A world without free will
Lately I’ve been completely enamored with the idea of life without free will. I’m not writing this to convince you one way or the other, but rather address a question that inevitably comes up when talking about free will.
“Even if we don’t have free will, why does it matter - How would I live my life differently?”
At first glance you might think not much can change, but in my experience, living under this pretense has actually had a profound effect on the way I think, make decisions & experience day-to-day life.
The first, and probably most important change has been the way I feel about others. When free will is thrown out the door, feeling anger and/or blame towards someone suddenly becomes not only stupid, but completely pointless. If we are the way we are because of the the cards we were dealt; compassion is often the first response.
The other major change has been in the way I think of myself. I’ll be the first to admit that my abundance of self confidence often can come off arrogant. When I’m no longer able to take credit for my own circumstances; egotistical thoughts transform into a overwhelming sense of gratitude & humility.
I think the most interesting & paradoxical part of this journey for me, has been that adopting this ultra-rational mindset has actually reinforced a lot of spiritual concepts. If you take god out of the serenity prayer; you suddenly have a Christian prayer that fits in a rational world completely absent of free will.
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.”
At first the idea of a life without free will sounded depressing, scary and just plain crazy. Oh, how I couldn’t of been more wrong.
Want to go further down the free will rabbit hole? Watch this… Sam Harris Free Will Talk