Free will means to be able to do what one wants freely.

Does a rat in a maze have free will?

Well, he can move right or left within his maze. Carrying it on further, he can move backwards or not move at all. And so on, he can scratch his paws, look around, sniff a bit and so on.

He cannot fly up or swim thru the air or talk in perfect English to the experimenter or dance a Salsa.

The rat has free will within the limits set by his circumstances. Which reasonably, is go right or left.

Do you have free will? Can you do what you want?

Take an example of a man born in a conservative Jain family in India. His religion proscribes him from eating potatoes. He can either eat or not eat potatoes within his maze. He can eat with a sense of guilt or rebellious pleasure or spite. And with the fear of hurting his family and ostracism by his community and so on. But he cannot eat it in the same manner, say, an American brought up with pleasant memories of eating potatoes could.

Does he have free will?

Can you recognise the layout of your maze? Recognise the paths set by your genes, gender, parents, religion, country, socioeconomic status, childhood programming, adolescence, current situation and so on?

And we are not even taking into consideration the unconscious.

Do we have free will?

We have free will within the limits set by our circumstances.

Even more elemental, does free will exist?

If free will exists, then all is random and purposeless. Then there is nothing like destiny. There is no God’s big plan. God would then be someone unbothered.

If free will does not exist, then all is planned. There is no point in doing anything with imagined cognisance. What has been planned to happen will happen anyway. You deciding not to do anything and bearing the consequences would be a part of the big plan as well. It is all destined. God then would be a control freak.

So, what is the Truth?

All great truths are paradoxes. We do have free will and yet there is a purposeful and a planned end. It is like kids playing in a garden with their mother around. The kids can do what they want. But their mother will take them home when it is time.