Tag: Chocolate orange

If we don’t believe in free will then there is no point to existence

This is my current, rather depressing, weird thought.

Currently, generally, humans are firm believers in free will. It is what runs through the core of modern Western politics and society and perhaps spreads further afield. Free will guides us to make the choices that we make. Free will voted for Brexit. Free will voted for Donald Trump. Free will also guides us to carpes diem and follow our dreams. Free will guided me to start an art degree five years ago. Free will is willing me to continue my studies with a Masters. Free will led me into a career in publishing. Free will guided me to end up in Newport (although, interestingly, a Japanese palm reader predicted my current living and working arrangements in 1996 so that is one / nil to the determinists).

If we don’t believe in free will, what is the point of having hope? What is the point of ‘following your heart’ or staring at the stars? You may as well just plod along and take the road more travelled. There’s no point fighting injustice. Accept what is. It is what it is. You may as well just spend your evenings watching Game of Thrones and your days working, or, just existing.

Let’s watch others taking chances on life

My belief in free will is my optimism that good will prevail, personally and globally, eventually.

However, I am starting to worry that my belief in free will is being squeezed into that category of the ‘teeny, tiny theory’ of the unlikely. Scientists have more recently come to believe that our ability to choose our fate is not free, but depends on our biological inheritance. Scientists have started to believe that our thoughts, emotions, hopes, dreams are just the work of neurons and electricity. All that we ‘decide’ and ‘do’ is determined by brain action. We aren’t thinking for ourselves. Our biology is our god.

Helping the scientists in their argument, is the fact that brain injuries and brain traumas can influence our so-called ‘free’ will by influencing decisions and behaviour in certain ways. In addition, mind-altering substances can turn us into irresponsible psychopaths: from the alcohol-induced declaration of love to the drug induced murder. That isn’t our essence that is doing it; it is an artificial influence. It is determined.

The danger of believing the scientists is that we may start to blame our irresponsible actions on our brains: ‘It wasn’t me, my neurons did it.’

Another downside in a scepticism about free will is that we will feel less inclined to be creative or to take chances. There’s no point leaping. It wasn’t in my destiny. That belief will basically depress us. That’s not good.

The paranoid part of me worries that those in power already know that free will is an illusion and they just aren’t telling us. It isn’t in their best interests to let the hoi polloli know what they know. If we find out that free will is a lie then we will just turn into vegetables with no sense of morality and no kindness. We will start to kill each other and we won’t innovate and create.

I don’t know about anyone else but I’m happy to live in my happy cloud where free will reigns uber alles. I am now going to choose to eat a piece of orange chocolate. This is not pre-determined. I don’t have to eat it. I want to. My neurons don’t care.

I will seek the chocolate fix


Costa Coffee do not want me to eat their cakes

Today’s weird thought came to me in the toilet at Costa Coffee in Melrose Brace (yes, there really is a wikipedia entry for Melrose Brace) in Shrewsbury. The thought derives from an experience I had when I was in the queue to buy a coffee.

While I was waiting behind the people ordering complicated coffees, taking their time, I started to think that a cakery treat would be nice.

My favourite tipple

My favourite tipple

It was only 9.30am and the display of cakes and croissants was more-or-less complete and looking very fresh.  In fact everything looked delicious. I don’t normally eat cakes. I don’t have a very sweet tooth (offer me cheese and I find it hard to say no but offer me cake and chances are I’ll decline). But having to wait in the queue in front of the cake display and seeing this lovely spread in front of me, I decided that yes, today I’d have a treat. I’d been having a really few days with too much to do with work and organising an exhibition at Powis Castle so I was feeling very stressed and felt I deserved a treat.

This is Becky heaven

This is Becky heaven

Immediately, my attention went to the chocolate orange fancies in the middle of the display. I love chocolate orange. We are never without a chocolate orange in the fridge at home. I always get given chocolate oranges for Christmas. I love chocolate, I love orange, I love them together.

This winked at me today

This winked at me today

It was my turn and I was about to say ‘a medium Americano and, erm, one of those please’ when my eye spied a sign next to the chocolate orange fancies. I peered closer to the glass front of the cake display. The sign provided useful information about the chocolate orange fancy, including calorie content. My eyes widened in horror: 400-odd calories!! No thanks!

Costa obviously don’t want me to eat their cakes. What planet are Costa Coffee on? Why do they want to provide the calorie content information next to all their cakes? Are they trying to put customers off? If so, it worked on me. I don’t want to know how many calories I’m eating. I just want to enjoy chocolate and orange with coffee. I’m not sure if other people are put off by these calories signs, but it had that effect on me.

So after I’d had my coffee sans cake, I went home and ate a piece of chocolate orange out of the fridge.