Do you ever think about free will? I have and do. Like the segment of NPR's This American Life that I am linking later in this post, I have come to the conclusion that we don't have free will in the way that people mean that we do.
Most of us think that we could have chosen otherwise when it came to some sort of decision that we have made. But I think if we're being honest, we would have to admit that if we could somehow put ourselves back in the same place and time in exactly the same circumstances, that we would make the exact same choice each and every time.
I've thought about it a lot and have come to the conclusion that all that we think and do comes as a result of how our biological inputs interact with our social inputs: the social inputs being our family and education and so on. We are like computers in a sense. We come into this world with our hardware, and software is grafted onto the hardware or into us. It is our unique combination of hardware and software cause us to make the decisions that we do.
I am quite willing to grant that I have free will in the limited sense that I have a will and that to a certain degree I am free to use it. But I don't have free will in the sense that I could have made different choices than I have.
I don't think I have a true choice in writing this post. No, in the past I have come across material that I have found interesting and ultimately convincing. I did not choose to be convinced; I just was. So, I have thought about it quite a lot, and then when I came across this NPR clip, it was perfect to share at this time: not so long (14 minutes) to dissuade one from clicking if one were so inclined. I mean, in all likelihood, neither you nor I would have clicked on an hour long post or read the 500+ page book mentioned in the piece, but we might click on a short piece if the circumstances are right.
I know when I talk about it and when anyone talks about it, it sounds as though we are making choices to click or not. And we are, but I don't believe that they are true free will choices. Our neurons, cells and chemicals do not have a will, and it is they which cause us to do what it is that we do.
Anyway, for those whose interest is stirred, here is the link. But I know it is likely too busy a time for you to click on this holiday weekend. Either way, it will seem like a free will choice. But I don't think it is; like me, you have the innate interest and the time, or you lack one or the other or both. Neither you not I can help it whatever might be our particular case.
NPR This American Life link: https://www.thisamericanlife.org/662/where-there-is-a-will/act-two-2