Randomness and Free Will

Is history, destiny? Is the will capable of arbitrary decisions despite our past experiences? The justice system must believe it is, otherwise, the ‘excuse’ of poor upbringing, bad friendships, accidental opportunities for misbehaviour … may be tenable for reduced sentences.

According to Dr. Stephen Wolfram in his book, ‘A New Kind of Science,’ there are three mechanisms for randomness. In the context of the randomness of the outputs of our volition, we have,

Mechanism 1:
There are continuously and variously applied trips and taunts; in some sense, stochastic inputs throughout a sequence of volitional events or progression of will.
The continuous taunts have ‘led’ to some people choosing, wittingly or not, to behave (ir)rationally, land some other person a theoretical jab, appreciate the simplest of things etc.

Mechanism 2:
There’s an initial input, and that’s all.
Like the smile from his wife before he went off to war. He’d better come back alive. Or a traumatic experience that leads to a fixation or a mind that says something like, “I shall never eat cupcakes again.”

Mechanism 3:
Intrinsic randomness. A case where there is no input, but there is output.
The system (or person) comes up with its own madness, or coolness, or mad genius, or whatever. It generates its own output, independent, or regardless of extraneous signals and previously reached conclusions.

The third mechanism properly marks free will, I think. Sounds a little crazy to speak of outputs with no inputs, but maybe we can identify with it. Your experience probably says so. And though acausal actions seem like God’s prerogative, we’re made in His likeness, right?

Three examples of landmark free will events are the sin by Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden; the devil saying that he wanted to overthrow God; and the birth of Jesus Christ. Have any positive personal examples?

We are free to will what we will; to will what we think; and to think what we will: The will can will anything it wills.

Although we may have little control over extraneous signals, that we could generate our own suggestions internally tells us that we could counter or enhance these signals; that we could create our own stream of consciousness to make for a healthy soul — if we will.