When people think of free will, they usually mean decision making outside of influence. The universe is synergistic, meaning it works under the principle of cause and effect. With that being said, every decision people arrive to is influenced in one way or another by what’s happening in their lives.
You can do what you decide to do — but you cannot decide what you will decide to do.
― Sam Harris
Emotions are a good example of why I have trouble agreeing with the idea of free will. No one can control their emotions. It’s just not possible because emotions aren’t processed before arising. When someone close to you dies, you’re going to feel sad. You don’t think about whether you should feel sad or not. That wasn’t a choice. Those emotions are a reflex that your brain hardwired over time.
If an attractive person walks by, your body will react in ways that you can’t control. Your palms will get sweaty and your pupils will dilate. But let’s take this even further. What made you attracted to that person? What influenced your taste in men or women? Isn’t it odd that people from similar cultures have similar taste? Not only in people, but in music, food and everything else.
Where do your desires come from and how easy is it to fight against them? The fact that you have to “fight” means that there is a driver in your life that you can’t control, which can ultimately influence your actions.
Free will is an illusion. People always choose the perceived path of greatest pleasure.
The truth is, people can’t make decisions outside their frame of reference. If you’ve never seen snow, you can’t wish you can build a snow man. Your thoughts, dreams, desires and actions are all influenced by your environment and social interactions.
The idea of free will is a cop-out. We can blame people for their behavior and punish them rather than look into the factors that develop those unwanted behaviors and work on them. The doctor that treats the ill is admirable, but the scientist who developed the vaccine that put the doctor out of business is the real hero.