Is there free will – 3: Gene, environment and experience pressure (Ali Aksoy)


In the previous article, we mentioned the discussions of the experts on the subject. Now, we will lower the plectrum to the lower frets, to the common people, and listen to the hum of the large crowds and their low voices from past to present.

I have always seen proverbs as a revelation, a verse, and defined them as the most important guide. Because, the experiences and testimonies of many situations that will not fit in a person’s life and the capacity to learn through experience are transferred to the next generations with the words of the ancestors, almost like a gene, as an advice and a piece of advice. Not a lifetime, they are the common output of thousands of years, millions of lifetimes and minds. I am convinced that all of them, including those that seem contrary to our modern paradigms today, can be explained by reason, logic, and the often bitter facts of life.

Although our ancestors did not know Mendelian laws regarding genetics, they made very accurate observations and inferences thanks to a phenomenon they called “habit”.

Here are some examples;

“He doesn’t give up his good-natured nature”

“A person does not get a temper until he dies”

“he gives up his good temper”

“The wolf changes his village (feather), not his temper”

“Habit that enters with milk comes out with death”

In addition to the “unchangeable” trait that they attribute to genes by saying “infiltrates with milk” in this last word, they also mentioned the environmental effect, which we will mention shortly, with a perfect determination;

“change your habits”

They said, “It is either because of its temper or water that stands next to the gray horse”.

As it can be seen, our ancestors were of the opinion that a person could never change his innate “habit” that emerged through genetic influences. Those who see this as a very hopeless “common talk” can of course live thousands of years to rediscover America again and again, and seek other sources of information to witness their testimony, or try to do so themselves. Maybe they are free in this matter, if not in will!

Our ancestors were of the opinion that the possessor of character is not free to change his or her disposition, as free will beautifiers or religious marketers claim. Besides, this is such a definite judgment that this will only be possible with death, in a state in which neither skin, soul, nor temperament will remain.

In fact, if you look at the phrase “life comes out, no temper comes out”, the trait, that is, the gene, lasts longer than life and tends to be resurrected in the next generations, usually in the “grandfather-grandchild” couple, but definitely in the “seven navels / lineages”. The numeral “seven” in sentences that are said to be “seven ceddines” or “seven belly dynasties” and completed with swearing in popular language is not a matter of allusion to the multitude or a simple rhyme.

Let’s go back to free will and the never-changeable question of temper.

Here, we will not engage in an absurd debate, such as whether there is evolution or not, and which would mean denying the plain truth, by talking about genes.

However, the issue of free will is such a difficult and difficult issue that even many people who know evolution very well and are fully aware of what it is capable of are not aware of a process that determines all the characteristics of a living thing from head to toe, namely genetics. they tend to murmur that the effect also affects the characters of the people.

In fact, even if they are not aware of it or cannot accept it, in reality, the “spiritual doctrine” has penetrated into their lungs and they say that “character belongs to something other than the body, the spirit”.

How could a process that determines a person’s hair from head to toe, his head, his height, his body, and even invisible diseases cannot determine that creature’s character and tendencies? What kind of blindness is this, what a denial!

This is not only a “deliberate” denial of a scientific fact, but also of ancestral knowledge based on thousands of years of experience.

In fact, the main issue here is not whether we know it or not. The main issue is not accepting this bitter truth, trying to protect and save the happy feeling and belief that we are “free”. In the previous article, we mentioned how the same effort made philosophers and scientists, by giving examples.

Of course, it is not an easy thing to know and accept that you did not actually build your character that you think gives you otherness, uniqueness, and uniqueness, and that this is the result of a genetic stack from your ancestors that you did not choose in any way. Because when you know that, you are no longer you. You realize that you are the victim of a similar fate as a bacterium or a bird or a cat. This is an “imprint” that has been stuck on and can never be changed! You have neither an achievement nor a crime to get this tag. It is a creature whose basic software is DNA, emerging from successfully developed cells of a genetic solution produced by chemical and biological activities during the mating process of your mother and father, in a sterile environment. In this respect, you share the same fate with all other living things on earth…

I specifically agitate the issue so that it becomes clear why the effort to save free will originates and what is being avoided in the process.

Now, if the “character”, which is closely related to the will and its freedom, is closely linked to the gene, it means that most of your freedoms have already been lost because you are not free in gene selection. This truth is the most helpless blow to free will. We will return to this topic.

Our ancestors also said that “it is because of the nature or water that stands next to the gray horse”. In fact, for the people, it is said, “So-and-so changed the behavior of such and such a person” or “to settle in such and such a place, to start such and such a job, such and such a thing changed the character of such and such a person”. See, in all these cases, it’s environmental factors that change the “water”.

It’s either a friend, a change of place, a new job, or an important event with depressive effects. The habit, which does not change until death, can change or take on a new appearance with some environmental effects. The interesting thing here is that the person whose temperament changes is always in the “passive” position. In other words, there is no such thing as “let me settle down in such and such a place so that my temper will change”, but environmental factors beyond your control change or reveal for the first time a feature that you have not determined.

The common point is that you cannot be “free” again and always remain “passive” in the face of this active pressure of the environment.

Our so-called “freedom”, which has already been severely pruned by genetic influences, is being re-chipped by a freak called the environment, and our freedom that we believe exists is gradually diminishing.

One of the most important environmental factors is that it is completely involuntarily determined, especially in childhood, when it is believed that the character development changes more than normal (as in the saying that the tree bends when it is wet). You cannot decide where, in which family or in which income group you will be born, and this “conviction” persists especially during childhood, when it is believed that the character takes shape. Maybe in the very future years, if you have the financial means, you may have a say in where, among whom, and under what conditions you will live.

Even in this situation, that is, even if you print money and decide what will happen around you, you still cannot control everything that happens around you, you cannot influence and control all third parties, you cannot completely dominate climates, geography, earthquakes and floods. So no matter how rich you are, the “periphery set” is always “macro” scaled to you. Moreover, when it comes to the environment, this “macro” scale is not a set of influencers that can be easily dealt with, since the entire universe outside of the body is included in it.

I add the “experience effect” to these two titles, which consist of gene and environment. One way or another, the experience you have gained will be a clear determinant in your further decisions. In fact, experience is a repository of knowledge, including feelings about things and their communication with things in the past. The experience of burning his hand when he touches the stove is effective on what he will do later. Of course, it is possible to break away from these experiences and exhibit contradictory behaviors. However, it seems more appropriate and less costly to make progress under the guidance of previous experiences, instead of rethinking it every time – under other influences – in areas where life is more automatic or relatively less important and you do not pay close attention to. For this reason, experience has a factor that narrows our freedom “on purpose” and “within our will” during our lifetime. In experience, the greater the violence and knowledge of pain, the more involuntary our attitude in that area will be, the less free.

Among these three means of oppression, the element that cripples free will the most and fundamentally is, of course, genes. The more research is done on genes, the more we know every day about which gene may be triggering which behavior.

Even if we reveal with full perfection which gene determines which character trait, which trait, as our ancestors say, which trait, we cannot easily give up our belief that we have free will.

Because, ironically, this tendency, which we call the illusion of free will and which encompasses all our behaviors, is also genetic. The evolutionary genetic process that rules your eyes to be black and your shoulders to be broad has also ordered and required you to feel that you are making your decisions now and freely.

In the first article of this series, I briefly expressed my foresight on this matter. If, in evolution, this genetic combination has survived as a residual value and has crept up to this day, it is probable that no matter what stage of evolution there are individuals who do not have this “assumption”, that is, the illusion of free will, there are also individuals who do not have the illusion of free will, but this trait survives and passes on their genes to them. did not provide an advantage. As I will elaborate on in another series of articles, evolution has no moral or ethical concerns. Evolution looks very strictly at the survival of living things and the way they reproduce and pass on their genes to the next generation, whatever its method. Perhaps the most important thing that makes the illusion of free will valuable is this; It is the property of making a living thing an individual and keeping it alive. At the end of the series of articles, I will touch on this subject and how our views on life can be shaped in the absence of free will.

Now that we have mentioned the main effects as a summary, we can touch upon the spiritual teachings and/or religions, and especially the Qur’an, which I have said have been extremely relevant to the subject from the very beginning, but with a sharp and shocking perspective, although not very deeply.

Is there free will? The next title of our article series is; There will be “freedom for reward and punishment”.

Ali Aksoy – 25.10.2019

(Translated with google translate)

For the original article, see:

Özgür irade var mıdır – 3 : Gen, çevre ve deneyim baskısı (Ali Aksoy)