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Free Will

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We are not who we 'ought' to be

Mark Twain was an American writer and philosopher that believed that we as humans do not have the right to free will. And when I really take a step back and think about it, I kind of want to agree with him. Now don't get me wrong, I understand that we live in a nation that is structured on freedom. After all that is why we founded this country in the first place, isn't it? But in regards to the reading you assigned I can't help but think that although you may disagree or think differently, at some point in every decision we come across we are lead to a conclusion in which someone or something had made the decision for us. Lets use this paper for example, most would argue that its up to me to decide when the paper will get typed. True, but what really lead me to make that decision? Did you decide I was going to write a paper or did I? You see, I would not have written this paper at all if it had not been assigned by you in the first place. And since is was assigned , I would then be left with a decision to either do it sooner, later, or last minute which I commonly chose. Twain is famously quoted saying, "Where there are two desires in a man's heart he has no choice between the two, but must obey the strongest [choice]" which in my opinion means that even when you have to decide, you know you'll chose the one that's best for you. In terms of my "paper" metaphor, it comes down to, "Am I going to write this and take a grade, or not and settle for a zero" obviously taking any grade is better then taking none at all. So with that said he is exactly right, I ended up choosing the option that I had "no choice" but to make. In the reading Twain also mentioned that people "desire to be in the swim" meaning if faced with a decision in public people will either keep to them selves or regrettably agree because they are embarrassed of not fitting in. Very few of us try to stand out or speak up because they afraid of the judgment that will inevitably come. As Americans we see this situation most commonly in instances with religion and politics. No one likes talking about religion and politics, except of course the few that enjoy speaking out. But again you notice that the people who go with the flow have already made up their mind that it's better to sit these difficult topics out. As much as I wish I was among the very few, I would much rather go with the flow then stir up disagreement. Don't get me wrong, if I was asked to speak on my views I would have no problem doing so. For example, I don't like being pestered about who I vote for or what God I worship and im sure people don't want me pestering them likewise. But if it's in a non-judgmental environment where everyone is being open, I will share and I might even listen. I think it was Emerson that



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