Free will is an illusion.
It’s even worse: it’s a totally incoherent.
Sam Harris wants to convince us understanding this actually matters and can change everything.
The popular notion of free will rests on two assumptions:
1. That each of us could have behaved differently than we did in the past. You choose chocolate but could have chosen vanilla.
2. That we are the conscious source of our thoughts and actions.
Both are untrue. The truth is that we live in a world of cause and effect: the buck never stops. All events are always preceded by a specific act.
This is a highly unsettling little book. If all this is true, what to make of our decisions about the people we love, the work we do, and maybe most importantly: can we ever take responsibility, for both our good and bad deeds?
One thing I will be doing is take a deep-dive into Harris’s work. At least one decision I’m making deliberately.
Well, I think.
Sam Harris, Free Will, Free Press, 96 p – 2012