The Meaning Of Life And Existence In The View Of Nursi in Islamic-Western Dialogue Posted December 14, 2009 But do we really use our free will to appreciate beauty? I don't decide that a flower is beautiful, that a morning sunrise is magnificent, that the great Sequoias of Yosemite are awe inspiring. It strikes me like a force. Some things require contemplation to appreciate its beauty, but this is due to its complexity, not because we can't make up our mind that it is beautiful. An example of this is recognition of philosophical genius. It takes work to read someone like Kant, but once you've done it, and the pieces he is putting together suddenly click inside your mind, it is an amazing experience, an aesthetic experience of reason. But where is free will in that? I didn't decide to think it was a brilliant insight, it simply dawned on me once I had understood the genius that went into insight. Perhaps you are right in that the will is exercised in determining to look for beauty, but it seems more questionable that once they have determined to look for beauty, that they also decide whether it is beautiful. Yes, the free-will is used in choosing to take the effort to look for the beauty. Or the effort expended in learning to appreciate the beauty. For example, the works of Chaucer may be beautiful, but if I don't take the time or effort to learn how to read and understand this type of literature, I will not see the beauty. The same reasoning can be applied to the beauty in the works of the universe at large. In relation to your latter point, my view is that if a thing is ascribed to chance, its value as a wisely crafted work of art is diminished. As Wattle will tell you, what wisdom can be ascribed to something created by chance? So free-will here is applied in choosing to accept that things are wisely crafted, by a Wise Craftor, as opposed to being the playthings of chance. Now, referring to something in the universe, such as the workings of quantum mechanics, as wise may be an anthropomorphisation - but this is only problematic if you assume a priori the non-existence of a Sentient Creator. In fact, a believer will say that part of the reason why we have been given faculties such as wisdom, intelligence, free-will even, is so that we can use these to understand and know the the One who is true owner of Wisdom etc.