Sam Harris challenges the notion that we have free will, the freedom to make choices and decisions. Here Sam presents his argument , that of his book entitled ‘Free Will’.
We are continually making decisions about the actions that we take, perhaps believing that we are in command of our thinking. This may not be the truth of the matter. At any given moment, we make a choice seemingly of our own free will, however, the choice is made on the background of what we know, what we don’t know that we know and what we don’t know that we don’t know.
The underpinning neuroimmune activity that emerges as a conscious thought or a decision is influenced by many factors, some more immediate such as how we are feeling, who we are with, what we have been doing and thinking, and some more inherent involving our beliefs about the world, our culture and other environmental factors and experiences that have sculpted our neural networks.
Understanding where our thinking, decision making and actions come from can be a very useful way of optimising these emergent properties. Cultivating the awareness without judgment permits one to stand back and observe the process in order to make changes that seek to enhance performance. A method that I employ with individuals can be termed the inner mentor or coach which is essentially the development of a range of tools that can be used to this end.
So, if you think that you have freely decided to read this blog, check out the lecture and the book and then perhaps think again. That is up to you. Or is it?