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Free Will



Happy New Year!  (even though there isn’t anything new about it)   Hoping that the following year is full of insight, compassion, and care (radiating from all of us).    🙂

“If the moon, in the act of completing its eternal way around the Earth, were gifted with self-consciousness, it would feel thoroughly convinced that it was traveling its way of its own accord…. So would a Being, endowed with higher insight and more perfect intelligence, watching man and his doings, smile about man’s illusion that he was acting according to his own free will.”  —  Albert Einstein

Many people ardently insist and feel that they have “free will,” an ability to freely choose without being bound by limitations.   They each think that some central agency (i.e.,dominator/controller), apart from the contents, is (somehow) freely acting.  Thoughts and thinking involve physical processes within (and “as”) the brain, and these physical process are not exempt from the cause and effect sequences that our universe moves as. The very notion of will implies the power of control that the mind has concerning its own actions.  If all of these actions are (inherently) reactions, however, that opens up questions concerning what is actually taking place.  (Never feel, however, that conditioning and the lack of free will constitute some kind of get out of jail free pass or “excuse” to whip up; we are, each of us, responsible for helping the world to be orderly and pain-free.)

Did real (free) volition not exist in the worm-like chordates and fish that we evolved from but sprang into existence with us?  May it, whether we refuse to see it or not,  be that free will, in essence, is a concept that has little or no validity for our current mental states?  Most of us, either consciously or unconsciously, cling to the notion of having free will.  If the mind has control over its contents, who is the controller?  Is the controller separate from what the controlled (psychologically) is?  If the controller is not something magically separate, then that has an altogether different meaning and significance.

Sensitively perceiving (not merely conceptually) that most all of what we think and feel is totally conditioned and is part of a cause and effect continuum can allow the mind to come upon a new and vital challenge.  Can the mind not merely continue to operate in (and “as”) the same old ways (of conditioning) but, instead, function and live (at times) beyond mere reaction?  Real liberty and emancipation may come when the mind sees itself as totally conditioned (when it is conditioned) and deeply ensnared in (and “as”) cause/effect patterns and, then, changes (not through reactions, as in the past), but in a wholly different manner.  Then there is a possibility of real order, insight, and compassion to function, beyond the norm.  He who clings to prison bars forever thinking that he is free will never run disentangled from all the bondage.

Fungus on Fallen Oak (1) Photo by Thomas Peace c. 2016

Fungus on Fallen Oak (1) Photo by Thomas Peace c. 2016

Fungus on Fallen Oak (2) Photo by Thomas Peace c. 2016

Fungus on Fallen Oak (2) Photo by Thomas Peace c. 2016




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My Blog primarily consists of close-up nature photos (that I've taken locally) combined with original holistic-truth oriented prose and/or poetry involving mindfulness/awareness. I love nature and I love understanding the whole (not merely the parts and the details). I'm a retired teacher of the multiply handicapped. I have a number of interesting hobbies, such as fossil collecting, sport-kite flying, 3D and 2D close-up photography, holography, and pets. Most of all, I am into holistic self-awareness, spontaneous insight, unconventional observation/direct perception, mindfulness, meditation, world peace, non-fragmentation, population control, vegetarianism, and green energy. To follow my unique Blog of "Nature Photos and Mindfulness Sayings" and for RSS feeds to my new posts, please access at: (On my regular Blog posting pages, for additional information and to follow, simply click on the "tack icon" at the upper right corner... or, on my profile page, you can click on the "Thomas Peace" icon.) Stay mindful, understanding, and caring!...

21 Comments Join the Conversation

  1. Maybe you could tell us how we could reach the goal? Growing-up in whatever kind of society it conditions you somehow. Only when you grow-up on a deserted island without parents and other people you could develop unconditioned, but would that be possible? Happy New Year, Thomas, regards Mitza


    • Well, there is no “how” with this… as it does not depend upon any method, blueprint, or system. Real awareness is timeless and beyond mere conditioning at times.
      Probably an educational system that is far different from that which we mostly have now would enable children to flower beyond the rut of stagnant conditioning. We need better educators who are (themselves) very aware beyond fragmentary processes and mere measure. Hoping the next year is full of insight for you, Mitza! 🙂


  2. I read the response, I agree. Our educators use one “frame” to teach all children. Well said, Tom.
    Happy 2017 to you and yours!


  3. I believe I have a choice and act according to my own will. I’m responsible for the decisions I make. Responsibility itself requires choice. But I like the pictures!


  4. Thank you! 🙂
    I will stick with Albert Einstein on this one rather than with Rilla Z. Even Homo erectus must have felt that he (and/or she) had free will. Responsibility goes far beyond choice. Right education and insight have a lot to do with it. Correct diet and a healthy lifestyle affect it as well. Not just “I” am responsible for the decisions “I” make… but the decisions being made are not separate from what i am; if the mind of the organism is distorted by poor education, poor dietary habits, stale social propaganda (and the like), the decisions made will inevitably (largely) be of conflict and will be distorted. If one thinks that (psychologically) the controller is separate from the controlled, then this conflict will likely not just remain internal; it will also likely extend itself out into the world and manifest conflict and disorder there also.


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