Figured I'd post this here, since this seems to be the general thread-dump area. It might work better in the philosophy forum a few below this one, so if you would like to send the thread down there to die, feel free.

I've been thinking about the concept of theory of free will, especially as it applies to the plot and theory of writing. In everyday life, I consider myself somewhat liberal. I will sometimes support rules and laws that reduce freedom in favor of protection, such as environmental regulations and things like political favor curtailing. The argument made against things like this is that is reduces personal freedom. My counter argument is usually something like, "Why is my right to clean water less important than your company's right to profits?"

Anyways, carrying it further, we get to overvbearing governments that take away your rights. This is usually deemed as bad, on the grounds of freedom. But thinking about it from a philosophical perspective, we have a situation where sometimes personal freedom is increased due to a more stable society.

And yet, the book I'm writing right now has ultimately become a story about a warlord trying to take control of the world's magic system. If he does this, he can rewrite the genes of every person to turn them into an ideal being. Death would be eradicated, there would be no war, strife, killing, or suffering. All it takes to reach this utopia is to rewrite every single living person in the world to become an ideal person, in the warlord's image. He would be God. This is similar, interestingly, to the Bible's story, more or less, depending on which way you look at it. Some say the devil took off with a bunch of angels because he favored protection and non-suffering while God supported freedom of choice. I find it interesting that my story may wind up being about someone exerting total dominion and removing free will, when that was not my intention at all. My intention was to do a dictator that wanted to control the world to make it perfect, but that line of thought seemed to quickly turn into the paradigm of free will vs force.

And on the nature of free will itself, is it actually even what we think it is? To take an egregious example, I do not have the free will to jump a mile high. I have to use a helicopter to accomplish it, which requires money, which I may or may not have. Therefore, my ability to "jump" a mile high is dependent on my ability to finance a helicopter trip. In other words, excepting of government law, I have free will within the bounds of physical law. So do we trick ourselves into thinking free will even exists?

So, how free am I, how free are you, how much does government influence free will, how much does it influence us, how important is it, does it exist, why does it or does it not, etc.

Here's something interetsing:

And a behemoth of an article that I'm currently trying to wade through: