Take the blue pill or take the red pill?
A simple choice to hit a button with your Left or right hand, at first glance such a decision is completely autonomous and we are free in that moment to choose?
What if that wasn’t the case? What if I told you that neuroscientists could predict which hand you were going to use seven seconds before you consciously thought that you had even decided which hand you would use.
Well in a recent Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences study that’s exactly what has happened, through different parts of the brain becoming active 7 seconds before subjects had made what they thought was a random choice in that very moment.
“Your decisions are strongly prepared by brain activity. By the time consciousness kicks in, most of the work has already been done,” said study co-author John-Dylan Haynes, a Max Planck Institute neuroscientist.
Is this proof that points to our sub-conscious is actually in control of our decision-making and we are only self-aware of our conscious mind which may be doing nothing but what has already been decided for it. At any giving crossroads in which we can go left, right or straight is nothing but an illusion and that our choice had been made long before we had reached it.
“Thoughts think themselves’’
What will be the next thought that comes into your mind? You don’t know what it will be until it appears and you then are conscious of it, but where did it come from?
If I was to ask you to name any animal right now what would it be? Lets say you said Tiger and if I was to follow-up and ask why is it that you had answered Tiger you wouldn’t know, you would say it was the first thought that came to you, you would be none the wiser of where it came from and why it was the first one to come into your conscious mind it just appeared for reasons you don’t know.
The sub-conscious may just be like the man behind the curtain in the wizard of oz control the machine, the one that tells us to pay no attention to it. The thing that we like to call ‘’free will’’ might not be so free after all because at any giving moment in which you make a decision to go one way or another you are completely unaware as to why you chose left over right in that moment. Now if you had a time machine to take you back 5 minutes in time and absolutely everything in the universe was exactly the same in that very moment you had to make the choice again, it simple wouldn’t change. It would be the exact same thoughts coming into your conscious mind once again leading you to choose left.
Maybe we are ultimately just slaves to our sub-conscious mind that we are more like puppets and that our free will is just like a magic trick and while we feel like we are deciding what way to go, it’s really just a diversion of our attention while the actual choice has already been made for us. Even if you don’t subscribe fully to the notion that free will maybe just an illusion, the fact that they where able to predict a person’s choice a full 7 seconds before they had consciously made it really must make you wonder where do our thoughts come from?