People want to know if they have free will.
I mean, people reeeeeaaalllly want. to. know.
For millennia people have been asking, “Do I control my fate?” Since the ancient Greeks we’ve peppered spiritual leaders of every stripe with that question. Name any guru, thought leader or teacher; they’ve been asked over and over, “Do I have choice? Do I make my own destiny? Do I have free will?”
Naturally there have been a whooooole lot of answers in those thousands of years. Unfortunately for the askers, most of the answers have been “No.” And dang it, that’s just not what people want to hear.
But it seems there’s not much value in continuing to ask the same question for another 2 thousand years. So instead let's try asking something different for a change.
For instance, “WHAT cares” if there’s free will or not? What gets so upset at the idea that it might not be the boss of all it surveys?
Notice the question isn’t, “Who cares?” That assumes there is a person involved. And maybe one reason answers have been unsatisfying for all these centuries is because persons… “whos”… have agendas. And maybe this has nothing to do with “persons.”
So WHAT does care if there’s free will for humans?
Well, it’s not that body your hand might be pointing to right now, as it sits there spellbound by the Mind-Tickler’s usual brilliance. It’s not skin, blood, eyelashes, elbows, nostrils.
It’s not the heart or brain either. Take either out of its container and put it on a plate in front of you and you’ve got… meat on a plate. Meat couldn’t care less about free will. It won’t even recognize those words, or you for that matter.
So that’s not it.
Maybe it’s that sense of “Me?” But…. that’s just a sense, a feeling. A sense hasn’t got the capacity to care about free will.
So, nope again.
Hmm, could it be nothing actually cares if there's free will?
But okay, let's say there is something that cares and we just haven't figured out what that is. Then whatever it is... why? Why does it care so much that it ignores the answers handed down for 2 thousand years?
Why is it so all-fired important that a person has free will?
Of course it would seem obvious that people might fervently wish for control, for doer-ship, for choice. Humans love to think the power to make life and ourselves the way we want is in our own hands, and that there’s something we can do to fix things we don’t like.
Although, if that control did exist, wouldn’t we all be living the perfect-happiness-filled-just-as-we-want-it life? (You mean you don’t? Huh)
Well, never mind that. It sure still seems like we are responsible and make the choices. “I did this, my actions or lack of action made it happen. If it went bad I need to solve and correct it, and if I don’t then there will be terrible consequences as a result of my mishandling things."
"I'm in control" opens the door for, "Bad me, failure me, loser me, irresponsible me.”
Being in charge may not so much fun. Peaceful, it isn't.
Seems free will and choice may come with their delightful relatives responsibility, fault, failure, blame, shame and paralysis. Not to mention right wrong and should shouldn’t, in the same posse.
Sure bartender, gimme some more o’ that.
Could it be the, “Do I have free will?” question keeps arising because we’re actually desperately hoping the answer is... “No?”
Could it be that instead of wanting control, we’ve been secretly hoping to be free of that misery?
Lucky for us, maybe we’ve been off the hook all along. Because if we’re not in charge of existence, then what happens is not our fault. We’re in the passenger seat along for the ride, not in charge of what happens behind the wheel.
What a relief. What peace.
And then even if the mind runs to, “Well then we’ll run amok in the streets and no one will take responsibility and no one will be in charge and terrible things will happen,” we might notice that good things happen and have happened anyway. Terrible things happen and have happened anyway. With or without us in charge.
Existence is what it is. We’re never going to run that show.
Which means it’s irrelevant if we have free will, and irrelevant if we know it or not. It just doesn't matter.
Which also means there’s nothing to lose by trying on the possibility that things are out of our hands.
And since “I have no choice, no free will, no control,” brings relief and surrender...
Why not go where the peace is?
If we want choice so much, why not choose peace?
And then we might get to discover the view from the passenger side. Which just might have a pretty sweet will of its own.
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