Life presents us with a large number of choices.
Right now, for example, you don’t have to be reading this; you could be doing countless other things.
If you think this post will ultimately be of value to you, perhaps you will continue reading. If not, probably not.
Even if you continue reading, however, you may get distracted by a ringing phone or a crying baby and stop.
After all, many things outside your mind compete for your attention. And, at times, there are as many, if not more, vying for attention from inside your head.
Who decides what you will focus on?
If you observe what your mind is doing, you will see that ultimately you decide. You decide not only what you’ll exert your mental attention on but also whether you’ll focus your mind and think at all.
The name of this ability is free will.
Free will is the ability to choose whether to continue reading something, as you are doing now, or not. It is the ability to choose what you will or will not do in any sphere that’s open to you. And if you observe your brain at work, particularly in moments where you must decide something of importance, its existence becomes clear—so clear that an honest person would consider it undeniable.
Contrary to what you can observe for yourself, however, Sam Harris argues in his latest book that there is no such thing; that free will is an illusion.
Now this, I submit, is nonsense.
It is nonsense on a surface level.
It is nonsense the deeper you go.
It is absurd from start to finish.
And although there might be someone, somewhere, who can come up with some conceivable reason to read this philosophic gobbledy-gook, my own view is that life is too damn short and I do not recommend it.
But you are of course free to decide whether to buy what Harris is selling, and so I’ll leave you to do that now.