Ok Foosters, it's time to don the thinking caps and put your brain to work (since I know you aren't doing that at work ). The question of the day is this:
Do we have free will?
I would love to say we do, that our actions are governed by nothing but our own minds, our own choices. To have anything else would be antithetical to human nature. To absolutely know that we are, in fact, not controlled by ourselves, but by some unseeable force, would be devastating. Why would we want to continue on as we do if our choices are not our own?
But here's the thing. We don't have free will.
I'll pose two ideas about why this is, and then we can let the discussion flow.
First point: Scientists have found that long before we are consciously aware of making a decision, our minds has already made it.
This means that if you "decide" to suddenly raise your right hand, up to 7 seconds before you've made that decision, your brain already knows you're going to do it. 7 seconds. Count it off. 7....6....5....4....3....2....1....Pow. That's a long time. How does your brain know before you do? What is controlling that? You can't consciously make a decision without being directed by your unconscience.
Second point: Every moment in time has happened, is happening, and will happen. Just as the Tramalfodorians in the book, The Slaughterhouse Five, tried to explain to Billy Pilgrim, time does not exist as we think of it, with a beginning, an end, and a middle. Every moment that happens will always happen and has always happened. If you don't believe me, think about this. Again, count to 7 and lift your right hand, and then go back to reading this....................There, did you do it? Good. Where did that moment go? The one you just had. Did it just disappear? What happened to it? Many people are proposing that nothing just vanishes, it stays in that moment. If that's true, then everything that comes after that moment always has been.
These two points, when combined, provided a pretty secure idea that we do not have free will. But even if we don't, it's still much better to pretend.