I freely choose to agree with William James who said, “My first act of free will shall be to believe in free will.” But according to biologist Anthony Cashmore (gotta love that name), I am wrong because free will doesn’t exist. It’s all a matter of chemistry and the environment:
“When biologist Anthony Cashmore claims that the concept of free will is an illusion, he’s not breaking any new ground. At least as far back as the ancient Greeks, people have wondered how humans seem to have the ability to make their own personal decisions in a manner lacking any causal component other than their desire to ‘will’ something. But Cashmore, Professor of Biology at the University of Pennsylvania, says that many biologists today still cling to the idea of free will, and reject the idea that we are simply conscious machines, completely controlled by a combination of our chemistry and external environmental forces.”
Everyone knows all too well that life only takes one day — if not an hour or minute — for everything to change. Improvements, valuable lessons, major decisions and abject catastrophes can all resonate for years (and decades), even lifetimes, after springing to existence. Many highly effective writers have seized upon this universal phenomenon in order to craft some of the literary scene’s most evocative, memorable narratives. They capture something relatable and unavoidable about the human condition and wring out as many compelling narratives as possible from within the confines of twenty-four hours. And even then, not every story that can be told using this structure has been told. Not even a fraction.