17 Free Will

CHAPTER 17

Free Will

Animal life is not entirely free from the necessity of making decisions as to the course of action to be pursued. When confronted with a powerful enemy, for example, the question as to whether to fight or retreat may be of vital importance. But the basis for such a decision is never in doubt. Survival of the individual and his species is the paramount objective, and whatever uncertainties may exist as to the course of action that should be taken are simply uncertainties as to what action will contribute most effectively to that end.

This constant direction of animal activity is a result of the fact that the biological organism is subject to only one control: that of the life unit. The laws of the inanimate sector of the universe also apply, to be sure, but these laws merely impose certain limitations on the activity of the organism; they do not exercise any actual control functions. Within the physical limitations, all actions of the organism are determined by the controlling life unit, and they follow a single set of laws and principles: the laws of Sector 2.

As we have found in the preceding pages, this constancy of direction does not apply to the activities of the human race. Man is subject not only to control by a Sector 2 entity, the life unit, but also by a Sector 3 control unit. In many areas, the two controls operate harmoniously. An adequate food supply, for instance, is just as essential to the attainment of the Sector 3 objectives as it is to the attainment of the Sector 2 objectives, and hence no conflict arises in this area. But in a great many other cases, the action that is taken if the Sector 2 control prevails is quite different from that which is taken if the Sector 3 control gains the ascendancy. Here man must make the kind of a decision that does not confront any other living organism; he must decide which of two conflicting sets of governing rules he will follow, or he must work out some kind of a compromise between the two. There are also decisions to be made as to the particular actions which will contribute most effectively to the attainment of the objectives that are decided upon, and in this respect, man is in the same position as any other animal, but only man is called upon to decide which set of rules he will follow.

Wherever there is a decision of this kind to be made, the choice between behavior as an animal and behavior as an ethical human being is one which the individual exercises by virtue of his free will. At both extremes of philosophical thought there are those who deny the existence of free will and contend that human actions are predetermined. This is an issue of crucial importance in many areas of human activity.

Probably no other issue in philosophy is more alive today or has more far-reaching consequences. If all events in the world, including a man’s thoughts and actions, are rigidly determined by forces beyond his control, then a man can neither act differently from the way he does nor really guide the course of events even in his own life. If he could not have acted differently, should he be held responsible for his conduct?267 (H. H. Titus)

It is significant that both of the groups that deny the existence of free will base their denials on development of the consequences of their own doctrines, not on interpretation of the evidence. Those who believe that the entire course of events in the universe is foreordained argue from the premise that God is omnipotent, and hence everything that happens must be just as He wants it; otherwise He would change it. Quite aside from the fact that the available evidence is against it, this argument is not very convincing. Even if one were to grant the validity of the major premise, the conclusion does not necessarily follow.

The strict mechanists likewise deny the existence of free will because it conflicts with their doctrines. If the universe in its entirety is nothing but a mechanism, then every part of it, including the biological mechanism known as man, will respond to stimuli in a mechanistic manner. The response of any particular mechanism to any particular stimulus will be a specific action determined by the characteristics of the stimulus and the characteristics of the organism, with no opportunity for variation. In its simplest form, this is the doctrine of determinism. It originated from a consideration of the implications of the classical mechanics of Newton’s era, which indicated that the state of a physical system at any particular time is uniquely determined by its state at any previous time. Laplace, who was the first to put this hypothesis into specific and unequivocal terms, contended that if there existed a being capable of knowing the exact condition of each constituent of the system at any one time, he could determine the exact conditions that will exist at any future time, as well as those that did exist at any specified past time.

In the light of the scientific knowledge of the eighteenth century, Laplacian determinism appeared to be well grounded, but the uneasiness which most scientists felt about the denial of free will that this hypothesis requires was clearly demonstrated by the alacrity with which they accepted the idea that the statistical nature of the quantum theories provides a loophole through which free will can be reinstated. Eddington was one of the first and most articulate of the advocates of this proposition. Before the ink was hardly dry on Heisenberg’s announcement of his Indeterminacy Principle, Eddington was proclaiming that “Science thereby withdraws its moral opposition to free-will.”268 In another work he summarized his position as follows:

We conclude then that the activities of consciousness do not violate the laws of physics, since in the present indeterministic scheme there is freedom to operate within them.269

But this buoyant optimism was short-lived, as powerful voices were soon heard, pointing out that replacing determinism by chance accomplishes nothing toward clearing the way for the exercise of that choice which is the essence of the free-will concept. The following statements are typical:

The physicist who tries to prove freedom on the basis of quantum theory invariably meets misfortune, whether he recognizes it or not… he can prove randomness of action, but never freedom.270 (Henry Margenau)

If these statistics [the statistics which, according to present-day theory, determine the behavior of the atom] are interfered with by any agent, this agent violates the laws of quantum mechanics just as objectionably as if it interfered—in pre-quantum physics—with a strictly causal mechanical law… . The net result is that quantum physics has nothing to do with the free-will problem. If there is such a problem, it is not furthered a whit by the latest developments in physics.271 (Erwin Schrödinger)

In approaching this question from a scientific standpoint, making use of the information developed earlier in this volume and in the prior study of the physical universe, it is desirable first to distinguish clearly between causality and determinism. The two are often equated in scientific and philosophical discussions. As R. B. Lindsay says, “There is some disagreement among scientists about the concept of causality. Among many it is essentially equivalent to the notion of determinism.”272 Some philosophers likewise fail to see the distinction. “Determinism,” says Hospers, “is the view that everything that happens has a cause.”273 But there are two very different concepts here, and each term should be reserved for one of these, so that the issues are not unnecessarily confused by the language that is utilized.

The simple notion of causality is the one implied in the statement that “From nothing, nothing comes.” According to this viewpoint, there must be some thing or some combination of things—a cause or a number of causes—that can be regarded as responsible for any specific physical event. If we then go a step farther and assert that the correlation between the cause and the result is unique, so that a full knowledge of the cause would enable prediction of the result in full detail, we have what will here be called determinism.

Considerable difficulty has heretofore been experienced in arriving at a satisfactory definition of the term “cause.” Most of the definitions that have been proposed reduce to nothing more than a matter of time sequence when they are carefully analyzed. Many observers are therefore inclined to regard “cause” as a meaningless expression. Others have attempted to add further requirements to that of sequence in time, in order to give this term the meaning that seems to be lacking. Bridgman, for instance, gives it a deterministic significance:

I believe that examination will show that we must at least have invariable sequence—the event B must always follow the event A under all sorts of conditions.274

During the era when Newton’s system, the so-called “classical physics,” was the unchallenged basis of physical science, the universe was regarded as being made up of physical objects—particles of matter and combinations of such particles—and physical events were identified as changes in the motions and associations of these particles and their combinations. If such a system is isolated (that is, not subject to outside influences) and is governed by definite laws and principles, causality becomes determinism, and we have the “invariable sequence” that Bridgman envisioned. Not only is each event the result of certain causes, but the nature of the event is completely determined by those causes. Determinism was apparently an inescapable consequence of the classical viewpoint.

In fact, the methods, definitions and conceptions of physical science were so much bound up with the hypothesis of strict causality that the limits (if any) of the scheme of causal law were looked upon as the ultimate limits of physical science. No serious doubt was entertained that this determination covered all inorganic phenomena. How far it applied to living or conscious matter or to consciousness itself was a matter of individual opinion; but there was naturally a reluctance to accept any restriction of an outlook which had proved so successful over a wide domain.275 (A. S. Eddington)

Discovery of phenomena to which the laws of classical physics are not applicable, and the rise of quantum mechanics as the new orthodox scientific doctrine, destroyed the foundations upon which the deterministic theories were erected. Even causality was endangered, as it was found that many of the events taking place at the atomic level, such as the disintegration of a radioactive atom, for example, could not be correlated with any cause. An atom of uranium remains quiescent for years, and then suddenly, for no apparent reason, disintegrates. It is possible to predict quite accurately, by statistical methods, just how many atoms of a particular aggregate will undergo decay in a given period of time, but present-day physics is unable to tell us why the disintegration occurs or when any particular atom will be affected. So far as can be determined on the basis of the modern physical theories, the decay events simply happen without any cause.

While these developments have destroyed what previously seemed to be a prima facie case in favor of both causality and determinism, the new physical picture has been far too vague to establish indeterminism on a firm basis, and causality remains a wide open and hotly debated issue in scientific circles. The difficulty is that although “modern physics” has superseded “classical physics” as the orthodox scientific doctrine, the modern physicist has not been able to place his theories on the same firm footing that classical physics occupied in its day. During the era of Newton, the physical principles then recognized—the classical principles—explained the then known physical facts completely and accurately, with only a few minor exceptions, and it was not unreasonable to expect that they would ultimately furnish similar explanations for all of the phenomena of the physical universe. Modern physics, on the other hand, is neither complete nor accurate in its attempts to account for the physical facts that are now known. Indeed, there is no general agreement even as to the meaning of the existing theories, and the physicist can take his choice from among a number of different “interpretations,” none of which is free from serious weaknesses. “No satisfactory interpretation of quantum mechanics exists today,”276 concludes Hilary Putnam, after a critical examination of the arguments pro and con. Thus, while modern physical theory seems to preclude both determinism and causality, this theory itself is so vague and uncertain that it is not in a position to give authoritative answers to any such questions of a collateral nature.

The reason for this rather nebulous character of modern physical theory has now been clarified by the development of the Reciprocal System. According to the new findings, the “modern” theory cannot be other than vague and controversial because in many respects it is completely wrong. Clarification of the basic nature of the physical universe now reveals that all physical phenomena are motions of one kind or another. A physical event is simply a change of motion. This makes it possible to define the causal relationship specifically. In order that there may be a change in any motion Z, without violating the conservation laws, some other motion Y must be superimposed on motion Z. This motion Y, or the motion X of which Y was a part before the event, is then the cause of the event: the change in motion Z.

If we follow the motions backward in time (in the material system) we find that motion Y (or X) was previously modified in a similar manner by motion W, at an earlier time by motion V, at a still earlier time by motion U, and so on. The motions W, V, and U were themselves modified at earlier times by motions aW, aV, aU, etc. Every event in the physical system is thus the result of the intersection of two or more “causal chains,” as they are called. Causal systems would be a better term, as the interaction of the two motions is more like the junction of two river systems than the intersection of two chains. Much of the difficulty that is experienced in dealing with problems of causality is due to the fact that every event actually has an infinite number of causes, just as the Amazon River, for example, has its origin in an almost infinite number of rivulets. In the case of the Amazon, we can utilize some criterion, presumably size, at each junction point to identify the main stream, and by this process we can arrive at what we regard as the source of the river. In a similar manner, we can often identify something that we call the cause of a physical event, but this identification necessarily involves a somewhat arbitrary exclusion of items that have contributed to the causation. Furthermore, the designated cause is itself the result of other causes.

On this basis, the events at the atomic level to which modern physics is unable to assign any causes originate from the intersection of causal systems in the same manner as the familiar events of our everyday experience. The explanation which the Reciprocal System supplies for the seemingly anomalous atomic events is that physical objects can change their relative positions in time as well as in space, and most of the events that occur at the atomic level are the results of changes of location in time, either in addition to or in lieu of location changes in space. The difficulty that has been experienced in applying the laws of classical physics to atomic and subatomic events is due to the fact that these are laws governing motion in space. The changes of position in time that take place in these events are not governed by the laws of space motion, but by other laws that are different from, although related to, the spatial laws. When these atomic events are viewed in their proper context, they are not random and unpredictable as pictured by quantum theory; they are just as regular and orderly as the macroscopic processes that follow the classical laws. The same causal relationships that apply to ordinary everyday physical processes are therefore applicable to these atomic events as well. Every event at the atomic or subatomic level is the result of the intersection of two or more causal systems.

Determinism, however, is ruled out by another of the findings of the Reciprocal System. Earlier physical theories considered the universe as being made up of “things”: entities possessing a rather vague attribute known as “substance.” The issue of determinism versus indeterminism was simply a question as to whether the laws governing the motions of these “things” were definite and specific enough to enable accurate prediction of the later motions from a knowledge of the earlier ones. But the development of the Reciprocal System now shows that “substance” is motion of a particular kind, and the “things” are therefore nothing but motions. Furthermore, there is a continual interchange between the “things” and other types of motion. In many events, particularly where the dimensions of motion are altered, or where motion in space and motion in time are interchanged, the exact nature of the resultant is a matter of chance. At these points, causality is maintained, as always, but the deterministic chain is broken. The contentions that an “invariable sequence” is essential to causality, and that the same cause must always have the same result, are therefore erroneous. In some classes of events, determinism prevails, and the exact nature of the result can be predicted if we have a full knowledge of the cause or causes, but in other classes of events, the actual result may be any one of a number of potential results. Determinism, as a general physical principle, is thus invalid.

Denial of determinism is not, however, sufficient to establish the existence of free will. The essence of free will is the choice, but physical mechanisms have no choice. A result produced by a chance process is just as specific and definite as if it had been produced by a fully deterministic process. Free will exists only if the result that would have been produced by the normal physical processes—chance or determinate, as the case may be—can be overruled at the option of that will, and such a thing is totally foreign to the physical world. Both living and non-living physical units must follow the rules of their respective sectors; a mechanism has no will of its own. Free will is necessarily metaphysical; that is non-physical.

This is the inescapable fact that has driven the strict mechanist, whether he be scientist or philosopher, into a denial of the reality of free will. The concept of free will is “a logical monstrosity, a contradiction, a fiction,”277 says Vaihinger, with a vehemence born of realization that his statement is a direct contradiction of basic human experience. Those that are inclined toward the mechanistic viewpoint, but are unwilling to take such a radical stand, recognize that we are here confronted with a dilemma.

This is one of man’s oldest riddles. How can the independence of human volition be harmonized with the fact that we are integral parts of a universe which is subject to the rigid order of nature’s laws?278 (Max Planck)

Most scientists would prefer to believe in the existence of free will, but like Planck, they see no way in which this freedom can be reconciled with the physical laws to which man, as well as the rest of the physical universe, is subject. They are not impressed by the arguments advanced by those philosophers who champion free will. A brief examination of some of these philosophical positions will show why they are scientifically unacceptable. For example, Trueblood tells us that “The most powerful argument against determinism is that it utterly destroys any logical basis of responsibility.”279 This is outright circularity. The argument rests entirely on the assumption that man must be responsible for his actions. But he cannot be held responsible unless he has freedom of action. The premise on which this argument for the existence of free will is based is therefore equivalent to assuming freedom of the will.

Other philosophy texts approach the responsibility issue in a different way, contending that human recognition of a sense of personal responsibility is evidence of its existence. Titus lists this, together with three similar items that he offers as additional evidence: (1) we have a consciousness of freedom of choice; (2) we pass moral judgments on conduct, and (3) we deliberate before making a choice.280 Most scientists have considerable sympathy with this point of view as they feel intuitively that our consciousness of freedom of choice has a solid factual foundation. But the scientific world has had too much experience with popular and widely-held beliefs that are completely without merit to give any credence to evidence based solely on what people think is true. And they do not fail to note that the philosophers who advance these arguments of an intuitive nature are not, as a rule, willing to take a definite stand in favor of the reality of intuitive knowledge. So the scientist has been left in an awkward position where that which he intuitively feels to be correct is in direct conflict with the information that he derives by the logical and factual methods of inquiry to which he and his profession are committed.

The question now arises, Is the conflict between the scientific and intuitive viewpoints actually as irreconcilable as it seems? There are those who would cut the Gordian knot by repudiating some of the principles of science. Bergson, for instance, calls the law of conservation of energy a “psychological mistake”281 and proposes throwing it overboard to make room for free will. But the conservation laws are just as firmly grounded in the Reciprocal System as in conventional science, and the new information developed in the course of the present work therefore gives no support to such a suggestion. The whole idea of sacrificing established physical principles as a means of avoiding conflicts is unscientific, and all proposals of this nature will have to be rejected.

It would be feasible, however, for any agency capable of modifying the normal results of chance processes (if such an agency exists) to overrule the purely physical response to a mental stimulus. The mental mechanisms operate electrically, and the exact nature of the interactions between the individual electrical units, the electrons, and the atoms of matter is largely determined by chance. A deliberate modification of these interaction patterns could conceivably make a major change in the ultimate result of a mental process. Such an intervention would conflict with what are called the “laws of probability,” but as noted in the discussion of miracles, these probability laws, or principles, are on a somewhat different footing than the physical laws, in that they are based on a concept that (so far, at least) is indefinable, other than empirically. All definitions of probability, from the original formulation by Laplace to the language of modern texts, depend on the concept of “equally likely” events, and no one has been able to specify what this means, except as a result of observation or experiment. A modification of the factors determining what is “equally likely” by non-physical influences would not conflict with any physical laws, and it cannot be excluded by anything that is now known. We must conclude, therefore, that if an agency capable of modifying the results of chance is in existence, it could produce the results that are generally attributed to free will.

As matters now stand, there is no definite evidence to indicate that free will is actually exercised in this particular manner. However, the major obstacle to general scientific acceptance of the reality of free will has been the prevailing opinion that there is no way in which it could operate without violating established physical laws. The point of the foregoing discussion is that this opinion is wrong. There is at least one way in which free will can be exercised without any conflict with natural law. Whether this is the only means by which the result can be accomplished is a question that is still unresolved, but we can leave this for later consideration. For the present, we are concerned only with the fact that there is no reason why free will should be scientifically unacceptable.

It is true that a mechanism cannot respond with anything other than a mechanistic response, but, as brought out in the preceding pages, man is more than a mechanism. While many of his actions are mechanistically determined in the same manner as those of any other biological organism, the normal mechanistic response to any particular situation may be rejected by the non-physical aspect of his personality in favor of a response dictated by a totally different set of considerations. There is no predetermined result; the nature of the ensuing action depends on whether the Sector 3 control unit, acting in the manner described in the preceding paragraphs, or in some similar way, is strong enough to overrule the animal urges. It depends on one’s willpower, as we say in the vernacular.

This freedom of the will carries with it a responsibility that is not present in the lives of purely biological creatures. Animals have hardships and dangers to contend with, and they have their frustrations and disappointments as well, but their goals are clear; they live under a single set of rules. For man, things are not so simple. Many of his decisions, those that he makes on economic questions, for instance, are also governed by a single set of rules, but where moral questions are involved, man not only can exercise a choice, he must choose which of two conflicting sets of rules he will follow. Some individuals are able to arrive at a general decision: either to put self-interest first, as any non-human living organism would do, or to follow the moral code to the best of his ability, subordinating self-interest where the code requires. But most human beings, in our day, at least, are torn between the two alternatives and are faced with the necessity of making a fresh decision each time a new issue arises. Often the making of this decision has a shattering emotional impact, not only because of the conflicts inherent in the decision-making process itself, but also because taking action in accordance with this decision does not necessarily close the issue, particularly if the choice has been made in favor of the biological code. The internal debate still goes on, and if the decision is reversed when it is too late to reverse the action, the effect on the individual may be devastating. As expressed by Dobzhansky,

Man became, and he still remains, a creature rent by internal contradictions. He stands with one foot in his biological past and with the other in his divine future.207

This is the “human predicament,” which is the chief concern of the group of philosophies collectively known as existentialism. The adherents of this type of philosophy assert that they are “concerned with man’s sense of anxiety, despair, dread, guilt, and loneliness, and with human finitude and death,”282 and they contend that traditional philosophy fails to deal adequately with these problems. But this predicament exists only for the individual who tries to evade the basic issue and refuses to recognize that if he wants to be more than an animal, he must deliberately choose to follow a different code of conduct. The existentialist solution (if it can be called a solution) that proposes to obscure the situation by a reversion to irrationality, will not suffice. To eliminate anxiety, one must face the issue squarely and make his choice.

An important question that arises in the present connection is how free will is exercised, specifically whether there is an entity—a self, an ego, or whatever we may call it—that makes the choice between the code of Sector 3 and the code of Sector 2 where the two are in conflict. On the basis of the conclusions reached in the preceding pages, this question must be answered in the negative. At the point where Sector 2 takes control of the biological organism there is no conflict. The inanimate sector has its governing laws and principles, to be sure, but it has no active control mechanism. The Sector 2 control is unopposed, and the combination structure acts in accordance with the laws of that sector. At some stage of evolution, the emergence of intelligence leads to conflicts with emotion as to the best way of reaching the Sector 2 objectives, but the objectives do not change. The Sector 2 control carries on without opposition, and it is always directed toward survival. There is no free will in operation here. Both intelligence (in the minimum sense) and emotion are purely mechanistic, and the decisions between the two are reached in a mechanical way. If the individual has learned enough from his environment and his associations to give his intelligence a basis from which to operate, the reasoned conclusions will prevail. Otherwise, the emotional course of action will be taken.

Entry of Sector 3 influences into the situation produces a different result because Sector 2 does not automatically relinquish control. The individual is now subject, in some degree, to a Sector 3 control, while he still remains partially subject to the animal type of control, that of Sector 2. In those cases where the Sector 3 objectives are different from those of Sector 2 there is conflict. The theoretical analysis does not lead to the existence of a single “I” or ego, that chooses between the two. Instead, the process of decision is a contest between two aspects of the one personality, and the ultimate decision depends on the relative strength of the two contenders at the particular time and under the particular circumstances.

As an aid in understanding this situation, we will find it useful to compare the human individual to a horse and rider, the latter being regarded for the purposes of the analogy as a single unit: a horse-rider complex, with a horse sector and a rider sector, rather than as two separate individuals. It is evident, to begin with, that the horse sector is equipped with a full set of controls, and the physical movements of the complex are subject to these controls. In the absence of any influence originating in the rider sector, the nature of these movements will be dictated by purely biological considerations. Similarly, the human individual is equipped with a full set of controls of the same Sector 2 character, and in the absence of any influences from Sector 3, his movements will also be dictated by purely biological considerations.

Now let us assume that the rider is ready to take part in the process, and to improve the analogy, let us further assume that he is riding bareback and without reins, so that he cannot impose his will by force; he must utilize persuasion. To the extent that this persuasion is effective, the pattern of movement will now undergo a definite change. Instead of following the biological dictates in all respects, the complex will now begin to take some actions directed toward different objectives. Many of the biological actions—rest, food intake, etc.—will continue without significant change. Others will be modified or eliminated in favor of actions that advance the purposes of the rider. An almost exact parallel exists in human life. Here, too, some of the actions required by the biological rules, the rules of Sector 2, will continue with little or no change, because proper functioning of the biological mechanism is just as important as ever, but to the extent that Sector 3 influence is effective, other actions will be turned away from Sector 2 objectives and directed toward accomplishing the purposes of Sector 3.

The action that is taken in any specific case depends on two factors: (1) the degree of control that the rider has been able to develop over the horse, and (2) the strength of the biological desires. If the horse is very hungry, for instance, the objectives that the rider wishes to pursue will get scant attention. The whole emphasis will be on obtaining food. If the biological needs or desires are less urgent, a well-established control by the rider will result in actions directed toward his objectives, but if the control is weak, the animal reactions will still prevail. Again human life is similar. A starving man has little interest in morality. One whose situation is less acute may or may not follow the moral code, depending on the strength of the Sector 3 control. Of course, even the starving man should do that which is right, giving the proper weight to his moral obligation to stay alive as well as to the other moral considerations that may be involved, and the goal of moral development is to bring everyone to the point where he would so act if the occasion arose, but pending the attainment of that goal, it should be recognized that improvement of economic and social conditions is a powerful aid to moral conduct.

At this point, we will bring the analogy still closer to reality by assuming that the rider originally undertakes his equestrian duties at a very early age, and that, as he matures and the training of the horse proceeds simultaneously, he learns not only how best to get the horse to follow a course in the direction of the objectives that he has selected but also what objectives he ought to pursue. In the analogous human situation, the ethical personality, the Sector 3 unit, similarly grows and matures concurrently with the establishment of a more effective control over the activities of the individual. Here, too, there is not only a strengthening of the will to act according to the moral code, but a growth in understanding of the provisions of the code.

Just how the Sector 3 control exerts its influence is as yet unknown. As explained earlier, one possible way in which such a control could be exercised without violating any physical laws would be to interfere with the operation of the principles of probability in some of the physical phenomena of the mind in which the results are normally determined by chance. The points brought out in the foregoing analogy can be readily understood on this basis. The extent to which the normal results of probability can be overruled will depend on the power of the modifying influence; that is, the extent to which the control unit has been developed. The resistance to this modification will be related to the strength of the Sector 2 (animal) impulses under whatever conditions may exist, and the ultimate result will depend on the net balance of the forces, as indicated in the horse-rider analogy.

An interesting variation of the normal control situation is found in the phenomenon known as hypnotism. Here the subject’s own Sector 2 control is replaced, to some degree, by that of the hypnotist. In the hypnotic state, a person will follow commands, exhibit emotions, etc., apparently independent of his own volition. There are limits, however, to the extent to which this outside control can be carried. “The subject cannot be forced, as a function of hypnosis itself, to do things against his will,”283 says Milton H. Erickson. Our findings indicate that when the subject is completely hypnotized, the veto power is exercised by the Sector 3 control, and only when matters of Sector 3 significance are involved. Inasmuch as this control unit is a metaphysical entity and is independent of physical influences, it retains its full powers in the hypnotic state (a physically induced condition). The suggestions of the hypnotist are therefore rejected in those cases where they are in conflict with any of the provisions of the Sector 3 code to which the subject is committed. A normally law-abiding citizen will refuse to commit a crime of violence while hypnotized, although he may offer little or no resistance to a directive which requires him to do something that will make him look stupid or put him in some embarrassing position, actions that would likewise be very definitely “against his will” if he were not under hypnosis, but which, unlike the commission of a crime, are of no concern to Sector 3.

Now that we have confirmed the existence of free will, and have gained some understanding of the manner in which it is exercised, our next objective will be to examine the nature of the choices that are made. The next four chapters will be devoted to this undertaking.

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