I think a time in history has come when the debate over free will, a debate that has been raging on amongst a very small subset of people for quite some time, should be moved into a new context: reality.
Now, I’ll be the first to grant anyone the right to think about the nature of life, death, reality, and our role in it all, in whatever manner they choose to do so in, as long as the similar right of others to think in their own respective manners is not endangered.
That said, amongst other things, Society exists for the purposes of protecting the undivided right to freedom of thought, so that it becomes logically possible for us to have freedom of expression, which we hold on to so dearly in tumultuous times such as the ones that we live in. Freedom of thought comes before freedom of expression for, if we are to be able to behave well (defining ”well” as something commonly agreed upon as ”perceived as good by others”), then we must be able to think before we are able to speak – right?
So – as a politician – I must end up taking a stand on the very basis of my freedoms: my liberty to think freely. To see the full depth of the position of societal guardianship that I hold with political power, I must recognise the right to hold fully within my self my right to the most divine gift of all: my body and the capacity to use it to act upon my thoughts; from the soft slap of emailed words to the hard punch of the fist.
Without knowing that I should be able to hold this right as my own, how should I know to protect it? I must acknowledge what I protect so that I can know I am protecting it. What I know, I can focus upon, in order to improve.
Free will can, by choice, be assumed by recognising the power we all have to act upon our lives at an individual and societal level. As long as we have a vote to guide the direction of society, we have a very concrete artefact expressing our ancestors’ gift to us: free will to speak out at the injustices and prejudices around us.
I cannot utilise my voice without my body. How do I present myself at the voting booth without my body in play?
My thoughts dictate the expressions of my body, and the accumulated experiences of my body dictate the feelings that I have which guide my thoughts. There is a balance to be had, a landing in the moment to be made, if you can see the connections between your past and your future collapsing upon the decisions you make in the now. It is in the moment where you find your truest power, since a decision in the moment, based on an interpretation of the past, is the control panel for the future.
Of course – I can’t prove anything beyond this point. As I point out above, the paradox with free will is that it takes free will to have free will. You can only prove it for yourself by choosing to try out your own power, for example by breaking an old habit or kickstarting a new one. Everyone has their own journey towards finding their power, and everyone has their reasons for choosing to use or not use it to the fullest extent.
Yes, guardianship of the wills of the people is not to be taken lightly, but it isn’t too heavy a burden, either. Because of the very nature of free will, it remains to be taken by the citizen acting upon themself. It simply can’t be forced into the individual, as that would be forced will – not free will.
A politician is merely a custodian of the process, making sure it is possible for a citizen to take is what is naturally theirs to be had.
That said, nature deflates the power of free will with the utmost of efficiency. You are always part of the world around you – never truly separated from it.
You have less relative free will by not having political power – meaning almost everyone. You have less relative free will by not having cash in the bank – these days, many people, middle class included. In turn, you have more free will by having more equity relative to others, but you can never really be sure how much relative equity that is, since relative equity power measurement is truly a difficult problem (a story for another time).
It is clear to see that free will is bendy and superfluous. Its amount is dependent on so many things in the moment, such as what is the moment, what kinds of skills are needed in it, and what level your skills are at. Like ”mana” in a whole bunch of wizardly-spirited games, and how you apply it.
It is clear to see that free will, while we always have access to it at an individual level should we so choose, is far removed from the individual at the societal level. Individual free will and societal free will are best seen on election days: voting citizens express their individual power, voted-in politicians catch the projected individual power at the societal level. As the vote count is released, the division of power is dictated into history, and things begin to unfurl from there.
There are many implications of recognising the constructive factors of free will as a component of the practical political process. By far, above and beyond all else, a practical grasp of free will should act as a heavy reminder to all current politicians in Finland about the weight of the political debt that they all carry.
A reminder that they carry and protect the fuel of our independence – our votes and, thus, our voices and the thoughts behind them. Our right to have them, in the first place.
There is no more important inheritance from our past than having these rights, and it is here that a huge hats off must be made towards the United States of America and all of our global ancestors who went there to show us the way to this moment in time where we are in now, where liberty prevails (mostly). The USA is us, and we are them, and we should all be thankful for each other.
Every Finnish politician has caught a share of the votes cast in the previous election. They now carry those votes on lease from the people, returning the votes to them as the next election rolls around.
In the act of politicking, each politician stands as the guardian of the wills of the people – are their actions additive or subtractive to the relative value of those wills across time? Are the actions of current politicians constructive or destructive to the future life possibilities of the people whose votes these politicians carry? Put simply: will Finland emerge from this four-year governmental season more or less independent (ability of citizens to choose life paths) than it was before?
Perhaps current politicians should take a breather from the smartphone-fuelled pace of the modern world and consider their own usage of their own free will in dictating the pace of their calendars.
Are they in charge of their own logic and reasoning – are their thoughts keeping up with their smartphones? Are they able to ingest the information coming at them every single day, or are they at the mercy of those in bureaucracy who bomb them with excessive amounts of intel?
In these times of information-fuelled warfare that we live in (a war borne mostly out of our collective incompetence at smartphone usage and setting limits for ourselves in informational intake) it might make sense for everyone to stop and think about whose power they carry and what it represents.
What does that power represent right now, as measured through my day-to-day actions as a politician? Does it represent an infinite struggle to keep up with email, an infinite battle across party lines about anything and everything to ”save face” (you’re getting old, most of you, so there’s not much to save anymore..) or does it represent a calm approach to solving societal issues, one by one, taking into account the state of the modern world as opposed to the state of the historical world without smartphones and the Internet?
These are gigantic topics to think about. Amongst the most gigantic, in fact. That said, there has never been a better time to think about them than now.
Who’s in control – you or the algorithm?