will" would be nothing more than a genetic roll of the dice on top of all the environmental influences that have happened within your lifetime. Every choice that you make would be entirely influenced on that random outcome. If just one thing were different about you genetically, or one thing different had happened to you in the past, then that would change the outcome of the next decision that you make. It wouldn't be the conscious you. In other words, if everything about you is based on a roll of the dice, then every decision you make is based on that randomness as well.

It's a scary conclusion, but one I find difficult to refute or deny. I want to hear everyone else's thoughts on this. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

I don't think you're talking about free will here. Seems to me you're commenting on how a combination of our genetic and environmental influences will affect how we make decisions in certain circumstances. These influences don't negate the idea of free will.

As it goes, I'm not convinced that we do have free will. But the illusion of it is sufficient.

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I believe the definition of freedom can be broken down into three basic principles:

1. freedom to vote

2. freedom to express oneself

3. freedom to engage in the market

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If by free will you mean the choices in decisions we can make, there are only so many ways to go in making decisions. Ill give you an example say I have to pick up my friend from work at a certain time. Theres 2 decisions I can make, I can go and pick him up or I could not pick him up. See I could do one or the other, thats it.

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Our past influences our decisions, but the decisions are still ours to make. This is the free will.

See it as being put in a maze, the world you experience has its boundries but how you navigate is your own choice.

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I think having free will is possible, but only when the mind is free from conformity. It can be a tricky thing to know when one is expressing one's real self, and when one is simply obeying society's rules of acceptable behavior. I think this is what the "free" in free will means: knowing the difference and making the choice to express the real you.

As for the "will" part, to will something to happen is for me too brutal and act. I think we can express our true personality in harmony with our environment without causing the conflict the use of "will" implies.

It's odd, but when we conform we actually produce more conflict than when we are just ourselves, convention be damned. When we pretend we are someone we're not, or obey some external authority, "free will" impossible, and we really don't exist at all.

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Good questions raised!

Nature, nurture and fate, all acting together? And if this IS a holographic universe, then we really have some questions about our individuality.

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I have a slightly different understanding of "Free Will", but first would like to comment on the OP's idea behind becoming "individuals", Individuation is the process by which we balance our conscioussness and our unconsciousness, the objective universe with our subjective universe. Through this balancing act we become Individual and separate from the masses.

As for Free Will, I have always believed it should be termed "Freedom From the Will of Others", in other words when we can think, act, and have our own experiences and not be under the indoctrination of anothers' Will.

The concept is the defining point of Right & Left Hand religions;

RHP = Thy Will Be Done vs LHP = MY Will Be Done

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It's odd, but when we conform we actually produce more conflict than when we are just ourselves, convention be damned. When we pretend we are someone we're not, or obey some external authority, "free will" impossible, and we really don't exist at all.

This is how I feel at the moment. My capacity for 'freedom of expression' and my ability to exert 'free will' have become so bound-up and crushed that I barely feel 'I' exist at all.

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Wow I find your post incredibly unbelievable.Are you saying that because of my genetics, I cant make a decision right or wrong. No one tells me what to do, so I can't see what you are trying to prove, elaborate please.

This has nothing to do with "right or wrong" decisions. I'm simply saying that in the absence of a soul (or a third basic denominator), the decisions you make would be based entirely on the cosmological role of two metephorical dice. One die being genetics, the other one being the environmental influences in your life. Your "free will" would be nothing more than your own genetic code interpereting the environment around you.

The environment would've been influenced by two different factors: the positioning of particles in the cosmos (in other words, what formed where after the big bang) and all the environmental interactions with other life forms. Every other life form on the planet would undergo this same process of genetics vs. environment, therefore the influences those organisms have during their lifetimes would influence their interactions with you, which would in turn determine based on your genetic code and past experiences up to that point, how you interpret and react to whatever surccumstances may present themselves to you.

It's just huge circle really. I don't know how else to explain it, but I hope this clearifies my point a little.

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You do realize that human autonomous free will is the foundation of our legal system? People make decisions every day that flies in the face of your false dichotomy of either nature or nurture. These decisions sometimes are reached after a long period of inner debate, they are not all snap decisions, i.e. fight or flight.

In fact many renowned philosophers and religious figures assert that the only thing that we can control is our own will. I'm thinking of Stoics and Buddhists, those that teach non-attachment and the right use of the semblance of things.

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I don't know about the whole spiritual side of Free Will, no one does for sure but I know for a fact that in society, you do not, nor will you ever have free will. Freedom of speech is also an illusion.

Edited by Sean93
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I think free will is complicated, many of our decisions are based on prior experience, knowledge, needs or wants.

I wouldn't be surprised if we have greatly overestimated the freedom in free will.

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I have a related question for you all; How do YOU judge whether something is right or wrong?

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I don't know about the whole spiritual side of Free Will, no one does for sure but I know for a fact that in society, you do not, nor will you ever have free will.

Hmm, so you had no choice about this conclusion? You were already programmed to adopt it? Really?

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I have a related question for you all; How do YOU judge whether something is right or wrong?

The answer would be complex, as each situation must be judged on its own merits, but in general terms an act is wrong if another person's rights and dignity are infringed.

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Every person who goes on a diet, submits to a painful medical treatment, or the addict that gives up an addiction is demonstrating free will.

The animal instinct and the physical body itself can be demanding one thing but the intellect rules over it and forces a different action to take place.

Another nickname is Will Power. When used in a group setting such as for addiction they are often encouraged to reach for a Higher Power when their personal will does not seem to be strong enough, or psychologically making the choice to submit their will to the will of the group to become a part of it and stronger. Change is not easy but it is almost always worth it.

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Free will is the capability to choose a path without obligation and limitation

Yes, our decisions are influenced by everything around us and our experiemences but it's still mean that no one has forced us to choose those decisions

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I don't equate "Choices" with "Free Will", deciding to make a right turn instead of going straight is making a choice, controlling drugs instead of them controlling you, is a positive choice . . . NOT going to "Confession" because you believe that your "poor choices" will be forgiven if told to some clergyman is Free Will (Freedom from the Will of Another).

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Hmm, so you had no choice about this conclusion? You were already programmed to adopt it? Really?

Free will means being able to do what you want without constraint but there are things you cannot do because society tells you so, but posting on a forum isn't one of them...Well actually, there are some things you cannot post of forums such as under age pornography and in some places, racial hate among others. Me being in Northern Ireland, If I were to write a sectarian message on facebook, I could be brought to court for it so much for freedom of speech and political opinion...

And of course I had choice about the conclusion I made but take note that all of your choices fall into law in one way or the other, whether you're obeying or disobeying and luckily, my choice of saying what I see isn't a crime, at least not in this context anyway. Sure you can say you have free will and can speak freely, but do this then - go up to an ethnic minority and insult them because of it and then we'll see if you really have the freedom to express your opinions once the law gets involved. I bet there are racists out there who believe their beliefs are genuine...but they cannot express them without being told "You can't do that", and soon they find themselves in a prison shower and unfortunately for them, they've dropped the soap :no:

Everyone likes to say that they have free will, but there's always that hand on their back, reminding them of this - "You're free to do whatever we tell you."

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