Most physicists are more than happy to speak about time, but will avoid at all costs defining just what time is. Anyone who thinks they can define what time truly is, likely doesn’t know what it means. In How Free Will Works, The Blueprints to Take Charge of Your Life, Health, and Happiness, author Dr. Dovid Lieberman avoids for the most part one of the thorniest questions that has vexed philosophers for millennia, does free will exist?
Lieberman avoids the existential and philosophical questions around free will, and leaves it as a given that it does; even though many medieval Jewish philosophers struggled with the question. He does though loosely define what it is, and describes free will as the moral essence of a choice. With that, it’s important to note that this is a self-help book, not a philosophical work.
The author is a psychologist and deals with the topic of free will more in the realm of achieving ones true goals, without getting into the deeper philosophical questions and the book reads more like a Tony Robbins title.
The contents of the 11 parts and 40 chapters of the book are:
Section 1 – The structure of free will
- The mechanics of choice.
- The shape of reality
- Emotional laws of free will
- The glory of God
- The system of mazal
- Behind the curtain of divine providence
- Facets of choice
Section 2 – Dreams into action
- Reanimating free will
- Beyond anger
- The science and psychology of willpower
- Relationship rescue.
Lieberman makes the point early in the book that emotional instability is fundamentally a lack of clarify, the degree to which the ego infects a person. The rest of the book is an attempt to gain that clarity by utilizing a person’s inner autonomy to rise above the ego and achieve what it is in life they truly want.
The book quotes liberally from traditional Jewish sources in addition to modern science. Much of the book is spent showing how happiness and other goals in life are in our hands. To which Lieberman will often show how the words of the Jewish sages are in consonance with modern scientific and psychological findings.
One example the book provides is that current findings show what the Jewish sages knew long ago, that circumstances do not relate to life satisfaction. Rather subjective feelings do; and subjective feelings are a direct reflection of our choices, and not conditions.
Much of the book is built around a quote Lieberman uses from Robert Louis Stevenson that “everybody, sooner or later, sits down to a banquet of consequences.” The key point: use your free will to control those consequences.
Anxiety plays a major role in the book and Lieberman provides many examples of how to use ones choice of happiness to rise above the anxiety. This is crucial as those with anxiety and low self-esteem often find their bad choices in life fosters a download spiral.
Lieberman is a big fan of general science and quantum physics, and quotes from quantum physicists and research extensively. The book uses quantum mechanics as a launching point for the topics of multiple realities. Only when the person uses their free choice; or in the language of quantum mechanics, observes their state, can the multiple realities fuse into an outcome.
Occasionally Lieberman gets his facts around science wrong though. In chapter 21, he writes that a valid random number generator is impossible to create. The reality is that services such as RANDOM.ORG offers true random numbers; creating them via the randomness which comes from atmospheric noise.
In chapter 36, the author notes that noted mathematician Georg Cantor died in a mental institution. Cantor worked on infinity of infinities and on the notion of infinities, a topic to which the Talmud notes is beyond the human realm. Lieberman tries to connect Cantor’s mental issues with that and the fact that he died in a mental institution. Albeit the fact that Cantor had long suffered from depression, which was likely manifestations of a bipolar disorder; long before he started his work on infinite sets.
With that, Lieberman has written an enjoyable book that will be a value to anyone looking to improve their lot. The book covers a number of core areas on the topics of personal choice and their interaction with divine providence. Lieberman deals with issues such as mazal (luck), self-esteem, destiny, prayer, anxiety, faith and trust, will power, and much more.
Those who suffer from serious mental issues would do better to see a professional such as Dr. Lieberman. But for those looking to increase their lot in life, gain a great degree of happiness and self-fulfillment, How Free Will Works, The Blueprints to Take Charge of Your Life, Health, and Happiness is a good book in which to assist in that journey.