Two men were sitting on a park bench, one reading a newspaper, the other, people watching.

The First Man laughed and said out loud:

“There’s an article here that says humans are primates and we share a lot of DNA with apes. What do you think? Is that a put down or NOT?”

The Second Man, who had a long beard, eyed the First Man up and down and then said:

“I’ve got a bigger put down.”

“Oh yea, what’s that?”

“I think a human is an Apparatus!”

“An Apparatus? You mean like an Engine?”

“Yes! What a human is, is due to his genes, the influence of his hereditary and environment, and his relationships. He is moved and directed by OUTSIDE INFLUENCES. He originates nothing.”

“Boy, that’s a put down! I don’t want to think of myself as an engine.”

“Even your thoughts are not originated by you. You are an Apparatus, an Engine, believe me.”

“Well, I have a thought right now that you are talking Balderdash!”

“I get those opinions all the time, BUT you did NOT create that opinion.

It was formed from thoughts and opinions gathered from books, conversations that have landed in your brain out of the brains of your parents, friends and ancestors.”

“Like I said, Balderdash!”

“You can’t even say you put the borrowed thoughts together, that was done automatically by your mental apparatus. You have no command over your thoughts.”

“What if I change my thought?”

“You can’t by yourself, but OUTSIDE influences can do it.”

“Suppose I want to enter into a study with the purpose of changing my opinion and I succeed. That is NOT the work of outside influences. It’s my thought and I originated the project.”

“No, you are wrong. Your project grew out of this conversation with me. No man originates anything. All you thoughts come from the OUTSIDE.’

The First Man was getting irritated.

“Okay, answer me this, what about the creations of novelists and painters?”

“Oh, you mean their IMITATIONS. They created nothing! They observed and wrote and painted what they observed.

No apparatus or engine can create!”


After a minute of silence, the First Man spoke up loudly:

“I suppose you don’t believe in Free Will.”

The Second Man laughed.

“There is NO such thing!

Does the man possess it when he gives the beggar his last dollar and goes home wondering what he will eat that day? No!”

“He had the choice between helping the beggar or leaving him suffer. It was his Free Will at work.”

The Second Man said, stroking his beard:

“A choice was made, between his physical comfort or his spiritual comfort.

This is NOT Free Will. I call it forced choice at best, the apparatus at work.”

“I say the man determined it and in doing so, exercised Free Will.”

“Look, in the story of the man and the beggar, we clearly saw he really had NO Free Will.

His temperament, his training and his education had molded him. He was compelled to help the beggar and then he would save himself from spiritual pain. He did NOT make the choice, it was made for him by forces he could NOT control.”

“You keep confusing me. How would you conclude this conversation.”

“I would tell you that the human being is an Apparatus, driven by the purpose to satisfy his own desires and achieve peace of mind.

Our wills are not of our own making, given the unconscious origins of our conscious minds. So, Free Will is an illusion.

Primal emotions are in our unconscious, such as fear, mother-love and guilt.

We have all these in our unconscious that influence our behaviors.”

The First Man got up and walked away scratching his head.


Originally published at Writer Dave.

Written by

I was born and bred in Chicago, Illinois, USA. I left the US when I was 47 years old to live permanently in England, where I now write full time.

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