04 July 2010
Very Quick Post on Free Will
I have been looking for a way to describe a seeming contradiction in my thinking about free will or our lack thereof. That is the whole chicken and egg thing around if one has no free will, how can they possibly ever effect change in their own life. Ultimately, it comes down to rewriting our electro-chemical programs by changing the people we associate with, the food we eat, the exercise we do, the sleep we get, etc.
I think it comes down to something to nudge you in a different direction, then that nudge becomes a cascade of positive (or negative) results.
Nicholas Nassim Taleb who wrote The Black Swan and Fooled by Randomness (the better of the two IMHO), tweeted something that I think says it well.
"Unless we manipulate our surroundings, we have as little control over what & whom we think about as we do over the muscles of our hearts."
So it's not simply deciding to do something differently, we have to change our environment, i.e. do something in order to set up the conditions to make a change.
I would add that external forces can change the surroundings as well. Think of the woman who tells her husband that his breathing is broken at night.
OK. That's it. Happy Independence Day weekend for those in the US, Belarus, Argentina, Algeria, Burundi, Malawi, São Tomé and Príncipe, Solomon Islands, and Venezuela.