Do I have free will?

There’s a single skittle lying seductively on the floor, it’s been there for at least two days, that I’ve noticed, for those two I’ve asked myself “is it worth it?”. I eat the skittle. Have I simply decided I want this skittle so I will eat it, using purely free will or are there underlying biological, psychological and physical factors making me pick this slightly melted yet flavourly undamaged sweet off the floor and put it in my mouth, despite obvious pathological risks? This is an easy one to answer… Kind of, probably. There’s absolutely no way of saying yes or no for definite but it’s most likely that at least one thing I’ve experienced in my life has compelled me to eat it. Free will is a funny one, most people that believe in free will do so because they think “I don’t feel anything making me do this” but just because you don’t feel it, possibly doesn’t mean it’s not there.

The story of Oedipus tries to show that we’re controlled by fate, I’m not sure of all the details but I’m pretty sure Oedipus got abandoned at birth by his real parents (Ricky and Bianca) and was adopted by two new parents (we’ll call them Phil and Sharon) however he doesn’t know that he’s adopted. Oedipus gets what to be fair, is a pretty inconvenient prophecy which says something along the lines of “I don’t know how to tell you this, but you’ve got to kill Phil and marry Sharon”. As any decent upstanding Greek mythological figure would do he runs off, but he’s pissed. On his way, he runs into a man and for some reason, he kills him (questionable move). he then finds the widow of the man he just killed, falls in love with her and they eventually get married. It all worked out in the end… But wait there’s more, Oedipus has only gone and unknowingly killed his real dad (Ricky) and married his real mum (Bianca). I guess what this whole thing is trying to say is that there’s no escaping fate and whatever’s meant to happen will happen, no matter how much free will we think we have.

Oedipus inspired a lot of people including Sigmund Freud, and he kind of agrees with the moral of the story. Sigmund Freud noted psychologist, cocaine addict and an all-round weird guy makes the argument that everything that we do is a result of ongoing unconscious processes that are a result of our childhood experiences. He seems to think that kids are way hornier than they actually are and if our needs aren’t satisfied as children it shapes our behaviour when we’re older. Freud proposed that there were different “Psychosexual” stages that a child must pass through, but somebody can become fixated in one stage. One of these stages is the oral stage, if a child gets fixated in the oral stage then it’ll be more like to seek oral stimulation later in life. So that lone skittle I found so enticing earlier may have just been me craving oral stimulation as a result of a lack of mouth on boob action when I was younger.  Although this idea seems like something a person off their face on cocaine would come up with (which is exactly what it is) It gives us an idea of the things that go on behind the scenes when we decide to do something.

This, like most questions people think are deep and thought-provoking, just doesn’t matter. If I have free will I do what I want to do. If I don’t have free will, I do what I’m told to do by me, so I’m doing what I want me to do, so I’m doing what I want anyway. People just don’t like being told what to do, even if it’s themselves telling them to do it. People also don’t like thinking that they’re fully responsible for their own actions, so they attribute them to anything they can. So, although there isn’t a real answer, it just doesn’t matter and If I see something on the floor that I want to eat, I’ll eat it.

 

 

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What is the meaning of life?

Before we answer the question “what is the meaning of life?” we must first ask ourselves, why the fuck do we care? If you think about it there’s one of two options: 1 -There is a meaning of life or 2 – There isn’t. If there is a meaning to life there’s nothing we can do about it, it’s predetermined.  We’re doing whatever we’d usually do and are unknowingly carrying out our “purpose” simultaneously. If we have no purpose, then we’re all individuals doing our own thing for our own reasons. It essentially makes no difference whether we have meaning or not.

What could the meaning be?

Biological

Although it’s not a nice answer, from a biological point of view you could probably argue that every animal’s sole purpose is to have sex with another animal and then to make sure their kid lives long enough to do the same. We’re just here to make sure that our DNA gets passed on, like some sort of sperm and egg filled delivery vans. Then what’s the point in passing on our genes, what’s the end goal? Well I think scientifically speaking everything that’s living on earth is just a freak accident, so we have no overall purpose as a species, we just came into being through a right place right time kind of deal and now we’re all just doing what we want but we’re ultimately controlled by biology.

Religion

Let’s say for a minute that there is a God and he made us in his image and he keeps us entertained. Religion gives a lot a people an answer to this question, we’re here because God put us here, our lives are for us to form a relationship with God and to prove that we’re worthy of going up to heaven and doing heaven stuff.  Okay, this is a really good answer to the question if you’re religious but even if you are surely it’s a bit annoying to think that we’re here to spend our lives proving ourselves worthy of a relationship with some guy that doesn’t even show up. It’s like getting stood up on a date but then having to stay in the restaurant because you want to prove that you’d be a good partner if they had shown up. So, our purpose on Earth is to follow rules written by a fruity bearded guy around two thousand years ago, given to him by a bigger, fruitier guy with an even bigger beard and then by doing this we get given eternal happiness, this doesn’t sound like a bad trade.

Simulation

This is where it’s actually fun and I take back everything I said about not caring if we have a purpose because I 100% want this to be the meaning of life. Somewhere in some universe there’s a group of “people” sat around a computer watching me trying to cut all the circulation to my finger off with a rubber band for the second time in one day, thinking “we evolved to be so intelligent that we could make a planet-sized computer that was capable of producing simulated people with a full range of behaviour, thought and emotion and this fucker’s about to cut his own fingers off.” The whole reason that we’re here is that we were made by an advanced civilisation to be observed. All we are is a game of Sims that somebody has spent far too much time playing. Only our creators know our end goal and unless somebody pulls a Truman Show type stunt and talks to them we’ll never find out.

A girl sat in Costa wearing a beret and glasses with no lenses

“We give our own lives meaning, we live, laugh and love.” And then probably something about avocado or pizza.

So what’s the answer?

In my eyes, this is a simple one: it doesn’t matter. I couldn’t care less if I’m here for a reason or not. I’m happy just being here and seeing what happens.  As pop godess, Madonna once famously said “life is a mystery”, and who are we to question her.