Free Will Isn’t Real (and that’s ok)

Free will is an illusion. There’s no scientific evidence supporting this thing we all feel called “free will”. In fact, there’s plenty of evidence to the contrary. Free will is just a feeling, and it has no bearing on reality. It’s not real, but that’s OK. I’m gonna tell you why.

Free will isn’t necessary. People seem to think that without free will, life is meaningless. Well, that’s simply not the case. Without free will, you can still have goals. You can still have dreams. You can still fall in love. Everything that gives life meaning is still possible without believing in the notion of free will. In fact, some of these things become easier.

For example, if you don’t believe in free will (which you shouldn’t, because it’s bogus), then you won’t blame yourself as harshly for your past mistakes. You just learn from your mistakes and move on. If you realize you’re wasting time, or you’re letting your emotions get the best of you, or you raise your voice to someone you love… You can take a step back and see things from outside the whole equation. You can see that all these things that happen are outside of your control. So you just do your best.

That’s another thing that doesn’t change. Ordinarily, we just do our best with whatever life throws at us, right? “Free will” wouldn’t affect that at all. Does it matter if we have this obscure concept of freedom? No. We just continue doing our best. When life gives you lemons, you make existential lemonade.

It’s OK not to have free will. It’s liberating. The realization of the illusory nature of free will is akin to the realization of true freedom. You become free from all the mental constraints that have been bogging you down. You become free from self-judgement, and you become kinder. You become more empathetic towards people, because you know, with 100% certainty, that if you had lived their life you would have done the same thing.

We make choices, of course, but every choice we make is determined by factors outside our control. Do you control your genetics? Do you control your upbringing? Do you control your environment? Do you even control your own brain? No. You control nothing except the illusion of a steering wheel inside your own head. Your brain does all the heavy lifting without “you” ever needing to do anything.

That’s another flaw in the free will idea. The assumption of free will also implies that there exists a “you” inside your head who is making all these decisions. Go ahead and try and find this “you”. Where is it? Search your mind and try to pinpoint the place where “you” lives. It’s not fucking there. Because there is no self. You are consciousness which merely inhabits a body. You are not the driver. You are a passenger.

It’s OK to be a passenger. We’re all just along for the ride, so we might as well look out the window and enjoy the scenery. There’s nothing inherently wrong with being on a ride. It’s just the way things are. So chill the fuck out and remember that the people around you haven’t chosen their lives. And neither have you. Just live it the best you can and try not to be an asshole to people you love.

Or, just say “fuck it” and do nothing. Whatever works for you.

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