On the question of free will

I am free. But not because of some smart re-conceptualisation of the term 'freedom' away from naturalistic determinism and towards some kind of phenomenological idea of freedom. No, I am free precisely because I am made of the same stuff that the rest of the universe is made from. I am a living part of an equally living universe. Our modern conception of 'laws of nature' as perfectly restrictive mechanical processes has itself emerged from the activity of human beings in this world. How could it ever be that they, biologically and physically determined sacks of meat and water, perfectly locked in to the one and only correct way the universe works, while they were simultaneously determined by that very universe to begin with? Doesn't it make much more sense to see the universe as neverending life, change, flux; to see ourselves as a part of that process; and to see the claims of physics, biology and chemistry not as eternal truths but as results of that very same process?

We are always free, because we are the universe. Modern science and philosophy wants us to see ourselves as helplessly stuck in our natural state (we are matter, and have no choice but to obey the laws of matter), while simultaneously being infinitely above nature (we can accurately unearth the laws of nature). We are, in fact, neither. We are indeed unavoidably a part of the universe, made from the same stuff, because there simply is no other stuff. There's no chasm between life and non-life, object and subject, nature and culture. But the laws of nature are as variable as humanity; we may be bound by what we deem to be true at each moment, but what we deem to be true changes and shifts constantly. The idea that we now think we've finally found the right method to find the facts about the universe is as ridiculous as the idea that a bat, a dolphin, or an octopus could find such a method. We can see clearly the limitations of other creatures – how they are bound by their own physiology and embeddedness – yet we refuse to accept the same thing about homo sapiens.

We are just animals. Animals are just stuff. No fundamental borders separate us from animals, or animals from lifeless matter. Yet we all live. We run, we reflect, we sleep and wake up, we notice the world, we notice others, we notice ourselves. Is that what life is? Or is what we call 'life' just the principle, or the force, that makes all of that possible, and that makes different things possible in different configurations? If so, then the universe is rife with life. Then life, or the universe, is what gave birth to us, and we, in turn, constitute the universe, are an integral part of it.

(These thoughts came to mind in the process of reading two works: We Have Never Been Modern by Bruno Latour (1993), and The Origin Paradox: How Could Life
Emerge from Nonlife? by Ion Soteropoulos (2018). They are deliberately written down unacademically, because I wanted to note my own thoughts in all their colour and radicalness, rather than watering them down with citations and fact-checking and on-the-one-hand/on-the-other-hand. I know that these sorts of thoughts are fleeting, which is why writing them down as they appear is important to me. What I mean is that I might distance myself from these thoughts the day after I write them. They don't represent me or my 'stance' on anything, whatever that might mean. I'm simply considering thoughts that might or might not have value.)

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