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Famous quotes about free will powered by snowl.net - copyleft 2011.


“The most intellectual of men are moved quite as much by the circumstances which they are used to as by their own will. The active voluntary part of a man is very small, and if it were not economized by a sleepy kind of habit, its results would be null.“ -- by Bagehot, Walter

“The liberated man is not the one who is freed in his ideal reality, his inner truth, or his transparency; he is the man who changes spaces, who circulates, who changes sex, clothes, and habits according to fashion, rather than morality, and who changes opinions not as his conscience dictates but in response to opinion polls.“ -- by Baudrillard, Jean

“Whereas the Greeks gave to will the boundaries of reason, we have come to put the will’s impulse in the very center of reason, which has, as a result, become deadly.“ -- by Camus, Albert

“The will is never free -- it is always attached to an object, a purpose. It is simply the engine in the car -- it can’t steer.“ -- by Cary, Joyce

“Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.“ -- by Crowley, Aleister

“There are no galley-slaves in the royal vessel of divine love -- every man works his oar voluntarily!“ -- by Francis De Sales, St.

“A man may be a pessimistic determinist before lunch and an optimistic believer in the will’s freedom after it.“ -- by Huxley, Aldous

“Fatalism, whose solving word in all crises of behavior is All striving is vain, will never reign supreme, for the impulse to take life strivingly is indestructible in the race. Moral creeds which speak to that impulse will be widely successful in spite of inconsistency, vagueness, and shadowy determination of expectancy. Man needs a rule for his will, and will invent one if one be not given him.“ -- by James, William

“Man is a masterpiece of creation if for no other reason than that, all the weight of evidence for determinism notwithstanding, he believes he has free will.“ -- by Lichtenberg, Georg C.

“We are all bound to the throne of the Supreme Being by a flexible chain which restrains without enslaving us. The most wonderful aspect of the universal scheme of things is the action of free beings under divine guidance.“ -- by Maistre, Joseph De

“It can even come about that a created will cancels out, not perhaps the exertion, but the result of divine action; for in this sense, God himself has told us that God wishes things which do not happen because man does not wish them! Thus the rights of men are immense, and his greatest misfortune is to be unaware of them.“ -- by Maistre, Joseph De

“The strongest knowledge (that of the total freedom of the human will) is nonetheless the poorest in successes: for it always has the strongest opponent, human vanity.“ -- by Nietzsche, Friedrich

“I assess the power of a will by how much resistance, pain, torture it endures and knows how to turn to its advantage.“ -- by Nietzsche, Friedrich

“One of the annoying things about believing in free will and individual responsibility is the difficulty of finding somebody to blame your problems on. And when you do find somebody, it’s remarkable how often his picture turns up on your driver’s license.“ -- by O'Rourke, P. J.

“Will power is only the tensile strength of one’s own disposition. One cannot increase it by a single ounce.“ -- by Pavese, Cesare

“We defy augury. There’s a special providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be now, ’Tis not to come. If it be not to come, it will be now. If it be not now, yet it will come. The readiness is all.“ -- by Shakespeare, William

“We human beings do have some genuine freedom of choice and therefore some effective control over our own destinies. I am not a determinist. But I also believe that the decisive choice is seldom the latest choice in the series. More often than not, it will turn out to be some choice made relatively far back in the past.“ -- by Toynbee, Arnold

People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use. -- by Søren Kierkegaard

I wear the chain I forged in life....I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it. -- by Charles Dickens,

Experts in ancient Greek culture say that people back then didn’t see their thoughts as belonging to them. When ancient Greeks had a thought, it occurred to them as a god or goddess giving an order. Apollo was telling them to be brave. Athena was telling them to fall in love. Now people hear a commercial for sour cream potato chips and rush out to buy, but now they call this free will. At least the ancient Greeks were being honest. p20. -- by Chuck Palahniuk

For you will certainly carry out God’s purpose, however you act, but it makes a difference to you whether you serve like Judas or like John. -- by C.S. Lewis,

A man can do what he wants, but not want what he wants. -- by Arthur Schopenhauer

Was this a betrayal, or was it an act of courage? Perhaps both. Neither one involves forethought: such things take place in an instant, in an eyeblink. This can only be because they have been rehearsed by us already, over and over, in silence and darkness; in such silence, such darkness, that we are ignorant of them ourselves. Blind but sure-footed, we step forward as if into a remembered dance. -- by Margaret Atwood,

Human beings do not like being pushed about by gods. They may seem to, on the surface, but somewhere on the inside, underneath it all, they sense it, and they resent it. -- by Neil Gaiman,

You say: I am not free. But I have raised and lowered my arm. Everyone understands that this illogical answer is an irrefutable proof of freedom. -- by Leo Tolstoy,

What people have the capacity to choose, they have the ability to change. -- by Madeleine Albright

Wheels have been set in motion, and they have their own pace, to which we are...condemned. Each move is dictated by the previous one - that is the meaning of order. If we start being arbitrary it’ll just be a shambles: at least, let us hope so. Because if we happened, just happened to discover, or even suspect, that our spontaneity was part of their order, we’d know that we were lost. A Chinaman of the T’ang Dynasty - and, by which definition, a philosopher - dreamed he was a butterfly, and from that moment he was never quite sure that he was not a butterfly dreaming it was a Chinese philosopher. Envy him; his two-fold security. -- by Tom Stoppard,

Dear Sir, poor sir, brave sir.“ he read, “You are an experiment by the Creator of the Universe. You are the only creature in the entire Universe who has free will. You are the only one who has to figure out what to do next - and why. Everybody else is a robot, a machine. Some persons seem to like you, and others seem to hate you, and you must wonder why. They are simply liking machines and hating machines. You are pooped and demoralized, “ read Dwayne. “Why wouldn’t you be? Of course it is exhausting, having to reason all the time in a universe which wasn’t meant to be reasonable. -- by Kurt Vonnegut,

We become that which we love. -- by Saint Bridget

To be a god can ultimately become boring and degrading. There’d be reason enough for the invention of free will! A god might wish to escape into sleep and be alive only in the unconscious projections of his dream-creatures. -- by Frank Herbert

We gallop through our lives like circus performers balancing on two speeding side-by-side horses--one foot is on the horse called “fate,“ the other on the horse called “free will.“ And the question you have to ask every day is--which horse is which? Which horse do I need to stop worrying about because it’s not under my control, and which do I need to steer with concentrated effort? -- by Elizabeth Gilbert,

Free-will doesn’t include shit-happens, unless that’s the goal of one’s intention. -- by Toba Beta,

Each man lives for himself, uses his freedom to achieve his personal goals, and feels with his whole being that right now he can or cannot do such-and-such an action; but as soon as he does it, this action, committed at a certain moment in time, becomes irreversible, and makes itself the property of history, in which is has not a free but a predestined significance. -- by Leo Tolstoy,

He sat a long time and he thought about his life and how little of it he could ever have foreseen and he wondered for all his will and all his intent how much of it was his doing. -- by Cormac McCarthy,

[Gonturan] is a true friend, but a friend with thoughts of her own, and the thoughts of others are dangerous. -- by Robin McKinley,

Our minds are information vacuums. Either we fill them with thoughts of our choosing or someone else will. -- by Ray Davis

There was just such a man when I was young—an Austrian who invented a new way of life and convinced himself that he was the chap to make it work. He tried to impose his reformation by the sword, and plunged the civilized world into misery and chaos. But the thing which this fellow had overlooked, my friend, was that he had a predecessor in the reformation business, called Jesus Christ. Perhaps we may assume that Jesus knew as much as the Austrian did about saving people. But the odd thing is that Jesus did not turn the disciples into strom troopers, burn down the Temple at Jerusalem, and fix the blame on Pontius Pilate. On the contrary, he made it clear that the business of the philosopher was to make ideas available, and not to impose them on people. -- by T.H. White,

If there was no free will in men, then there is no sins. When sins happened, it was ’free will’ that made them doable. This is true, unless God has predestined human to do and to have sins. -- by Toba Beta

God isn’t about making good things happen to you, or bad things happen to you. He’s all about you making choices--exercising the gift of free will. God wants you to have good things and a good life, but He won’t gift wrap them for you. You have to choose the actions that lead you to that life. -- by Jim Butcher

Maybe none of us can choose who we love, Cas. None of the lucky ones, anyway. The only choice we have is how we serve that love. And Ethan’s made his choice. What about you? Are you going to reject it, or make the best of what you’ve been given? -- by Vicki Keire,

You can’t change the past. You can’t even change the future, in the sense that you can only change the present one moment at a time, stubbornly, until the future unwinds itself into the stories of our lives. -- by Larry Wall

It is certainly not the least charm of a theory that it is refutable; it is precisely thereby that it attracts the more subtle minds. It seems that the hundred-times-refuted theory of the “free will“ owes its persistence to this charm alone; some one is always appearing who feels himself strong enough to refute it. -- by Friedrich Nietzsche

[Research] suggests that what we think of as free will is largely an illusion: much of the time, we are simply operating on automatic pilot, and the way we think and act – and how well we think and act on the spur of the moment – are a lot more susceptible to outside influences than we realize. -- by Malcolm Gladwell,

The choices we’re working with here are a block universe, where past, present and future all coexist simultaneously and everything has already happened; chaos, where anything can happen and nothing can be predicted because we can’t know all the variables; and a Christian universe in which God made everything and it’s all here for a purpose but we have free will anyway. -- by Audrey Niffenegger,

The difficulty in dealing with a maze or labyrinth lies not so much in navigating the convolutions to find the exit but in not entering the damn thing in the first place. Or, at least not yet again. As a creature of free will, do not be tempted into futility. -- by Vera Nazarian,

Imagination is cheap as long as you don’t have to worry about the details. -- by Daniel C. Dennett,

Most of us assume that human beings have free will. However, . . . [we] are very much conditioned by our species, culture, family, and by the past in general. . . . It is rare for a human being to have free will. . . . (140) -- by Ravi Ravindra,

It is impossible to exercise free will as long as we are operating from within the system. Free will requires consciousness, and our pervasive and deep-seated patterns of thought are unconscious; they are outside of our awareness and therefore outside of our control. While we remain in the system, we see the world through the eyes of carnism. And as long as we look through eyes other than our own, we will be living in accordance to a truth that is not of our own choosing. We must step outside the system to find our lost empathy and make choices that reflect what we truly feel and believe, rather than what we’ve been taught to feel and believe. -- by Melanie Joy,

Is Ahab, Ahab? Is it I, God, or who, that lifts this arm? But if the great sun move not of himself; but is an errand-boy in heaven; nor one single star can revolve, but by some invisible power; how then can this one small heart beat; this one small brain think thoughts; unless God does that beating, does that thinking, does that living, and not I. -- by Herman Melville,

God doesn’t foresee the humans making their free contributions in a future, but sees them doing so in His unbounded now. And obviously to watch a man doing something is not to make him do it. -- by C.S. Lewis

If I hadn’t spent so much time studying Earthlings,“ said the Tralfamadorian, “I wouldn’t have any idea what was meant by ’free will.’ I’ve visited thirty-one inhabited planets in the universe, and I have studied reports on one hundred more. Only on Earth is there any talk of free will. -- by Kurt Vonnegut,

The will has no overall purpose, aims at no highest good, and can never be satisfied. Although it is our essence, it strikes us as an alien agency within, striving for life and procreation blindly, mediated only secondarily by consciousness. Instinctive sexuality is at our core, interfering constantly with the life of the intellect. To be an individual expression of this will is to lead a life of continual desire, deficiency, and suffering. Pleasure or satisfaction exists only relative to a felt lack; it is negative, merely the cessation of an episode of striving or suffering, and has no value of itself. Nothing we can achieve by conscious act of will alters the will to life within us. There is no free will. Human actions, as part of the natural order, are determined [....] As individual parts of the empirical world we are ineluctably pushed through life by a force inside us which is not of our choosing, which gives rise to needs and desires we can never fully satisfy, and is without ultimate purpose. Schopenhauer concludes that it would have been better not to exist—and that the world itself is something whose existence we should deplore rather than celebrate. -- by Christopher Janaway

You’re saying the gods don’t have free will. “The power to make mistakes,” Penny said. “Only we have that. Mortals.” -- by Lev Grossman,

War between free-will and predestination makes the idea of time travel is still too difficult to digest. -- by Toba Beta,

So it follows that those who have reason have freedom to will or not to will, although this freedom is not equal in all of them. [...] human souls are more free when they persevere in the contemplation of the mind of God, less free when they descend to the corporeal, and even less free when they are entirely imprisoned in earthly flesh and blood. -- by Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius,

This doctrine of total inability which declares that men are dead in sin does not mean that all men are equally bad, nor that any man is as bad as he could be, nor that anyone is entirely destitute of virtue, nor that human nature is equal in itself, nor that man’s spirit in inactive, and much less does it mean that the body is dead. What is does mean is that since the fall, man rests under the curse of sin, that he is actuated by wrong principles, and that he is wholly unable to love God, or to do anything meriting salvation. His corruption is extensive, but not necessarily intensive. It is in this sense that man, since the fall, is utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good, wholly inclined to all evil. He possesses a fixed bias of the will against God, and instinctively and willingly and turns to evil. He is an alien by birth, and a sinner by choice. The inability under which he labors is not an inability to exercise volition, but an inability to be willing to exercise holy volitions. And it is this phase of it which led Luther to declare that ‘free will’ is an empty term, whose reality is lost; and a lost liberty, according to my grammar, is no liberty at all. -- by Loraine Boettner,

Free Will : “I made you think so.“ Predestination: “I knew you had to. -- by Toba Beta,

The whole struggle was over, and yet there seemed to have been no moment of victory. You might say, if you liked, that the power of choice had been simply set aside and an inflexible destiny substituted for it. On the other hand, you might say he had delivered from the rhetoric of his passions and had emerged in unassailable freedom. Ransom could not for the life of him, see any difference between these two statements. Predestination and freedom were apparently identical. He could no longer see any meaning in the many arguments he had heart on the subject. -- by C.S. Lewis,

God created things which had free will. That means creatures which can go wrong or right. Some people think they can imagine a creature which was free but had no possibility of going wrong, but I can’t. If a thing is free to be good it’s also free to be bad. And free will is what has made evil possible. Why, then, did God give them free will? Because free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having. A world of automata -of creatures that worked like machines- would hardly be worth creating. The happiness which God designs for His higher creatures is the happiness of being freely, voluntarily united to Him and to each other in an ecstasy of love and delight compared with which the most rapturous love between a man and a woman on this earth is mere milk and water. And for that they’ve got to be free. Of course God knew what would happen if they used their freedom the wrong way: apparently, He thought it worth the risk. (...) If God thinks this state of war in the universe a price worth paying for free will -that is, for making a real world in which creatures can do real good or harm and something of real importance can happen, instead of a toy world which only moves when He pulls the strings- then we may take it it is worth paying. -- by C.S. Lewis,