The question of whether or not there is “Free Arbitration” concerns one of the most important existential issues and which, most likely, will never have an objectively verifiable answer.
First of all, let’s try to understand why human beings need to believe that there is a “Free Will”, that each of us can change their destiny and that their actions have a fundamental impact on life and the Universe around us.
The idea that everything is predetermined and that any action does not depend on who does it would tend to “empty” meaning of everyone’s life. It is important to note that this “meaning” is the simple result of an “egoic” vision. It is our ego that gives “meaning” to life since life does not have an objective meaning and every human being tends to give it their own.
“Free-will” somehow invests us with power. The power to be able to decide, to be able to act and, through decisions and actions to be able to modify events. The more ego we have, the more important the need for “power” will be. The less ego the less the need to make sense of life, the less important the faculty of having power and therefore free will become.
A rich human being will be pleased to have become rich thanks to his intelligence, his actions, his choices … What could be more egoic than this? A poor human being may think he can do the same and, in any case, he can get more out of life through his own behavior. A behavior aimed at obtaining benefits and / or emulating characters deemed admirable. Also, in this case, we are faced with a behavior dictated by the Ego. If both individuals were told that they are what they are only because everything was already predetermined, we would risk making them get depressed as we would empty their lives of meaning, we would kill their hopes and we would amputate their Ego that suggests to them that they are what are thanks to their dexterity, intelligence, obstinacy, strength etc.
A human being with a reduced ego who is satisfied with what he has, who lives day by day and who wants nothing, will not have great problems accepting the idea that there is no free will because he will continue to live day by day without plans and without expectations. Simply by welcoming every event as part of life.
The Ego, therefore, has an extremely significant weight on the denial of predetermination. I, being self-centered, cannot accept that I don’t have the power to change things and I cannot accept the fact that my actions have already been determined and that it can be a simple “puppet”.
Let us now try to look at things in another way. Imagine that there is an “Objective Universe” out there (understood outside our mind). Imagine that this “Objective Universe” is an “infinite” set of particles. The moment we “open our eyes” and begin to perceive, our “Conscious Consciousness” shapes what we perceive and thus creates the Universe that surrounds us. A bit like when we turn on the monitor of a television or computer while he is shooting a film and we begin to perceive it (see it in this case). The film has already been produced and cannot be changed, we can simply see it, feel sensations, get excited but we cannot change it. In the same way, when we become aware of the universe around us, we are faced with a film “already shot”. We are simply observers and we cannot change anything. It is only our Ego that convinces us to be able to alter events.
We need some notion of quantum mechanics to better understand thought.
Quantum entanglement occurs when two particles become inextricably linked, and whatever happens to one immediately affects the other, regardless of how far apart they are.
This means that the two entangled particles at any distance will be found will have the same behavior that will be determined by the observer (or observation tool). The extraordinary thing is that once observed a particle, the observation will influence the behavior of the other and, even if it had had a different behavior, somehow the “past” will be “erased” and this will be the same as that of the particle observed. (The quantum eraser experiment)
This experiment would demonstrate that there is no “Local Realism” as stated by Einstein but “reality” would be formed only through (conscious) observation. Although it may seem absurd, the bedroom in your home does not exist until it is observed by you.
But what does all this have to do with free will?
If the observer (Conscious Consciousness) “creates” matter through conscious observation that causes particles to collapse, it means that the Universe is nothing more than a probable creation that will take shape only when it is observed. Those particles still exist and maybe the only existing “objective” elements. Conscious observation will cause them to collapse and give rise to a “subjective reality”. The particles cannot be changed as they are objective. Only the perception of them will vary.
If we imagine we are observers / conscious consciences surrounded by trillions of particles to which, through observation, we will shape, we will not be able to change the flow or the quantity or whatever. We can simply perceive them (observe them) and our subjective reality will depend on the point of view (space/time) that we will have, and on our perceptive sensors. Nothing will change on an objective level. We cannot change the matter. We will not be able to change the “objective” universe. Conscious Consciousness is simply like a receptor capable of “decoding” the signals (particles) that it can observe.
If we move away from quantum mechanics for a moment and try to deal with the study of the brain and its reactivity, we will discover that before carrying out an action our brain receives an Input, takes Consciousness of it and then, with a temporal gap of delay ( that, although it seems minimal, if compared to infinitesimal temporal units of measure it is an eternity) we will perform an action. Experiments have shown that it is possible to predict the action of an individual (through brain monitoring) before he or she does it. This phenomenon highlights further doubts relating to the existence of a “Free Will”.
We will return to the topic of “Free Will” at other times. To face it without internal conflicts, however, we must put aside all the prejudices deriving from the Ego and open our minds to the extremely probable possibility that the Free Will is simply an invention of our Ego.