Free Will is an Illusion

Free will is an illusion. It is synonymous with incomplete perception. —Walter Kubilius

A single uncaused cause could destroy the universe.
“Everything that happens is followed by something else which depends on it by causal necessity. Likewise, everything that happens is preceded by something with which it is causally connected. For nothing exists or has come into being in the cosmos without a cause. The universe will be disrupted and disintegrate into pieces and cease to be a unity functioning as a single system, if any uncaused movement is introduced into it.” Chrysippus

Is God an uncaused cause?…yes he is according to Christian theology.

The puzzle of free will and moral responsibility
“Everyone believes himself a priori to be perfectly free, even in his individual actions, and thinks that at every moment he can commence another manner of life. … But a posteriori, through experience, he finds to his astonishment that he is not free, but subjected to necessity, that in spite of all his resolutions and reflections he does not change his conduct, and that from the beginning of his life to the end of it, he must carry out the very character which he himself condemns…. Arthur Schopenhauer

Free will in the Hindu tradition
“Therefore we see at once that there cannot be any such thing as free-will; the very words are a contradiction, because will is what we know, and everything that we know is within our universe, and everything within our universe is molded by conditions of time, space and causality. … To acquire freedom we have to get beyond the limitations of this universe; it cannot be found here.” Swami Vivekananda

Buddhism on Free Will
In Buddhism it is taught that the idea of absolute freedom of choice (i.e. that any human being could be completely free to make any choice) is foolish, because it denies the reality of one’s physical needs and circumstances. Equally incorrect is the idea that we have no choice in life or that our lives are pre-determined. To deny freedom would be to undermine the efforts of Buddhists to make moral progress (through our capacity to freely choose compassionate action). Wikipedia

If the Christian God knows exactly what will happen, right down to every choice one makes, the status of choices as free is called into question. If God had timelessly true knowledge about one’s choices, this would seem to constrain one’s freedom.

Biblical fundamentalists tell us they know what will happen to the human civilization in the years to come.  It seems God has this plan that he set in motion at the beginning of time.  We are to see the “antichrist” take over the world at some point and the forces of “Good and Evil” will fight it out in Armageddon (Megiddo in Israel). Good will win out…of course, and those left alive, and those already dead and buried, will be resurrected and face a sort of heavenly Inquisition to determine if they will live forever in the Kingdom of God…you know, the one that Jesus said his followers alive in his time would live to see.

This plan is evidence that we have no free will at all, as everything that happens (and has happened) on earth is bound to lead up to the final days and the prearranged melodrama. All actions we take as individuals only contributes in some miniscule way to the final outcome…nothing we do by using our “free will” changes the prearranged outcome.

Now some fundamentalists say that they will be “Raptured” up to heaven before this happens and they will not face the final days of earths destruction, some say they will be left on earth to clean-up the mess and achieve a sort of paradise on earth were we will all (those left) live forever.  In any event Satan looses and he knows it, and has known since the beginning of time…it’s all prearranged and set in stone…so to speak.  I’m sure that some denominations have slightly different versions, but these seem to be the dominate view.

Having the story ‘out there’ and knowing the outcome just isn’t compatible with free will.  The bible is no help, as it says we Do have free will, and it says we Don’t have free will.

What do you think?

Properly read, the bible is the most potent force for Atheism ever conceived. – Isaac Asimov

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About the word of me
Interested in family and friends,grandchildren, photography, darkrooms, history, archaeology, scuba diving, computers, software, fast cars, journalism, writing, travel, ecology, news, science, and probably most other subjects you could think of. Did I mention family and friends?? I require iced tea or cold brewed coffee and a internet connection to be fully functional. Sometimes there are just so many words in my head they spill out.

6 Responses to Free Will is an Illusion

  1. Madhathead25 says:

    If we happen to accept the genenral idea that there is and isn’t free will, we set ourselves up for causality and demise. Religion seems to me, as a tool to chip away at individual personal self spiritual realization. Which as I believe, religion is another distraction for a more pure spiritual direction.

  2. thewordofme says:

    Hi Madhathead, thanks for writing.

    You write:
    “…I believe, religion is another distraction for a more pure spiritual direction.”

    And what spiritual direction would that be??

  3. I had no idea you were a fatalist.

    I think you conflating freedom with license.

  4. thewordofme says:

    Hi quickbeamoffangorn, thanks for writing.

    Heck, I don’t know what I am. There is so much confusing stuff “out there” A lot of stuff I provisionally accept…am waiting for additional information…some stuff I’m pretty sure is bogus, some is pretty concrete.

    I’ll go to my grave probably not knowing (or accepting) much more than I do now. 🙂

    I hope you are well.


  5. Madhathead25 says:

    I would think that a more spiritual direction would go beyond dualities, misdirections, and/or contradictions. It doesn’t mean we have all the answers to lifes mysteries, or that man is not fallible either. In my opinion, we would have to filter out multiple religions/sciences/life for the real purity/truth/love with a good balance of mental, emotional, physical and spiritual motivations.

  6. The LightWorker says:

    “If the Christian God knows exactly what will happen, right down to every choice one makes, the status of choices as free is called into question. If God had timelessly true knowledge about one’s choices, this would seem to constrain one’s freedom.”

    If it were as you say it is, you’d be right: It would be a constraint on one’s choices.

    But your understanding of what actually happens is too linear, and does not take into account the complexity of God, the complexity of consciousness, and the supreme Mind at work here.

    As an aspect of God, you’re choosing, and what you have chosen becomes your reality–hence “freewill.” You have freewill, because God has freewill.

    This discussion could become extremely complex, if one were to introduce one hypothetical after another.

    Here’s the bottom line: Your will for you is God’s will for you. Therefore, no contradiction.

    Because it seems we’re dealing with many souls, rather than One Soul, which looks, and feels like many souls, it appears that others can violate our free will and choices (for example, deprive us of life, against our will) but here’s the reality: On some level we have given our tacit approval, just as our hand gives its tacit approval, if we decide to take hatchet to it and remove it from the rest of us.

    There’s only one of us here: Not many, just one.

    Hence, nothing can be done against our will, because ultimately there’s only one will to consider, because the self is actually The Self.

    Consciousness is so vast, and so creative, that every wish and every desire is fulfilled, but not always on the level where it first originated: but goes forth into alternate universes, and probable realities, to find expression.

    Your sublime consciousness cannot be restricted to only one reality, but exists simultaneously in many realities. A part of you is aware of them all, but here in this world, on this plane, you pretend that you don’t, choosing instead to project your consciousness into your current reality–and all your many other selves, and probable selves, do the same, if they choose, depending on what they’re attempting to accomplish as they project consciousness into limitation.

    You’re not limited. You choose to be. You may change your mind about this at any time, and remember: but people rarely do, because they don’t believe that they can.

    Here’s something else to consider: All the possible choices are known by you, or rather by You. And those choices are infinite, but then so are you. Within that construct, outcomes, the results of choices, are always known, even if you choose not to know them so that you might advance a current purpose, or entertain a current reality that’s built around “ignorance.”

    It’s similar to a video game where the player’s choices may be several–and all choices are built into the game. The maker of the video game knows all the choices ahead of time, but you don’t, if you’re the player.

    Yet, you’re playing the game of life, and you’re playing as the game designer, where you know at all turns the potential outcomes, even if they’re infinite, and you’re feigning ignorance.

    The complexities here are mind-boggling, dazzling, and mind-numbing to the human, limit-induced self.

    From time to time, I catch glimpses of future selves, and the actions they have taken, and an occasional warning not to take certain paths, or make certain choice, because I won’t like the outcome I’ve created by virtue of my decision.

    You see, you make decisions, even before you know you’ve made them. You test them out so to speak.

    I also catch glimpses of other selves in other realms, living out similar, but disparate existences. If those selves have constructed their world differently, they may be aware of my crossing over into theirs, but to say “theirs” is a misnomer, because they belong to me, and I belong to them.

    We’re all one. There’s only one of us. And we can’t be circumscribed within a definition, a form, or any reality. We’re creating realities, and we are the realities we have created.

    We are gods! We fit all the definitions that that implies, and then some, and the “some” places us outside of time, space, or any other constraints.

    I’m everwhere all at once. I’m on every page of my eternal existence. There’s no place I’m not.

    Free will is not an “illusion,” when you remember this simple truth: Only one of us is deciding. Only one of us is choosing.

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