Determinism Makes Me Feel Helpless

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Determinism Makes Me Feel Helpless

Postby dannydawiz » Sun Dec 21, 2014 10:37 pm

Hey guys. I tend to ignore this topic because whenever I think about it I tend to feel helpless. Almost as if I'm not really in control of my life. It seems that since I've discovered it however it keeps on popping into my head and I just can't avoid it.

I'm sure a lot of you are familiar with the free will vs determinism debate. Four years ago when I was 13 I had this sudden realization that I was in control of my life. That if I received something then it was because I worked in order to achieve it and make it that way. That if I didn't get something that it was only because of some incorrect action that I took and as long as I corrected that action I would be able to fix things up.

Now I'm a little bit older and especially due to my increased tendency to observe the world around me I can't help but notice that everything seems to follow a sort of cause and effect. As much as I truly want to continue to believe in free will sometimes determinism makes more sense. Everything must have a cause including my behavior and the entire state of society as a whole. If I were to raise my hand up then it may seem like I raised it up on my own accord but there had to have been previous conditions that essentially led to the action occurring.

Is there anyone who can relate to my situation? The belief of not really being in control of my life may be a harsh truth that I'm just not willing to accept yet.
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Re: Determinism Makes Me Feel Helpless

Postby Webwanderer » Mon Dec 22, 2014 12:25 am

Both determinism and free will are true.... to an extent. Knowing the context where one or the other is primary is the key to understanding how life in this form works.... to an extent.

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Re: Determinism Makes Me Feel Helpless

Postby kafi » Mon Dec 22, 2014 2:17 pm

Hi,
I have written something about this issue in a previous thread
( it is about a model of a giant invisible steering hand and the individuals attached with ever shortening strings):
viewtopic.php?f=4&t=12882&p=117116#p117116

This model fits best with my experience.
According to this model, we do have choice. We have the choice to listen to the voice of ego or rather to listen to the voice of Source.
Of course, the task then becomes to learn to distinguish the voice of ego from the voice of Source.
And after that is achieved, the task is to muster up enough willingness to follow the voice of Source ( - what if God tells me to do sth which I don't want to do?) .
Basically, as long as there is the illusion of a separate self going on there is also choice. Choice for separation or choice for the will of Source. After enlightenment, after the annihilation of the sense of a separate self, there is only the will of Source at all times. So, THEN there is no choice anymore.
But before enlightenment, there still is choice.

For me, I experience my strings getting shorter and shorter. And I experience any action against the will of the universe becoming more and more painful.
Really, physically painful. I get ill if I don't follow the still,small voice of truth inside me.


.........................................................................................
And I have another story to share about this free-will issue:

Recently, I am inquiring into the aggregate of the little me , this fear-based separate entity which is a sticky illusion.
And one thing I am stuck with is the sense of the ‘doer’. I know I am awareness , and the bodymind arises in awareness ( and not the other way round) - and yet there is this sense that this bodymind can choose to do an action.

I was reading Consciousness Speaks by Ramesh Balsekar , and he repeats over and over that we are not the ‘doer’ of an action but the action happens through us. Theoretically, I understood that but I longed for an experience that would make it clear to me.

Now, imagine the universe smiling behind the curtain, thinking: “Let’s have some fun with her and teach her this lesson.”

On the next weekend , I went for a short walk to the woods. The rest of my family stayed inside . I left the house, shut the door, and walked 20 minutes to a bench. I sat down, relaxed and enjoyed the beauty of the hillside and the trees. After a while , I decided to go back home and got up.

All of a sudden , I realized I didn’t have my waist pack with me ! OMG! I was in panic. My mind started racing . I went back to the bench. No waist pack there. The keys, credit cards, driver’s license… I started running back home. Was it lost along the way?

After a few minutes my mind calmed down. No way, I could have lost the waist pack. I would have noticed that. I probably had forgotten to take it with me in the first place.

I arrived at home , my children opened the door and the waist pack and keys were safely at home.

What a relief!

What did I learn from that?
I have never forgotten my keys before. I assumed that this is due to the fact I am a well-organized person and in control of my actions.

Ha! How wrong! I am not in control.

That day proved to me that the thought “Now take the waist pack with me before I go out” is put into my head from outside.

I am on remote control . How humiliating for my ego!


And how amazing that this lesson was so tailor-made to my needs. It was on a day where the rest of the family was inside and was able to open the door once I came back . The timing when I noticed the missing keys was also perfect. It was after I chose to get up from that bench again and go home. This way I could enjoy the first half of the walk at least.
Last edited by kafi on Mon Dec 22, 2014 3:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Determinism Makes Me Feel Helpless

Postby Onceler » Mon Dec 22, 2014 2:48 pm

Nice story, Kafi. I must need the key lesson nearly every day. :wink:
Be present, be pleasant.
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Re: Determinism Makes Me Feel Helpless

Postby rachMiel » Mon Dec 22, 2014 4:35 pm

Seeing that you are a deeply conditioned organism -- a biological machine, to a large extent -- can be terrifying.

It can also be deeply liberating. If it's all just conditioning, there's no one to blame, no one to feel guilt, regret, sorrow, fear, anger, etc. So your moods, feelings, emotions become like the weather -- it's raining, it's snowing, it's a scorcher! -- not like something personal that's happening to "you."

When you dis-identify with all these experiential objects ... perhaps something else, something more fundamental and real can reveal itself.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily ...
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Re: Determinism Makes Me Feel Helpless

Postby kafi » Mon Dec 22, 2014 5:13 pm

Onceler wrote: Nice story, Kafi. I must need the key lesson nearly every day.


Thanks, Onceler. I saw your thread about accidents. I have replied there
viewtopic.php?f=45&t=13020&p=119604#p119604
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Re: Determinism Makes Me Feel Helpless

Postby Enlightened2B » Mon Dec 22, 2014 5:53 pm

kafi wrote: For me, I experience my strings getting shorter and shorter. And I experience any action against the will of the universe becoming more and more painful.
Really, physically painful. I get ill if I don't follow the still,small voice of truth inside me.


I can resonate with this part. Meaning, going by our feelings. How does it feel to act in this way? How does it feel to act in THIS way?

Your feelings are your ultimate guide. I know that when I am resisting, it will manifest physically in my body.

However, at the same time, there could be certain physical conditions, which you incarnated into this life to experience before hand, to bring Love to a seemingly difficult situation. Meaning, using the physical illness as a guide while incarnated in humanness. The physical illness could be that, which is your wake up call, which was all set up prior to incarnation. Seemingly, we might have physical ailments that appear out of nowhere, but they often (if not always) stem from stress. I believe this is how it has been for me. And I think there is a good chance that I incarnated here for the purpose of experiencing a debilitating illness in order to wake me up, which is exactly how my life has gone.

But, I'll add that I very much disagree that there is no chooser after enlightenment. Yes, I do think there are certain things we set up or incarnate into this life before hand to experience, which one call call 'determinism'. However, we most certainly have the choice/free will, to first of all, see through the conditioning, and then manifest or change our path.

The Universe or Source or our light being guides most certainly will give us nudges along the way, but no one is fully pushing you to do anything. They are only guides. You have every choice available to make your life whatever you choose it to be, within the laws of the universe of course.

Conscious choices after enlightenment most certainly exist. We might get help from guides along the way, but Source loves your unique perspective more than enough, not to interfere.

The only source of determinism that I see, is that we each have unique purposes for incarnation and most of us, have no idea what that purpose is. So, it might seem to us that our lives are already drawn, but this is a trap in my opinion, not realizing that we have full potential to divert from that initial purpose and create anything we choose (within reason of the Universe again).

You are Source itself expressing itself AS kafi. There is nothing separate from you guiding you. It is all only YOU. Even the perceived nudges from the Universe are also, only you itself. It's all just Being. Therefore, it is only YOU as this unique expression of your own self that is experiencing this experience.
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Re: Determinism Makes Me Feel Helpless

Postby KathleenBrugger » Mon Dec 22, 2014 6:50 pm

Determinism can be interpreted as meaning fatalism, and that does sound scary, like it means you have no power over your life. I have been thinking about free will for 20 years, and I am convinced that we don't have it. I've put some of the latest neuroscience findings in a blog post you can read here, I put my favorite quote below.

Basically, I think our minds are so conditioned there is no way we can ever choose anything freely. The reason "free will" has been so contentious, I think, is because of the word "free." People mean different things by it. When you analyze what people mean by "free" when speaking of free will, they almost always mean that in any given situation you could have chosen anything. When you press them on the question, they'll retreat and claim they only mean that nobody was standing over them with a gun, forcing them to choose one way or another. But that's a defensive move. The reason we feel guilt for our "free will choices" is because we really believe that we could have chosen to do anything, and if we chose a bad thing that means we are guilty and deserving of blame--we could have chosen the better thing. Conversely, it sounds like if you remove free will you are left with the ability to choose nothing.

But I think there is a way to avoid fatalism, even when free will is removed. The world is so complex, we have no way of knowing what is coming next. In any moment we are confronted with many possible alternative scenarios. I could continue typing here, I could have a sip of water, I could stop and look out the window, I could… In every moment we have to act on one of those possible scenarios. Many of these actions will happen outside of my will--if you read the literature you get a sense of how out of my conscious control something like reaching for a glass of water is. But other actions, and those that I think are what concern you, like getting up and going to school, require an act of will.

I think what has confused people for so many centuries on this topic is that we have will, but it's not free. We can make a decision to do something, and put that decision into action. It's really quite a startling ability, almost god-like, and you can see why humans have made it into a shrine of freedom. But it also leads to great suffering, when we think we deliberately and consciously chose wrong and deserve shame and blame.

Our will is the ability to bring rational control over our short-term instincts. Like you have a chocolate cake in the house--your will allows you to overcome the instinctual desire to eat the entire cake. The will is an amazing evolutionarily new facet of human brains--lodged in the prefrontal cortex. We can develop it by training. But it will always be subject to our conditioning--the way you've been programmed to think will affect your perceptions before they get to the prefrontal cortex. Have you ever heard the Schopenhauer quote (made famous in our time by Einstein quoting it): "Man can do what he wills but he can't will what he wills."

Here's another angle: to be free means you have to be an independent agent. Free means "without constraints." The truth is we are all embedded in a unified field, all lines and boundaries are illusory. There's no way you can act freely, independently of your environment. You are constantly being constrained and influenced by all that is around you.

Coming from this angle, I don't see the lack of free will as making me helpless, but just another way of perceiving my true place, which is a part of the whole.

(quote I mentioned above)
Perhaps my favorite example from “Thinking Fast and Slow,” by Daniel Kahneman is a study of judges in Israel who spend all day considering requests for parole. Just after the judges had eaten lunch, sixty-five percent of requests for parole were granted, that number dropped steadily to zero just before the judges’ next meal. Are these judges exercising free will in their estimation of the inmates’ qualifications? Or are they clearly limited by their animal nature; getting more critical the hungrier they got? If you asked the judges about their decisions, do you think they would be aware of this tendency to get grumpier as they got hungry, or do you think they would believe they were being equally neutral and fair throughout the day? I imagine the latter would be the case.

Mr. Kahneman cites other studies involving associative thinking (for example: think of “banana” and “vomit,” now try to think of a banana without feeling slightly sick) and priming (think of “yellow,” now think of “fruit”—you probably thought “banana” because you were primed with the idea of yellow). These studies, Kahneman asserts, “have yielded discoveries that threaten our self-image as conscious and autonomous authors of our judgments and our choices.” We are, he concludes, strangers to ourselves.
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Re: Determinism Makes Me Feel Helpless

Postby Enlightened2B » Mon Dec 22, 2014 9:12 pm

The notion of the brain as the processor of unconscious choices as the main indicator of a lack of free will, is merely only a manifestation of a greater reality and really only a limited perspective of neuroscience itself in my opinion.

I respect neuroscience, but yet I feel neuroscience in its study of free will comes up very short, as it has no understanding of our purpose here in physicality (from the study of non physical realities), no understanding that physicality itself is merely a small aspect of a greater Aware Energy that is ALL, and no understanding of how past lives (as Soul Beings) affect our current experience and no understanding of how cause and effect operate in the universe, other than from a mere point of separation.

I agree with this quote by KB:

The truth is we are all embedded in a unified field, all lines and boundaries are illusory. There's no way you can act freely, independently of your environment. You are constantly being constrained and influenced by all that is around you.


Meaning, there is no separate individual doer, apart from the one Being that you are that expresses itself as me, you, the trees outside, the planet Earth, a particle, etc. One person alone cannot change the reality because physical reality is a co-creative manifestation of the one Being that we all are. Therefore, there is always cause and effect happening because everything is under the same 'roof' of that one Being. Everything each one of us do, ultimately affects everything else. Cause and effect being the direct result of manifestation happening every second of every day consciously and unconsciously. However, we have the power to change the WAY cause and effect operate. Cause and effect will always be the case, but we are not tied down to our unconscious beliefs.

So, determinism is a factor to the extent that we (as individual expressions) cannot alter the physical laws of the universe individually, even if those laws themselves, are largely a result of a c-creative belief in something like gravity. Meaning, even if gravity is a co-creative belief, I still haven't witnessed someone fly off of a rooftop yet.

However, at the same time, just because reality is under one roof (non-dual) does not take into account that the Oneness that is is once again (the most important factor in free will) a co-creative manifestation on every single level. We are SOURCE. Each of us individually make up a part of Source. Therefore, there is nothing that we ultimately co-creatively cannot accomplish.

We, are not merely human beings with brains, nor are we merely a glob of Awareness with no free will. There are no people inside of this one Awareness. We make UP this one Awareness. We are the Divine Being expressing itself AS an individual unique perspective and as that perspective, we incarnate into this human life WITH free will and have manifestative powers to create what we want, via our beliefs. We have the ability to alter the cause and effect of the web of ISNESS and as a result put our stamp on our life line here in physicality. The free will being the power to immediately alter reality by our beliefs. We have the CHOICE to believe what we believe or open up our perspective to go beyond our limited beliefs. Yes, conditioning ties us down. But, people are awakening everywhere and as a result, completely changing their lives.

Take for example a person who unconsciously goes through life as a miserable human being and enacts pain on others as a projection of his own fear and unhappiness. Once that person starts to delve deeper into their own experience and make their experience conscious, they take notice of their actions and realize the suffering they have endured and caused others and then decide to make a chance. They consciously change their life and a create a reality of Love for themselves and others and as a result. They start a career in the healing field to help others and change the way they interact with others on a daily basis and have altered the web of cause and effect by this conscious awakening alone. But, they have enacted their own free will to make an actual change within the web of cause and effect.

There is no drawn out plan for the Universe. It is US co-creatively who has INCREDIBLE power to co-creatively alter the picture of this global play, just by our beliefs alone. No, individually, it might seem that free will is lacking, but reality is not individual. It is again, a co-creative manifestation on every single level, from every human, every rain drop, every leaf on a tree, every particle. Not to mention that physical reality is a manifestation of a larger reality which is also a manifestion of a larger reality as we go through realms of Awareness back to Source. Everything experiencing together to create what we call 'Physical Reality'. We can't see this though from our limited human perspectives.

Therefore, it's such a non-black and white issue as to whether there IS or is NOT free will. Determinism/free will work together. No, we can't alter the physical laws of the cosmos alone, but we absolutely DO enact our free will on the global story by opening up and expanding our perspective.

That's how I see it.
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Re: Determinism Makes Me Feel Helpless

Postby dannydawiz » Wed Dec 24, 2014 12:06 am

Thanks a lot everyone for taking the time to write out those long posts. It does seem that everyone has different thoughts on the issue. Some of you believe that we don't have free will while others believe that we have both. It's a shame that I lack the critical thinking skills to be able to make a decision myself.

Someone once told me that belief doesn't change the truth. I can believe in either free will or determinism and that won't change the reality of the situation. Whether free will is true or determinism is true doesn't change the fact that all I can do is accept it.

I'll make an effort to accept both. Whether my life is governed by destiny or free will doesn't change the fact that there isn't much that I can do to change the laws of the universe. Rather than create any more psychological suffering I think that acceptance is the best I can do right now.

Thanks everyone.
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Re: Determinism Makes Me Feel Helpless

Postby smiileyjen101 » Wed Dec 24, 2014 1:44 am

Danny said: Someone once told me that belief doesn't change the truth. I can believe in either free will or determinism and that won't change the reality of the situation. Whether free will is true or determinism is true doesn't change the fact that all I can do is accept it.

I'll make an effort to accept both. Whether my life is governed by destiny or free will doesn't change the fact that there isn't much that I can do to change the laws of the universe. Rather than create any more psychological suffering I think that acceptance is the best I can do right now.


Danny, did you notice the 'shift' in you, the 'growth' in you when you accepted the notion that a belief does not change the truth.

That's a simple statement of truth. In and of itself it means little, until it is applied to a situation in expression and in experience - what you do with it eg: your beliefs about free will or determinism.

Prior to accepting that notion you had a different understanding, you moved your attention and focus from where it was, and stood under a different aspect /angle / point of view(ing) and therefore your awareness grew by the degrees that you moved and it flows through in awareness, capacity and willingness.

You could have closed yourself down to the new information rather than opening yourself up to it in your expression and experience of acceptance of it.

The awareness is always there - the capacity is in many ways dictated by the awareness, our limitations are in seeing things as they are believed to be - rather than how they really are - and that affects our capacity; and the willingness is through experience and dependent upon our awareness and our capacity to respond in a way that we are comfortable with.

The Ancient Chinese philosophy of Tzu Wei explained it best to me, it embraces the sense of balance in duality by noting that some things are of the Heavenly Stem growing into this world through us (and through everything really) - they the eternal unfolding and arising as a direct flow of energy from the roots in the unformed - like only a particular species of leaf will bud on a particular species of tree; only the experiences of humankind will flow through us who are human in species;

and once here they are influenced by the things of the Earthly Branch - the myriad of physical, emotional, mental and psychic experiences in potential and - so it sort of gives a picture of the roots of all growing into this world, but once in this world the energy changes into form, including us as aspects of itself. These things then interact as the Earthly Branch (form) and the Heavenly Stem (all potentials). The things of the Heavenly Stem will be - cannot not be; the things of the Earthly Branch 'may' be, these are the things that we are in co-creation in.

So a HS thing is a 'fact' - say a tsunami just being a combination of weather effects adding up to 'this' if these conditions flow into the system the tsunami will occur. Or it might be a belief being built upon one accepted notion upon another if one adds this notion to this notion and ignore this notion - a 'solid' belief will come into form.

No amount of arguing with it, denying it, saying it's not real, fearing it, demonising it, fighting it or any such thing will change the fact, the undeniable fact that a tsunami IS a combination of all that has fed into it, and it will naturally have a cause and effect influence on other elements, same as a belief if it IS it will naturally have a cause and effect influence on other elements.

The Earthly branch though has a little 'give' and it is in our awareness, our capacity and our willingness to bend with what IS, because what is, is never static and is never really solid, we just perceive it so.

So Heavenly stem is what is, and Earthly branch is our response to it. We have absolutely no influence on what the HS is, but the Earthly branch elements, what we do in relation to it, is limited only by our awareness, capacity and willingness.

I could confine these notions to experiences on Earth, but really they are eternal and unlimited in the feeding in and flowing wherever throughout eternity.

Hence, no choice is 'wrong', it just brings a different experience.

In a way, what you recognised / experienced as 'feeling helpless' flowed into your growth in awareness.

As ET says, folks think they have free will when they really don't, but when they understand how it all works, then they do have it within their awareness, capacity and willingness they 'see' what is, and the potentials as they really are, and so then we choose from the potentials with this higher awareness, capacity and willingness in honesty, or clarity. So what we chose in an experience as a child, is different to what we might (could, can) choose in clearer awareness.

We are always in a state of growth in terms of awareness, capacity and willingness. So what one thought one had a choice in previously or had no 'choice' in previously, with growth one will see different aspects of it - which is why hindsight is such a wonderful teacher. With hindsight and experience one widens their awareness to encompass those different aspects and sorts through which is which (HS or EB in Tzu Wei), so one naturally grows in capacity seeing a different possibility in the potential. Willingness is in part whether we face the 'truth' of a thing, or not.

The 'quality' of the advice in the Serenity Prayer grows with us. We have the growing awareness, capacity and willingness to accept that which we cannot change; the awareness, capacity and willingness to change that which we can; and experience grows our wisdom (awareness) to know the difference.

E2B said: Source loves your unique perspective more than enough, not to interfere.

While I like the inference, I don't need to personify this quite so much - what is is, what is is the total combination of all that is, and it is because of all the potentials being enacted and feeding back into 'what is'.
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Re: Determinism Makes Me Feel Helpless

Postby dannydawiz » Wed Dec 24, 2014 5:47 am

Thank you Jen for your beautiful words. Its true like you said that it would be very easy to close myself off to the new information rather than opening up to it. Upon the discovery of determinism my entire being wanted to reject it. However, in the case that it is true I don't want to deny it just because I don't want it to be true. I'd rather accept it and learn how to deal with it.

It is true that our limitations as human beings are seeing things as they are believed to be rather than how they really are. By adding thoughts, labels, and interpretations to the world it is very easy to get lost in illusions. The problem that I'm facing right now is I can hardly tell whether my beliefs are true or false at times. I don't understand how to use my thinking mind in order to verify the validity of what it is that I'm reading or observing.

Its also a fact that my observations are highly limited. Just because I cannot see cells, atoms, particles, and micro organisms does that mean they do not exist? Just because I look at a girl and think she is the most beautiful thing on the planet does that really make her beautiful?

I'm going to be graduating high school pretty soon and it's absolutely ridiculous how little I understand about the world. Although I am able to observe my environment with much more awareness than ever before, I am unable to explain the causes which underlie what I'm perceiving.

That is all for now.
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Re: Determinism Makes Me Feel Helpless

Postby Phil2 » Wed Dec 24, 2014 12:03 pm

dannydawiz wrote:
Is there anyone who can relate to my situation? The belief of not really being in control of my life may be a harsh truth that I'm just not willing to accept yet.


Why is there a need to control your life ?

??

I'd say that the need for 'control' arises out of a lack of trust, a lack of confidence ... because you think that life does not bring you what you need, you want to control and make things happen according to your own (limited and conditioned) will ...

Which also means iow. that you did not yet surrender to 'what is' ...

And I take the opportunity to quote (once again, sorry to repeat) this statement from Albert Einstein:

'The most important question a person can ask is: Is the Universe a friendly place?'


When you trust the universe as 'friendly', is there any need for control ?
"What irritates us about others is an opportunity to learn on ourselves"
(Carl Jung)
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Re: Determinism Makes Me Feel Helpless

Postby dannydawiz » Thu Dec 25, 2014 1:28 am

Phil2 wrote:
Why is there a need to control your life ?

??

I'd say that the need for 'control' arises out of a lack of trust, a lack of confidence ... because you think that life does not bring you what you need, you want to control and make things happen according to your own (limited and conditioned) will ...

Which also means iow. that you did not yet surrender to 'what is' ...

And I take the opportunity to quote (once again, sorry to repeat) this statement from Albert Einstein:

'The most important question a person can ask is: Is the Universe a friendly place?'


When you trust the universe as 'friendly', is there any need for control ?


Hey again Phil. Sure if the entire universe was "friendly" then there wouldn't be any need for control. However, because there are murderers, rapists, and cannibals out there what of their destiny? It's like being born and having someone tell you that you are going to grow up to be the next hitler. No matter what you do that is going to be the outcome of your life and there is nothing you can do to control it. A case like this makes me feel sad for them. Wouldn't you feel the same way?

I'm not concerned with my own fate. In fact, I have it quite easy in comparison to the rest of the world.
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Re: Determinism Makes Me Feel Helpless

Postby Phil2 » Thu Dec 25, 2014 10:52 am

dannydawiz wrote:
Phil2 wrote:
I'm not concerned with my own fate. In fact, I have it quite easy in comparison to the rest of the world.


This reminds me about Byron Katie (an author often quoted by Eckhart Tolle) who defines three kinds of businesses: my business, your business and God's business ... so I think that she would put the fate of humanity in the category of 'God's business' ... there is no reason to take this on your shoulders ...

Just love 'what is' ... and trust God (or any other name you wish to call IT: Life, Universe, Self, Being, What Is etc...)
"What irritates us about others is an opportunity to learn on ourselves"
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