Here I sit in a swinging seat, watching my body proceed naturally and I begin to wonder, will I lose this realization that free will is harmful?
I hope I am not overstating my case, being overly enthusiastic.
I’ve developed more fully in my philosophy of transcendentalism, where every idea can be risen above.
In that sense, I feel less attached to the mechanism of how free will is an illusion (whether deterministically or indeterministically) and more focused on what that belief actually does to our souls.
Many declare free will an illusion (from Hawking to Harris to Sheldrake), yet I have never seen an iota of argument proposing the belief to be detrimental.
And what can this mean? Has no one truly taken the idea seriously and run with it?
I looked up a bit of what the thoughts of the Internet are on this subject.
With the google search of “free will bad” and “free will detrimental” there was much talk on the nature of free will and a post and a book on how belief in determinism rather than free will causes “1) more cheating, 2) less pro-social helping behavior and intentions, 3) more unwarranted aggressive behavior toward conspecifics.”
The post was not convincing (posts with many typos usually aren’t).
The book’s arguments are similarly unsatisfactory, but it does mention a positive effect of anti-free-will sentiments: they reduce retribution, suggesting it may enable people to be more forgiving.
Let’s summarize once more: as yet, free will studied in a lab and argued as determinism can lead to “increased cheating (both passive and active), reduced helpfulness (both hypothetical and actual), and increased aggression. It also can reduce retribution, encouraging forgiveness.”
So are these things true? Does the belief in free will promote societally useful behavior?
It might. It probably does.
However, there’s a term for belief without evidence: faith.
Faith can be helpful, of course. Belief in Santa Claus can encourage children to be nice rather than naughty. Belief in Hell can keep people from hurting others.
Faith can help reduce cheating, increase helpfulness, decrease aggression, and encourage forgiveness.
The problem is not with faith, exactly, but with faith that increases social cohesion at the cost of individual happiness.
This isn’t 15,000 BCE any more. This is the 21st century. We don’t have to base our justice system on techniques that happened to work in the Dark Ages.
Faith is useful when it encourages happiness and serenity. I don’t see how it’s helpful when it encourages fear and worry.
This is exactly what the concept of free will does. Free will imagines we are in control of our destinies and are therefore responsible for our actions. That’s just patently false.
Free will is an extremely harmful delusion. It causes the direct pain of self-consciousness, worry, doubt, discontentment, fear, and heartbreak. In essence, unimaginable amounts of human suffering.
What a dangerous, idiotic idea! What evil we have continued to bear! And for what?! For the delusion that we are in control? This is not freedom. This is slavery!
Instead of seeing ourselves as abstract, evolving awarenesses, we chain ourselves to suffering and hurt!
It is a sad state of affairs when we believe choice provides happiness, rather than natural will revealing we already have enough, we are already perfect.
With an acceptance of natural will we are free to see the inherent beauty of existence, rather than separating ourselves from the universe and creating pain because we believe we can make a wrong choice.
Upon realizing natural will actually causes more joy than the false idea of free will we can live more fluidly and elegantly in life.
Instead of striving for external sources of short-term happiness, such as with drugs, partying, over-working, thrill-seeking, and food, we realize we are bound so closely to the universe that not only can we not disobey it but we can’t even conceive of disobeying it unless the math works out that way.
Either we live in the clockwork universe of Newton, Einstein, and Everett, or the probabilistic universe of Bohr and Heisenberg. There are no other scientific options.
So why succumb to the delusion of free will, if all it does it provide what all faith-based religions provide: somewhat increased moral behavior in society at the price of individual suffering? It’s insanity!
Again, my issue is not with faith, per se, but with faith whose costs outweigh the benefits.
I believe we are living in a computer simulation, for example, and there’s probably no way to prove if that’s true or not. I believe it because it makes life more fun and interesting.
There is no capital-T Truth, only truths that you buy into because you think they’ll make your life better.
So why choose such a demented, bad idea as free will?
Free will decreases compassion because we hold baby drug-addicts, mentally ill people, and abused children as somehow ultimately responsible for their lives.
That’s crazy and evil, given the clear scientific evidence that we are no more in control than a leaf falling from a tree or a molecule changing shape.
Yes, we are enormously more complex and abstract, but we are still stardust operating according to the math and physics of the universe.
Yes, there is useful division between math, physics, chemistry, biology, psychology, sociology, and economics, but these divisions are not caused by an impenetrable magic of free will but rather the amazing properties of chaos theory.
Chaos allows a deterministic universe to become fundamentally unpredictable to we humans, because a butterfly flapping in Brazil can cause a tornado in Texas. This is the butterfly effect.
In a deterministic system, the initial conditions, no matter how precise (because of Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle of never being able to know both the exact position and momentum of a particle), ultimately ripple out into complexity and unpredictability.
Another term for indeterminism can be unpredictability, so from determinism can arise indeterminism.
As has been said by Bohm; a clockwork, deterministic universe and a cloudlike, indeterministic universe can each build into the other, as if layers of an infinitely high cake.
Clouds can simplify and display deterministic behavior, and clocks can complect and create chaotic, unpredictable indeterminism.
What beauty in this idea! What elegance! Why taint it all with the delusion of free will?! Free will creates suffering!
Natural will offers confidence, inner peace, joy, abiding ego dissolution, serenity, and fluidity of life.
This is true freedom.
Free will traps us in believing we can hurt the universe. Free will is a parasite on our enjoyment of life. The illusion creates a separation of self from universe, and this falsity flies in the face of the oneness shown by science.
The only sense in which free will is true is that our wills cannot be predicted in the long-term and that free will can also be described as free want, where we freely want to do what we believe we’ve chosen with free will.
But neither of these views are in line with the conventional idea that free will is the ability to make choices free of external influence.
Let go of free will and accept natural will.
You will be happier.