“You Cannot Change the Way You Are (Determinism for Beginners)” by Michael Greening

An Interesting Perspective on Free Will


I didn’t know I didn’t have it.

Greening is quite brilliant and informative in explaining “Determinism.” To him, this is a beginning primer on the subject. We have no free will. Free will evolved to support a survival thinking strategy.

Where we are at any given point in time in our lives is determined.  Is that what you believe? I certainly never looked at that concept in the detail that the author has. I enjoyed his examples. His stories will take you on a journey from pre historic times, through the theory of evolution. If that isn’t enough the author magnificently discusses the relevance of science on this topic from soup to nuts. Is evolution a series of random acts, or is it predetermined? Why do some animal species become extinct and others morph and survive? Greening raises question after question. He suggests explanations and then supports his rationale.

His discussion within each of the chapters takes you from the general to the specific. He talks about Chance, Belief, and Disbelief. You will stop and ponder upon the material.

The chapters on Determinism in History, and Culture and Emotion present depth and introspection in unique fashion.  Our emotions are a result of what has come before us.

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Greening really delves in to this concept. It may be difficult to comprehend or even believe, but you will find this book very informative.

What if you could put your arms around the concept?  It would mean that your belief in free will… all these years has been a myth….a Santa Clause or an Easter Bunny.

Well, the good news is there a life without free will. A life that may be less stressful, less anxious, and less angry. Our modern, busy lives are filled with lists and goals that must be accomplished. Type A personalities may just have to put their feet up and allow the journey of life to take them away.

I encourage you to explore this book for the freedom and insight it brings. A delightful, well written read. Serious and entertaining.


This book was provided and reviewed as part of the www.reviewthebook.com team.