Thursday, January 03, 2013

Free will is expensive.

I tried explaining to Amanda that it is 2013. She doesn't understand the concept of numbering years. It's good for logistical purposes. A few weeks ago The Nightmare Before Christmas was on television, and it was too scary for her. Now she wants to watch it. Is it about facing fears, or a desire to stay up late?

I read an article about William James, and how he spent his life going through one miserable ordeal after another. He was ready to kill himself, but he decided to try an experiment first: He would spend a year taking complete responsibility for all his circumstances. His life turned around, and he went on to become a renowned psychiatrist.

I've decided to give this a try. For example, it's colder than a witch's naughty bits, and while I can't control the weather, I'm working outside because my choices have led me to be in an industry where sometimes I work outside. Puls, I can leave anytime I want to. I choose not to, because I prefer having a home and food for myself and my family over a few hours warmth.

Of course, if we live in a predetermined universe, this musing over free will could all just be a part of the universe's clockwork. So could that last sentence. And this one... Another possibility is that we are directed by our subconscious needs and wants (or addicted to the chemicals certain emotions produce in our brains) and that our conscious choices are an illusion. For example, you can't use logic to talk someone out of a conviction they've reached through emotion. (This, of course, applies to everyone except you and me.)

The point of all this isn't just saying "mea culpa," over and over, it's the realization that if you're responsible for your shitty circumstances, you can make choices that would change them. I've written this here before, but we have to answer our own prayers.

But thank you to everyone who's helped out.



String said...

Yes, a bit of inner peace helps me, something I am trying to cultivate, with the right food, warmth, and personal surroundings!

Tony LaRocca said...

Thank you String, wishing you health and happiness from this side of the pond. :)