About free will. A conversation

Free will
December 12, 2011

Friend: Sounds like you believe that there is no free will. I get the whole determinist logic, if that’s where you’re coming from. I just don’t buy into it. I can allow my body/mind to run on autopilot, I can follow external inspiration (perhaps what you call God’s will) or I can consciously and deliberately direct what my body does, what thoughts I entertain and what feelings I harbor, and I can fall silent when I choose.

Reply: Is that so? Can you really allow your body to run on autopilot or is it a belief? Can you control your blood flow or the body’s functions? Can you make your nails grow or stop growing? Can you really entertain and control what thoughts arise? Can you simply think happy thoughts and no negative thoughts? Can you choose when to think and what to think? Can you really fall silent when you choose?
We might believe we are the personal controller. All your assumptions are based on the following central belief: Namely, the belief that I am a separate entity that is the personal controller of the world, body mind. The belief is that I, this personal controller can exercise its will to alter manifestations whichever way it wishes to.
In looking directly at the nature of experience, no such personal entity is found. Only belief and thought.
Thus, I do not hold that belief. Why hold such a belief in the absence of any evidence to this effect? Why not remain open to new possibilities?
Friend: You’ll tell me that “my” control is just an illusion and again, I can see that as a legitimate theory, if there’s a presumption of no will. But were I to adopt that as a working philosophy, I would surrender to the tides du jour and become the destructive self centered fuck that I try to encourage others not to be. And I wouldn’t care, because nothing would matter to me. But that would be contrary to my nature/inclinations. So I act as though things do matter and choose as if I have free will. I embrace my individuality while remaining open to, and acting from, a grander sense of existence. No problem. No contradiction.
Reply: Seeing that there is no separate controller does not imply irresponsible and careless behavior. Why do you assume so? Quite the contrary, it is the belief that I am a separate consciousness, it is the belief that I am a separate entity that leads to a disconnect and to aggressive, defensive and destructive behavior. Is it not the separate me and you that is the cause of conflict?

We are not talking about adopting a new belief or no-controller philosophy.
We are simply facing the fact about the absence of evidence that consciousness is separate. We are contemplating the absence of evidence for a separate personal controller. It is important not to replace the old belief in a personal controller with a new no-controller belief. Instead, we remain open to what unfolds. We remain open to whatever revelation follows, without engaging the mind into manufacturing a conclusion.

Friend: It is difficult to dialog with you, because, like a politician in an interview, you only field those questions/topics that you can easily steer to your prescribed talking points. Anything that may cause you to trip up or cast doubt on your platform is ignored or dismissed. I feel no pressure to make you see differently or challenge your own beliefs; of which, your refusal to admit that you have, is a prime example of your twisting reality to agree with your story. Being powered by the sun is not the same as being the sun. You’re not God, at least, no more so than the squirrels in my garden. You hold a posture of being all knowing, which is self limiting, and makes it pointless to converse with you. Unless I just want to hear your one and only teaching over and over again.

Reply: Exploration is not about defending any position. There is a marked difference between believing something and speaking from one’s experience. My argument is that, according to my experience, I cannot find a separate chooser of thoughts, I cannot find a separate chooser of beliefs nor can I find a separate doer or controller.

Believing in a separate entity does not create one. Like believing in pink flying elephants does not create pink flying elephants. As long as the belief in a separate self is not eradicated, I-thoughts will continue to arise and you will continue to perceive a separate self and a separate other and the unhappy experience of separation continues.
On another hand, I use the term God in a different way than you do. I use the term God to refer to universal consciousness, the undivided Self. The wholeness of awareness, the reality of aware presence, that is our true nature. It does not matter what you call it: Atman, Allah, God, Absolute, True Nature, etc.

Finally, because I speak with certainty concerning the lack of evidence of separate consciousness, you feel threatened and you project a person that you can throw stone at, as a way to distract yourself from looking directly and feeling the discomfort of your own uncertainty. Therefor you project someone who is holding an ‘all knowing’ posture that you can criticize and feel righteous. These escapist strategies do not work and do not alleviate the unhappiness that is felt.

To say: ‘There is no evidence that there are flying pink elephants’, to say ‘there is no evidence that supports the belief in a separate controller’, does not make one an All knowing wizard.

I am not claiming to be one and there is nothing to defend.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *