Do We Have Free Will?

Dilemma from anonymous:

"As human being is our fate predestined or do we make choices and employ free will"


Our fundamental value of liberty would be wasted if the very existence of free will is illusory. Moral liberty takes root upon the premise that each individual chooses to act in either the "right" or "wrong" way. American liberty preaches a dream which can only be accomplished through again choosing and manipulating one's destiny. Yet, what if there is no free will?

Empirically, I have free will. I make choices. Everyday I am given a choice to live in a certain way, to do a certain thing, to write, to think, to participate in the universe's harmony, or to isolate myself and lay in bed, thoughtlessly. Actions, are agents of free will. On the soccer field, I have the choice to shoot or to pass. In my car, I steer the wheel in the direction I desire. At my table, I eat the food that appeals to my palette. And in life, I associate with those I choose to.

When I look back on all my choices, they seem less than genuine. I cannot imagine my life in which I chose a different path at times. That is why people often think of destiny as a consumer of choice. But in reality, it is simply the consequential nature of our choices which guide this belief.

And if we have choice, what is the nature of our free will? I would contend that much of our choice is systemically rooted in societal, cultural, and peer influence. Our brain is molded by numerous external factors--a case that can manifest itself within the truth of fate over free will--yet, our individual heart seems to always glimmer through. So our free will is superficially limited, but it exists. To neglect free will, is to degrade the value of the individual, and history has shown a single person can change the world.

Free will does not in contrast degrade destiny, rather it converts it from a rigid path, to an open ended equation--with a real answer. Our belief in destiny is partially out of fear. The idea of a greater answer, a predestined life, takes weight of the individual and justifies immoral actions. When one engages in their humanity, accepts their moral obligation, and indulges in the beauty of free will, that is when the true individual is born.

The Wise Kiwi Has Spoken