I listened to a science podcast with a snippet from a norwegian scientist talking about fruit flies and humans. Fruit flies are driven by biology and instinct and have no free will, in contrast to us humans who have free will since we think and make choices.
It is easy to see this as a little naive. Why draw the line between free will and no free will there?
When I explore free will for myself, where do I find it? I look at thoughts, and find that they happen on their own. I bring attention to choices, and find the same. I notice a thought, a choice and an action, but cannot find causality. I notice a thought, choice and action, and a story that “I” did it, but this “I” (the doer) is just a conglomerate of sensations and images.
I can also take any simple choice or action, explore its causes in a conventional sense, and find that there appears to be infinite causes for any choice or action. Always one more. And one more. Stretching back to the beginning of universe and out to the widest extent of the universe. Can I find room for free will? Is free will neccesary?
But there is also wisdom in talking about free will since it helps us take responsibility for our chocies in a conventional way. It makes good sense to act as if we have free will, at least until (if) that story falls away on its own through thorough and repeated investigation.
Here is one way to talk about what is going on: The idea of free will, as anything else, has infinite causes. This idea of free will becomes one of many causes that helps us take responsibility for our choices and actions. This in turn influences these choices and actions, helping us to act in a more responsible way. And in the midst of this, we can investigate to see if there really is free will. Can I find it anywhere?
- free will
- thoughts, choices, actions – happen on their own
- where draw boundary between free will and not? (flies = no free will, humans free will b/c of thoughts + choices, why draw the boundary there?)
- helpful in a practical sense, but no reality
- flies=no free will, humans (thinking, choices) = free will
- easy to see as a little silly, not examined
- but also wisdom in there, b/c helpful to act/believe as if we have free will (help us take responsibilty), until we examine it more closely
I listened to an interview with a norwegian scientist who talked about flies as having no free will, in contrast to use humans who have free will since we think and make choices.
But why draw the line between free will and no free will there?
When we explore it for ourselves, can we find free will anywhere? Doesn’t thoughts and choices happen on their own, as anything else?
But there is also a wisdom in talking about it that way. It helps us take responsibility for our chocies in a conventional sense.