Recently I've been having pretty severe panic attacks - not your ordinary run of the mill 'have I left the oven on?' anxieties, but crushing, existential outlooks on life. I suddenly, during the course of an otherwise normal day, freeze and buckle over from pain, and begin harboring these rather extreme feelings of no control, and of 'future anhedonia' - like I will never satiate my urges, ever. I call them attacks of the 'Free Willies', because that's essentially what it's about. I feel like a pebble in the ocean being buffeted about by wind, waves and fish, but never really, truly moving of my own free will. I find it quite horrifying, really, despite how I've been 'convinced' of the truth for quite some time. I think something I've learnt recently is that there's a difference between knowing something and living it - you can know, offhand, that there are untold multitudes of suffering in the world, but shrug it off like Richard Dawkins, or you can live with that suffering in mind, making each day of yours more and more morbid.
I've always said to people, from an early age, that Free Will is a myth, and that there is no basis for it in science whatsoever - in fact, the available evidence could NEVER lead to the conclusion of a magical pixie-dust core inside us, because even the notion of that goes against what science holds most dear: that things generally work in a logical, explicable and ultimately ordered way. Saying, 'people have free will' is akin to saying that of physics and psychology break down when and where we decide it to. But I have not been living like that, exactly. Now don't get me wrong, I am extremely mentally lucid when I am in a more, let's say, 'depressive' state, and often do live with my own ultimate powerlessness in mind. But when I'm not, and I'm in another foggy haze of near-baseline functioning, I generally believe (subconsciously) that I do have free will even though I am acting in such a blind haze that in retrospect I actually appeared to have less 'free will' than normal. I don't know if that's a problem or not. It makes me happier to do so, but at the same time, in being unaware of how the world actually works I'm setting myself up for a bigger crash the next time pain knocks at my door. But to incorporate Determinism into my daily life seems quite hard, really. I don't know how I could really ever stare in the face the sheer insanity that actually goes on in the world - is it better to be an actor on stage who is so into the play that they don't remember that they are just an actor following a preplanned script, or is it better to be an actor forced to act with a shotgun behind the stage? Like with most things, I think I'd like to just stick to my delusions in this case. Though if it turns out I've had one awakening too many, and can't get back to the philosophical sleep of most days, then I'm pretty much stuck on this setting for now. Yippee.