Last night, I spent some time lying awake thinking about the conflict between free will and determinism. I find myself more and more convinced that free will is an illusion, or a useful fiction, or at the very least much less free than one might suppose. After all, who would choose, of their own free will, to lie awake thinking about the conflict between free will and determinism?
Even supposing that one had 'free will', that hardly means that one is in total control of one's destiny. Perhaps you choose to read a new book. Without already knowing its contents, there is no way for you to predict its ultimate effect on you and your future choices. If one's will is so free that no amount of reading can have any effect on one, then we are all capricious and incorrigible monsters. Since it would appear that most people can be affected by learning, reading and experience, this is fortunately not the case. Thus, even freely made choices (assuming they exist) can lead to unseen ends, uncontrolled by the will. If one chose, for example, to read some Borges before turning in, one might find oneself lying awake thinking about the conflict between free will and determinism.