Quotes About Free Will

Quotes tagged as "free-will" (showing 1-30 of 423)
Søren Kierkegaard
“People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use.”
Søren Kierkegaard

C.S. Lewis
“There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, "Thy will be done," and those to whom God says, in the end, "Thy will be done." All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. Those who knock it is opened.”
C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce

C.S. Lewis
“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.”
C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

Arthur Schopenhauer
Der Mensch kann tun was er will; er kann aber nicht wollen was er will.

Man can do what he wills but he cannot will what he wills.”
Arthur Schopenhauer, Essays and Aphorisms

Chuck Palahniuk
“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.”
Chuck Palahniuk, Lullaby

Clarence Darrow
“Every instinct that is found in any man is in all men. The strength of the emotion may not be so overpowering, the barriers against possession not so insurmountable, the urge to accomplish the desire less keen. With some, inhibitions and urges may be neutralized by other tendencies. But with every being the primal emotions are there. All men have an emotion to kill; when they strongly dislike some one they involuntarily wish he was dead. I have never killed any one, but I have read some obituary notices with great satisfaction.”
Clarence Darrow, The Story of My Life

Charlotte Eriksson
“I am not a Sunday morning inside four walls
with clean blood
and organized drawers.
I am the hurricane setting fire to the forests
at night when no one else is alive
or awake
however you choose to see it
and I live in my own flames
sometimes burning too bright and too wild
to make things last
or handle
myself or anyone else
and so I run.
run run run
far and wide
until my bones ache and lungs split
and it feels good.
Hear that people? It feels good
because I am the slave and ruler of my own body
and I wish to do with it exactly as I please”
Charlotte Eriksson

G.K. Chesterton
“According to most philosophers, God in making the world enslaved it. According to Christianity, in making it, He set it free. God had written, not so much a poem, but rather a play; a play he had planned as perfect, but which had necessarily been left to human actors and stage-managers, who had since made a great mess of it.”
G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

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.”
C.S. Lewis, The Case for Christianity

Criss Jami
“I'm convinced that most men don't know what they believe, rather, they only know what they wish to believe. How many people blame God for man's atrocities, but wouldn't dream of imprisoning a mother for her son's crime?”
Criss Jami, Killosophy

Madeleine K. Albright
“What people have the capacity to choose, they have the ability to change.”
Madeleine K. Albright

Leo Tolstoy
“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.”
Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace

Daniel C. Dennett
“But recently I have learned from discussions with a variety of scientists and other non-philosophers (e.g., the scientists participating with me in the Sean Carroll workshop on the future of naturalism) that they lean the other way: free will, in their view, is obviously incompatible with naturalism, with determinism, and very likely incoherent against any background, so they cheerfully insist that of course they don't have free will, couldn’t have free will, but so what? It has nothing to do with morality or the meaning of life. Their advice to me at the symposium was simple: recast my pressing question as whether naturalism (materialism, determinism, science...) has any implications for what we may call moral competence. For instance, does neuroscience show that we cannot be responsible for our choices, cannot justifiably be praised or blamed, rewarded or punished? Abandon the term 'free will' to the libertarians and other incompatibilists, who can pursue their fantasies untroubled. Note that this is not a dismissal of the important issues; it’s a proposal about which camp gets to use, and define, the term. I am beginning to appreciate the benefits of discarding the term 'free will' altogether, but that course too involves a lot of heavy lifting, if one is to avoid being misunderstood.”
Daniel C. Dennett, Consciousness Explained

Neil Gaiman
“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.”
Neil Gaiman, Anansi Boys

Jim Butcher
“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.”
Jim Butcher

T.H. White
“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.”
T.H. White, The Once and Future King

Clarence Darrow
“Were these boys in their right minds? Here were two boys with good intellect, one eighteen and one nineteen. They had all the prospects that life could hold out for any of the young; one a graduate of Chicago and another of Ann Arbor; one who had passed his examination for the Harvard Law School and was about to take a trip in Europe,--another who had passed at Ann Arbor, the youngest in his class, with three thousand dollars in the bank. Boys who never knew what it was to want a dollar; boys who could reach any position that was to boys of that kind to reach; boys of distinguished and honorable families, families of wealth and position, with all the world before them. And they gave it all up for nothing, for nothing! They took a little companion of one of them, on a crowded street, and killed him, for nothing, and sacrificed everything that could be of value in human life upon the crazy scheme of a couple of immature lads.

Now, your Honor, you have been a boy; I have been a boy. And we have known other boys. The best way to understand somebody else is to put yourself in his place.

Is it within the realm of your imagination that a boy who was right, with all the prospects of life before him, who could choose what he wanted, without the slightest reason in the world would lure a young companion to his death, and take his place in the shadow of the gallows?

...No one who has the process of reasoning could doubt that a boy who would do that is not right.

How insane they are I care not, whether medically or legally. They did not reason; they could not reason; they committed the most foolish, most unprovoked, most purposeless, most causeless act that any two boys ever committed, and they put themselves where the rope is dangling above their heads....

Why did they kill little Bobby Franks?

Not for money, not for spite; not for hate. They killed him as they might kill a spider or a fly, for the experience. They killed him because they were made that way. Because somewhere in the infinite processes that go to the making up of the boy or the man something slipped, and those unfortunate lads sit here hated, despised, outcasts, with the community shouting for their blood.

. . . I know, Your Honor, that every atom of life in all this universe is bound up together. I know that a pebble cannot be thrown into the ocean without disturbing every drop of water in the sea. I know that every life is inextricably mixed and woven with every other life. I know that every influence, conscious and unconscious, acts and reacts on every living organism, and that no one can fix the blame. I know that all life is a series of infinite chances, which sometimes result one way and sometimes another. I have not the infinite wisdom that can fathom it, neither has any other human brain”
Clarence Darrow, Attorney for the Damned: Clarence Darrow in the Courtroom

Margaret Atwood
“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.”
Margaret Atwood, Der blinde Mörder

Sam Harris
“You are not controlling the storm, and you are not lost in it. You are the storm.”
Sam Harris, Free Will

Tom Stoppard
“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. ”
Tom Stoppard, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

Sam Harris
“You can do what you decide to do — but you cannot decide what you will decide to do.”
Sam Harris, Free Will

Malcolm Gladwell
“[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.”
Malcolm Gladwell, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

Anthony Burgess
“We're a government that believes in everybody having the illusion of free will.”
Anthony Burgess, The Wanting Seed

Leo Tolstoy
“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. ”
Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace

E.A. Bucchianeri
“... how terrible is the pain of the mind and heart when the freedom of mankind is suppressed!”
E.A. Bucchianeri, Brushstrokes of a Gadfly

Teresa of Ávila
“. . . it is presumptuous in me to wish to choose my path, because I cannot tell which path is best for me. I must leave it to the Lord, Who knows me, to lead me by the path which is best for me, so that in all things His will may be done.”
Teresa of Ávila, Interior Castle

Kurt Vonnegut
“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.”
Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five

Pierre-Simon Laplace
“We ought to regard the present state of the universe as the effect of its antecedent state and as the cause of the state that is to follow. An intelligence knowing all the forces acting in nature at a given instant, as well as the momentary positions of all things in the universe, would be able to comprehend in one single formula the motions of the largest bodies as well as the lightest atoms in the world, provided that its intellect were sufficiently powerful to subject all data to analysis; to it nothing would be uncertain, the future as well as the past would be present to its eyes. The perfection that the human mind has been able to give to astronomy affords but a feeble outline of such an intelligence.”
Pierre-Simon Laplace

E.A. Bucchianeri
“You cannot hinder someone’s free will, that’s the first law of the Universe, no matter what the decision.”
E.A. Bucchianeri, Brushstrokes of a Gadfly

“You may fetter my leg, but Zeus himself cannot get the better of my free will.”

« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 14 15
All Quotes | My Quotes | Add A Quote

Browse By Tag