Although the challenges of life may often leave us with the impression we have no choice, many still believe in free will. But does it really exist? And if it does, do we actually use it? If it doesn’t, what’s in its place? If you take a closer look at what free will is, and who’s really in charge, the short answer is: Yes, free will exists, but most of us are not using it.
What is Free Will?
The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy* describes it as follows: “Free Will is a philosophical term of art for a particular sort of capacity of rational agents to choose a course of action from among various alternatives.”
According to this entry, which explores the varying options and variations of explanations of free will, there are different types of free will. The author points out, for example, the significant difference, according to Harry Frankfurt, between free will and free action. To read the full piece, see the reference link below*.
However it is described in philosophy or psychology, for the purposes of clarity, we’ll address the understanding that free will is the ability to choose behaviors and actions, and to make decisions, independently of any outside forces or influence.
Do We Really Have Free Will?
On one hand, you could say that regardless of how hard our choices may be at times, we always do have a choice. Even if — as Viktor Frankl explains in his book “Man’s Search for Meaning” — that choice is only what to think. In other words, no matter what is going on around us, we always have the choice (as hard as that may be at times) of where to put our focus. Or do we?
Considering most of our thoughts as well as our decisions, actions and behaviors are unconscious, we may not be using free will as much as may be expected. Approximately 95% of our activity (including thought) is unconscious. This means that while we may have access to free will, we seldom use it. The majority of our lives is run by the subconscious — based on the information it holds. For more information on how this information is created, and the effects it has on all areas of life, read: The REAL Cause of All Your Problems and What Determines Your Character and Personality?
How to Use Free Will
Even when we think we’re making conscious decisions, those conscious decisions are being influenced by prompts from the subconscious via the brain and body. In other words, you may think you are consciously choosing to accept a second date with that person you met last week; but the truth is, your subconscious contains data that “proves” this person fits in with what would keep you in alignment with your “reality”. Based on this information, your subconscious is prompting your brain to trigger your organs to produce chemicals — which cause impulses and sensations that your conscious mind interprets as desire, interest, joy, and other positive emotions when you think about seeing that person again.
So, when are you really using free will? When you are choosing to keep or change that data. Since it is the subconscious that is driving the bus — by causing the conscious mind to respond to impulses and sensations in the body — it is the data held in the subconscious that is determining your choices and actions, not free will. However, being aware of this fact, and making the choice to change the current status quo, is a true act of free will. It’s like choosing to change the songs on an iPod instead of continuing to listen to music you don’t like.
For more information on how the mind works, and to find out how you can exercise your free will by changing the data in your subconscious visit theFasterEFT YouTube Channel.
For a detailed guide on using FasterEFT read: The FasterEFT Technique — Step-by-Step.
Article by: Robert G. Smith
Originally published at fastereft.com on July 30, 2016.