If you haven't read the post on my photo exposition you can see it here...
You can take no credit for the fact that you weren't born a psychopath.

This quote changed my life, for the better.

You don't choose where you are born, your hair color, who your parents are, how tall you are, if your right or left handed, if you like carrots, if you're scared of heights. So who are we to take credit for the fact that we aren't born psychopaths. Who are we to blame those who are ?

This is the link to the article : Life Without Free Will. I will never explain it better than Sam Harris did so you are better off reading the article but if you don't want to read it these are the most important parts:

"How, for instance, does one become a pediatric surgeon? Well, you must first be born, with an intact nervous system, and then provided with a proper education. No freedom there, I’m afraid. You must also have the physical talent for the job and avoid smashing your hands at rugby. Needless to say, it won’t do to be someone who faints at the sight of blood."

"And what if the desire to become a surgeon suddenly arises tomorrow and becomes so intense that I jettison my other professional goals and enroll in medical school? Would I—that is, the part of me that is actually experiencing my life—be the true cause of these developments? Every moment of conscious effort—every thought, intention, and decision—will have been caused by events of which I am not conscious. Where is the freedom in this?"

"If we cannot assign blame to the workings of the universe, how can evil people be held responsible for their actions? In the deepest sense, it seems, they can’t be. But in a practical sense, they must be. I see no contradiction in this. In fact, I think that keeping the deep causes of human behavior in view would only improve our practical response to evil. The feeling that people are deeply responsible for who they are does nothing but produce moral illusions and psychological suffering."

"Understanding the true causes of human behavior does not leave any room for the traditional notion of free will. But this shouldn’t depress us, or tempt us to go off our diets. Diligence and wisdom still yield better results than sloth and stupidity. I think that on balance, it could only produce a more compassionate, equitable, and sane society.." 

Sam Harris mentions a lot more things about why he thinks living without free will is better for everyone. For me the most important thing is that it can bring feelings of compassion instead of pride and hatred. Isn't better ?


  1. Meh, in a ideal society, maybe, but as long as we are subjected to autority, we will want to break free, or maybe I should say, as long as we have the hope of a different lifestyle without the border of that autority. And in the current case, the authority in question would be as wide as "destiny". If we embrace the fact that we can not be held responsible for our actions because of our predispositions, we are scapegoating everything on a form of higher power (destiny, God, genetics), that would explain our behaviour.

    I think that you can cure a scare of heights. That you can cook carrots in a way you'll like them. That you can manage your life to deal with a right or left hand. That you can wear high-heels shoes. Change legal parents. Tint your hair another color. Deal with your place of birth.

    I think we are responsible for the actions we make, even psychotic ones. The context, however, has to be studied, understood, dealt with. If no amount of lies to ourselves or the world can change a fact about ourselves (or our sanity), we must deal with it (or the persons that take care of us), as best as the situation allow, so that in the end, we are a threat to the least amount of people possible, including ourselves.

    En passant, gab, c'est Simon. Le gars avec les cheveux blonds et yeux bleus, au secondaire. J'ai vu ton blog, à partir de Facebook, et j'ai trouvé ça impressionnant. Je ne savais pas que tu avais continué en art. Je t'envie et t'admire en même temps. Bonne chance, continue!

  2. I actually think the opposite. I think living without free will brings the hatred.
    First off, I think we have free will, because that plastic surgeon has to make the decision to go to school, and to choose that career. I don't think it's "born within" him to be in that profession.
    Secondly, if you don't believe in free will, that would imply that you believe that everything is somehow determined by our atoms, our cells, our neutrons, or something else we are born with and can not control. This materialism causes there to be no purpose, and you can't say something is right and wrong if you are holding onto materialism. You can say it's socially not acceptable to kill your next door neighbor, but you can't say it is morally wrong. If life is nothing but the random collection of atoms and matter, then there is no purpose and there are no set morals, only society's view of what is acceptable or not.

    Oh, and when I say "you" I'm not meaning you in particular, but just people in general. :).
    Anyways, that's just my opinion from my psych classes. I'm not meaning to start an argument or anything! So, I'm sorry if this offends you:(.
    - - - - -

    1. Don't you worry about offending me, not at all. I love that it starts a discussion (not an argument). And nothing is more interesting to me than reading different opinions!

      ... Of course you need to make an effort to become a surgeon, you don't just become a surgeon because you were born to be one, but "can you take credit for your disposition to make that effort?" as Sam Harris stated in his article "To turn the matter around, am I responsible for the fact that it has never once occurred to me that I might like to be a surgeon?"

      As for moral values, how I see it : moral values are not based on the essence of free will... If you believe or don't in free will either way you are able to distinguish suffering from happiness.