BearSleuth Opinion Piece: Life and minecraft-How does free will work?

This morning I woke up, got out of bed, went and brushed my teeth, then poured a bowl of coco pops and guzzled down a bottle of apple juice before noticing I had done all of it on auto-pilot, there hadn’t been a single thought in my head. I stood for a second in my small student kitchen and had a little exsitential crisis. Had I done all those things under my own freewill or had I just been programmed to do it? And if I was programmed to do it, who programmed me? Are my actions always programmed? At that point I went and curled up on the sofa with a second bowl of coco pops.

  Picture source: http://static.planetminecraft.com/files/resource_media/screenshot/1232/minecraft-day-one_3183814.jpg [29/05/2015]

If your hoping for the answers to all these questions I’m afraid you are in the wrong place, and I’m not sure I even could point you in the right direction. Many religions don’t tend to touch to heavily upon freewill because it is a difficult matter, in Christianty, for example, we believe that God has a divine plan for us but we also have free will and will be punished if we act against the will of God. But what about Judas? It was part of God’s plan for Judas to betray Jesus yet we are told that Judas is evil, does this mean that Judas was betraying Jesus out of his own freewill or without it but being punished for ‘sticking to the plan’. It get’s really complicated. So my personal view is that life, when it comes to freewill atleast, is like Minecraft.

Stick with me here. In the game Minecraft you are presented with an amazing and varied world, a blank canvas. The world has rules, for example, when you fall more than a few blocks that hurts you and when you don’t eat for a while you get hungry. Between the set rules of the world and the set rules of being a character in the world is the ability to interact, by attacking things and moving blocks, but those interactions are up to you. Translated to real life, there are physical limitations that compel you but the book stops with you. If you don’t choose to eat you’ll get hungry but it’s up to you when you eat.

The main difference between life and Minecraft is that there are a lot more rules, more than I could ever hope to list, and this means that a lot of our actions are driven by some biological need. Follow up the rules of existence with the rules of the world and the rules of society and you soon see that most actions are driven by a desire to adhere to a rule or a law or a biological need. That’s where freewill really kicks in. We have the ability to choose what we do when and which rules we ignore. It all gets quite wooly at this point but this is when we can jump back to the Minecraft example.

In Minecraft you have an avatar in the world that is subject to the laws of Minecraft, I believe life works the same way. You are not your physical body. You are simply a soul existing in a physical avatar. Your senses are the equivalent of a monitor for games console and life is just a game of endless potential. But this is simply my thoughts on the matter, a personal philosophy, and it doesn’t answer every question. I don’t know all the answers I’m afraid fellow Minecrafters, but I do think it’s time for more coco pops.

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