The topic of Free Will has many dimensions and definitions, most of them based on opinion, misinterpretation and conjecture, and yet I find that the topic must be viewed with skepticism due to the unquestionably deterministic nature of this reality. Free will can only be properly defined as an exceedingly limited and highly charged term of art to satisfy and legitimize larger philosophical and theological systems of thought. I’m looking at the Judeo-Christian tradition of its conception of free will as a legitimizing component for the belief in “God.” The narrative that God endowed and gifted His human creations with “free will” was a crucial concept in formulating the free will aspect of God. The theological definition of free will is wholly based on this narrative, which is nothing more than the patently specious metaphysical imaginations of the priests and the laity, as there is no possibility of anyone independently verifying the free will attributes of a “Supreme Being.”
Free will is also often confused with “free choice,” another highly charged definition and concept that is employed to reinforce and legitimize the liberal concept of “human freedom” within the constraints of capitalism. Yes, one can exercise their “free choice” by walking into a store and choosing between shirts, but one is limited to the stock on hand and the amount of money one carries. And here we come to one of the two crucial determinant factors of the negation of free will that has not been considered in this thread: one’s access to money. The other of course, is the environment.
If I want to buy a Toyota Tacoma, yet do not have the money to do so, my free will has been overridden by a force outside of my control, the price of the truck.
If I was born the lowliest peasant in a Darfur refugee camp, my prospects of achieving the Nobel Prize in Medicine would be non-existent.
No amount of free will in the universe would allow me, under the current social and economic conditions, any workable trajectory from refugee to a world-famous physicist without extraordinary intervention. The environmental conditions alone would impede my mental capacity through malnutrition to a harshly debilitating extent even if I was lucky enough to escape the far more likely event of starving to death. Free choice is used as a buffer then, against existential anxiety within a world of deterministic events. Even someone who could acquire the means to live a life of self-directed will must accept an uncountable number of forces and events that will impede and limit choice. Even within the theological conceptions of free will must fail as God – if one accepts such a fantasy – denies each creature the choice of where and to whom one is to be born. (This is the main reason abortion infuriates the theologians and the laity, as this is viewed as an unacceptable overriding the Free Will of God by women).
The biggest determinant that limits the free will aspirations of most people is the access to money. We have all accepted that the most “rational” mode of socialization is the process of buying our survival from others. This mode has caused nothing but inequality, poverty immense and unnecessary human suffering . Free will cannot fix this problem because free will is an illusion . Perhaps ironically, it will take a will unimaginable to solve the problem of inequality by changing the current program from one where mankind serves money to one where money serves mankind.