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.