Desire is the chief motivator. It moves us to action and without it there is no activity. How does desire or intent move the world and us? Do we have a say in it whatsoever?
Contrary to certain scientific evidence, each person will adamantly insist they do have a choice. The idea of absolute determinism tears the fabric of our justice system apart. It strikes at the very heart of meaning where any social relevance is purely accidental. And still . . .
There are trillions of activities in the cells of our bodies for which we apparently have no intent. Emotions are correlated with slow moving chemicals with accompanying cadences of moods. A build up of electrical brain activity is seen before a decision to act is made. In deep states of relaxation, thoughts hammer away and ramble on as perhaps uncontrolled but learned memory pattens.
But who or what sees them? Is such awareness simply an emergent phenomenon of complex neural activity? It may be since a certain aspect of consciousness appears to log on when we awake and the brain boots up.
Some, like Francis Crick’s astonishing hypothesis, have said “You, your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules.”
That is an audacious and astounding statement, a position of sheer naked reductionism. However, we may want to guard against becoming infatuated and fixated with our worship of scientific reductionism and its more philosophical counterpart, determinism. We risk turning these ideas into idols of veneration while turning a blind eye to other important and valid information. With this type of erudition we risk a failure to examine the foundation upon which our assertions are made.
The basic premise overlooked is what physicists call the measurement problem, i.e., the indeterministic essence of quantum mechanics – the very basis for all physical systems in our world and science.
This problem is illuminated by Erwin Schrödinger’s equation which says all possible states of an electron exist simultaneously and when measured or observed, jumps to one particular state.
But who or what does the choosing or said better, decides where to exercise its will to “look” in a particular direction or way?
Perhaps nature is embedded with willful awareness, a participatory reality, collectively creating a particular state vector collapse at each moment by an act of willful interaction.