0182 - A doctor's mistakes - 2021.03.29
Ah, free will.
Of course, it's one of the big philosophical questions, largely because of our own bias as things that, ostensibly, have free will.
I imagine that, if we didn't have that inherent vested interest in the idea of our own free will, the nonexistence thereof would be a slam dunk. I mean, even if one cedes the idea of a supernatural soul, either that soul follows some sort of ethereal laws of physics (in which case it's just as deterministic as a brain made of matter and energy) or it's effectively random (which eliminates the pre-destination problem, but really doesn't feel like much of an improvement).
In much the same way that I'd raise an eyebrow at any "transhumanist" sci-fi with hot-swappable body parts and neural Internet access but no fundamental change to society or the economy, I'd be equally skeptical of any setting that doesn't change how we understand human consciousness and psychology. I mean, Lee's right. Why the hell shouldn't they be able to change their own brain? You would if you could, wouldn't you?
The idea that a psychotherapist has omnipotent control over the universe and is therefore culpable for an individual's entire life is somewhat iffy, though. Like many people, what Lee really wants is a God they can blame their problems on and whine at for change. No doubt, if they weren't so far removed from their family, that role would be filled by their parents. If they were more tightly controlled by the state, it would be filled by the government. If AI dominated (even more of) their life, they'd blame the Algorithm.
What would you change about yourself - your memories, your personality traits, your habits, your emotions - if you had direct control over your own brain? What if there were tradeoffs - granting yourself more emotional stability takes up synapses you'd normally use for your sense of direction; granting yourself a better memory tanks your creativity... what's worth trading out?
Who would you be, if you could be who you want to be? Who would that altered person choose to be, if they kept changing themselves based on their new personality and priorities? Once you've finally made yourself into that person, do you think you'd find yourself identical to every other perfected person? Is free will dependant on individuality, and is individuality the same thing as uniqueness?