There was recently a short article in the Guardian by Oliver Burkeman where he pondered the question of free will in the context of some studies done in the recent years. There is clear evidence that our choices are not so free as our conscious experience would tell us. Our bodily states -- like being hungry, tired or wanting sex -- can affect our fundamental beliefs and decision-making processes, therefore making us more prone to biased thinking, especially when these conditions are off balance.
Food Addiction
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Here Burkeman says:
It's probably the weirdest puzzle in philosophy: do humans really have free will? (Spoiler alert: I won't be resolving the matter here.) It certainly feels as if we do: at the supermarket, as I reach for some cheddar, it's surely up to me to suddenly change plans and go for wensleydale instead. Yet this seems to violate the laws of science: everything that happens, including in our brains, is caused by earlier events, which are caused by earlier ones, and so on, all the way back to the start of time. There's no room for spontaneous choice, cheese-related or otherwise. The problem has big implications: if we don't have free will, for example, does that mean we shouldn't punish murderers? So it was unnerving to learn about a study suggesting people's beliefs on the subject change when they're tired, sexually aroused or need to urinate. All three conditions, the psychologists Roy Baumeister and Michael Ent concluded, make us less likely to believe free will's real.
It's good to keep in mind that there are big holes in hard determinism and the materialistic worldview. It flies in the face of common sense, as philosopher Thomas Nagel has stated in his book Mind and Cosmos. Still it seems that our free will is somehow limited. Recent cognitive science studies have shed light on this topic and improved the understanding of how our mind works.

Our mind operates on multiple different levels. There is the conscious mind (system 2) and the subconscious mind (system 1). We have the impression that everything we're aware of is everything that exists, yet the conscious part is only tip of the iceberg. Most information is processed deep under the radar of our self-awareness. System 1 gives constant automatic impressions, impulses and emotions without control or self-awareness. This fast thinking is there to assess and update situations.

System 2 is your conscious awareness, that is slow and lazy. Its job is to seek new/missing information and make decisions. Most of time it approves without evaluation and takes the messages and information from system 1 as self-evident because these controlled mental processes require effort and use up more resources. This hierarchy evolved in an environment where survival was based on fast decisions; Grok didn't have time to rationally evaluate why that fuzzy lion is running towards him.

This is easy to understand when we take a look at the brain. We have parts that are common with other animals, like the limbic system and basal ganglia, which process emotions and motor systems with different neurochemical processes. Then we have the neocortex region, which processes our higher cognitive functions. So there are these complex different systems that create or facilitate the psychological reality of human beings.

The article continues:
In a way, that makes sense. To feel any desperate physical urge - for sleep, sex or a pee - is to be reminded that we're slaves to our bodies, so naturally that might make us feel less free. (Kingsley Amis, paraphrasing Plato, reportedly described the male libido as "like being chained to an idiot".) Besides, there's plenty of other evidence for "embodied cognition", the idea that our bodily states influence how we think. Apparently, you can boost your willpower by clenching your fist; you'll give more "weighty" answers to questions when the clipboard they're on feels heavier. Baumeister and Ent aren't even the first to explore the psychological effects of needing the toilet: according to a controversial study, previously mentioned here, we make less impulsive decisions when feeling "increased urination urgency". When exerting control over your bladder, the theory goes, you control other urges as well.
There is also a huge amount of different cognitive biases that are present in our everyday lives. For example in normalcy bias people underestimate an upcoming or occuring catastrophic situation by downplaying the seriousness of the event and pretending that everything is still normal to reduce anxiety. This will lead people to stand still in a burning airplane that has just crashed during a take-off attempt or to stay at home even when they've been warned of an inevitable destruction that an F5 tornado is about to bring in their neighbourhood. This sudden new information overloads the thinking capacity and makes people freeze when they would need to make a move. People who are mentally ready for these kind of situations are more probable to avoid the normalcy bias and can act during the disaster. Thus they have more free will.
© U.S Air ForceImagine you're sitting in a plane that's crashed and on fire. Are you going to sit still in your place until someone 'with authority' tells you to leave, or are going to make your own way to the nearest exit asap?
Make sure to check out Timothy Wilson's book Strangers To Ourselves for more information from the field of cognitive science. Burkeman continues in the article:
Yet there's something uniquely unsettling about the notion that our most fundamental beliefs about existence, such as our stance on free will, might be so fragile as to be swayed in this fashion. Deep questions - our basic ethical principles, political convictions - are supposed to emerge from calm reflection. We flatter ourselves that we weighed the evidence, then select our position because it's right. But Baumeister and Ent show that's not the whole story. Our beliefs are built on shaky foundations. If you're a British Christian, born and raised, isn't it troubling to realise that, had you been born in Somalia, you'd think it was Islam, not Christianity, that was right? Some atheists love this argument, but it can be used against atheism, too. None of us, in the end, can be sure our views aren't heavily influenced by random factors.
Our environment conditions us to certain kinds of behavior. The study of mass psychology has showed that human beings can be manipulated via their unconscious desires. Propaganda is easier to detect when you're not part of that system or emotionally invested in it. Many people follow authorities in a child-like mentality, projecting all the positive qualities they wished of their parents onto pathological individuals who least deserve to be followed and loved, while every unpleasant thought is pushed under the rug. These are the factors that make us so gullible to believe lies instead of truth.

The article ends here:
That might not matter if philosophical beliefs didn't have real-world impacts. But they do: if you doubt free will, studies show, you're more likely to cheat and less likely to help those in need. Where does it end? If you're tired or lustful on election day, might you vote differently? Psychology panics me sometimes. Or maybe that thought, too, is just the result of drinking so much coffee today. I'll be over here if you need me, frozen in existential confusion.
Mankind is standing in an evolutionary ladder where at least some of us have the choice to expand our knowledge, awareness and being. This is what some esoteric teachings tell us. Our individual and collective choices lead us up or down that ladder.The materialistic worldview has dominated science for centuries but recently this ideology has been challenged by several renowned authors. If we believe there's no free will, we'll accept the psychopathic view that the universe is just a mechanical clockwork machine and we are just biological robots like the psychopaths themselves.

Sleeping, child-like people have very little free will; they have just enough to sustain their self-delusion that they are free. They repeat what they are told to think by the media. But anyone who wishes to expand his or her 'free will' must acquire critical knowledge to understand the nature of consciousness and the whole living system. The more we understand objective reality, the more options we have to make informed choices that will benefit us, and create for us a useful role within the living system. It's not that we lack free will; it's just that it's hard work to overcome all the biological, social, and emotionally-weighted ideological influences influencing us at any given moment. We can change our minds, we just need to put in the effort, by informing ourselves with as much knowledge as possible.