When Polly wants a cracker, Polly eats a cracker. But the million-dollar question is not whether parrots and humans can act out their inner desires – the question is whether they can choose their desires in the first place. Why does Polly want a cracker rather than a cucumber? Why do I decide to kill my annoying neighbour instead of turning the other cheek? Why do I want to buy the red car rather than the black? Why do I prefer voting for the Conservatives rather than the Labour Party? I don’t choose any of these wishes. I feel a particular wish welling up within me because this is the feeling created by the biochemical processes in my brain. These processes might be deterministic or random, but not free.
The above taken from Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, by Yuval Noah Harari, a book I thought I’d not enjoy, but which gets better with every page.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, as God and dice have determined, I have a run to go for.
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