It depends on the definition of free will.
The free will vs. determinism debate has become an interest of mine for several months. In fact, my new understanding of both free will and determinism is what pulled me from being a pessimist to becoming an optimistic realist.
As a side note, this new understanding is what I consider to be a “red pill” moment. Meaning, it was hard for me to swallow at first. But once I did, I started to feel a bit liberated. I also realized I couldn’t go back to the way I perceived life anymore. Therefore, it pretty much cancels out about 90% of my posts in this blog from its core meaning but I don’t intend on deleting any as I’ll explain later.
In regards to definitions, the common definition of free will is the ability to make decisions/choices independently of something else, prior to making them. Whereas, the common definition of determinism indicates that all decisions/choices are dependent of something else, prior to making them.
I agree with the common definition of determinism but not free will. However, I feel they are compatible only because I understand free will to mean something different than the common definition. If someone were to ask me if I believe free will based on the common definition, I would say no. The common definition of free will is like saying a leaf you found on the ground did not come from the branch of a tree, it just came into existence on its own, which is not true.
The way I understand free will is that it serves only as an enhancement on determinism in the form of an illusion or facade. In simple modern terms, what Instagram filters are to photos is what free will is to determinism. You can have determinism without free will but you cannot have free will without determinism. It is only called free will because it’s a form of decision making that appears to be free from some other cause but is really just an illusion.
Every decision/choice we make is based on our biology (nature) first, then environment (nurture). Nothing is ever truly “random” according to universal laws of nature. If anything was random, the world would definitely not be what it is now. If randomness were possible we could change our biological blueprint, the biological blueprint of our offspring and other people, our mental capabilities, our likes and dislikes, our parents, etc. But we can’t just change any of those things. We have restrictions and some are more obvious than others.
The reality we currently experience is derived from fixed universal laws. If you are very observant (which I’ve been for the last fews years but not of my own choosing, of course) you’ll start to unravel the true unpleasant aspects of life that have been covered up by the facade of free will.
An easy example to understand would be like a kid who puts a lot of effort into their Christmas list only to find out that the presents they receive during Christmas wasn’t actually based on their own free will towards Santa’s request to be a “good kid” all year long. Rather the presents were from the parents as a form of celebrating a holiday. There was a fixed agenda by the parents to give presents. But because just giving presents isn’t as pleasant as the Santa story, the Santa story is what takes place. And because many people are just not ready for the truth, it’s just better to sugar coat their lives with free will in the form of a “Santa story”.
So if determinism proves that, down the the very core of our nature, we have zero control over the choices we make, and that law of attraction is really just sugar coated bullshit, then why should anyone try to be good, think good and do good? And should we still hold people accountable for any destructive actions?
To answer both, we are mortal beings, we have emotions and should still hold everyone accountable. Being mortal and having emotions are two traits we are obviously determined to have with zero control because you can’t just snap your fingers and magically become an immortal being with zero emotions. If you do, by all means tell me how you did it. Also, do you really think you have the free will to change your own belief system into thinking people should not be held responsible for any destructive actions? Probably not.
So going back to why I don’t intend on deleting most of my blog posts, especially the ones that contradict my current understanding of free will…
My belief system about choices and decision making have evolved but hasn’t completely trashed a lot of what I wrote about. I like to have these optimistic posts there as inspiration for those who have not experienced being “red pilled” on the shitty aspects of life. Not everyone is meant to understand the core nature of determinism and that’s perfectly ok because many aspects of life should just be kept under the rug. If I were to read this post 5 years ago, I wouldn’t understand any of it and would probably feel happier if I just kept being “blue pilled”. But forces, not of my own control, have lead me to observe it and then write about it.
I used to believe free will in the common sense. I used to believe we had control of our own destiny. I believed luck, serendipity and coincidence were bullshit. And I always thought people were responsible for their own success and failure. I believed in all of these things until many of my own experiences and observations of others in the last few years proved these things to be the complete opposite.
The many experiences I started to have over the last few years did not line up with my optimistic outlook in life. No matter how good of a person I was, no matter how hard I worked towards any goal I had, my life went from almost constant effortless success to crumble and fail over and over again. I no longer started to “attract” the vibes I was putting out for years and it pushed me to a point where I eventually transitioned into a disappointed optimist, also known as a pessimist. I started to realize that the control I thought I had over my destiny in life was no longer available to me anymore, especially after witnessing many incidences where unethical people and situations continuously had the upper hand on things. It confused me for quite some time.
After much observation, I realized everything deals with luck. Life is just a constantly evolving form of Darwinism. Whatever is happening during the evolution process will determine if you are going to benefit from it or not based on your biology and environmental adaptation. Therefore, your luck constantly changes, for better or for worse, without your consent. And this year, 2020, is a great example of how luck works and how life evolves without notice.
Understanding this has lead me to stop blaming myself for things that go wrong along with all of the unfairness in life but still take responsibility for my actions. And even though it’s all experienced through fixed determinism, I just sprinkle it with the facade of free will in the form of optimism and I’m golden!