I sometimes wonder about free will. Is there ever complete free will? We humans like to think that we have free will. The fact that I took the decision to write this article should be a tick mark in favor of free will, right? We wake up everyday and go about our routine because we, for all probable reasons, choose to do it by ourselves.
Then again, what if everything we choose to do is because of a multitude of factors and turns out whatever we do can be determined? Let’s consider the following thought for a moment: According to Heisenberg’s Uncertainty principle, we cannot determine the position and momentum of a particle simultaneously with high precision. But for a moment imagine we know the position and state of every particle and atom (practically impossible) and for a moment assume the movement of particles(electrons,protons etc.) within an atom are deterministic(frankly, I don’t know the science) and also assume we know the state of every other particle and pseudo-particle mankind knows about. So, we feed all this information on to a computer and simulate the movement of each and every particle and its interactions. You will have to know that computing the state of the universe would require computing power of such magnitude that I can’t even comprehend. But imagine we are able to simulate the universe on a computer, don’t you think we could, technically, see the future? It just might be that everything we do and every other interaction living or non-living objects have is deterministic. Every choice you make in your day is causally determined by the interaction between atoms in your brain which in turn might have been affected by the outside world.
On the flip side, if it turns out that on the quantum level everything IS random, free will might be a possibility. Even then, you might want to read up on this article:
According to the above article:
“In a 2008 study, volunteers were asked to push either of two buttons, and their brain activity could predict which button they would push up to ten seconds prior to actually pushing it.”
Well, the study isn’t solid enough but even then, you have to understand causal determinism of a persons’ actions is something which is being looked at closely by the scientific world.
What does it mean to us if there is no free will? Will it mean that whatever we do is simply a output of a “function” and we don’t really control what we are doing or what we are going to do? So, every choice we took up until this point of time was just an illusion and we would have taken the exact same choice anyway?
Well, I believe everyone will have these questions running on their minds some time or the other. Maybe the “action” we take to take a decision(and the thought process behind it) is so abstracted from fundamental quantum physics and its determinism such that free will is almost an outcome or a by product(or can be considered as such) of the processes that run the universe.
If you found the topic of free will interesting, you might want to read up on this too: