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.
wow this 100 % cool picture blow simple brain of monkey. now monkey share here video what maybe have interest for tom + more reader too. http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20151030-does-fate-exist
as long as you have a family or any posession it’s very hard to be free. Therefore a buddhist monk for me is an example for being free. He only owns 2 dresses and a bowl and has to beg for his food every day. I really love this wonderful photo, Thomas, have a wonderful Sunday, regards Mitza
Interesting thoughts. Personally, for me, a Buddhist monk isn’t so free either… because he — as most monks are — is a “follower” and he is tied to a structured religious organization that is another one of the major organized religions of the world (contributing to separation and conflict between people). Many wars have been fought over organized religion. Plus wearing only one or two items of clothing is not necessarily freedom whatsoever. Such a person may likely be chained to ideals concerning staying in poverty… (that do not ensure freedom but, rather, keep the mind bound to absorbed ideals and learned patterns). Those ideals (and beliefs) are the possessions of that monk; and they bind him.
Life may be too multifaceted any dynamic to merely sit in a loincloth and think that you’ve accomplished something.) 😉
Hoping your week is superb! 🙂
you are right, Thomas, but I think posession makes you dependent. Of course religions have lead to many wars, but I think very little the buddhist religion, which is quite peaceful.There is nobody in this world who can be completely free, except you live on a star by yourself like the little prince. I sometimes would like to do this. Hope you bring me some food from time to time, but that’s a dependency, too, hehe
You’re right too, Mitza. But a Buddhist monk is also dependent upon his ideals, his little images, statues, temples and traditions. We are all dependent to a large extent. Personally, I feel it is far better (and much more liberating) to be free of indoctrinated images, statues, and temples… than to have a few possessions. (For instance, the Jews that were killed by those following the ideals and symbols that Hitler indoctrinated them with may have had a few more possessions than those following Hitler… but they weren’t possessed by Hitler’s violence.) Of course, the Buddhist religion did not contribute as many wars (and as much conflict) as some world religions have; but it is still is what encourages people to (to a large extent) be mere followers who cling to images, traditions, statues, and temples. I feel there is a majestic freedom (beyond a certain blinding realm of dependence) that is much more important than how many clothes one owns.
Stay perceptive and caring! 🙂
Thank you! 🙂
Nice post Tom with a great picture!
You write “That conditioning is what you are; it is not merely something that can be accurately viewed with separation, from a distance.”
I’d say we’re not limited to our conditioning, but our conditioning does prevent us from looking beyond it. So in a way i agree that until we realize we are conditioned, we are fully under it’s spell. But still, even while under the spell, there is the unconditional. Not sure whether you agree, but just wanted to give my 2 cts 🙂
Even while under the spell, there is the unconditioned. For instance, even in a belligerent, selfish, hating, uncaring man… there is largely supreme order going on within his biological organism. However, if he was not properly educated to care about order, or if he never cared to understand his disorder… what he then does will largely remain a type of friction and illusion that is largely divorced from order. The unconditioned will not directly affect his mind if he doesn’t care to intelligently examine his conditioning.
Most people are heavily conditioned (and are largely and pretty much exclusively) limited by the boundaries that that conditioning sets. If your mind is in a prison, you can say that you are not limited; but it may be like a dog bred for fighting, tied to a tree, feeling that (with its movement within the confines of the length of the chain it is fastened to) it has freedom.
I love the image and your words are powerful! I’ve been working on the self I created to deal with my past and which interfaces between my real self which is tucked away safely and the one that I project. It’s an ongoing process but one step toward freedom.
So good that you are working on the self! There is no end to that… which is beautiful! (Some “selves” are learned and artificial; some are living and unbound). 🙂
I have the best therapist in the world! I like to learn and grow. My hobby mirrors my innerself…always working on improving and giving myself breaks when I can. 😀
Hobbies can be very educational and interesting! Your photos reflect your love of life and the world’s beauty! 🙂
This macro image is stunning. I agree, …. we are responsible! Well said, Tom.
Thank you, Amy! Yes, we are! 🙂
Great image, and this is so true. We actually discussed this with kids – in kids terms, but pretty much same thing.
Good! Kids are more intelligent (with regard to understanding about life and philosophy) than most people realize. 🙂
awesome macro shot, Tom! nice blog! 🙂
Much appreciated, Lola! 🙂