Free Will: What Is It?

Dr. Michael LaitmanOpinion (Vadim S. Rotenberg, Ph.D., professor at Tel Aviv University): “It is generally accepted that free will is one of the most important human values​​. But do we truly have free will? Does a person have free will? Can he act according to his own desires, or is his behavior completely determined by the conditions of his existence and the various environmental factors that affect him?

“On one hand, considering simple arbitrary actions (I want to raise a hand and I raise it), free will seems obvious. But this does not make people different from animals. The main manifestation of freedom is the personal choice of a variety of real possibilities.

“The factors that affect us often contradict each other or complement each other, and it is impossible to calculate the single algorithm of these relationships. Such factors include our beliefs, formed in the process of personal development, relationships with others, momentary impulses, and more.

“Freedom is not to ignore all of these factors, but to be able to form holistic behavior in interaction with them, which is aimed at the target. Ignoring them is not a manifestation of freedom from them, but arbitrariness. Arbitrariness is different from freedom of will is not merely by the absence of prediction of results of one’s behavior (this prediction may be wrong), but by at the lack of the very intention to make this prediction.

“Free will is the freedom of choice of many potential opportunities, and it is limited only to a holistic sense of oneself, one’s personality, one’s image of ‘Self,’ which does not make it infinite, but fills with meaning. It may seem paradoxical, but this restriction defines a person’s freedom of will as opposed to arbitrariness and to animals that have physiological feelings, but there is no image of ‘Self.’

“The human being may not be free from himself, but should be in the world with self-image. If a person has no feeling of himself and the image of ‘Self’ has not been formed, he has nothing to do with the freedom that is afforded to him; it will result in destroying arbitrariness, and fearing that he may choose dependence on others. It is a profound problem of personality.”

My Comment: There is no freedom of will in our world. It is possible only if a person has an opportunity to rise above the nature of our world (egoism), which completely determines our decisions and behavior. See other posts in the freewill category.

Related Material:
A Person Doesn’t Have A Choice
Involuntary “Freedom Of Will”
The Connection Between Free Will And Morality

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