Bow Down to Our Toxo Overlords!

Ok, so the arguments and evidence against the myth of free will just keep piling on... As the Baron d'Holbach famously argued in his The Systems of Nature, one of the reasons people usually believe they are free is simply due to their ignorance of the causes of their own behavior. We tend to think that if we want something and pursue it, we pursue it because we are exercising our freedom to satisfy our desire. Funny thing, we seldom seem to ask whether we have any control over our desires, and the answer to that question, of course, is a big resounding 'nigga please' :)

Now, to make matters worse (and you've already seen plenty of examples in this blog before), sometimes our behavior is determined by other organisms that have hijacked our nervous system for their own purposes. One of the most extraordinary and freaky examples is a parasite called toxoplasmosis. This bug can only reproduce sexually in the guts of cats, and in an effort to find its way there, what it does is take over the behavior and psychology of mice (and possibly humans) in truly and disturbingly bizarre and spooky ways. Robert Sapolsky explains:

And here are Josh and Chuck from the Stuff You Should Know podcast to add a bit of flavor to this madness:

And because I know you're still hungry for more of this madness, here is a RadioLab segment on toxo:

Check out more on the weirdness of mind control.
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