On Free Will

Does free will exist?
Or is it a figment of our cultural imagination that we are taught exists because we live in a society that we are told is “free”?
I have often wondered about the nature of free will, as a thinker, and as a practical philosopher.

We are so indoctrinated from infancy to accept so many values as “truths”. Are we really that objective about our reality that we can be sure that the choices we are presented with, are really ours? Or ar these “choices” so influenced and limited by our surroundings that we can never really know that they are choices presented in a free will situation, as opposed to those presented to us in a controlled situation?

If I am presented with two choices, I really have three choices. I can choose between choice A, choice B, or neither. In other words, to resist making a choice between the ones I have been presented with, is a choice in itself, and the consequences of which can be just as real as choosing between the choices I am presented with.

The long term effects of any choice may be easier to identify if the choice made is between A or B. But the effects of not making a choice between the obvious ones given can be hidden until years later, when reflecting on the successes of ones life and failures.

From this line of thinking, I have come to the conclusion that although we may have some form of limited free will, it is far more limited than we would like to believe. We do have a choice, but our choice is contained by the perceptions of what we think are our possibilities which are really determined by how we are brought up and what we are taught we are capable of doing by our society, our family, our culture.

We can either pick from the choices we are given or resist those choices. But we are still in the limited universe of identified possibilities? Our possibilities are not “out of the box”, because we are not taught to think out of the box. Even if we can create another option than those apparent, that option still conforms to some basic principle that was molded by our cultural upbringing.

So free will is really just a choice between accepting those presented to us, or neither of them; flowing downstream with the river’s current or trying to buck the current and go upstream against it which, in the end, will lead us either to stay still, depending on our ability to resist the flow, or eventually to be forced down with the current because we become so tired of resisting the currents flow.