Thursday, June 25, 2009

Free Will and Society

Well, we are given freedom for the last 30 minutes from our FreeElec3 - Advanced Web Design and Program to do whatever we want and I decided to use it to write on this blog. I just have to write something about the discussion we had earlier on another subject.

Society Can Either Make or Break You
The new professor have an interesting way of presenting the lecture and ideas. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to catch our first meeting last Monday because of some conflict in my class schedule. He mentioned an excerpt from a theory concerning society. He said something along the lines: "Society can either make or break you."

His Idea of Freewill
Then he asked if any students would like to contest this saying. After a few seconds of silence, he explained his opinion. He is standing by his belief of freewill. As his reason, he gave an example. He mentioned a certain community where lawbreaking is rampant. He said that in this community, drug running and use is everywhere, gangs are all around and violence is everywhere. He said, "If you are living in that community, would you also be like them?"

After the class, I approached him and I asked about the his class' conflicting schedule with another laboratory class. After discussing the possible solutions on the schedule, I offered to give him an essay expressing my idea of freewill.

My Idea of Freewill
Honestly, I don't believe in freewill. What I think is that freewill is just an illusion. There is no such thing as decisions based on your freewill. My idea of freewill is based on some kind of domino effect. Let me explain it further.

The domino effect I am mentioning is basically cause and effect. When a domino falls down, it trips another domino. When that second domino falls down, it trips another one and the cycle goes on. I believe this is also true with everything, including society.

Freewill and The Domino Effect
Now, to concentrate on freewill. A simple example on the application of my idea of freewill is when someone bumps on to you full force. Of course, if he is larger and stronger than you, you would surely fall down. If not, he would simply bounce off. Or maybe if the force he hit you with is equal to your static force, then nothing happens.

That is the same way as freewill on his example, except that there are some ideas not mentioned in the example of community of violence. First, a person can be swayed to become like them if he does not have strong enough personality. A person can resist if he have a strong personality. But where did that personality come from?

This is where the domino effect comes in. Maybe in the past, he was brought up with a good conscience and a religious background. Now, the past comes in effect on his decisions. In reality, all of our decisions are not based on our freewill but on memories of things that we have encountered. Your decisions are not out of freewill but on ideas and concepts you have taken in in the past.

Of course, not everything in the past directly affects your decisions. It may be argued that some parents were brought up by abusive parents, but now they are caring and thoughtful of the well being of their children.

Well, my theory about the domino effect is still in place. Not all dominoes, when hit by another domino will fall straight like the past. Maybe it was hit in the sides and it sent it falling sideways. That is the same with the abusive father example. Again, this is not freewill in work but circumstances working together to create a certain situation. This is the same even if the father also turned out to be abusive to his children.

The Water Ripple Effect
In terms other than the domino effect, we can use another example, which I think is more appropriate. Have you ever seen a water ripple from a single drop? After the water drop hits the surface of the water, it breaks the tension and sends ripples outwards.

The water ripples can be considered as the effect and the water drop is the cause. This is also applicable in all of the things in this world, including society and behavior. This can be seen in everyday living.

From a single action, the effects can spread out like a ripple, passing from one person to another. The effects could be, like I have said earlier, either negative or positive. A certain action can push a person to a certain decisions.

To conclude my explanation, let us look at a new born baby as an example. Everything that will be done to her in the next few years will change the way she decides in the future. Essentially, everyone around her, either knowing or unknowingly predestines her actions in the future.

But looking closely, that baby's parents are also predestined to do those things. Therefore, if we want to understand everything about society's behavior, the origin, the water drop that started the ripple, is the place to look.

1 comment:

  1. Like you, I'm quite sceptical as to whether or not free will exists. Particularly I agree with your point about what people are 'predestined' to do. It's hard to have free will when most of the choices you're allowed to make are limited by fate.