It's not about the complexity of the shadows, it's all about the simplicity of the message.
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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A chance for free Will

Will is a well known rapist. He spends most of his time in his cell. Will will be there for ever, according to a judge's sentence. Will has two major interests, reading and raping; in jail he can only read.
Let's take a look at the few words Will used to defend himself in court:
"...as I chose not to do what everybody else does, because the feeling of slavery haunts my thought. I might have offended society and those 25 ladies, for which I can feel nothing less than sorrow; but I couldn't possibly regret a single act of my own, as I decided to be free and as a free man I'll remain."
Will feels free for the first years; but as he reads more and more, he starts questioning his concept of freedom. One day Will reads a great essay about free will and determinism, and his life changes. It's all about the future, he thinks, and the relation it bears with human behavior. Will thinks that, if future bears no relation with human behavior, free will is an illusion, but so must be future itself! He then thinks that, if future bears a complete relation with human behavior, his free will, at least, must be an illusion, product of someone else's decision. Who planned the future that is about to come?
Will takes behavior out of the picture; but as he cannot stop behaving, what he thinks from this viewpoint is irrelevant. Will tries to take time out of the picture, it takes a while for him to realize he cannot do so.
Will reaches a final conclusion, one day before his death: If all the future is determined (whether by natural causes or by human behavior), then behavior itself must be caused, thus making the distinction between natural and artificial absurd. There is a chance, will thinks, almost accidentally, for random events to change the future. If Will's mind is able to randomly control his free will, he can think of himself as a chaotic machine; but if Will's mind is able to randomly set an objective, to determine whether it is worth pursuing and whether preceding conditions are suitable, and to indefinitely postpone those events detrimental to it, he will be able to change his world, at his own will.
A quantum leap leads Will to an uncontrollable emotion of happiness. What caused this? Will asks.
Now there is a chance for Will to be free; never outside his cell, though, as he was a little bit late to reach such a magnificent conclusion.

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