Sam Harris on: Free Will, Arrogance & Hatred

Red pill or blue pill? No matter how long you deliberate on this choice, you’re not going to be privy to the mental processes that brought you to such a destination. I touched on this in my article about the introspection illusion. This is the illusion that we have direct access to the mental process that give rise to our conscious contents.

Free Will is an illusion. One of my favourite articulations of this view, and its profound effects in relation to how we view others, came at 20:18 into #45 of his Sam Harris’ podcast.

Well, I’ve argued that there is no such thing as free will, so what is there? Well, there’s luck, both good and bad, as well as what we make of it. Actually, that’s not quite true. What you make of your luck, is also just more luck. Once again, you didn’t pick your parents, you didn’t pick the society into which you were born, there’s not a cell in your body or brain that you created. Nor is there a single influence coming from the outside world that you brought into being. And yet, everything you think and do, arises from this ocean of prior causes. So, what you do with your luck, and the tools in which you do it, even down to the level of the effort and discipline you manage to summon in each moment, is more in the way of luck. Now, most people resist this idea, seemingly at any intellectual cost, for reasons that I can’t understand, because this single insight is the antidote to arrogance and hatred, and a profound basis for compassions for others who are less lucky than you are.
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