Free Will Is An Illusion


Just finished watching Westworld (season 1). It’s a brilliant show. Throughout the show, they have shown that ‘hosts’ despite being stronger and smarter are being controlled by human beings because they don’t have free will. They kinda lack consciousness. I also write sci-fi. So I have to read a lot (obviously). If you take your ‘free will’ for granted, you are in for a surprise. What if I told you that even human beings don’t have free will. You’re not free. You can’t decide for yourself. You can’t control anything. Free will is just an illusion.


Real life human beings (including you and I) can’t produce voluntary movements or even thoughts. There is no such thing as voluntary. Many neuroscientists and physicists including Roger Penrose, Stuart Hameroff, David Bohm, Robert Lanza and Deepak Chopra have contributed a lot in the field of human consciousness. There must be others but I haven’t read all the books in the world. Their theories, research works and models are mostly based on quantum mechanics and neuroscience. Their works without any doubt are mind-bending but there was this legendary scientist, Benjamin Libet, the pioneer in the world of human consciousness, whose work is downright terrifying. In his famous Libet’s experiment, he proved using an electroencephalograph (EEG) that ‘free will’ is an illusion. He found out that the brain activity involved in the initiation of the action occurred hundreds of milliseconds before any conscious decision was made. How unsettling is that! A conscious decision is not responsible for movements. However, conscious brain still has a power of veto (free won’t) over the decision that the unconscious made hundreds of milliseconds before. It just feels like we are controlling our thoughts and movements but in reality, we aren’t. And no, it’s not God either who controls these things. It’s much deeper than that.

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