Free Will: My Take

After reading Sam Harris’s Free Will, these are the thoughts that I emerged with.

The key takeaway is that there is no reason to be angry or disappointed at someone for anything that they do. They didn’t do that action out of their “free will”. They did that action through their whole lifetime of influences: upbringing, environment they were raised in, genetics, education, intelligence, birth defects, life experiences, etc… If you were in that person’s position, truly being that person, you would’ve done exactly the same. Your reaction to that person’s actions, also, are a result of expectations you have because of all the things that every influenced you, namely the same list above again: family, upbringing, genetics, intelligence, environment around you, birth defects, etc…

Why don’t you like macaroni¬†that much but LOVE rice? Preferences. Where do those preferences come from? I don’t know. No one knows. It’s the result of all those above influences shaping you and your tastes and your life since you were born. When you read the Free Will book, you had the thought of making this blog post. When you had the thought, you decided to actually follow through and make it. Why? I don’t know, you had a desire to do it that emanated from all your life’s influences. Why did you even get that thought in the first place? You don’t know. It originates in the subconscious before it reaches the conscious. Some people can read a book and be really influenced by it, while others can read it and just put it down as useless. Do any one of them know why they have that preference? No, it’s those influences again. We ultimately don’t know the origin of our thoughts and all the influences that affect us. Even as you write this sentences, you don’t know what you will write next. It all springs randomly in the unconscious mind before it reaches the conscious. Even your decision to switch tabs and look at Facebook came from the unconscious. Thus it really is imperative to realize that people are who they are and it’s a result of a lifetime of influences. Don’t force your expectations or be angry at people because of your expectations. For your expectations are a result of a lifetime of different influences than theirs, for if you switched places with them, you would have in exactly the same manner as them.

Before getting angry at people or being so very hateful and unforgiving, truly put yourself in their shoes and embody them. You will realize they have no choice about how they feel and how they behave, for you would’ve done the same if you were them. Any negative reactions you may have truly are unfounded.

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