Free Will Vs Determinism

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Free Will vs Determinism

Fredrich Nietzsche – The Gay Science

There is something spectacular about the titled subject matter. The question of whether we have free will, or are things determined, is in some ways the ultimate question that defines our values. The question could in itself be so spectacular as your gravitation towards either may very well define you, or at least speak volumes of your inner philosophy and beliefs, or, and what I think is more accurate, reveal what you truly worship. But, for any question including tension between two apparent opposites to be in question, there must be some interplay of truth between the two; meaning, both must be both true, and false, simultaneously. This is always the paradoxical nature of all the deepest realities, and to truly comprehend and embrace the paradoxical nature of this is the basis of enlightenment.

For one’s life to truly be determined, the argument then must be made that the individual has a destiny. This destiny is a set end reality that one ultimately has no control over reaching, it is simply pre-determined, and there is no escape or interception of conscious awareness that can alter the already laid out path, and there is no choice one can do to avoid the inevitable. Nietzsche put forward the conceptual thought experiment of “Eternal return”. The basis being that everything, and everyone, loops over and over again, a constant repeating cycle, and there is no true freedom to break ones own loop; everything is the same as it always has been. With every ending, repeating again as it were at the beginning, making both end and beginning the same place. This symbol is best symbolised as the symbol of the Uroboros, the classic image of the snake eating its own tail, constantly at the mercy of an ever-pulling action-reaction, cause and effect, causing the action to trigger the reaction, again and again and again, a positive feedback loop ad infinitum.

This concept of destiny, a magnetic pull we all have to an end destination, a destination that leaves our conscious ego no room for alteration or change of the cycle; a simple body at the mercy of its instincts, with no ability to become self-conscious of what’s actually happening, and therefore never be able to set itself free. The question must be asked then:

Do we all have free will?

Or maybe only some . . .

For a Self to become conscious, and for it to turn its head away from its own tail in realisation, it must have some sort exterior influence that takes its attention away from its own cycle, and to instead be free to choose its path with will. It is a fundamental principle of Christianity that us men have freewill, and the fact that the majority have chosen to hitherto accept this as fact is expressed in the very depths of our culture. The way we talk to our neighbour, the way we can lay blame to people for doing wrong, whilst also having the ability to simultaneously feel sorry for them; judgment would not be possible without the concept of free will, and mercy not possible without an understanding of the influences and effects of nature. For someone to not live up to their full potential, to not abide by the knowledge of what they must do, we see this as sin, and see this as a choice, and so comes our judgement. But the reality of many people stuck in cycles such as addiction, such as a pits of despairs and sloth, when asked about how they feel, a common analogy very well may be that they feel there is no escape, that they are a self-eating uroboros, consuming itself, decaying eternally, with no growth of consciousness, only a sense of eternal self-devouring. These people are in a way truly stuck a cycle of action reaction, and we may well feel mercy, but also, we simultaneously feel judgment. Some may only judge, and others only feel mercy, and this in itself says a lot about the onlookers alignment, politics, and beliefs. For are mercy and judgment not just a paradox in themselves? We can lead a horse to water, but ultimately it is only for the horse to chose if it wants to drink. We then out of compassion make the horse thirsty, but it ends up resenting us for this, as it is unaware of our intentions to help. It therefore struggles against us to do what it must and what is good for its survival. It is only when the pain of thirst becomes so overwhelmingly painful, that finally the horse may break the loop and drink. The coming to senses can only truly happen when there is no other option, it is in these pits of despair and hell, that a sudden awakening can happen, but it is also at this point hardest to escape, as the hole down has already been dug so deep.

Awareness and pain is what gifts us free will.

Awareness brings pain, and pain brings awareness.

Ad infinitum.

Without awareness of truth, the truth of both good and evil, we are asleep. Without knowing what is both happening, what has happened, and what could happen, we are but sleeping animals. It is in this divine irony that the gift of free will comes with a price. The ability to break loops, to become conscious, to become enlightened of our own prison – this is not free. The apple we once ate, this was our gift of will, and this was also our loss of innocence. For can we blame an uroboros? Can we blame a baby inside a womb being strangled by the umbilical cord of its death? Can we blame a shark eating its own sibling? No, we do not hold them accountable, as they have not yet eaten the apple of awareness of its nature, they have no power nor freedom to choose otherwise. They simply are at the pure mercy of natural instinct, and for them the cycle has not yet been broken.

The apple of free will is what makes us human, and what better way to strip us of our humanity than to take this gift away from us? We are sinners, we are allowed to choose to miss our target, we are gifted the ability to choose to be either bad or good, and this is both our blessing and our curse.

With sin, comes recognition, and recognition brings forth repentance if one chooses. It is only when someone has accepted that they did wrong, can they claim redemption, and be born again anew.

As sinners, as eaters of the fruit, we are even allowed to miss our purpose, our destiny, if we so choose. In fact, is destiny really even a destiny if put like this? Or is it more accurately akin to a target set by God itself for us to aim towards? Whilst we now have the ability to look the other way from our nature, to supress our desires, this pull does not disappear, it merely remains subdued in the unconscious under tremendous ego strength and will be gifted to us by the fruit. Now we have been gifted the ability to break our own loop. Yet, with the eating of the apple, does this mean that we should avoid acknowledging our desires completely? Our desires are there for a reason, and the fact we have this ability to illuminate our desires, means that we have the ability for transmutation, the ability to take dormant spirit, and change its form into something else.

The drive to survive is in us all, but everyone will approach survival differently, with some rejecting it completely, and others embracing it wholeheartedly, against all odds and pain.

This apple of free will is surely a great power to us, as we now have the ability to act like gods, to make decisions we see as fit for us. Yet with this power, comes an overbearing responsibility. The fruit was indeed the original sin of temptation, and yet we ate it and became adults, free, aware, yet also this brought us shame, suffering, and fear. The paradox of the uroboros still shines even when the loop has been broken. I say this, because if an overwhelming prejudice towards consciousness is worshipped above all, we remain unaware of the birthing place in the beginning, and this is where a great irony takes place. As was mentioned before, the end leads to the beginning; so could it also be true that excessive pressure on consciousness could lead back to unconsciousness? To know all, also means to know nothing.

“What we know is a drop, what we don’t an ocean.”

Sir Isaac Newton

All gifts are a blessing, and some also a curse simultaneously. A gift is to be used alongside all others, and no one gift is to be worshipped above all. It is said an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but if one eats nothing but apples, one is surely destined to spend every day with him. Even with free will, and if we accept that this at least exists in some form the ability to recognise good and bad, to choose to not act out animalistic desires, to go completely the other way does not rid ourselves of these desires. It is instead required of us to choose wilfully to enter the abyss for where we came. But now that we are choosing to enter the darkness willingly, the consequences are very different to simply being consumed by the darkness with no knowledge of light. For if we now have looked into the light for long enough, we do not simply bring darkness to darkness, we now bring light to darkness, and this is where the magic truly happens.

It us who choose to pray, it is us who choose to venture back down to the pit of darkness that we once never knew was even dark, because we had no ability to contrast it with light. It is only when we bring our consciousness in combination with our nature, that is when we listen to the will of God. That is when true wisdom comes to us, a perfect stream of golden liquid streaming into us, bringing both the collective and transcendent grace that is common to all man, but also bringing that very personal consciousness there with it too. This is the true freedom of the Self, and this is when God will speak to us on a personal level, and will show us the path that is for us, and only us. For his style is the same, and he may even determine what is best for us, but ultimately he still gives us the ability to choose to speak to him and to listen, and it is only when we listen to God’s will, that we can decide whether to act on it or to not.

To be, or not to be? We may listen, and we may choose to hesitate or to act. It is only through faith, that we choose to listen and to respect God’s plan for us. When God speaks to us, we should not hesitate. When we act out the will of God, we are gifted with a grace that gives us a meaning against all odds.

When we have a why, we can bear any how.