Many people believe that they have free will. Others do not think that that is the case. I say that free will is — for the most part — patently false. Reacting according to “thought/thinking,” as all of us do, depends upon the physiological processes of the brain. These physiological processes are complicated and are not what we can easily regulate. And the controller is not necessarily separate from the controlled. Of course, many things can be done to better help the organ of the brain function healthfully and properly… such as eating whole, healthy foods, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, and avoiding recreational drugs, alcohol, and smoking. However, there exist genetic, environmental, and unseen forces that are beyond what we can easily regulate.
Then too, the majority of us are heavily conditioned by society. Such conditioning runs very deep within our psyches. Much of such conditioning is so ingrained in (and “as”) us that we are very unaware that it is taking place; we are unaware that it exists at all. Thought/thinking, by its very nature, is essentially very robotic, residual, mechanical, fragmentary, symbolic, second-hand, and sequential. (By the way, perceiving that we do not — for the most part — have free will does not mean that one can do whatever one likes, haphazardly; that would be ludicrous.)
Things like insight, true premonitions, deep compassion, and holistic perception can — and do — transcend conditioned, run-of-the-mill, second-hand thinking and conditioning. Still, most of us are primarily trapped in thought and (for the most part) function in (and “as”) thought. In rare moments — for humanity — during actual nirvana, for instance, a mind does go deeply beyond conditioning wherein (during such visitations/episodes) thought/thinking (temporarily) becomes very difficult… but that (so far) has been a rare occurrence and most of us primarily function in the very limited domain of thought/thinking. It may be prudent not to put all our eggs in one basket.
Excerpt from the poet E.E. Cummings:
A lot of people think or believe or know they feel — but that’s thinking or believing or knowing; not feeling. And poetry is feeling — not knowing or believing or thinking.
Almost anybody can learn to think or believe or know, but not a single human being can be taught to feel. Why? Because whenever you think or you believe or you know, you’re a lot of other people: but the moment you feel, you’re nobody-but-yourself.