Free Will

For those who want to expand an understanding of definition an agent of a free will.

🚀 The Book in 3 Sentences

🎨 Impressions

How I Discovered It

Sergei Sukhov suggested, during our discussion of collaborative activities.

Who Should Read It?

Person who wants to expand an understanding of definition an agent of a free will.

☘️ How the Book Changed Me

How my life / behaviour / thoughts / ideas have changed as a result of reading the book.

✍️ My Top 3 Quotes

📒 Ideas

A role of free will in our everyday activities is nothing more than a game of chance. The role of luck is decisive.


  • The key question that the author was looking into: are we of conscious origin? Is our mind conscious, can we be held accountable for choices we make and actions we commit on an everyday basis?
    • Can we make any sense of life?

The short answer to this question is no. But we are here not for brevity.

  • The concept of free will rests on two fundamental assumptions.
    • That each can behave differently than they did in the past.
    • That we are the conscious source of our thoughts and actions in the present.

But honestly speaking, it is not strictly speaking the truth.

  • As Benjamin Libet demonstrated, using EGG to determine brain activity.
    • Our brain sends the first signal to action 300 ms after the initial though is occurred in the brain.
    • The only viable conclusion out of this is that we don’t know what a soul can do, we are not in control, but something is.

So the crucial question is: Are we agents of free will or not?

  • If we are, then we need to be aware of factors determining our thoughts, action. What is more importantly is that we have to have a semblance of control over them. And this brings a funny paradox.
    • If we are, we exert control on behavior. We influence actions and thoughts.
    • But the question is what influence our influences? Scientists have proven again and again that we are a lump of emotions, irrational thinkers.
    • Nothing controls the storm of biochemistry. But we are not lost in this storm we ARE the storm.


Several opinions on the topic of a free are discussed.

  • Deterministic.
    • The approach that they preach is based on the belief that behavior caused by the background, thus free will is an illusion.
    • The are often confused with fatalists. But that’s not true.
      • As it turns out, people with less freedom are more free. Restrictions make our choices easier. [Freedom by Sebastian Junger] → [[Одно из определений свободы]]
  • Libertarianism.
    • Nothing in common with widespread philosophical movement.
    • Nothing more to say. [Look into it].
  • Compatibilists.
    • This approach in the only respectable way to endorse the notion of free will, according to Sam Harris.
    • The main claim is that a person is free as long as he is free from outer compulsions.
      • Compulsions that prevent him from acting on actual desires and intentions.
    • Some may say that it reminds them of religion, and they will be correct in their estimation.
      • Compatilibists views strongly remind us of theology. But we don’t wish to think that the nature is stronger, cherishing an illusion that we are in control.
    • Solve the problem of a free will by literally ignoring it.

By looking at cause and effect in the perspective of evolution the only possible conclusion that comes to mind, is that it utterly unpredictable, not just, but in principle.

  • Take a look e.g. on determinism.
  • If it’s true, then the future is set, this notion puts our minds in a certain state. ^f2ae62
    • And our subsequent behaviour is subject to laws of cause and effect.
    • And thus transforms from determinism into indeterminism.
    • Who can claim and take credit for what has happened?
    • We can’t find any combination of truth that is compatible with a concept of a free will.
  • Emergence of choices, done efforts and sparked intentions are highly mysterious process. Just monitor life to find as many proofs as you need.
    • This trio, though, influences a behaviour, also part of the chain of causes, that precedes conscious awareness that we exert control over.

We have to interpret and reinterpret the meaning of life constantly.

By doing this we improve ourselves, and work with the forces of nature, free will is nothing but the nature at work in its best. Yes we make every decision, but nonetheless they are made from neurological point of view, patterns in the brain plain keyrole and maybe the only role in our behaviour.

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