By Gabriel Abosi
Upon reading this article, was it predetermined that you were going to do so or did you do it of your own free will? Did a past event lead you to this future action? Do you believe there’s a cause and effect to everything? The side where everything is destined to happen is called determinism, where all things including human actions are determined by previous external causes, whereas free will is the ability to exercise freedom of choice without any internal or external forces impeding it.
Determinists believe free will doesn’t exist because the idea of humans making their own choices is an illusion and that all outcomes are already decided for us meaning there is one future where with free will there are many futures. Being able to pick and choose what route you want to take, but it’s more than that. It’s more than doing what you want to do but also having the ability to do otherwise. Let’s say for a moment everything is determined ahead of time and that there is no free will? It would be kind of hard to accept because of how free we may feel and the idea of not being able to make our own decisions sounds pretty scary.
A good example of this is what happened to Britney Spears. She was locked into a conservatorship with her father. For those who don’t know what a conservatorship is, it’s when someone is incapable of handling his or her own financial or personal affairs and is then appointed an individual or professional to act on behalf of that person. Britney Spears had no control of her life or her career, had to work endlessly and was alleged to have been told to not get married or have a child. I would go as far as to call a life with no free will enslavement. The ability to just run outside your house and just jump up and down is something that we must have the choice to do, but there might be a chance that it isn’t our choice. Not saying there’s some higher power controlling our every move but what if there is a definitive answer to it.
What would be a reason why you believe in free will? Is it a religious reason? You may feel as though God has given you the power to choose. You may feel as though our ability to have free will stems from us having a consciousness, or maybe you just feel so free that it’s impossible to have anything other than free will. Whatever your reason maybe, where you believe in free will or determinism, at the end of the day there is no definitive answer or proof to any of this. If you want my answer all I can tell you is whatever you choose is your choice.