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Free Will Quotes

The most intellectual of men are moved quite as much by the circumstances which they are used to as by their own will. The active voluntary part of a man is very small, and if it were not economized by a sleepy kind of habit, its results would be null.

Author: Walter Bagehot (1826-1877)

Profession: British Economist, Critic

The liberated man is not the one who is freed in his ideal reality, his inner truth, or his transparency; he is the man who changes spaces, who circulates, who changes sex, clothes, and habits according to fashion, rather than morality, and who changes opinions not as his conscience dictates but in response to opinion polls.

Author: Jean Baudrillard

Profession: French Postmodern Philosopher, Writer

Whereas the Greeks gave to will the boundaries of reason, we have come to put the will's impulse in the very center of reason, which has, as a result, become deadly.

Author: Albert Camus (1913-1960)

Profession: French Existential Writer

The will is never free -- it is always attached to an object, a purpose. It is simply the engine in the car -- it can't steer.

Author: Joyce Cary (1888-1957)

Profession: British Author

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.

Author: Aleister Crowley (1875-1947)

Profession: British Occultist

There are no galley-slaves in the royal vessel of divine love -- every man works his oar voluntarily!

Author: St. Francis De Sales (1567-1622)

Profession: Roman Catholic Bishop, Writer

A man may be a pessimistic determinist before lunch and an optimistic believer in the will's freedom after it.

Author: Aldous Huxley (1894-1963)

Profession: British Author

Fatalism, whose solving word in all crises of behavior is ''All striving is vain,'' will never reign supreme, for the impulse to take life strivingly is indestructible in the race. Moral creeds which speak to that impulse will be widely successful in spite of inconsistency, vagueness, and shadowy determination of expectancy. Man needs a rule for his will, and will invent one if one be not given him.

Author: William James (1842-1910)

Profession: American Psychologist, Professor, Author

Man is a masterpiece of creation if for no other reason than that, all the weight of evidence for determinism notwithstanding, he believes he has free will.

Author: Georg C. Lichtenberg (1742-1799)

Profession: German Physicist, Satirist

It can even come about that a created will cancels out, not perhaps the exertion, but the result of divine action; for in this sense, God himself has told us that God wishes things which do not happen because man does not wish them! Thus the rights of men are immense, and his greatest misfortune is to be unaware of them.

Author: Joseph De Maistre (1753-1821)

Profession: French Diplomat, Philosopher

We are all bound to the throne of the Supreme Being by a flexible chain which restrains without enslaving us. The most wonderful aspect of the universal scheme of things is the action of free beings under divine guidance.

Author: Joseph De Maistre (1753-1821)

Profession: French Diplomat, Philosopher

I assess the power of a will by how much resistance, pain, torture it endures and knows how to turn to its advantage.

Author: Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)

Profession: German Philosopher

The strongest knowledge (that of the total freedom of the human will) is nonetheless the poorest in successes: for it always has the strongest opponent, human vanity.

Author: Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)

Profession: German Philosopher

Will power is only the tensile strength of one's own disposition. One cannot increase it by a single ounce.

Author: Cesare Pavese (1908-1950)

Profession: Italian Poet, Novelist, Translator

We defy augury. There's a special providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be now, 'Tis not to come. If it be not to come, it will be now. If it be not now, yet it will come. The readiness is all.

Author: William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

Profession: British Poet, Playwright, Actor