Why Can’t I Make Decisions?


The hardest thing for me is making decisions. I don’t know why that should be so difficult, though, because I don’t have free will. Nobody does. Do you feel like you have free will? Do you feel like you can choose A or choose B? So do I. I feel like I have the power to choose, the power of free will… but it’s an illusion.


A lot of people would disagree with me about this, I know. Their ‘decision’ to disagree with me will have been reached as a product of their genetic make-up and their life experience. They can’t just decide to act against what those factors dictate.

Imagine we’re all balls on a snooker table. A ball is defined by a combination of its physical features (ie- shape, smoothness etc) and its encounters with things in the environment (for a snooker ball this is mainly going to be other snooker balls and snooker cue tips). The ball can’t suddenly decide ‘I’m not going to bounce of the cushion the way all these other bastards expect me to! I’m going to leap off the table and chat up that pretty girl in the audience (for one thing, there’s no pretty girls in the audience at snooker matches). Similarly, humans can’t simply decide to act against the factors by which they are controlled.


But people are not snooker balls, you might say. How can you compare a complex, sentient, living, conscious, feeling creature to a simple, inanimate object? I agree that living creatures are certainly more complex than inanimate objects such as snooker balls, but what else makes us different? We are alive, yes. We are conscious, maybe. But we don’t even really know what we mean by those terms. The only thing that leads us to class ourselves as alive is the presence of energy; we don’t know where our energy comes from. Snooker balls have energy for a short time after they are struck by the cue; we know exactly where that energy comes from. So what else differentiates us from objects and why do we think that objects are constrained by their physical and environmental attributes but that we are not?


As far as we know, things in the universe are caused. Nothing ever happens unless it has been caused. The cause may be enormously complicated, it may be beyond our understanding but it must exist. Therefore, every decision you ever make has been caused by a massive chain of events which began at the creation of the universe. The moment the universe began, each and every one of our destinies was determined and unavoidable. There is no such thing as free will.

On the other hand…. what if there are some concepts our puny brains are just incapable of understanding? Infinity, for example. Or…. un-caused events? Free will. Oh. Bugger!


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