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Agency – Do We Have Free Will?

Agency – Do We Have Free Will?

One of the things most misunderstood is the concept of free will. Most people have the misconception that we all have free will and (more or less) can “do whatever we want.” In reality, this is actually false. While we have the ability to make certain choices, those choices are all constrained to certain norms on average, based upon the reward of dopamine. As Dave Pollard writes about a year ago, “Everything we do is dopamine-driven, based on experiences that have, through positive reinforcement or coercion, dictated our entirely ‘unconscious’ behavior since we were born. There is no ‘us’ somehow apart from these evolutionarily conditioned animal bodies, to intervene to do things differently.” Now, Dave explains why assigning blame is pretty much useless and nothing more than theater here. Nate Hagens adds this to the mix.

A little more than a year ago, I wrote an article about blame because of the amount of blame I was seeing constantly in the groups I am a part of. It’s true that there is more than enough blame to go around; but at the time, I was seeing the assigning of blame as a complete waste of time and wanted to encourage those engaging in it to discontinue the drama. It’s always easy to point one’s finger away from oneself; but in reality, one often may as well be standing in front of a mirror. As the facts in that article (and many others I have written) bring to the forefront, we simply do not have the agency we often think we do. It is this assumed thought process that we have agency (which in reality we don’t) over these things which lead to hubris, arrogance, and denial of reality which inevitably lead to optimism bias.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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