Free Will Implies We Have Control Over Our Lives

Jonathan Morris Schwartz
6 min readFeb 24, 2022

We do not

Photo by Ryan Moreno on Unsplash

Your thoughts are an afterthought

Imagine, like hamsters, we lived our whole lives, for generations, in a cage with a running wheel and some wood chips…and that’s it.

Our lives and behaviors would be formed almost entirely by our limited environment (a Truman Show-like existence.)

If we co-existed with the hamsters, we’d both periodically get on the running wheel since there’d be nothing else to do with our lives.

We accept hamsters have lesser evolved internal thought and just randomly get on and off the wheel by sheer impulse, yet we believe our actions begin with conscious thought, something like, “Gee, it would be nice to think about getting on that hamster wheel…I’ll think about it…and maybe I’ll do it.”

That’s backward.

Our brain, all by itself, unconsciously, determines it’s time to get on that wheel. Then our conscious brain, that little voice in our head that sounds like us, narrates what we’re doing as if we decided it first.

We did not decide it first.

We’re basically living a few seconds behind ourselves.

We follow our brains, not the other way around.

You still decide around the margins

Your brain (you) develops like a living organism reacting to its environment, genetics, and the development of neural pathways that possess a life of their own.

Our brains perceive a vastly richer, deeper, multi-dimensional universe of sensation, reality, and consciousness than our other organs.

Without our developed brains, we wouldn’t produce the advanced, evolved, neural pathways so brilliant at narrating the days of our lives as they’re happening.

We’re still evolving, it’s possible, in the distant future, our thoughts will catch up with our pre-determined impulses and we’ll have what we think we have now…true free will.

Psst…but don’t worry, our brains paint with a very broad brush. There’s a lot of wiggle room to roam free and do all the sinful things we associate with free will — sex, drugs, rock n’ roll…

Jonathan Morris Schwartz

Jonathan Morris Schwartz is a speech language pathologist living in Ocala, Florida writing about love, politics, philosophy, and consciousness.