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Do you believe in free-will or is life predetermined?

Topic #251: Do you believe in free-will or is life predetermined? Bonus questions: How do you know? Even if you…

Topic #251:

Do you believe in free-will or is life predetermined?

Bonus questions:

  • How do you know?
  • Even if you believe in free-will, could your belief in it be per-determined?
  • Does this topic bore you?
  • Did you choose to be bored or was it something beyond your control?
  • I want to stop adding to this list, but I can’t stop myself. Bullets are fun – wheeee!
  • I seem free to choose how I think about adding to this list, but not free to choose if I can stop or not. Perhaps I’m free to think about how I think about my freedom to choose, but not free to actually behave differently.
  • What is willpower, and how does that related to free will? Do some people have more free will than others? How do you know?

See Free Will and Determinism.

33 Comments

  1. Oh, Scott—today I am going to have to pick my own topic. You see, philosophical discussions and I don’t mix sometimes….I do believe in free will; I think I am hard-wired to long for God [but since I believe in free will I do not consider that pre-destiny. Sometimes I don’t recognize that the internal longing or yearning is a hunger for God or a desire to follow God’s will. Anyway—I posted today about creating a blessing jar http://believeanyway.wordpress.com/2011/09/15/do-your-christmas-shopping-now-with-the-blessings-bottle-my-own-post-251/
    It is a continuation of my post yesterday about counting my blessings.
    http://believeanyway.wordpress.com/2011/09/14/counting-your-blessings-my-own-daily-post-topic-for-91411/

  2. I definitely believe in free will and here’s why: We first encounter freedom as the freedom to act. Satisfying our biological needs frames this freedom. Free will and all it entails, is not just a response to biological stimulus, however. The freedom to avoid the unpleasant and pursue the pleasant has the indirect effect of creating the environment out of which all other freedoms are expressed.

    On another level, a higher level, phenomenological freedom allows us to ask questions (pursue inquiry) while theoretical freedom allows us to determine the logical consistency and reasonableness of our answers (analysis). Scientifically speaking, our answers are verified through reliable predictions as they relate to aesthetic experience (the freedom to appreciate the significance of our sensations–witnessed events, beauty, love interests, etc.), and, also, sociologically speaking, these answers hopefully motivate the behavioral changes that result in emotional growth, culminating in psychological maturity.

    In other words, as a dynamic process, freedom (free will) is continually being discovered in the “universal limiting space that defines it.” As knowledge accumulates, for instance, life’s expectations and goals may change. The value and meaning of relationships may change. What at one time was sought for pleasure and comfort may, with increased understanding, become unpleasant, and so on and so forth. It seems then, at least from this point of view, that free will and human life are/is the same thing.

  3. I strongly believe in free-will. The fall of mankind is never pre-determined. Adam and Eve were given freedom to choose and consequences were given ahead, when God cautioned them not to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

    While it is also true that God can forgive our sins, he can’t take the consequences sin brought.

    NICE TOPIC! I may sound Biblical, but yeah that’s my conviction. Every decision we are making are our choices, not other’s choice and that determines our future. ^_^

    ~LAF

  4. I think that some things in life are predetermined but it is up to us whether we follow that path or not. If we’ve gone off the chosen path you know it as it feels like a struggle. Sometimes people know in early childhood what calling they have been given while other times one has no idea. If things seem to click into place easily and feels right then you know it is the right choice. We always have the freedom of choice which path to follow in life. Sometimes when we stand in the fork of the road we don’t always make the right choices and suffer the consequences. We do have the free will to follow which path we take in life. If it is the right choice you know in your heart.

    1. Right on. This sounds very similar to Taoism. Not exactly, but close. I think sometimes people take the magic out of the interwoven tapestry of life. Perhaps “coincidence” isn’t as we call it, but more life trying to direct us down a path. We can still decide not to do down that path, but perhaps it will create more tension in our lives.

      Do you think life continues to try directing people back to their path?

      This is a beautiful concept because it allows life to have an ideal “predetermined” direction, while still allowing us to go our own way.

  5. ‘Do you believe in free-will or is life predetermined?’
    I say yes to both. We have freewill even within a predetermined-purposed life path. We can choose to follow a designated path or go away from it. Like taking a car trip. I’ve got a destination and my journey is mapped out (predetermined) but then I choose to take another exit (free will choice) and end up somewhere else. Doesn’t change the idea that my journey was predetermined nor the idea that I have the freewill to follow it as planned or to make another choice and follow it.

    Bonus questions:
    ‘How do you know?’

    The earth was here when I showed up. So you could say my life was predetermined to live on earth. I can’t change the fact that I was born to be here, I am here. But I do have free will to choose how I am going to experience this earth while living here.

    ‘Even if you believe in free-will, could your belief in it be pre-determined?’

    I’m saying yes based upon the idea of someone being able to see everything all at once that can see the entire outcome and is able to make this known before I was ever born. Seeing that I would choose to believe in free will and then stating this would happen before I ever showed up. I ask you, pre-determined by whom or what?

    ‘Does this topic bore you?’

    Not at all. It is a worthwhile topic to consider, asking questions of this nature, has the ability to affect the way we choose to live. Freewill allows us to make choices even within the events that are occuring all around us without our direct influence. How we respond to a circumstance is directly related to the way we think. Solution oriented or problem oriented. And no one can really do our thinking for us. Even allowing someone else to do our thinking-choice making for us is of our own choosing. We grant others permission to do it for all sorts of reasons. Fear of what will happen when we make a change is a biggie.

    ‘Did you choose to be bored or was it something beyond your control?’

    Define bored. Bored means different things to different people just like fun does and even Love. While events may be beyond our control as in natural disasters, our attitude and view of how to respond to them is totally of our own choosing. It takes the same amount of exertion to be happy as it does to be sad or angry, to keep going or give up, etc.

    ‘I want to stop adding to this list, but I can’t stop myself. Bullets are fun – wheeee! I seem free to choose how I think about adding to this list, but not free to choose if I can stop or not. Perhaps I’m free to think about how I think about my freedom to choose, but not free to actually behave differently.’

    You did stop adding to this list so…who stopped you for you? Is it I can’t stop or I won’t stop? You have the ability to decide which one it is. Free will.

    ‘What is willpower, and how does that related to free will? Do some people have more free will than others? How do you know?’

    Will power is the ability to control one’s own choices by acting on a chosen thought or not acting on it. Free will is the ability to make decisions for oneself based upon one’s ability to reason.

    Some people have more free will than others based upon what their own world view is based upon. What thoughts they put the most focused emphasis upon. We all have the ability to change our minds. It’s just that we are creatures of habit and tend to favor our creature comforts more and do not like to have our nests disturbed. We are not fond of making changes. I know because I live amongst fellow human beings. And family is a great way to see this action. Same environment, different responses to life.
    Thank you Scott for your thought provoking questions. :)

  6. I believe that we all were predestined to be here, at this particular time and place. I also believe that, God gave us free will. Therefore, we get to decide what we do.

  7. Without going into a lot of detail, I would have to say I believe in a bounded free will.

    As to what places the limits on our free will, that’s another topic for discussion ;). It would seem that we can’t do something unless we can first think it. Because I can imagine life being predetermined, I believe it could be.

    Topics like this never bore me, they are intriguing.

    Finding this topic intriguing wasn’t a choice but a series of choices that began with my unique natural state of being. Regarding willpower, that is a discipline, a form of self governance. It would indeed be related to free will as it keeps one from acting on every thought they have. Someone with willpower can think something, then step back and realize just because they COULD, doesn’t mean they should.

    The potential for free will is limitless. Actual free will would vary from person to person. Free will is an exercise. You choose to do use it. Those that continually follow would have less free will than someone that regularly makes their own decisions.

    But the potential would always remain the same.

  8. I believe in Free Willy!
    This topic needs some time to think about….How does free will work in the whole nature-nurture and talent bussines? Even if it’s not predestined, some things are more likely to happen, right? hmmm… I can’t escape my talent and (thus) love for art, this determines what I do with my life, so free will? I’d like to think so, but then again….

  9. My free will is bounded by my personality and auto programming from my Influencers in life and experiences.To the extent I can be aware of those limiting choices and unlimit them, is my free will expanded. So I believe in free will within a predestination.

  10. There is only free-will.

    What I don’t believe is that free-will has been granted by some supernatural being. EVOLUTION has given humanity the capacity to consider the consequences of our individual actions but nature is indifferent to it. I think that is what offends the religious the most.

  11. Many are the plans in people’s hearts, but the Lord’s will prevails. – Proverbs 19:21

    I form the light and darkness, I bring good and create evil. I the Lord do all these things. – Isaiah 45:7

    For everything comes from Him, and exists by His power, and is intended for His glory. – Romans 11:36

    I used to believe whole heartedly in free will at one time. While we are riding high in our own accomplishments, we are blind to God working in our lives. It’s only after we’re made weak that He is made strong. His power is made perfect in our weakness.

  12. We’ve actually tackled this thing during our philosophy class. Most of umy us in the class insist that we could have them both. Although my professor would say otherwise, I believe that God gave us the opportunity to experience a lot of things such as making wise decisions. Still, in the end, I also believe that there’s this thing called ‘destiny’ at the end of our journey.

  13. without a doubt your life is pre-determined.. Think Back to the times where you could have gone in one direction but went in another directions. Did that choice (free will) change your pre-determined fate?

  14. Hi!
    To answer your question, yes, I do believe in free will.
    I think that every conscious action we take is a demonstration of that same will. That, I believe, doesn’t imply that there isn’t a predetermination in what we do. Perhaps is fate or destiny or perhaps not. But I think that this ‘predetermined’ factor is majorly manifested in our tastes and type of action. For example, I think that due to our tastes (that are developed by pre-determination -our blood connections- and by free will) that we are meant to do something.
    But it’s not a forced fate, simply because being who we are we wouldn’t be comfortable doing anything else. However nowadays, more than ever, its complicated to form a ‘unique’ personality since this is the time of masses and idols and everyone wants to be the same as everyone else and in the way they don’t understand that we are special by being unique.

    No, this post didn’t bore me. It’s actually the very first comment I do because this post interested me greatly.

    And I do hope my way of thinking will be of use to you and not too confusing (to me it makes sense. Maybe it’s just me that can’t convey in words what my mind tells me), and I understand perfectly if you don’t want or can agree with me. Everyone has their own opinions. That’s the point.

    Its funny thought, that you can’t stop adding bullets ;) I’m like that when I get carried away too. But if I stop for too long, goodbye, I quiet. I’m just too lazy for my own good.

    Kiss Kiss
    Ja ne
    AM001

  15. Free will does not exist. There is an illusion that we do something because we want to do it. But there is always some background reason that made us do this or say that.
    Even when we do something obviously selfish (which, we might think, means we do this strictly because we want it – which is what free will is all about), we are being led to our decision by our weak ego or immature character.
    When we do something noble, we are led by our ethical principals, our Code of Honor, if you wish.

    To my mind, it makes perfect sense: just like energy does not come from nowhere, our decisions (or at least intentions) do not come to us from “nowhere”, either.

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