Some people that I talk to don't seem to get the direct implications that a simple deterministic universe necessarily results in. So they say, yes, my actions may not be free, being how they are determined from previous states, but that doesn't mean I need to fall for a fatalistic view of life. It is still myself who is performing those actions and I might as well do my best and live life to the fullest. I can't actually tell that I'm not free, in my personal experience, the machine of my brain is so complicated, so I might as well live as if my will were free.
Now, I'm using determinism a little loosely here. Quantum mechanics may have very well overthrown the conceptualized deterministic clockwork universe of Newton, but random will is hardly a preferential substitute for determined will. The only difference is on a global scale as the idea of fate is undermined. For if events are fundamentally of only probabilistic occurrence then our future is open to many, perhaps infinite, possibilities. Suffice it to say, our problem lies in the lack of self-chosen will.
'Free' Will is often a very confused subject. Some people will argue that as long as we are able to freely pursue our desires, we are truly free in any way that matters. But no! This is not so! It is our will which we are concerned with. Imagine you were hypnotized to desire to act like a chicken, would you then consider yourself a free agent because you could act like a chicken to fulfill that desire? Absurd!
Our very wills are determined from before we were born. They are forced upon us by the unfeeling laws of nature. When I want to eat an apple, is it I making the positive choice to want to eat that apple - or is the state of my hungry body and the directives of my chemical brain which make me want to eat it? Our desires are not our own. Many people want to have children - but why? The answer is because the desire is built into our evolutionary-designed genes to produce another generation. We don't freely choose to desire sex - it is built into the operating system of the human being.
Every time you desire anything, every time you find that you want something to happen, it is not you somehow making a decision to want it. It does not come freely from within yourself. It is forced upon you by external factors that you cannot control. What does this turn the human being into? Our consciousnesses become prisoners, unwilled observers with complete inability to do anything or to want anything on our own.
Our actions are not our own, they are only what the external factors forced us to do. We cannot be held responsible for things done wrong or be lauded for things done right. We really had nothing to do with it. We observed it, we experienced it, yes, but we, as in our wills, were controlled by the other. Our logical thinking, our desire for rationality - all have nothing to do with us. How can we even love? For love itself is forced upon our consciousness, an unwilled state.
Every interest you hold in anything is forced upon you. It is not your own. Knowing all of this - how can you take it seriously? How can you lose yourself in your interests? How can you fall in love? Can you not see the utter futility in every human effort and human achievement? None of it was done on our own accord. We may have supplied the muscle power and even the thinking power, but our wills, our essence, are held captive by the forces of nature. None of it was our own initiative. We are beasts with unself-directed instincts fooling ourselves into thinking that we chose it this way all along.