Do we have free will? Most of us would get quite irritated if we were told that we do not really have it. To be free is to be unhindered; it is to not be tethered to parameters that bind, blind, and limit you. To truly be free, one must have expansive intelligence beyond common boundaries. To truly be free, the cause and effect relationships that constitute one’s environment must all be understood and accounted for (without bias or flaws from one’s past education or from one’s genetic — including mental genetic — makeup). To truly be free, there must be no distortion or fragmentation in the way that one perceives.
As it is, most of us see and react from learned (and inherited) modes involving separation, fragmentation, and views that are cemented by culture and tradition. With all this limitation, we think (and feel) that we are free. So many are enslaved — in more ways than one — without ever realizing it. To perceive that you are not free may be the beginning of wisdom that brings freedom. Merely craving for freedom, however, does not bring it (i.e., psychologically). If you are conditioned — and we all are — perceive and examine that conditioning throughout the day. That conditioning is what you are; it is not merely something that can be accurately viewed with separation, from a distance. Distortion, that sees itself for what it is (without the further distortion of imagined separation, without the projection of ideals or of fanciful utopian freedom) can — through clarity and understanding from direct relationship — change and transform. Distortion, however, that clings to learned modes of internal (and external) separation and false images of freedom (which are unreal)… likely will remain in (and “as”) the conditioning that it is.
Intelligence that (without mere separation and pre-conceived ideals) perceives the conditioning and distortion that is what it is… may transform beyond that conditioning and distortion. Distortion that merely looks (with learned separation) from that distortion and thinks that it is free… mostly remains in (and “as”) distortion. By the way… harming another organism intentionally and using the excuse that one has no free will (because of being conditioned) is a cop-out; it’s a song and dance. We are all, whether conditioned or not, responsible. We can respond either from (that spaceless place of) direct relationship and compassion (beyond mere division) and intelligent caring (beyond learned and absorbed boundaries)… or from cold indifference, learned separation, and hatred. (Separation and friction that is internal — in the brain — can express and project itself outwardly, as conflict and hatred.) We can go beyond crude, unrefined patterns. We are all capable of growing.