Do You Believe in the Illusion of Free Will?

You are reading this article because you chose to. You were free to choose. You could have passed it by and not thought twice about it. Yet here you are, perhaps questioning why you are reading today’s Just in Time article when yesterday you didn’t. Maybe it was the title that hooked you.

Did you choose? Were you in complete control of your mind when you made a choice? Is there a chance that some pre-conditioning from your past “pushed” you to read this article? At the very least, you might be wondering, “hmm, why did I choose this one”?

Let’s try a thought experiment. Clear your mind and don’t think of anything. Go ahead, try it now.

Ok, what was the first thing that popped into your mind? Were you in control of that thought? Did you think of that thing on purpose, or did it just snap out of nowhere?

I know the answer. That thought came from out of the blue. You were not in control. Control of your mind may be an illusion. Perhaps our mind controls us without us even being aware. Hence, the illusion of choice and the illusion of free will.

I am not the original author of this line of thinking. The guru here is Sam Harris. He has written extensively on this subject and has spoken about it on his podcast called Waking Up.

Thinking about free will can mess with your mind. You might have tried to prove this all wrong. I did. I reached out and picked up the pencil on my desk. There, you see, I chose to do that of my own free will. Consider it a micro choice made with intent, like phoning your accountant or booking a dentist appointment. We make them all the time. Never under coercion or influence.

Let me guess. You also chose who to marry? Assuming you are married.

How many potential partners were filtered out because of where you grew up and the religion that your parents adopted for you? What influence did your parents have on you about what characteristics are attractive in a partner?

These and many other forces in life steered you to say, “yes, I do”. If you haven’t got there yet, you might examine what forces that are influencing you. Choosing who you marry might be considered a macro choice. It’s a big decision with lots of influencing factors.

The differences between micro and macro choices could be likened to Newtonian physics and Quantum physics. The act of observing affects the outcome.

Despite what you believe about the illusion of free will, this is about consciousness and awareness. What forces have and continue to impact your life that you are unaware of? They are impacting your choices more than you think. Good choice to read this article.

Justin Spencer-Young Twitter: @fastforwardjsy

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Daily content creator at Fast Forward Business. Chief Valueologist. Fast Forward Business Podcast…look out for my daily podcast…a shot of value in your day

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Justin Spencer-Young

Daily content creator at Fast Forward Business. Chief Valueologist. Fast Forward Business Podcast…look out for my daily podcast…a shot of value in your day