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.

Will and Effect

That every effect has a cause is a reasonable thought. If this were absolutely the case, then, no man has free will. Because ‘free will’ by definition or design must have the freedom to be arbitrary. Either that it should need no cause for its exercise or that it can ignore a cause or change the usual effect of a cause.

Free will is expressed by choice, however, it is plausible that the choice itself was a necessary effect — meaning that it was impossible for there to be an alternative. If there’s always a cause to every will, then ‘will’ cannot be wholly free.

The cause and effect idea leads to a chain of cause-effect relationships which in theory can have no end; it speaks to an infinitude of past and future.

Could there ever come a time in the unknown future when absolutely nothing exists, when existence would have moved to a state of true nothingness. Was there ever a time when there was true nothingness.

We face a paradox, that there is existence at all.
It’s paradoxical that something would appear to have no origin.

‘Will’ must be the ultimate reason (or cause) if there’s a starting point for which absolutely no cause can be determined. Let’s say, like the Big Bang—in the theory (I may be wrong). If you say that certain conditions resulted in the Bang, then those conditions, if you agree with the theory, are the cause of the bang and therefore the origin of the universe. And the chain may continue if you ask what led to those conditions.

The theory can’t preclude the existence of God, who Christians regard as the ultimate cause of our, and all, reality. He definitely must have neither beginning of days nor end of life. That the solar system exists, and that man appeared on earth is the result of a chain of cause effect interactions. One can at the same time see that it was by design of the numinous one, God, without any contradictions.

Randomness as demonstrated in nature and the evolution of the universe is not analogous to the expression of will. The randomness in nature is causal up to a near infinite degree in the chain of causality. It appears random because humans lack God’s capacity to know every interaction and cause-effect relationship.

For instance, it is easy to encrypt data using the so-called RSA algorithm, but it is very hard to decrypt without the key. This is facilitated by a gap in the derivation of the formula for prime numbers. This knowledge gap is represented in the Riemann Hypothesis. We can thus say here that a perception of randomness is the acknowledgement of ignorance.

Cause-effect implies that randomness is only a perception; so that all inanimate random systems are quasi-random (pseudo-random, if you prefer).

Will exists, free will, and it can exist independent of and prior to cause. Hence, an ultimate cause and the superior reason. Any effect that results is what it is.