Oops, Free Will Might Exist After All

in #science3 years ago

Sam Harris and others might have to rethink their positions. The question of free will seems to be back to unanswered status.


The trouble with logic and reason is that you often find yourself in the position of not having all of the relevant information. For this reason alone it seems that reason and intuition will be forever intertwined. You cannot know everything, yet you have to make decisions. Categorizing free will as existent or nonexistent, however, may not be a necessary decision. Why do we need to come to a conclusion about this? Is it just the biases of believers in determinism at work here?

Of course, it would be wise not to ignore the information you have, but equally wise to never assume it's complete. As most decisions seem to me to be other than critical, I assume it's also reasonable to wait until your intuition indicates you have all the information you're going to get before making a decision.

And when it comes to decisions about what to believe, it may sometimes be best to decide not to decide.


This is very confusing! Free from whom?
I 'll stick to my meditation!

You have to read up on some neuroscience. According to many scientists, we are basically biological robots whose choices are merely illusions caused by brain chemistry. This latest study shows bias in many of the studies that have led to this belief.

Funny you mention meditation, because one of the biggest proponents of this idea (Sam Harris)is a long time meditator. And while I agree with many things he says, my intuition has always rejected this particular belief.

There seems to be free will. Yes, free FROM whom, that’s a good question.

According to Buddhism, the 'original' mind is pure and free from 'kilesa' or defilement, ie. ego-based thoughts, greed, desires, greed and so on. So, in this state of mind, any decision made is free from the 'conditioning' or the 'known'. It acts from the 'unknown' or 'unconditioning', so the decision will not bring about 'negative karma' which is the source for the continuation of 'conditioning' or 'rebirth'.

So long as one acts out of the known (ego-based accumulated knowledge) or conditioning, one cannot be free from the cycle of rebirth. The Buddha 'achieved' nirvarna or enlightenment: rebirth is no more.

What I could do is to be aware of thoughts and my own conditioning as much as possible. By being attentive, the energy will change (chemical and biological included) and the quality of action will be very different, or compassionate. Compassion is very important energy in pursuing enlightenment.


This is a different level of the free will debate, the question of "who is it that has or doesn't have free will". In other words, if the ego is an illusion, then who is it exactly that possesses free will?

It seems to me that there can only be one free will, which is an aspect of a single consciousness that manifests in all things. And that is where the compassion would come from, as once you realize you are the same as all other beings it would be really hard not to be compassionate.

Well said! Thank you!

I think I understand what you are trying to say!
You speak life an old Buddhist monk!


Haha, I could have been a monk but "I decided" not to. Maybe in my next life.

Yes! It’s a good idea that you are not a monk in this life. Next life, perhaps!!
I am waiting for a new post in Cool English!


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