Free will is an illusion?

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Free will is an illusion?

Post by wakeupneo » Wed Jul 08, 2009 4:10 pm

Note* the word tendency here refers to one’s past conditioning. Conditioning based on past experience of like and dislike, of aversion vs. craving. Nisargadatta said “our memories of pain create fear, while our memories of pleasure create desire” Remember kids…Buddha said desire is the root of all suffering. The desire for things to be different then they are… in a nutshell is the cause of all of it.

There is an ongoing debate regarding free-will. Of course there is free will right? The answer isn’t necessarily so obvious.

So your going to make a decision right? Hmm will I get the Café Americano or the Café Latte? I think I’ll take the Café Latte! Who made the decision?
Well duh, I did…
Well did you? Or did your tendencies pull you into choosing the Latte? There innumerable variables based on taste preferences, beliefs, past experiences, and tons of predispositions who choose the Latte for you. You merely acted out the part.
Hang on one second man, so your saying there isn’t any free will? What if you were sleepy and needed an extra pick me up so decided to order the Americano.
Well in that case you had tendencies that told you that being more awake and alert was more important that fulfilling your sensual desire. These tendencies that told you that you needed a pick me up was more powerful than the tendency to satisfy sense pleasure. The situation is that a strong tendency merely over rode a lesser tendency. Here still YOU didn’t make a decision, your tendencies did. This model seems to suggest that there is no such thing as free will. We are merely acting out or present moment based on our past. Thus our future will always be dictated by our past (or present, same thing right) So the only way to change behavior is to introduce a new and more powerful tendency.
Well then, who chooses the new and more powerful tendency?
The tendency to desire change does. Note WE still are not making any decisions in the matter. We are still getting pulled by yet another tendency. Did I really choose to write this? Nope just had a strong tendency to do so, which was stronger than the tendency which desires sleep.

We like to judge others right? How dare he! What was he thinking! We looking down on thieves and murderers. There is the old adage, if you were to walk a mile in that man’s shoes. Well say you (whomever you are, or whatever that means) had the exact same parents, variables, encountered the same situations, born at the same times, same place, same school, had their lunch money stolen from the same bully on the same day and this bully was in the same rotten mood… you get the point. So the question is… would you pull the trigger? (For the sake of this argument lets take any kind of past lives, past karma out of the equation) You would absolutely, unequivocally pull the damn trigger. You would be the murder. You would be just as capable of doing it… In fact you would do it. So how then ca you judge? This someone sheds light onto the whole concept of “we are all one” we are all the same. The only difference is our minds, our past, our tendencies, variables, the 10,000 conditions, but underneath all that we are all one. The idea of separateness truly is an illusion!

So this brings us to the fact that we have no free-will and are all one.
Dang man, if I’m not in charge, then who is?
God perhaps? Maybe that’s why the 12 step programs are so effective. Surrender to God’s will… Ah so nice, is there any other way? Can there ever be any other way? It’s all God’s will, as we just demonstrated… it’s not ours. Free will is an illusion.

But then why creation, why existence if we are merely playing out roles according to some predetermine rigid script in which we have absolutely no hope of ever altering? That really seems to be the million dollar question. There must be some other aspect of us which is free to choose. But that still doesn’t seem right. Why are some able to make decisions and others not, again it’s all tendencies. Why is someone willing to resist the jelly doughnut and the other person isn’t? Tendencies… Some call it will-power or discipline. But what is that really? It’s another tendency. One tendency pretty much says that my desire to be discipline is more important that immediate gratification. Yet another tendency. Man it really seems there is no such thing as free will.

If the divine really does take an active role in an individuals life (and I do believe this to be the case) well then perhaps this is the one thing that is beyond tendencies. But even here why does one pray and ask for guidance and the other one does not? Again this is more tendencies. Tendencies which ultimately lead to some sort of divine providence. There is that often ambiguous term, “grace”. Many spiritual teachers talk about it. It’s often talked about as some key ingredient in spiritual awakening. It seems to be free-will is an illusion. Ultimately there is nothing to be done and no one to do it. With God’s will and in his time we ultimately enter a state of complete and utter surrender as we see that we are not the doers, nor the doing, nor the deed.

If there is free-will please, I'd love to hear an example of a purely free-will decsion, thanks

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Re: Free will is an illusion?

Post by Sighclone » Wed Jul 08, 2009 7:47 pm

Free will requires a "little me" to exercise it. I can touch my nose. Whenever I want to. So long as I believe an "Andy" exists. But also, my failure to believe in "Andy," "my finger," or "my nose," as real does not mean that within the limited illusory context of maya/samsara, or this stage we label, in error, "the real world" I can't enjoy golf. People still take modest earthly pleasures in what they label as "personal decisions of free will." The problem comes with deeper introspection about the self or Self.

Gary Weber's fine new book "Happiness Beyond Thought" discusses the Libet brain-wave experiments -- there are others which also suggest that when closely measured, our "decisions" are preceded by unconscious mental activity. Some of this science remains controversal.

Namaste, Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce

Sw A Devagni
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Re: Free will is an illusion?

Post by Sw A Devagni » Sun Aug 09, 2009 5:03 pm

I must confess I haven't perused the entirety of the posts on this thread, but the title intrigues me.

My offering comes from a mind-blowing revelation given to me by Genpo Roshi while I was listening to him in Ameland (and the following is paraphrase).

If you imagine a triangle, (an equilateral triangle pointing upwards), on one base of the triangle you have Free Will or Personal Choice. On the other side of the triangle, you have Reality, or The Way It Is or as he put it the Illusion of Choice (karma).

Now at the Apex of the triangle you have the one who both includes and transcends the free will AND the reality or the illusion of choice - at which point you have the free will either to resist your life or go with it.

As with many of his teachings, that one for me was veritably heart-stopping and I am very grateful to him for it.

Dev x

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Re: Free will is an illusion?

Post by Ananda » Sun Aug 09, 2009 6:52 pm

Doesn't seem to be invidivual free will, that is, the separate person's will to choose. There does seem to be a universal will though, in that all things happen as they will.

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Marcel Franke
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Re: Free will is an illusion?

Post by Marcel Franke » Mon Aug 10, 2009 12:42 pm

If free will means choosing for something,
doesnt that mean that the choice is based upon some motives ?
Then this will is not free, it is dependent on motives.
Freedom cannot be dependent on anything,
otherwise it would not be free.
So, freedom cannot be dependent upon time, social status, choice,
money, effort, location or willpower.
Freedom must be untouchable.
So either freedom is, or it is not.

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Re: Free will is an illusion?

Post by karmarider » Mon Aug 10, 2009 3:19 pm

The question of free will is undecidable.

It is clear in the unconscious mind there is no free will--decisions are dependent on conditioning. Is there free will in awareness? The decision to come out of the unconscious mind--is that free will? Or is that too determined by conditioning?

I don't know if there is free will in awareness. I do know that in Awareness, decisions are less influenced by the conditions of the past.
Last edited by karmarider on Tue Aug 11, 2009 1:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Free will is an illusion?

Post by lucy » Mon Aug 10, 2009 5:51 pm

karmarider wrote:It is clear in the unconscious mind there is no free will--decisions are dependent on conditioning. Is there free will in awareness? The decision of come out of the unconscious mind--is that free will? Or is that too determined by conditioning and existing conditions? I don't know if there is free will in awareness. I do know that decisions are less influenced by the conditions of the past.
Very well expressed Karmarider. Choosing implies duality. This or that. There can be no that, if there is only THIS.

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