“You are not controlling the storm, and you are not lost in it. You are the storm.”
― Sam Harris, Free Will
A BELIEF IN FREE WILL touches nearly everything that human beings value. It is difficult to think about law, politics, religion, public policy, intimate relationships, morality—as well as feelings of remorse or personal achievement—without first imagining that every person is the true source of his or her thoughts and actions. And yet the facts tell us that free will is an illusion.
“Losing a belief in free will has not made me a fatalist – in fact, it has increased my feelings of freedom. My hopes, fears, and neuroses seem less personal and indelible. There is no telling how much I might change in the future. Just as one wouldn’t draw a lasting conclusion about oneself on the basis of a brief experience of indigestion, one needn’t do so on a basis of how one has thought or behaved for vast stretches of time in the past. A creative change of inputs to the system – learning new skills, forming new relationships, adopting new habits of attention – may radically transform one’s life. Becoming sensitive to the background causes of one’s thoughts and feelings can -paradoxically- allow for greater creative control over one’s life. This understanding reveals you to be a biochemical puppet, of course, but it also allows you to grab hold of one of your strings.” Sam Harris
PODCAST – Reality and the Imagination – A Conversation with Yuval Noah Harari