And You Thought You Knew What You Were Doing?

Humans think that they are the smartest animals on the planet. Why? One reason that has constantly been cited as this potential difference is our ability to think. But, do we really have the freedom or the free will, choice that many may call it, to determine what happens with us or what we are thinking is original? Well, it’s complicated.

Understanding the Start

It is almost as complicated as the very explanation of the “start”. The start meaning the start of time or the universe. There are many theories which try to explain how the universe was formed but none, sadly, have been verified. But let us stick to the most famous of all. The BIG BANG. If we allow ourselves to believe that everything started with the big bang, and hence time also did, and we also simultaneously believe in Newton’s Laws of motion Then this means, at that crucial point in the formation of the universe, the forces that were set into motion, have since then and will, for billions of years to come “determine”, what is going to happen.

Understand The Forces

Putting it in a simple way, if say a certain set of forces existed just at the moment of the big bang, then those very forces are responsible for everything that will ever happen in the universe. After all, action equals reaction right? That means if a particular set of forces existed at that time, those forces have already set into motion a clock which will determine everything until the very end of the universe. This is called “Determinism”.

What do Determinists think?

Determinists believe that whatever happens or whatever we decide, is basically how it was supposed to happen. Which means, that if you are going to kill a person tomorrow, then you will do it and nothing else will happen apart from that. Conversely, if you were not going to kill a person tomorrow, you will not, since it was “determined” that you will not kill a person tomorrow. Now, considering the fact that even Einstein was a determinist, there was a certain theory, that tried to disprove the deterministic theories and obviously he was agitated. This is called Quantum Mechanics.

What Quantum Mechanics Tell?

What Quantum Mechanics tells us, is that, every event can diverge into many different timelines and that all of those can be possible, with only a certain sense of probability attached to them. For example, take the SCHRODINGER’S CAT EXPERIMENT.

  • If you put a cat inside a box and leave the room after that, you can never be sure once you come back, if it is alive or dead.
  • There is only a 50-50 probability.
  • Until you don’t take the cat out of the box, you cannot certainly tell if it is dead or alive.
  • No one has ever been able to show how these two timelines or many others in many different cases shrink into just one once you start observing them.

But this, Quantum Mechanics, is the one thing that scientifically brings us closer, to believing that we possess free will, since the state of the universe cannot be known at any point of time with full certainty. No one has been able to find the actual location of an electron, it has always been an electron cloud. So basically, if we are all made of these fundamental particles, and their state can be different at different points of time, we might actually have what we consider free will or choice.


But here is the catch. We don’t know for certain if the deterministic theories or the Quantum Mechanics are true. Well, because, none of them have been proved yet. The only thing that is known for sure is that an electron cannot be spotted. No proof or evidence has been gathered about the shrinking of different timelines into one. And maybe they never will be or perhaps there is already a scientist somewhere, who has found evidence but he exists in a different timeline. Confused? And you thought you knew what you were doing? Think.

Siddharth Vasu

I am a mechanical engineering student. I write poetry and am an avid fan of Chelsea FC. I love listening to Rock music and love writing.