We don't have free will

Have you ever wondered whether we have free will or not? Sam Harris claims we don’t and his arguments seem quite convincing to me.
We might all be a mere observer with no freedom of choice nor freedom of feelings.
What do you think?


I certainly don’t feel in control of my own life.

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I’m putting this in unusual beliefs preemptively.

Count me down for believing we have free will.


I don’t believe in free will either.

We have no choice over our genetics, our genetic programming.

We have no choice over our environment. We grow in the womb, we are born, by then our previous genetic and environmental programming is in control and determines how we will act, what we will do and how we will feel.

By the time we are adults and theoretically have free will to do what we want, our wants are all determined by programming we had no choice over.

P.S. This is also why I believe our criminal justice system should be about rehabilitation not punishment. Rehabilitation is about changing how an inmate will act in the future, why punish someone over things they had no control over.


Dear @Markus a lot of people suffer from intrusive thoughts, thoughts that are against their will.
People who suffer from intrusive thoughts are definitely not free.
I believe a free person should be able to choose his thoughts and think only about things
he wants to think about.
I used to have a lot of intrusive thoughts, this went much better since I started olanzapine 2.5 months ago.


We don’t have free will. The idea that we have seems absurd to me. Free from what? What are you free from? Conditioning and biological predispositions?

Where would it come from? Somewhere outside you? Or that there’s a little you pulling the levers inside your brain? So you are that little you inside your brain?

Theres no free will just from the fact that we don’t exist. Nobody ever died because nobody was ever born. Nobody ever existed, its a haunted universe.

It can even be demonstrated, you are not your body and you are not your brain, you’re an idea, which is fiction.

You’re not your body because people who have lost their limbs are still people, just without limbs.

If you’d be just your head or even less, youd be a brain in a jar, would that still be you? There are people who have lost large portions of their brain and they’re mostly functional people, some can even work.

There are certainly some parts which are essential to human organisms survival. Like the brainstem. So are you your brainstem? Mr/Mrs brainstem?

If you say you’re your body and the brain, then where do you draw the line? Theres air going in and out of your lungs, is that a part of you? What about the food you eat, once it’s digested is it a part of you and before, when in your stomach, its not?

What you’ll find is your’re not localized anywhere, so you can’t possibly be free.

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We have a strong sense of apparent free will.

I do think I agree with Sam Harris across the board… I mean all I’ve heard him talk about.

It’s still a preference to see a fate based universe versus that of choice, especially with a scientific perspective recompiled into the philosophical debate.

I think a lot of who can actually kill the idea of the human soul are proud of ourselves, because it’s obviously true that nothing metaphysically spiritual is going on here to us… and so many others has such strong psychological barriers that prevent them from finding any comfort in the face of what it is the apex of existential crisis.

Out of all the madness I’ve experienced, the jostle between being a machine or being a soul never phased me. I really don’t care.

It was already on my mind today so I’d going to divulge into a philosophy here.

There are so many overbearing forces in life that make us see life as linear. You’re born, you live, you die… a timeline. You have a work week. Monday-Friday… it tests your patience. It leaves you pining for that freedom of having a choice in where you are and what you are doing. Then there are social obligations that befuddle that sense of freedom and leave one once again trying to find patience to make it to it’s next blip of freedom.

Patience is all about filling time… it just sets up a paradigm of thinking that linearizes life.

And that’s not necessary the case, nor do I think being forced into that perspective is good for human beings.

The world is a collection of fields. Fields we used to be able to explore. I think it’s important to maintain that perspective. Each city is a field and each country side. It’s important to know your freedoms and understand why we are limited in order to maintain respect for all… it allows you to see that you are still free.

The world is a platform, not a timeline. The sun comes up and goes down… however the sun is always shining somewhere. It’s a question of physics and placement of astrological bodies… not so much one of a timeline from within our perspective.

I say all that. Because if you realize that the world is a platform… and you can see all the different things you could be doing instead and know what it’s like to contemplate what you want to do most… you’ll find that even those who really want to hold to the concept of destiny would be scrambling to really keep that perspective together.

Patterned life seems very mechanical but stable. Free form life seems like a gamble… We are free to chose any combination of the two and the two opposites there are what straddles the line of this paradox and the vibes on either side spell out someones comfort zone.

Honestly both have their risks. The gamble can kill you, but the patterns can lead you to want to kill yourself.

I pick and chose how I want to feel about it as I’m stuck doing x or y… me buying patience and psychological health. I do prefer to see the world as a field and not a character in a timeline… it feeds curiosity, modestly, playfulness, less emotional demands on the moment… there is always another coming (even though they are technically the same as each moment is just a progression of all preceding… la la la).

Anywho that’s my two cents…!

I think God just does what he wants and we suffer the consequences. I used to think God was all good but I know now he has an evil side that makes us suffer while others reap all the good.

I first read this as we don’t have free wifi. :face_with_monocle:


It doesn’t matter if our will is free or not, as long as we carry it out with compassion. If not believing in free will impedes this in you, find a different belief.

I honestly don’t know. A lot of athletes have great willpower, but sometimes I think they are just blessed with hormones and physical capacities that enable them to excel at their events. I wouldn’t say that in any athletic locker room, though.

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Harris is an extremist, most scientists and philosopher says that we have a limited free will.

We have choices every day. To me, that means free will.


It’s not so simple. Ur asking if we have a choice really. U cant have a verbal conversation about the concept, it’s an idea that has to be felt, not said. Are we always figuring out the best thing to do, or do we refuse to do that because the choice dies once we eliminate options. U prolly wont know in this life, but u will get an explanation in the afterlife i’m sure.

Sam Harris quotes the neuroscience of people like Libet (1999) who have found that our decisions occur subconsciously before we consciously make them.

Generally people – including philosophers and psychologists from Plato to Watson – have thought that our silent self-talk (in fact very quiet self talk, since these days it can be recorded at our vocal cords) is our thought and our will when in fact it is the product of our subconscious thought.

The voices that schizophrenics sometimes hear can likewise be recorded at our vocal cords.

There are various theories as to what our self talk is. Jonathan Haidt (cool psychologists, on youtube) claims that since our self-talk comes after the decision, self-talk is excuse making. Haidt claims that self-talk is like a press secretary. We think to talk and justify our actions.

Higgins (1987) and before him Adam Smith (1770, 1778), the economist, say however that self talk is like a mirror. Even though self-talk comes afterwards, if we keep narrating ourselves then we represent ourselves to ourselves and in doing so motivate ourselves to work harder and be more moral.

Libet also found that while we do not have free will, in the conventional self-talk sense, we have “free won’t” in that when in our self-talk we really can’t justify an action (that we have already decided to do) our inability to justify ourselves sometimes acts as a veto to prevent us from going through with that action.

People (at least Western people) in front of mirrors behave more morally. They are motivated to behave in a good ways, not cheat, volunteer, and be honest about themselves. For example children doing Trick or Treat when told to only take one piece of candy from a bowl often take more than one if no one is looking. But if a mirror is placed behind the bowl, then they see the action that they have already decided to do represented in the mirror, and stop doing it (Beaman, Klentz, Diener, & Svanum, 1979).

Since we generally think our self-talk is our will, and that we are the hero of our self talk, I guess we are kind of back to front time-wise. I wish Pans were still here to explain.

Beaman, A. L., Klentz, B., Diener, E., & Svanum, S. (1979). Self-awareness and transgression in children: Two field studies. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 37(10), 1835.
Haidt, J. (2001). The emotional dog and its rational tail: a social intuitionist approach to moral judgment. Psychological Review, 108(4), 814.
Haidt, J. (2013). The Rationalist Delusion in Moral Psychology. Youtube video
Higgins, E. T. (1987). Self-Discrepancy: A theory relating self and affect. Psychological Review, 94(3), 319.
Libet, B. (1999). Do We Have Free Will? Journal of Consciousness Studies, 6(8–9), 47–57.
Smith, A. (1778). An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. London: W. Strahan.
Smith, A. (2002). Adam Smith: The Theory of Moral Sentiments. Cambridge University Press. (Original work published 1770)

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To support the thread title, I will supply a personal anecdote, I don’t choose who I fall in love with. They choose that I fall in love with them.

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I think prisons here are called Correctional Institutions rather than Penal Institutions.

Speaking for the mentally ill, I don’t think we have as much “mind over matter” control as a healthier mind. We might think we know better than we actually do.


I believe in free will…you can choose whether to believe in God or not…simple as that…biggest decision you will ever make…God is real.


I make decisions every day some times even change my mind. So yes of coarse we have free will.

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