Sikamikanico (bendiviolet) wrote in hautethought,

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Free Will

One of my major sources of thought provocation is Scott Adams' blog. Sure, he's best known as the Dilbert cartoonist, but his cynical/controversial spin on the world often leads to interesting posts. (Okay, okay, I think the man is an unheralded genius).

Anyway, in this post* he writes about free will - how we often think we're exercising our free will when we are not, and how corporations, governments etc manipulate us this way. After reading what's in that post, I'll add an example: the oft-cited statistic that around 85% of people will turn right upon entering a store, approximately co-relating to the proportion of the general population who are right-handed. Well I'm left handed and I usually turn right when I enter a store, through a life time of conditioning that that's where the most interesting stuff is.

Besides, how much free will do we really exercise in life? Think of all the things we "have" to do. There's the matter of obeying the laws, then take it down a notch and we have to go to work (or Centrelink, or whatever), then on the next level we have to eat enough vegetables, be polite in company, repair the air-conditioner...then getting down even further to where the guilt kicks in, if I'm passing someone collecting for the Salvation Army, I "have" to give a few dollars...

Do we really exercise free will in our lives, or merely live according to the unwritten rules society has set up through convention to prevent all from being chaos?

* In writing this post, Adams obviously wasn't thinking of John Howard. Nevertheless, you'll kind of have to read it to get my point.
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