Resolving centuries of philosophical debate over the existence of free will, Cody Barrett of Nashville, Tennessee, definitely proved that he hasn’t got it.
“It was a blow, especially at first,” said Barrett regarding his discovery of his own lack of agency. “But I do think it’s better just to know.”
According to Barrett, he’d often wondered how much control he actually had over his own actions. He'd had sincere intentions to quit drinking, quit betting on professional sports, quit smoking marijuana, and quit having sex with drunk girls, very few of which had ever materialized into any ascertainable results.
“I did manage to let go of the weed," said Barrett. "But not until I was thirty-three - more than four years after I first decided. Why weed? Why not booze or sluts? Why then? Why at all?”
But it was not until one Tuesday afternoon when Barrett was driving home from his job at a music production studio and the thought popped into his head that he really ought to start meditating, outdoors, in the park, that he truly realized he had absolutely no governance whatsoever over his own mind. Next thing he knew, he was was sitting cross-legged on the ground in Nashville’s Shelby Park, eyes closed, following his own breath. In, out. In, out. In out. Etc.
“Trust me, I was even more shocked than you,” said Barrett. “I was planning to meet my buddy to watch the football game. What the hell is meditation, anyway? What’s the point? And why on earth was I doing it solo, like a nutcase, in the middle of the park?"
Barrett still doesn’t know the answers to these questions. Even so, despite the lack of notice to him, he says he has no regrets about his lack of autonomy - at least in this particular instance.
“Instead of watching the game, I wound up watching my own mind," he said. "And you know? It was quite the show."
And, while some of his friends have asked how he will find the motivation to go on in the face of the knowledge that he lacks any true power of self-determination, Barrett himself isn't sweating the issue.
“I tell them I have no clue," he said. "But we’ll see! I’m just as curious to find out as they are.”