Dolors, the physicist/mathematician/philosopher who posts as Cracking the Nutshell on YouTube, publishes more content than I can regularly follow, but this morning I watched one that was so good, I felt motivated to comment.
She’s also a respectful critic of Sam Harris. We need more of those.
Here’s the comment:
Great quote from Carl Jung at 10:26… “I am not what happened to me. I am what I choose to become.” You also made a point that I’ve always thought needs to be amplified. People who use language like “I had no choice” are excusing themselves for behaving like puppets on a string, and implicitly denying their own free will.
In my view, freedom means demanding responsibility for the consequences of your choices, and refusing to live by excuses. Sure, there are long chains of causal constraints on the choices available to us, but the exercise of consciousness opens awareness of what choices remain available.
What’s particularly interesting is OUR SENSE of free will (and, for that matter, our sense of consciousness). My view on this is that those senses can be matured and cultivated. Just as an infant isn’t born with fully developed senses of taste, hearing, vision, etc., neither are we born with a fully developed sense of free will. We can shut our eyes to it, like feigning blindness, or we can to learn to become deeply cognitive of our abilities to exercise it, like connoisseurs of sophisticated music and wine.