Determinism and Free Will

Determinism and Free Will

Determinism and Free Will

As I was learning about Atomists and Démocritos for an exam, an idea came to my mind which I want to share. Démocritos and Atomism, which he was part of from 5th century BCE, were basically saying that everything is from particles which are indivisible, uncuttable, unlimited and that they exist in a void. (Atomism from greek atomos which literally means indivisible/uncuttable) They were incredibly close to “reality” which is impressive for that time. Well you might say that Atom is of course divisible, but that’s just how we named that thing, they were right about quarks, bosons and leptons which have these qualities (as far as we know).

Another thing they were saying is that everything is determined and that we have no free will. As in determinism where you can predict movement of every particle there is, so there is only one outcome of an event. Anything you do, is always predetermined and you can’t do anything about it (or rather, do everything about it?).

Okay, so let’s say, everything is determined (I am not saying it is, but why not explore this possibility?). It got me thinking, how could you have free will and still have everything determined?

Imagine that time is relative or non-existent. If there’s no time, everything already exists. Your life isn’t past and future, it just is. Everything in this universe is done. From the beginning of time itself, to the end of time (if there’s one) when matter of this universe is not able to keep time as in Roger Penrose’s theory (in the far future, matter is so spread out, that there isn’t anything to keep time, universe is not able to know “what time it is”, I can only recommend Penrose’s interviews on youtube). As everything just “is”, your life and your choices are already made. From your perspective, you are just “waiting” for what’s to come.

Free Will

Now to the free will. If there is no time, or maybe if there is another level to this reality (you could imagine it as “above time”), or that the time is relative (which we know that it is to some level thanks to Einstein). So, I thought that at that moment, you could still make all your choices in your life, but somehow it would be connected to the beginning of time itself? There are actually a few options and few theories of determinism, let’s just go with the one where every particle has determined path from the beginning of time, so there is only one outcome of the big bang which then includes everything we are, see as well as our thoughts. It would align particles with all your choices and thoughts you have “already” made. Choices would be conscious, maybe again is some different level of consciousness or reality. Every thought you have, had already been thought. Though from our point of view, it changes nothing, you still have to decide, because it’s you who is creating (created?) your life and your reality.

And well, obviously you have been clever and made your life fucking awesome, so there’s probably incredible life to be lived in front of you!

It’s rather wild idea, and it might seem like a crazy one (it is), but on the other hand, there are crazy things happening in our reality. For example, take quantum physics. There is an experiment which might be a little bit related to this idea.

If you are not familiar with anything from quantum physics, you might have to do some googling, or just take my word for it, but I will try to explain it as simplest as I can with referring to some other articles explaining the phenomena.

Double Slit Experiment

It’s a double slit experiment, which shows us how e.g. photons or electrons act as a particle and a wave at the same time. They can also be at the two positions at the same time (it’s called superposition and is used in quantum computers). You have an option in this experiment, to make a delayed choice of measurement and in this experiment, the particle acts as if it changed itself in a past. It is very hard to grasp as it’s very anti-intuitive for us. There are so many different options in this experiment, but all gives us extraordinary results. I won’t dive deeper in this matter right now, but I am going to write an article just about quantum physics soon. For now, you could just take my word for it, as it’s not an easy task to take your head around this one. If we would apply these features of quantum physics to the whole univers(es), we would have a similar idea to the one above and it would then make much more sense.

Lastly, I don’t think that the idea is true or anything like that, but I really like to explore interesting ideas as well as my mind and I think that we should be open-minded as we don’t know what lays beyond our senses and measurements of nature of this universe.


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