Does free will exist ?
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. » 
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 ?
Thus, « « 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. » .
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
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
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
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. » 
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.
Notes and references