A major supporting argument for man having the ability to forge his own fate is the nature verses nurture example. This deals with what influences the lives of mankind more:
• Nature - natural circumstances such as the genetic make up of people, preprogrammed instincts and characteristics passed down by DNA through ancestral lineage
• Nurture - as in environmental influences on people. This includes cultural influence, educational opportunity; basically all learned behavior
It has been proven that what a person is exposed to and adapts to, has a much greater influence over their lives than genetics alone. Therefore free will is what a person learns and applies.
On the other hand, one of the supporting arguments for free will being an illusion is that everything about our life is predetermined. We have no control over our genetic predisposition and over events that happen to us throughout our lives. We can not fully control our environments in the same way that we can’t control our genetic make up. From this, many conclude that we have no free will.
So which is it? Is it all predetermined from the moment we are conceived or do we have a real choice in the matter? The answer is a combination of both.
It is an absolute inarguable fact that we do not choose our genetic make up. It is also true that we do not choose many of the conditions and situations that arise in our lives. This is where acceptance of what is, is useful. We can, however, choose our environment. We can also choose what we allow to influence us. Even if you are incapable of relocating, your very perception and interpretation of it is all the choice you need to change your experience. This has already been illustrated in the first chapter. Two people can have the same situation with totally different experiences.
For more on this and other topics, read What Is Really Good? and stay tuned.