One of my probable false beliefs is that I have more free-will than I actually do. Aye yi yi. Some folks I encounter assert the claim that we humans have no free will at all, and their proof is that a brain-wave scan can predict which color card you will pick a minute before you pick it. To which I counter it is still me making that choice even if there is a moment’s hesitation between my picking it and my knowing that I picked it. This morning a person said that I had no free will, and I asked if they had any, and they said that they didn’t. I asked why they bothered to do anything if everything was out of their control. To which they said, “Because it’s fun. It’s fun doing things.” I said, “I believe that you believe that you have no free will, but I can’t prove it. However, I do believe that I do have free will and I can prove it, to myself if not to you, by choosing to take a sip of tea, or not. It’s my choice to do so, and it’s my timing as to when I do so, and I enjoy having things happen the way I, with my free will, choose to make them happen.”
My free choice is limited to what is within my power to influence my mind and my actions. But I have very limited free will to influence things outside of this room at the moment. I do have some control over things within a few miles of here when I drive my car. I can control the car, and I can stop it at various places of my choosing and do things there. If I want some groceries I can choose to go to Safeway, or Trader Joe’s, or Costco and at each of these I can probably get fresh strawberries today or potatoes if I want. They are miles apart but I can choose to drive to any or all of them.
I don’t have any discernible choice over happenings on the Moon. But I have been thinking about that problem, and I presently consider it a desirable goal to help the entire Universe to Self-actualize its potentials. Yikes! Even at the speed of light, it would take tens of billions of years for a message to even go to the most distant galaxies. How can I with such a tiny bit of free will hope to affect such a distant place? My post “How big a job is helping the Universe self-actualize?” considers the size of this problem. It is much bigger than I thought. If the calculations are correct there are ~200 trillion stars with planets hidden behind the Moon at any given moment, and lots more when the whole celestial sphere is considered. But they are very far away, so it will take a very long time for my influence to reach them, and with only a few years of life expectancy, I don’t expect to be going there.
My plan is to motivate humanity to create a robot civilization that can influence things billions of years in the future. Humble!