PUNCHING RIGHT THROUGH
to Free Will
Op/Ed By J. Strauss
There is no free will, anymore than there is what we all want to believe to be truth in the universe. The universe is too complex to deal with either of those terms. Higgs Bosons are so tiny they are smaller than a grain of sand compared to solar system. A particle that makes up an atom is so small it’s smaller than a grain of sand compared to the entire earth. And everyone knows how small atoms are. Beneath this reality we know to be the macro world there is a seething chaos of outrageous activity going on that makes what we sense here possible while at the same time making it impossible to predict or easily comprehend what is going on at any given time.
Free will exists because of belief systems formed by humans and followed by humans. The studies of twins separated at birth and now cloning allow us to understand that very little of what choices humans make are made without previous genetic predisposition toward those choices. Humans think facial beauty is some ethereal judgment about intrinsic quality while scientists know full well that it’s merely choosing the most symmetrical and average looking over other potentials for procreational purposes. Free will might best be defined as following a conclusion based upon studied analysis of the facts the conclusion is going to be based upon. But there are almost no facts to consider. Even measurements like the mathematical solution between the diameter and circumference of a circle are never clearly determined (that measurement is better known as Pi).
How can conclusions be arrived at if facts cannot be depended upon?
Giving in to the acceptance that life is not as it seems at all is very difficult for members of the human species. Three and a half million years of being on planet earth have served to allow a recent surge upward into what we now call civilization, but no such organized civilization existed for most of the millions and hundreds of thousands of years that went before. We humans are affected by those years. We humans don’t trust because of those years. Humans trust what they can eat and not get sick or die from. Humans trust what they see and hear but only so far as it supports their own comfort and survival.
The world today is not divided over the remarkable results science has brought to its plate over the last five hundred years. The world is divided today in what it believes, using the science to support ideas and dogma only when the science agrees with those ideas or that dogma. Christians don’t know if Jesus Christ even existed because they have so little science to support it, but billions believe he not only existed but sacrificed himself to another god no one has any evidence exists or existed either. Christianity is merely one of many belief system firmly held by most members of the species. Buddhists, Muslims and even Scientologists have hard wired belief systems that many of them kill or are willing to die for.
With or without such belief systems to modify what we all want to know is our own free will how do we accommodate this nightmare of conflicting quasi-knowledge based upon quasi-facts? How is it that any human can exercise free will and simply do what he or she feels is right in any given circumstance. Quite possibly this effort might be unachievable in the present or foreseeable future. If an effort is to have any success whatever it must start with the acceptance that facts are not true. Facts are opinions based upon measurements and supposed discoveries of those humans who’ve gone before of, if living, have dedicated themselves to studying what reality really is on the finite or infinite level.
This is where make-believe comes into play. In order to make decisions based upon our own free will we must make believe that some facts are real. If we are going to launch an effort to reach the moon than we must make believe that the science we are basing our effort upon is real. Having gone to the moon before, many people involved in the U.S. effort came to understand that the science wasn’t always right but somehow, because a lot of people made believe the moon was reached a number of times. No effort would have been made without both the foundation of belief and the inclusion of many scientific results.
There is no difference when it comes to exercising free will in our normal local lives. We must believe and that believing must be based upon learning and experience. Human beings live in too complex a world to test every hypothesis the might form, challenge or change beliefs. An acceptance of outside information must be made. Mass media and not so mass media must be evaluated for what “truth” can be gleaned from it. Reporting on the news is even less accurate than the news because it involved an additional step of putting another human in place as an evaluator, editor and administrator of the data. Opinion enters every decision made by all of us like water slowly leaking through small cracks in even the thickest of home foundations. All of this presupposes that to exercise free will means that we must be willing to accept being wrong. Science is nowhere near perfect. Already formulated belief systems are anything but true in every way.
The media is continuously and continually wrong. We know these things. In order to exercise free will we must accept those things as our truth. We must admit that there is only our truth for none other can be trusted. We must then make decisions and try. We must try out hearts out and when we are wrong we must try again. What are we humans doing when we do this? We are truly advancing the cause of logic in eventually understanding and ruling this universe that defies understanding and resists all rule.