Do you think you are free? We feel free to a certain degree right? We have freedom of speech, freedom of press and…well just go search up the Bill of Rights will ya? We also feel free because we are making tons of decisions everyday: what should I wear to campus today? what am I going to do now that I see an elderly woman having trouble crossing the road? These are decisions that make us feel free because we are choosing; but are these choices sovereign? Did we make them based on our own free will? Do we actually have free will? The answer is no, and I am going to explain why.
Our Choices are Not Sovereign
I think we can at least all agree that when we make a choice, we are making it based on a combination of our beliefs, preference and the circumstances right? When person A choose to wear cotton casual to campus, A did it because:
1) belief- A believe that comfort is key
2) preference – A really like cotton material
3) circumstance- A don’t really have an image to uphold and A thinks that people of his campus are not very judgemental about appearance.
This seems plausible right?
So why is our choice not sovereign?
First thing first, circumstance is an external factor, which makes our choices not autonomous.
Secondly, our beliefs are determined by our past experiences – the reason why A think that comfort is key is because he had experience of having unproductive days when wearing anything less than casual. Hence, this also make our choices not autonomous.
Thirdly, our preferences are a result of both our genetic wiring and exposure in the past – you can be lactose intolerant because it runs in your family or A could really prefer cotton wear because he grew up wearing it all the time; developing that preference as a result. Hence, this also makes our choices not very autonomous.
As you can see, our choices are arguably not sovereign at all.
Although we feel free due to us making decisions all the time and whatever freedom the constitution may grant us, our choices are not sovereign. If our choices are not sovereign, how then, are we truly free at all? Is it not possible that we can never and have never been free? I like to equate life to a chain of dominoes. The moment we are thrust into existence, the first piece began falling; and the domino chain will continue falling until the last piece while we are powerless to change its course.
*Yes I also just realized that this concept runs in contrast to my belief of existentialism (as pointed out in the very first post) where we are free to craft out who we are after we are born. However, I did make the point that existentialism is a useful belief, especially as a basis of motivation. Although I may recognize this concept of null freedom as a more accurate representation of our lives, I will defy cognitive dissonance and engage in doublethink (a term coined by George Orwell in his book, 1984) to hold those 2 beliefs simultaneously; for my own sake.