Sunday, June 28, 2009

On Free Will

Not a big post--I composed this as a simple comment on Pharyngula, but it got a bit big, so I thought I'd post it here, too.

Our free will, or its illusion,
Is the source of much confusion;
We make choices all the time, but can we say that they are free?
Mind and body in cohesion
Make us think we are Cartesian,
But the whole of modern science makes me want to disagree!
A causal mind’s existence,
Though a meme of some persistence,
Has the weight of long tradition, but the evidence is slim.
Our environment controls us;
Though Cartesian thought consoles us,
The truth is, we’re reactive, and we never act on whim.
Even my creative rhyming
Is controlled by sound and timing
And a history of consequences leading to this end;
Rhymes appear as chosen freely,
When the truth is different, really—
There are multiple parameters to which I must attend!

(Parenthetically, I mention
That “free will” will draw attention
To the action and its consequence, but little to its cause;
The resulting shift of focus
Makes it seem like hocus-pocus;
Through a bit of misdirection, it appears we break the laws!)

1 comment:

Sara said...

I'm very fond of this... as free will has been on my mind a lot lately. I went to a wedding yesterday where choice was made out to be a sacred thing... it really sorta solidified in my mind that due to reading/hearing out certain scientific research I'm fairly convinced that free will doesn't really exist - but a majority of people still think it does. (sorry about that, there should be an edit on these things)