Is Free Will An Illusion?

I believe we have limited freedom, about 30% free and the rest is not under our control.
It is not our choice about:
~how wealthy our parents are so they can give us the best and ensure our future,
~how the genes we inherited affect our health and intelligence,
~catching diseases,
~getting into accidents,
~marrying the wrong person,
~the religion we were brought up with
and so on.

Here's what scares me.  Besides not having the power to choose how our life is set up for us, some say we can't do anything  using free will.  Even our thoughts are not free.

Some neuroscientists have said any decision you make is not truly free but actually determined by neural processes outside of your conscious control. It's like really being an android, not what we think of as human.

The quotes below are from the link Neuroscience and Free Will Are Rethinking Their Divorce

"Luckily, for those who find this state of affairs philosophically (or existentially) perplexing, things are starting to look up. Thanks to some new breakthrough studies, including one published last month in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by researchers in Germany, there’s now some evidence pointing in the other direction: The neuroscientists are backtracking on past bold claims and painting a rather more appealing account of human autonomy. We may have more control over certain processes than those initial experiments indicated."

  “A person’s decisions are not at the mercy of unconscious and early brain waves,” the lead researcher, Dr. John-Dylan Haynes of Charité - Universitätsmedizin in Berlin, said in the study’s press release. “They are able to actively intervene in the decision-making process and interrupt a movement. Previously people have used the preparatory brain signals to argue against free will. Our study now shows that the freedom is much less limited than previously thought.”

By this article I can at least have most of my thoughts free.  I can still hope that maybe my arbitrary estimate of 30% control of my free will is in my life circumstances, not in my personal thoughts.  Still not much but better than nothing!

Deep inside me I feel my free will.  Maybe not in my circumstances or accidental events but I still feel it.

Any thoughts you might like to share?


  1. John, I don't know what words to use to put my thoughts here in proper perspective, but the way I look at it is : no, you don't have *control* over everything that happens, but you always have a *choice* as to how you will handle the situation.

  2. I would think it is judged on an individual level and not something you can make a blanket statement about. Many reject their "upbringing". Some get utterly disgusted with their circumstances and just turn and walk out the door and never look back! I would thing that requires more than a 30% control or one's thinking.Many are slaves to their thinking I agree but "breaking free" is an option.I lot of it has to do with dependence on the "herd mentality". good post

  3. There are some things we have no control over as you mentioned. However I think the neurons and nerve trackings can be trained to respond in a certain way. When athletes retrain their muscles to respond in a certain way they refer to muscle memory. I think the way we think and react can be trained in much the same way.

  4. We don't have control of so many things in our lives.
    When we are going to die, that's usually out of our control Every year we all pass our death date and time.
    Medical conditions are usually heredity, science has helped us over come some of those illnesses.
    We choose our spouses, some people choose wisely and fall in love with the right person, their soul mate. Others learn the hard way.
    And so on - that's life, we are not totally free and never will be, for there is always someone telling us what to do!

  5. Whatever percentage of our lives that we control, we should try to make good choices. Of course that doesn't always happen!


I enjoy reading your comments.
I'll visit your blog.


Recent Posts Widget