All Posts Tagged ‘free will

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Free Will

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No doubt, a large number of people will dismiss this or merely become irritated by it.  Very many of us — most all of us, really — assume that we have a free will that freely does whatever it “wants” to.  Suggesting otherwise tends to offend people, annoy people, and ruffle their feathers.  However, the decisions we are involved in are all largely governed by the chemical processes in the brain, the physiological/biological/neurological networks and systems.  Conditioning — by past sociological structures, such as education, religion, and other social networks — also, of course, plays a big part in this.  It may be that your decision to read this blog up to this point was as inevitable as hydrogen and oxygen combining at a certain point to form water.  Billions think and feel that they have free will.

It may be that any thought or any manifestation of thinking that one exists as, no matter what it is, is inevitably involved with conditioning.  So, where is freedom in all of this and is there any chance for true freedom?   Real freedom, perceptually, may come when the mind is of a stillness, a wholeness, that (at times) is beyond the sequential patterns and frameworks of thought/thinking.  It involves awareness beyond what was merely taught or absorbed.  It is of a newness that shatters all conceived and preconceived patterns.  When it occurs, there is an intelligent cessation of thought/thinking; without inevitable, conditioned thinking, there is no learned, false center as the “me” or “I” being projected.  Regarding true freedom, one cannot merely “know” that one is involved with it.  Only a healthy brain can allow it to manifest but it is not what depends upon a healthy brain.  It is not yours or mine; it is of a vastness that transcends all borders.  

 

 

Royal Catchfly (Silene regia)  This red blossomed plant is a very rare wild plant of the United States Midwest; it is very endangered in Illinois, for example. Photo by Thomas Peace c. 2019

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Free Will

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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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Regarding Free Will…

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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.

Ant Domain. Photo by Thomas Peace c. 2015

Ant Domain. Photo by Thomas Peace c. 2015