Over the past month or so I’ve written about freedom and free will. It has turned out to be a difficult subject to discuss. Here are the posts in the order I wrote them:
- Free will, culture and responsibility
There is a consistent stream in our culture that everything is determined by circumstance: genes, conditioning, wealth… But most aside from genes, all those are the product of people acting on each other. The free will debate can also be framed as a responsibility debate. Who is responsible? If there is no free will, does that mean there is no responsibility? Or the other way around: if we choose our destiny, does that mean we’re to blame if something goes wrong? Like an earthquake?
- How hard is it to discuss free will?
So: how conscious are we? And what is consciousness?
- The freedom of the experience of our lives
The ultimate freedom philosophers talk about, especially existential philosophers, is not so much the world, but our experience of the world.
- Free will: mind or emotion?
I’ve often said, in the past, ‘I want to want a regular job’. Rationally, financially, getting a job was absolutely the best thing. But emotionally I just wasn’t feeling it. And I knew from experience that the best way to convince someone to hire me, was to really want to be hired. So I didn’t even try, which of course was precisely in line with my emotional drives.
- Free will, karma and reincarnation
Karma rules our circumstances, our potential, our habits. Karma does not rule what we do with all that today. What we do today: thoughts, emotions, words and deeds creates new karma.