Understanding Free Will

If we have free will, we can consciously make decisions that are not determined by the physics and biology of our brains. It's a philosophical and religious concept that has found no support in science, despite the strong illusion that we are free. Even if we are not, belief in free will can be healthy, as long as we remain aware that many factors influence our behavior subconsciously.

Recent Posts on Free Will

The Existential Crisis of Birdman

Birdman embodies the struggle to discover your authentic identity.

Releasing the Barriers to Love: An Interview with Tara Brach

By Mark Matousek on November 24, 2015 Ethical Wisdom
What is the role of radical acceptance in intimate relationships? Why is spaciousness necessary for deep connection? Is it possible to be committed without attachment? How can we set our beloved free without losing trust?

Have to? Should? Could? Will?

Caught up in the "too much" world, we may find ourselves living unconsciously, doing, doing doing. But take a moment and imagine what you might do in any moment. Sit with possibilities. And then, feeling into your own knowing, make a choice.

Being Here Now: The Art of Precious Present-Centeredness

By Dan Mager MSW on November 05, 2015 Some Assembly Required
When we aren’t paying conscious attention to the present moment, we are effectively sleepwalking, even when we are wide-awake. When we’re focused on the past or the future, we are cut off from the possibilities inherent in this moment—unable to see it and experience it for what it is; separated from the opportunities it presents.

Neuroscientific Prediction and Free Will

By Gregg D. Caruso Ph.D. on October 26, 2015 Unjust Deserts
Is free will compatible with the perfect neuroscientific prediction of all human choices?

Does Disbelief in Free Will Increase Anti-Social Behavior?

By Gregg D. Caruso Ph.D. on October 16, 2015 Unjust Deserts
Would disbelief in free will increase anti-social behavior?

The Four Stages of Desire: From Everything to One Thing

As a culture, we’ve always had ambivalent feelings about feelings of desire. The Christian tradition takes a dim view of desire, because it tends to focus on ephemeral satisfactions of this world rather than eternal rewards of the next world. Western philosophers, on the other hand, mostly view desire as fundamental. To be human is to desire what what we don't have.

Master Your Motivation

By Tina Seelig Ph.D. on October 12, 2015 CreativityRulz
There is a deep linkage between motivation and success. Those with a strong mission are much more likely to succeed.

The 30-Day Money C-H-O-I-C-E Challenge

By Michael F. Kay on October 01, 2015 Financial Life Focus
Ever looked at your stack of bills and wonder how the heck you're going to get these paid? How did that feel? Rotten, right? Of course it did. No wants to live with the weight of debt—to carry that hopeless frustration deep into their bones.

Fear the Walking Dead: Can Brain Parasites Make Us Zombies?

By Joe Pierre M.D. on September 28, 2015 Psych Unseen
Can brain infections really turn us into zombies? Research with the human brain parasite Toxoplasma gondii suggests that yes, maybe they can.

Are We Responsible for Our Violent Dreams?

By Patrick McNamara Ph.D. on September 26, 2015 Dream Catcher
Mental content of dreams can sometimes perfectly coincide with mental content of overt behavioral acts and that fact can raise thorny legal and philosophical issues.

The Sex Offender Next Door: Why Reintegration Helps

Ex-offenders are less likely to re-offend if there are people who will support their recovery.

You Are Not Your Body

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on September 21, 2015 Ambigamy
If the history of the universe were shrunk to one year, life would have started today, September 21. Here's what happened and how to make sense of what you are as a result.

How Boredom Can Afflict the End of Adolescence

When it comes to leading a more independent path through life at the end of adolescence, finding a working interest to like and taking an active interest in work one doesn't like can both be hard to do.

How to Put Painful Experiences Behind You

By Erin Olivo Ph.D. on September 10, 2015 Wise Mind Living
Is a painful experience from the past holding you back? Try these 3 strategies to help heal and move on with your life.

Can You Really Catch Madness From Your Cat?

By Guy P. Harrison on September 08, 2015 About Thinking
Billions of human brains are infected with a bizarre cat parasite that seems to influence our personality and behavior. Could they be altering the course of human history as well?

The Lure of ISIS

By Saul Levine M.D. on September 01, 2015 Our Emotional Footprint
Thousands of youth from multiple countries, cultures, religions, and social classes have abruptly left their homes and families to join ISIS, a dangerous, destructive, messianic Islamic self-styled nation (caliphate). They abandon their past values and relationships. become zealous True Believers, committed to their charismatic leaders and their God, dedicated to victory

We need a folksy free will

Andrew Monroe, who is an expert on moral psychology and folk beliefs about free will responds to an earlier post on 'Free Will Depletion.'

Free Will Depletion

After tortured administration of surgery and double-blind medicinalization, free will remains clinically dead. Here's another dyslogy.

Ten Steps Out When Stuck in Doubt

By Jeff Bell on August 19, 2015 Beyond the Doubt
Struggling with doubt? Try making belief. Read on for the four necessary ingredients and a simple recipe for putting them all together.

Cookie Dilemma

When you leave a cookie and the choice to eat it to others, you better mean it. Otherwise, you are not being socially mindful but hypocritical, or just dumb.

Feeling Good? What Makes Good Feelings Flow?

How much good feeling have you been experiencing? Would you like more? Check out these 5 factors.

The Secret Reason So Many of Us Procrastinate

There’s no way of telling just how common this form of procrastination is. But given the phenomenon of psychological reactance, it’s safe to say that at some point you’ve probably been guilty of it yourself. That is, of delaying something which not only would be good for you to do but which you actually want to do. . . .

How to Be Grateful for Not-So-Great Dads

With Father's Day approaching and blogs abuzz about what makes the quintessential dad, or top ‘pop’ gifts, what about those who have not-so-great dads? Is it possible for them to appreciate a holiday dedicated to fathers? Let’s get real and accept that mediocre or “bad” dads exist and consider this for a second: can one be thankful for a terrible father?

People Don’t Always Make a Lot of Sense

Patients don't always do what they should, or what they say they will. When you try to figure out the reason, you may find out that there isn't any.

May the 3rd Force Be With You

Rollo May, Fritz Perls, Carl Rogers, and Abraham Maslow meet in a bar.....

If You Could Change Your Past, Would You?

Perhaps then, what we should ask ourselves is not “If you could change your past, would you?” but “You can change your future. Will you?”

The Shadow and His Wanderer

Indulge me in 3 lines of thought: Nietzsche on free will. How to talk to strangers on a plane. Car key design.

Carpe Diem! 30 Reasons to Seize the Day and How to Do It

These 30 motivational phrases will inspire you to seize the day.

The Thinking Trap

People believe their own thoughts despite the fact that much psychological science shows this is an illusion........