Free Will

By Sam Harris

3.87 - ratings 28,497

Belief in free will touches nearly everything that human beings value. It is difficult to think about law, politics, religion, public policy, intimate relationships, morality—as well as feelings of remorse or personal achievement—without first imagining that every person is the true source of his or her thoughts and actions. And yet the facts tell us that free will is an i Belief in free will touches nearly everything...

Book details

March 6th 2012 by Free Press
Edition Language
English

Quotes From "Free Will"

"A puppet is free as long as he loves his strings."
"You are not controlling the storm, and you are not lost in it. You are the storm."
"You can do what you decide to do — but you cannot decide what you will decide to do."
"Take a moment to think about the context in which your next decision will occur: You did not pick your parents or the time and place of your birth. You didn't choose your gender or most of your life experiences. You had no control whatsoever over your genome or the development of your brain. And now your brain is making choices on the basis of preferences and beliefs that have been hammered into it over a lifetime - by your genes, your physical development since the moment you were conceived, and the interactions you have had with other people, events, and ideas. Where is the freedom in this? Yes, you are free to do what you want even now. But where did your desires come from?"
"Losing a belief in free will has not made me fatalistic—in fact, it has increased my feelings of freedom. My hopes, fears, and neuroses seem less personal and indelible. There is no telling how much I might change in the future. Just as one wouldn’t draw a lasting conclusion about oneself on the basis of a brief experience of indigestion, one needn’t do so on the basis of how one has thought or behaved for vast stretches of time in the past. A creative change of inputs to the system—learning new skills, forming new relationships, adopting new habits of attention—may radically transform one’s life."
"Liberals tend to understand that a person can be lucky or unlucky in all matters relevant to his success. Conservatives, however, often make a religious fetish of individualism.

Many seem to have absolutely no awareness of how fortunate one must be to succeed at anything in life, no matter how hard one works. One must be lucky to be able to work. One must be lucky to be intelligent, physically healthy, and not bankrupted in middle age by the illness of a spouse."
"Compatibilism amounts to nothing more than an assertion of the following creed: A puppet is free as long as he loves his strings."
"A moment or two of serious self-scrutiny, and you might observe that you no more decide the next thought you think than the next thought I write."

Community Reviews

No Reviews

Advertisement

Advertisement

Topics

Advertisement