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Does free will exist ?

choice-and-free-will


Does free will exist ? That is one ques­tion that involves many others. Starting with this one : who is asking this ques­tion ? If we refor­mu­late it in a per­so­nal way - « Do I have free will ? » the author is qui­ck­ly unmas­ked. It is the ego, the indi­vi­dual « I » that, evol­ving in sepa­ra­tion, wants to do what it wants. Is it only able to make a choice ?

                

Choice or free will ?

Should we talk about choice or free will ? Well, it all depends on what we want to talk about ! For my part, I make a dis­tinc­tion bet­ween the two, based on my expe­rience on the one hand and on the tea­chings of the Indian phi­lo­so­pher Jiddu Krishnamurti on the other. According to him :

                    

« Choice is the essence of the move­ment of thought. » [1]

                  

And who says « ego », « me », indi­vi­dual « I », says dyna­mics of men­tal, move­ment of thought… and, the­re­fore, choice.

Because it is part of the move­ment of the uni­verse, the move­ment of thought is based on pola­ri­ty. And choice flows from that pola­ri­ty. So it seems obvious that we have a choice. In fact, in the world of thought, we have only the embar­rass­ment of choice. Does that mean we have free will ? And if so, if free will exists, do we have the means to exer­cise it ? That is a com­ple­te­ly dif­ferent ques­tio­ning.

Let us begin with a simple defi­ni­tion : free will is the abi­li­ty of the will to make a choice free­ly, without exter­nal influence, without any other cause than itself. Such a concep­tion implies that free will is oppo­sed to deter­mi­nism.

                     

Determinism or free will ?

fractal-and-determinismThus, « « to deter­mine one­self to » or « to be deter­mi­ned by » illus­trates the issue of the anti­no­my of free will on the one hand, or « neces­si­ty » and des­ti­ny on the other. » [2].

But if we live in a frac­tal uni­verse where both the deter­mi­nis­tic and non-deterministic parts are legi­ti­mate and jus­ti­fied (see the article on frac­tals), if the cog­ni­tive state and the state of the world are inde­ter­mi­nate until they come into rela­tion­ship (see the article Is the uni­verse deter­mi­nis­tic ?), it fol­lows that deter­mi­nism is not conti­nuous­ly at work in the uni­verse.

Then this raises a new ques­tion : can free will right­ly be oppo­sed to deter­mi­nism ? Shouldn’t we rather consi­der that they are com­ple­men­ta­ry ? In this case, free will, if it exists, could be the tool allo­wing cog­ni­tion to deter­mine itself when it encoun­ters a situa­tion. This leads us to broa­den our awa­re­ness of deter­mi­nism, free will and their rela­tion­ship. And final­ly to think that depen­ding on the plane of conscious­ness consi­de­red, the ans­wer to the ques­tion « Do I have free will ? » will be dif­ferent.

                 

Free will and consciousness

Consciousness is absorbed by mental : I believe I have free will

mental-thoughts-and-choice

If I lived a life exclu­si­ve­ly cen­te­red on men­tal, my free will would be abso­lu­te­ly non-existent. My gene­ral pat­tern of thin­king would be deter­mi­nis­tic. At best I would consi­der eve­ry­thing that falls out­side this pat­tern to be ran­dom or irra­tio­nal, at worst I would sim­ply ignore it. I would react accor­ding to uncons­cious thought and emo­tio­nal pat­terns. I would in fact have no awa­re­ness of what drives me to think and act. Without awa­re­ness, I would be able to self-legitimize my belief that I have free will. Doesn’t the ego like to think that it is mas­ter of its own des­ti­ny ?

In the end, there would be a very big dif­fe­rence in appre­cia­tion bet­ween my belief and what is real­ly at stake. And such a dif­fe­rence should make me consi­der that as long as I can­not extract myself from this plane of conscious­ness, as long as I am at the mer­cy of my men­tal, I am mani­pu­lable. To the point of thin­king that I have free will.

                

Consciousness emerges and asks the question : do I have free will ?

The only way to come to the rea­li­za­tion that men­tal is not an end in itself… is pre­ci­se­ly that conscious­ness emerges. And rea­lizes that what it thought was free will was just an illu­sion. But on what condi­tion can conscious­ness emerge ? Based on my expe­rience, I would say that conscious­ness can only emerge spon­ta­neous­ly, that is, without the inter­ven­tion of the will. Although the will – because it depends on our level of belief, which increases with our unders­tan­ding of how the uni­verse works – can pre­pare the condi­tions for the emer­gence of conscious­ness.

Once conscious­ness emer­ged, a breach in the deter­mi­nis­tic men­tal pro­cess was crea­ted. A ray of conscious­ness appea­red… and with it a new ques­tio­ning : if free will does not exist on the men­tal plane, can it never­the­less exist on ano­ther level ? The gap crea­ted by the emer­gence of conscious­ness indeed leads to this ques­tio­ning. Because by emer­ging, conscious­ness becomes aware of itself. It becomes aware that the men­tal plane – which it can now observe – is for it only a sup­port of mani­fes­ta­tion. A limi­ted sup­port.

In this way, it becomes aware that extrac­ting one­self from the men­tal plane means no lon­ger being sub­ject to the deter­mi­nism that cha­rac­te­rizes it. Then it desire could be to extract itself more and more often from this plane. In other words, as an indi­vi­dual conscious­ness, I could choose to invite more conscious­ness into my life. Having thus the pos­si­bi­li­ty of freeing myself from the men­tal plane, I could think that I am exer­ci­sing my free will. However, this would be igno­ring the fact that eve­ry­thing evolves in inter­de­pen­dence

                     

I evolve in a universe where everything is connected : I don’t have free will

everything-is-connected

When my indi­vi­dual conscious­ness rea­lizes that all indi­vi­dual conscious­nesses depend on each other, a new ques­tion arises : If we live in a uni­verse where eve­ry­thing is connec­ted, if sepa­ra­tion is an illu­sion, what is the value of free will ? Is it not itself an illu­sion ? For how can the will be able to make a choice free­ly, without exter­nal influence, if it depends on eve­ry­thing ?

Living in a connec­ted uni­verse implies that the expe­rience of the uni­verse, at any given moment, passes through the expe­rience of each of its consti­tuent points of conscious­ness at all scales. Since we are part of this expe­rience, we are connec­ted to all other expe­riences in the uni­verse. Whether we are conscious of it or not.

It is impos­sible for us to extract our­selves from the expe­rience of the uni­verse and say « I have free will ». Because the condi­tions for the mani­fes­ta­tion of our so-called free will and the expe­rience of the uni­verse through eve­ry point of conscious­ness that consti­tutes it appear at eve­ry moment in depen­dence. From this point of view, free will is still an illu­sion since our deci­sions can in no way be lin­ked to our sole inten­tion.

                 

I accede to the presence : I am free will

presence-and-free-will

However, if from our indi­vi­dual point of view, free will is an illu­sion, it is dif­ferent from the point of view of conscious­ness itself. Indeed, whe­ther it emerges or not, it does not need the ego. It sim­ply appears, it mani­fests itself through us. This means that if we iden­ti­fy with this conscious­ness, this uni­ver­sal intel­li­gence – which we are ulti­ma­te­ly – then we can say that we have free will. However, we can only expe­rience it as a human being through mental-induced sepa­ra­tion.

Any concep­tion of free will out­side of pre­sence is an illu­sion. It is just the men­tal that in its uncons­cious­ness usurps free will. It will then be lived as a rea­li­ty and we will live our lives thin­king that we are making choices when we are not.

If we are aware of this whole pro­cess, we will unders­tand two things. Firstly, when we make a choice – even a conscious one – we can only live it through the men­tal : only men­tal can ulti­ma­te­ly for­mu­late it, thus giving the neces­sa­ry impe­tus for its mani­fes­ta­tion in human expe­rience. Secondly, when we make this choice, we can only pass through all the conscious and uncons­cious men­tal influences lin­ked to this choice by acces­sing our heart, the pre­sence, the point of immo­bi­li­ty, where all the move­ments of thought are sus­pen­ded. This is what hap­pe­ned to me, what allo­wed me to make a true choice for the conti­nua­tion of my evo­lu­tion (read My sto­ry to learn more).

                   

The point of view of the physicist Nassim Haramein

« Free will is only a local phe­no­me­non. Locally, you have your free will ; you can inter­pret things around you as you wish. But there are also scales lar­ger than yours that do the same thing. And you are influen­ced by these lar­ger scales of crea­tion. If you stray too far out of your way, those lar­ger scales will cause you to come back to it. For there is a sys­tem of « saving » the uni­verse. So that things can always move toward grea­ter cohe­rence, and to prevent one thing from sud­den­ly des­troying eve­ry­thing.

Let’s say you believe in rein­car­na­tion ; you shoot your­self in the foot, it hurts, you’ll die… wha­te­ver. You come back, you do it again… damn ! I did it again ! Okay. You come back. At some point, you rea­lize that shoo­ting your­self in the foot is not the best way to be hap­py. The uni­verse will always lead you to grea­ter cohe­rence.

And in fact we can even see it in our equa­tions. It doesn’t mat­ter that our phy­sics is get­ting fur­ther and fur­ther away from rea­li­ty, that we have to add an infi­nite num­ber of dimen­sions, in the end we cannot sepa­rate our­selves from the truth. For the truth is there. Even if we don’t unders­tand it. Even if it’s not com­plete in our equa­tions. The mecha­nism of the uni­verse always leads us towards more cohe­rence. » [3]

                     

So free will or not ?

It depends on your point of view. One thing is cer­tain, the uni­ver­sal connec­tion, just like immo­bi­li­ty, are not mere views of the mind or phi­lo­so­phi­cal concepts for Nassim Haramein. It is a phy­si­cal rea­li­ty. It is the dyna­mics of our uni­verse.

                  

                     


Key points
          

  • Consciousness is absor­bed by men­tal : I believe I have free will

  • Consciousness emerges and asks the ques­tion : do I have free will ?

  • I evolve in a uni­verse where eve­ry­thing is connec­ted : I don’t have free will

  • I accede to the pre­sence : I am free will

                   

                      

                     



Notes and references
    

[1] KRISHNAMURTI Jiddu, Les limites de la pen­sée, Paris : Le livre de poche, 2006, p.115, free trans­la­tion
[2] According to WIKIPEDIA
[3] HARAMEIN Nassim, quo­ted by Resonance Science Foundation

                  




 

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