I’ve come to a realization which I’m sure has been postulated by others, but which I have never seen formulated so I will try my hardest to outline.
The problem is this: both determinism and indeterminism are unsatisfactory. Not because each crushes the possibility of free will (which is actually a Good Thing) but because they have strange natures.
Determinism, as represented by a clockwork universe, where everything proceeds directly from the instant before it, seems to require a many-worlds splitting of the universe depending on the probabilities of the wavefunction of quantum mechanics.
A wavefunction describes a particle as having a superposition (being in multiple places at once).
The many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics denies that the wavefunction collapses, instead saying that for every possibility the universe branches off.
While this is a very popular interpretation, I find the idea unaesthetic. Not that I think it isn’t right, it just seems a little silly. But much of quantum mechanics is silly, so I can’t hold that against it.
The other side of the picture, indeterminism, is also unappealing.
Indeterminism is the idea that the universe is more like a cloud than a clock, and chance is a very real part of reality.
The Copenhagen Interpretation (perhaps the most popular for physicists) says that the ultimate base of reality is indeterminate: run by chance and probabilities. The collapse of the wavefunction is due to measurement by an observer.
Yet here’s the disappointing part: how does the chance actually work? Can the probabilities be different in universes with different fundamental constants?
Both the many-worlds and Copenhagen interpretations seem to suggest a multitude of universes.
In many-worlds, they branch off every instant, and in Copenhagen, different universes might have different probability schemes.
I don’t really have a preference for determinism or indeterminism, so I don’t have a horse in the race for either.
Rather, as a transcendentalist, I think each can be true depending on the assumptions.
For instance, in a clockwork universe that is subject to chaos theory, very small changes in initial conditions ripple out quickly, and squash the ability to predict. A butterfly in Brazil flaps its wings and causes a tornado in Texas. This mechanism can create fundamental unpredictability for us: indeterminism.
In a cloudlike, probabilistic universe, there can be probabilities that build off each other in very specific ways and create a clockwork mechanism.
So both determinism and indeterminism are linked, each able to build the other.
Is there a way to know which the world is based off of? I’m not sure. People much smarter than I are working on it. Hopefully we are getting closer.
How does this tie back to free will? Well, it shows us that we need not concern ourselves with whether determinism makes us robots or indeterminism makes us dice, and instead we can enjoy the fluidity that knowing our will is natural gives us.
Natural will frees us from suffering. It frees us from identity with an ego. It frees us from worry and doubt.
It allows more awareness and the interesting perspective of looking at the body’s activities rather than through them.
Natural will is awesome, not dangerous.
It is like finally taking your left foot off the brake while you had your right on the gas. Now you can go. Now you can experience life like you are meant to.