Sheer Cussedness: The Essence of Free Will
By Ross Rhodes
My concept of free will arises from my sense that I can make a decision, a choice.
The future of the physical world depends in some measure on my choice. The physical world will evolve in one way if my choice is A; and it will evolve in a different way if my choice is B.
I sense that my choice is not a product of the evolving world itself.
I believe that the destination of the water in this precariously perched pitcher is not predetermined by the configuration, the state, of the universe at the moment of creation. I believe that perfect knowledge of the conditions of the universe -- existing at the moment of creation and up to and including the time I begin my contemplation -- will not allow prediction of the destination of the water, because the destination depends on my choice. Neither my choice nor any deterministic process leading to my choice exists at the time I begin my contemplation.
I believe that perfect knowledge of the conditions of the universe existing at the time I begin my contemplation will result in an unremarkable prediction: the water will remain in the pitcher, precariously perched, until some process already in the works (and in the works since the moment of creation) culminates in a gust of wind, or the breaking of a covalent bond, or an earthquake, or whatever, that sends the pitcher and its water one way or the other.
I believe that such a prediction based on perfect knowledge will be correct and will come to pass – unless I choose to act.
I believe that I may choose to act, or I may choose not to act, at my whim.
I believe that my choice may be entirely arbitrary with respect to the state of the universe immediately prior to the time of my choice. I believe that perfect knowledge of the conditions of the universe -- existing at the moment of creation and up to and including the time I begin my contemplation -- will not allow prediction of my choice.
I believe that I may act out of sheer cussedness if I so choose.