Adolescence Extends to 40

Free Will

I believe it was William James who said something like: "I do not believe that free will exists.  You will be better off living your life as it does exist."  In other words, live as if you have a choice.

Some would say that this is living in a fool's paradise, but there isn't any proof that free will does or does not exist.  Plus, anyone who believes in today's science would be wise to read old science textbooks.  Why do you think that we - unlike every other generation of our ancestors - has it all figured out?  Why the hubris?  Do you realize that every prior generation of humans believed that their science was The Answer.  And yet...

And even getting into the free will argument is amusing, because if there is no free well, then I cannot help but believe in it.  So why are you trying to persuade me that free will doesn't exist?  Well, that's because you cannot help yourself, since you don't have the will to resist trying to persuade.

We can play these games all day, which is why I've moved on to more amusing hobbies.  I brought the issue up, however, because Williams James has been vindicated:

Do philosophic views affect job performance? The authors found that possessing a belief in free will predicted better career attitudes and actual job performance. The effect of free will beliefs on job performance indicators were over and above well-established predictors such as conscientiousness, locus of control, and Protestant work ethic.

Many things are like this.  I warned a friend against the existential philosophers.  I told her, "Existentialism is poison to your soul.  They are right - that existence is futile and meaningless.  Yet once you internalize the utter futility of existence, you're going to feel much worse.  Unless you're going to kill yourself, you are going to be alive.  And therefore one should live as if life is worth living."

Or kill yourself.  Indeed, the only existential question is: Why shouldn't I kill myself?  If you're going to live, live as if...

Some would say this is the elevation of feelings over truth, but that would demonstrate a failure to understand that feelings can lead to truth.  Feel as if today mean something, and the truth will be that today means something.  Feel as if today is shitty and pointless, and that, too, will become your day's truth.