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Joseph LeDoux: Inside the Brain, Behind the Music, Part 4

[ 0 ] July 15, 2010 | Joseph LeDoux

How Free Is Your Will (J. LeDoux)

How free is your will

Do you have control

Are you in charge

Who’s running your soul

How free is your will

Are you automatized

Just a bundle of habits

Is your freedom disguised

How free is your will

Do you make up your mind

Do you decide

Or are your choices blind

How free is your will

Perhaps an illusion

A mystery

Convenient delusion

How free is your will

Once you decide

Are you compelled

Do you have to abide

How free is your will

Can you change your mind

Reverse direction

Leave a choice behind

How free is your will

Well of dignity

Fountain of pride

Sea of grandiosity

How free is your will

The stuff of lore

The source of evil

The reason for war

How free is your will

A truth to behold

The secret of peace

A story to be told

How free is your will

The way to stand tall

The basis of good

The hope for us all

Free will

A truth to behold

The secret of peace

A story to be told

Free will

The way to stand tall

The basis of good

The hope for us all


[1] In the process of writing this I noticed that a “?” did end up in the title of the song on the lyric sheen that comes with the CD. This was not an act of free will but simply a mistake.

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  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Diane Jacobs and Christopher H. Ramey, Noah Hutton. Noah Hutton said: Joseph LeDoux's (@theamygdaloid) new piece on free will just posted on our site: http://bit.ly/bjdgQg [...]

  2. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by NA Penttila, Joseph E. LeDoux. Joseph E. LeDoux said: How Free Is Your Will. read and listen at @brainshow http://ow.ly/2c7FY [...]

  3. Thanks for keeping my brain engaged. It’s a fun way to describe the process of songwriting, breaking it down between conscious and unconscious. I bet Jimmy Page would enjoy your article.

  4. Loli says:

    I’m not sure whether free will can theoretically exist. But in practice it rarely exists nowadays, since society and the media are very successful in controlling our desires, “needs” and decisions.

  5. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mary Beth McEuen, Richmond Stace. Richmond Stace said: Joseph LeDoux: Inside the Brain, Behind the Music, Part 4: http://bit.ly/bmF5MF via @addthis [...]

  6. Jeremy says:

    I wonder what you would think about this issue after seeing the movie Inception. I saw it recently and it deals a lot with the (science-fiction-y) potential to implant a thought in someone’s brain in a way that makes them think they came to the conclusion on their own.

    Also, nice watercolor Noah.

  7. Roger Strukhoff says:

    Oh, come on, list the chords at the end of the song. I doubt it was Mahlerian or Straussian in its complexity.

    • Dear Roger Strukoff,
      The chords weren’t complex in any absolute sense. Just complex for me and my usual 3 or 4 chord riffs. Certainly no secret. Here is the sequence. Not sure what key the song is in at this point, so I will give a little context.

      After bouncing back and forth between G and A for the ending four lines of exclamations, the chords take off in the following sequence.
      C D Em Bm F#m C#m Abm A Am E

      Try it. It’s fun.

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