Do We Have Free Will?
This morning I hopped off the bus at Ormond Quay, a couple of stops ahead of my usual Bachelor’s Walk stop.
The sun was shining and it was mild, a very beautiful morning really, so I didn’t mind walking. Besides, the traffic was mental so I figured I’d be quicker on foot.
The path was crowded so I crossed the quay over to the river side of the road where it was pretty much empty of people.
I really dislike mindless crowds of people, especially in the morning as they thunder along the way, fast feet and heads down.
We are so bloody robotic really…
Tear arsing along, Monday to Friday, 9 to 5, work, work, work, money, pressure, commitments, goals, aspirations.
There doesn’t seem to me to be much free will in what we do as far as I can see.
I used to believe we had free will to choose our own direction, but the more I watch the world of people the more I realise we don’t.
There we go, every one of us playing out the preset model for life to varying degrees, coming together under this idea of society.
If we do have conscious free will there’s not very many of us exercise it.
The A Pre Written Script For Life
I’m looking at people in Ferraris, BMWs, 15 year old Nissans. People smoking, queueing up along the quay like cows down a lane waiting to enter a field.
Busses, trucks, cars, all sorts of vehicles manned by robots, all waiting.
To get somewhere? What happens when we get there? We get into another queue to get somewhere else.
And the truth of it all is there’s nowhere to go. If you run long distance you may get a distinct sense of this.
Do we really do all of this stuff consciously? It seems to me that most of us are just following a script.
To me it’s kind of a collective script, momentum you might say, in one particular direction.
Momentum is everywhere and at every level of life. It’s in the individual, it’s in the family, the locality, the city, the country, the ethnic group and so on.
We can categorise forever all the seemingly different groups of people who behave in a particular way.
On an individual level we find ourselves part of many different groups, or patterns of momentum. And I wonder how much of that we choose.
Or maybe it chooses us.
The Illusion of Free Will
I used to believe that there was no question of us having free will. We had a choice and that was that. The deterministic view of the universe didn’t get an ounce of time in my mind.
You see I thought I knew what I knew. Now I know I know fuck all.
Recently as I’ve learned more about human behavior it appears that most of us are on autopilot.
Now, I used to go with this populist idea but now I see even those of us who believe that the rest of the world is on autopilot are on autopilot.
We are all in large part just following the momentum of things.
Anyway, back to the story…
So I’m walking the wooden gantry along the river Liffey, you know the place where the junkies hang out.
And here there are about 7 or 8 blokes all spread out along the way who appear to be homeless.
In fact I’ve no doubt they were homeless.