We could think of ‘free will’, or ‘personal agency’ not as a binary state
Of, say, ‘complete free will’ or ‘mindless automaton’
We could instead think of it as a ‘continuum’
Or a scale (from 0% to 100%)
Perhaps humans are highest on the scale
But do you
Do you have ‘100% free will’?
You make your choices
And you were shaped
By environmental circumstances
The way you recoil automatically from a hot stove
Or ice cold water
Before your conscious mind has the chance to get involved.
Multiple studies of the brain
Have shown that
We make decisions
Before our conscious mind is aware of them
And that the conscious mind
Works a little more like ‘the PR team’
And a less like ‘the president’
Insofar as the conscious mind
Finds ways to justify what was done,
After the decision was made.
Another related point
There seems to be some agreement
Amongst people who are a lot smarter than me
That a certain amount of quantum mechanical randomness
Is ‘built into’ the electrochemical processes of the brain.
It’s built into everything
But the point still stands
Put another way
It seems that
You’re behind the control panel
And you think you’re pulling the levers
But the device is operating under its own power
The device is doing a great job
Of making you think that you’re in control.