Free Will: the First Principle of Natural Law

“Liberty, according to my metaphysics, is an intellectual quality, an attribute that belongs not to fate nor chance. Neither possesses it, neither is capable of it. There is nothing moral or immoral in the idea of it. The definition of it is a self-determining power in an intellectual agent. It implies thought and choice and power; it can elect between objects, indifferent in point of morality, neither morally good nor morally evil.1

–John Adams, in a letter to John Taylor (15 April 1814)

This will be the first of a series of posts intended to work out the principles of Natural Law.  It will draw from the body of works and understandings of those who have come before me, but it is largely the result of my own effort to work out the principles that govern human behavior.  Unless I cite another source, I am asserting that all parts of the extended argument which will follow are my own.  If I happen to argue something that parallels or agrees with something from another source, I can assure you, it is only because that source and I were on the same path and, should there be such convergences (and I already know there are), it only serves to validate our common conclusion(s): that there does exist a Natural Law to human interaction in this universe; that it can be discovered through human reason; and that is establishes a universal moral code by which we ought to live.

Many people have started from the assumption that we own our life, but while I agree with this assumption, I disagree that it is the first principle of Natural Law.  As I look to history, study human nature and even the holy books of all the world’s major religions, I find there is a central theme running through every one of them: that man has free will.  There are those who would argue we cannot know this, but they are wrong.  We can know this because we each think.  This is part of the brilliance of Descartes’ simple phrase:

“I think, therefore I am.”

Not only does that phrase prove we exist, it proves we exist as individuals, and that we have free will.

No one forced Descartes to think those words; he did that of his own free will.  Nor did the random happenstance of this universe cause him to think those words.  While it may be fashionable in some intellectual circles to believe that everything that has or will ever happen was pre-ordained by the circumstances of the universe at the first moment it was born, logic dictates that this cannot possibly be the case of our reality.  If it were, then how could we ever imagine something that has no basis in any reality?  This is a difficult concept to understand, but it is one we must examine because it is the most common avenue of attack for those who seek to deny the existence of free will.

The logical point here is easy to state, but not so easy to comprehend.  If you are nothing but a collection of matter and you are hopelessly bound to do whatever the forces acting upon you from the first instant of time dictate you must do, then how can you imagine something that does not, has never and can never exist in this universe?  A perfect example would be the world of Harry Potter.  Magic does not exist in this world, yet, a human imagined something that does not and cannot exist.  Logically, this is impossible – unless you have free will.  It is a logical extension of another philosophical principle: that which is finite cannot imagine or understand the concept of infinite.  If you think about it, this is the primary difference between us and the animals: we know there is a past, present and future.  We can even understand that which is infinite.  The fact that you are reading and understanding these words is proof of this as the logic governing the English language is infinite.  It existed before this universe began and will exist even after this universe ends.  So, what all of this means is that we do – in fact – have free will and it can be demonstrated through reason.

There is another aspect of free will that will help bolster my argument.  The ability to create is a function of free will.  If we look at our example of harry Potter again, that story is not only a creation, but an example of free will.  If we were just matter doing what physics dictates, then there would be no way for us to imagine anything outside the actual existence of this universe.  The best we could do would be to re-arrange the things we see in our universe, but little more.  And though we might call this “creation,” a re-arranging is all it would actually be: putting that which already is together in different ways.  It would not actually be a “creation.”  But Harry Potter goes totally outside everything we know of this universe and the laws that govern it and truly creates a new world, a world that lives only in our imaginations.  That is an act of free will.  This then means that the idea we are just matter going through the motions dictated by the universe is a creation, which affirms the existence of free will.

There is one more aspect of human existence that speaks to the existence of free will.  Humans can not only discover and learn to understand the laws that govern this universe; we can harness them to serve our desires.  That not only demonstrates that we have the ability to understand the infinite, but that we have free will.  Desire, itself, is a manifestation of our will, as are the actions we take to satisfy that desire.  So, when you turn on your computer to read this post, you benefit from man’s ability to understand, harness and manipulate the principles governing electromagnetism (among other things).  At once, this demonstrates the ability to understand the infinite, to manipulate natural laws, to create and – ultimately – free will.  Everything about our existence speaks to the fact that we have free will.

Now for the most important aspect of free will.  It is free will.  That means you control what you think and believe.  While outside forces may influence you, ultimately, you are the only one who can control your thoughts and your beliefs – your heart.  You make or break yourself depending upon how strong you are.  If you would rather go along to get along, you can be easily controlled – but that was still your choice.  However, if you are strongly rooted in what you believe, you may resist attempts to control you unto death, and many have done just that.  And that – again – speaks to the existence of free will, for how could the universe dictate self-destruction?  It cannot.  That would take an act of free will by a being capable of acting outside of the universes laws of physics.  In other words, it would require a being with free will.

Finally, for those of faith who may be reading his, there is one more point I would make.  In most religions of which I am aware, the Creator grants us free will.  Now, do not misunderstand: I am not saying the Creator is not sovereign over all things, because He is.  If He were not, then He couldn’t be the Creator.  But even though He is sovereign, He has still granted us free will.   It has to be that free will is the one thing the Creator has given us over which He has chosen not to exercise complete control.  He can take our wealth, health, freedom – even our lives.  But He has chosen to allow us free will.   If this were not the case, we could not worship Him; we could not love Him; we couldn’t even reject Him or refuse to believe in Him because all of those things require free will.

Therefore, the first principle upon which all Natural Law must rest is that of free will.

Advertisements

49 responses to “Free Will: the First Principle of Natural Law

  1. Pingback: Natural vs. Civil Rights | THE ROAD TO CONCORD

  2. Pingback: Critiquing the Modern American Libertarian Movement | The Rio Norte Line

  3. Pingback: Violations of Natural Law in the Headlines: | THE ROAD TO CONCORD

  4. Pingback: Tyranny in the Headlines | The Rio Norte Line

  5. Pingback: Tyranny in the Headlines | The Oil in Your Lamp

  6. I need you to expand upon a point. Why would we, without free will, not be able to think of things beyond that in which exists?

    By that I mean, I could see a person who has dressed up like a dog. This causes me to then contemplate other hybrids of animals, that obviously do not exist. This could lead me down to a thought process where animals take on the characteristics of humanity in some make believe world.

    Due to experience, we mix and match things we understand to create new ideas.

    Harry potter wasn’t a new concept. It involves things like, horses with horns, both exist in reality that being horns and horses but not together.
    People with sticks, people exist as do sticks. People making things happen, we see that every day. The only new bit of information is combining all three bits of experience together to form a new idea. A person with a stick does stuff and forming an idea as to how that could happen.
    Due to your experience with each individual idea it has caused you to form a new idea.

    A function of our brain is to expand upon our own experience and combine ideas. This is what would would expect in a casually determined world. You see one thing, which leads you thinking about another thing, which that thought leads one to combining both thoughts into another thing.
    Did you CHOOSE to see that first thing that lead you to these new thoughts? No. Did you decide to have these thoughts? Again, No. You were influenced beyond your control.

    • Thanbks for asking.

      I would posit that everything you just explained as a “natural occurrence” independent of free will is actually an example of and characteristic of free will. Even the act of hypothesizing what you just proposed is — at the same time — both an act of free will and imagination. The ability to invent and create are a product of free will guided by imagination.

      Now, suppose we look at the beaver. It makes a dam. But this is not an act of imagination, it is instinct. We can use an even better example: a gorilla learning to use a stick or stone as a tool. Reasoning things out in this manner is close to what you were explaining. The gorilla is just putting associations together to solve a problem. But the gorilla never goes past the point of need. It does not use the stick or stone to create other tools that serve no immediate purpose, such as when a human makes a computer. Strictly speaking, the computer serves no purpose necessary to sustain life — yet we invented it. Nor does the gorilla create art, but we do. This is because the gorilla is confined within its FINITE nature, whereas humans are less confined because there is an aspect of our nature that is infinite.

      I’m not sure if this will satisfy your question, but it is how I would answer you off the top of my head. Hope it helps 🙂

      • I wrote this reply last, but please again let me stress this point.
        How does, something different between us an animals, point to free will.
        As I tried to explain, whether or not you have free will, this world would look IDENTICAL to what it does now. Your brain would still function exactly as it does.

        It is clear from animal studies, that animals do make choices. They pick between two things. They do not create because nothing in their environment has ever required them to do so, thus such things were not developed.
        Apes, have a wide range of emotion and are developed by as far as animals go. We have no idea as to what animals think or to what range they can think, we simply judge based on their actions.

        I think one of the most shocking studies to me was when they took a monkey and had its food source hooked up to shock other monkeys. The monkey after an attempt or two of taking the food, realized the other monkeys were harmed when he took food.
        So he stopped. The monkey would not take food. Obviously it was not allowed to starve to death, but apparently it would have.
        At least primates can show empathy, I will grant I do not know if animals have creativity as I am far from an expert on animal psychology.

        Again.
        Hey look animals can’t do this.
        Hey look humans can do this.
        Therefore free will.

        I don’t follow.

  7. Even your conclusion, that you would not be able to “worship Him; we could not love Him; we couldn’t even reject Him or refuse to believe in Him because all of those things require free will”
    You could indeed do all those actions without free will, fully thinking your have free will that motivates you to do them.

    • Someone,
      By definition, love and rejection involve choice. So your conclusion wouldn’t hold.

      • What I meant was that one, in a deterministic view, would do those acts and feel they had free will. All the while not having free will. The actual acts themselves would still be done.
        The saying “I don’t want a coke” and then not receiving one, would still take place. You would still make a choice, it would just be that you had no choice in your choosing.

        • Someone,

          That would explain actual observation — IF it weren’t for the fact that human actions can and are altruistic; they self-sacrifice for the sake of others who can do nothing for them in return. This would defy any Darwinistic explanation of per-determination. Also, science has yet to figure out how decisions are made, or to mechanically influence the decisions of experimental subjects. What’s more, these experiments have led science to believe there is actually a non-material aspect of humans that is connected to our decision making process. All of this points to free will. The very fact that you are opposing me points to free will.

  8. Let us take, Hermionie levitating a feather.
    Girls exist in reality.
    Sticks exist in reality.
    Language exists in reality.
    Feathers exist in reality.
    Things levitate in reality and the concept of levitation exists.
    That people do tricks that people attribute forces, exist.

    Combine all thoughts existent concepts together.
    You have a girl, speaking some words while holding a stick and having a feather looking like it is levitating/floating in a way that some may cause to believe is magic.
    You are simply combining or expanding on ideas, you are not creating new ones from nothing.

    Now. Try thinking of something that has no basis in reality.
    At all.
    That you literally can not describe.
    Think of a color that doesn’t exist in reality that has no basis in another colour. You can’t. You can only think in concepts that have some basis in the information that you have experienced and taken in.

    The very second that you can picture a color that doesn’t exist with a basis of other colours you know to exist, you will have proven freedom of thoughts beyond your experience.

    • Someone,

      I think you are missing the point, but I’ll play. The school of philosophy that posits reality does not exist — at least, not as we think it does — has imagined something that does not exist (at least as we understand it). Now, before you object, understand that my example holds. Only one model can be true: either reality exists as we think it does, or it does not. They cannot both be true at the same time, yet we can think of both possibilities at the same time. Therefore — by definition — I just provided you an example of imagining something that does not exist.

      Star Trek is another example. The things in it may exist, but that world does not. The same applies to Hog Warts. 🙂

    • Someone,

      I have thought about this a little more, and I think the problem is one of equivocation: you are getting potential confused with actuality.

      Let’s use the unicorn as an example. According to your argument (if I understand it correctly), the idea of the unicorn actually exists because horns and horses already exist. Therefore, the unicorn is nothing more than combining the two: horns and horse.

      HOWEVER, in reality, not only do unicorns NOT exist, the idea of a unicorn didn’t exist until the first person created it. What existed was the POTENTIAL to combine horns and horses into a mythical creature. But potential is not the same as actual existence. It is ability, not actuality.

      The aspect of free will that allows humans to create is how these potentials are realized. Animals lack this ability, at least in the abstract — such as the creation of unicorns.

      Hopefully you were able to follow me. Again, it may not answer your objections to your satisfaction. You’ll have to decide that for yourself.

  9. Are you under the interpretation that imagination is somehow existence?
    Star Trek, does exist.
    By that I mean the actors, the sets, the props. Everything in the show does indeed exist. Even the special effects exists on your t.v screen. Only your interpretation of the story is all within your mind. Nothing that you see or read is ever not in this reality, the idea is simply not a perfect reflection of what we normally consider reality. Star trek is created from already existent ideas and concepts that are formed together. Again I will say, your claim, is that we can “imagine something that has no basis in any reality”. Name one thing. Seriously, I am not asking for you to point to something that doesn’t exist, that is not your claim. You said NO BASIS in reality.

    Like…think of your keyboard.
    Now think of the idea of stretching.
    Now think of your keyboard stretched 100 metres long.
    You can do it because both concepts exist in reality even if a 100 metre keyboard does not.

    In a deterministic view, the mind will still function exactly as it is now. That being, it is capable of taking multiple instances of existent objects and combining them together. Or taking two concepts and forming them together.

    What I am asking is HOW does the mind’s ability to combined already existent things that have a basis in reality into pure ideas within the brain equate to free will? Such a thing would still exist, hell, MUST exist in a deterministic view of reality.

    Understand, your original claim is that the mind creates thing that has NO basis in reality. I am not saying the reality we perceive is necessarily true. I am saying “reality” as in the assumed objective reality outside of yourself.
    Whatever that “reality” is, is the only place from in which you can get information to build off into imagined things. You can never make PURELY new ideas that have no basis in reality.

    As a test. People often postulate that realities may exist totally unlike our own. Describe them.
    You simply can’t. The terms you think in are the terms and states of this reality, and by that I mean the reality you accept to exist.
    Like people sometimes say “places may exist where up is down and down is up” but down and up are terms of this reality, you simply reversed them. Again taking existent concepts and warping them as your mind can’t produce purely new ideas.

    Again, HOW does the developed functionality of the brain that would exist regardless of the existence of free will, point to the existence of free will?
    Just to reiterate. Your claim was that we can imagine things with NO basis in reality. None. Zip. I did not say unicorns exist, I said they have a basis in reality which is why we can conceive of them.

    Just so we are on the same page. A deterministic view of reality, would look exactly the same as a reality of free will. Identical.

    I am not saying free will might not exist, I am saying the things in which you feel POINT to free will, don’t.

    • Someone,

      I’m not sure you actually understand the logic here. You object saying I cannot describe a world that does not exist, so I posit the world of Star Trek. Not the actors, the world they portray. That world does not exist, yet we have imagined warp speed and transporters, disruptors, phasers and alien species. NONE of these things exist in reality, so they were imagined out of nothingness. This is a sound, valid and rational answer to your objection.

      Once again, you are trying to define the terms and conditions such that they can only meet your per-determined conclusion. This is fallacious reasoning. The very fact that you are having this discussion with me is an indication of free will, but you do not see this because you have already confined yourself to the narrow parameters you now insist I accept. I’m sorry, but I will not accept them because you are painting a false reality.

      I humbly and sincerely suggest you do some more research into this issue and, if you do, that you start by studying those who defend MY side of this debate. This is how I cam to be where I am: by studying YOUR side of the argument first. I rejected it because logic dictates too many problems for your side of this debate — problems for which your side has no satisfactory answers. 🙂

  10. The reason this is so heavily debated is that there can be no proof for either side.
    A purely deterministic reality and a reality with free will would look IDENTICAL. Pointing out the functionality of our brains has never convinced anyone that free will exists.

    • Someone,

      The pre-deterministic world you imagine has no support outside your imagination and desire. It is — itself — an indication of creation…and free will 😉

    • Someone,

      Another through for you. DO you realize that YOU don’t even believe you? The proof is in this exchange. If you actually believed what you are saying, you wouldn’t be saying it — because you would believe that what is going to be is going to be no matter what you do. Hence, you are wasting your time trying to even explain your position, let alone persuade others to it.

      Just sayin’ 😀

  11. Pingback: TRUTH: Morality is Eternal and Universal | The Oil in Your Lamp

  12. Pingback: Excuse Me While I CLimb Up On My Box | The Rio Norte Line

  13. Pingback: TRUTH: ‘Tradition’ is ESSENTIAL to the Preservation of Society | The Oil in Your Lamp

  14. Pingback: TEACHABLE MOMENTS: The ‘Public’ Square does not Negate Inalienable Rights | THE ROAD TO CONCORD

  15. Pingback: PRINCIPLES OF NATURAL LAW: Democracy Violates Natural Law, thus, Democracy is Immoral | THE ROAD TO CONCORD

  16. Pingback: FUNDAMENTALS OF NATURAL LAW: We have a Natural Right to Discriminate | THE ROAD TO CONCORD

  17. Pingback: FUNDAMENTALS OF NATURAL LAW: You CAN Legislate Morality | THE ROAD TO CONCORD

  18. Pingback: PRINCIPLES OF NATURAL LAW: What Form(s) Of Slavery Do You Support? | The Oil in Your Lamp

  19. Pingback: PRINCIPLES OF NATURAL LAW: What Form(s) Of Slavery Do You Support? | THE ROAD TO CONCORD

  20. Pingback: LESSONS IN LOGIC: Am I Evil? | The Oil in Your Lamp

  21. Pingback: PRINCIPLES OF NATURAL LAW: We Have A Duty To Each Other To Restrain Our Desires | THE ROAD TO CONCORD

  22. Pingback: LESSONS IN LOGIC: Islam, Freedom of Religion, and the American Ideal | The Oil in Your Lamp

  23. Joe – Apologies for posting this here, but I’m not sure how else to get it to you.

    There’s a concept that’s been bugging me for a few years now, a topic I’ve never seen addressed anywhere. I’d love to hear your thoughts on (as a new post) would be around “Natural Law for Parents.”

    As a parent myself, I struggle with parenting that doesn’t involve ‘controlling’, and the whole reward/punish mentality most exhibit seems a violation of rights. Adult-to-adult, it is so easy. I can do anything I want…all Rights…until I violate your Rights, then I’ve committed a wrong. With children, there’s a spectrum from helpless up to adult, and a whole lot of space in-between. I suspect it’s that Rights flow from Responsibility, and to the extent one exhibits Responsibility (ability to respond, in accordance with Moral/Natural Law, in support of Rights of others) and asserts their Rights, then I really have no place interfering.

    Raises a whole bunch of questions, for which I don’t (yet) have answers. Do children have rights? If so, when do they start? If so, what limits does it put on my parenting? When and how do those rights start? At birth? At age of reasoning? Once asserted?

    This gets to the much deeper root of where/when/how do rights arise?

    What I know is that the answer to parenting can’t be “Because I said so. I’m the parent.”

    Example. If a child doesn’t want to get up to go to school on time, what then? What if you insist? Now it’s your will versus theirs. If it was an adult, you would just have to walk away, and let them deal with the consequences. But I have yet to meet a parent who would let their kid do whatever they wanted (according to their will). Schedules, bedtimes, rules about clean rooms, and chores, etc. all bring out a power struggle of wills, one happening all over the world, and I doubt it is the children winning the majority of those. One person asserting their Will over another, is a pretty blatant violation of Free Will, and the rights of that other person, a clear violation of Natural Law. Yet somehow for parents everywhere it’s “just the way it is.” How can that be?

    There’s also a dimension of “leadership + principles” versus “control”. Sadly, most parents, therapists, authors I’ve talked to or read about parenting, all fall under some variation of controlling others (which seems a violation of Rights, all created Equal). I’ve actually heard professional therapists respond to “I don’t want to punish, I want other options” with “well, have you tried rewards?” – both of which are just flip sides of the control coin (punish/reward = control). Both are using pain or pleasure to control another. There is almost no information on leading children, using principles (God’s Laws that enable) vs. rules (man’s laws that disable), or any other Natural Law Parenting. I feel it is a huge gap in society and our understanding of Natural Law, and a basis of so much of the nonsense that leads to acceptance of tyranny later in life, because we are taught from the youngest ages that “might is right” – a prevalent societal attitude “I’m the parent (authority), do as I say…or else I’ll punish you.”

    Apologies for such a lengthy request, but I would love to hear your thoughts – publicly or privately on this one, as it’s a blind spot in my understanding and an area in need of a major breakthrough.

  24. Pingback: PRINCIPLES OF NATURAL LAW: There Is No Natural Right To Vote | THE ROAD TO CONCORD

  25. Pingback: LESSONS IN LOGIC: Calling Something ‘Hate Speech’ IS Hate Speech | The Oil in Your Lamp

  26. Pingback: LESSONS IN LOGIC: Calling Something ‘Hate Speech’ IS Hate Speech | THE ROAD TO CONCORD

  27. Pingback: PRINCIPLES OF NATURAL LAW: ANYONE Who Appeals To ‘Crisis Or Emergency’ As A Reason To Suspend Rights Is A Tyrant! | THE ROAD TO CONCORD

  28. Pingback: PRINCIPLES OF NATURAL LAW: ANYONE Who Appeals To ‘Crisis Or Emergency’ As A Reason To Suspend Rights Is A Tyrant! | The Oil in Your Lamp

  29. Pingback: BASIC PRECEPTS: ‘Principle’ Is Just Another Word For ‘Moral Law’ | THE ROAD TO CONCORD

  30. Pingback: PRINCIPLES OF NATURAL LAW: Deception is a Violation of Natural Law | THE ROAD TO CONCORD

  31. All of our behaviour can be traced to biological events about which we have no conscious knowledge. In the 1980s the neurophysiologist Benjamin Libet demonstrated that activity in the brain’s motor regions can be detected some 300 milliseconds before a person feels that he has decided to move. Another lab recently used functional magnetic resonance imaging data to show that some “conscious” decisions can be predicted up to ten seconds before they enter awareness (long before the preparatory motor activity detected by Libet). Clearly, findings of this kind are difficult to reconcile with the sense that one is the conscious source of one’s thoughts and actions. This is the posting I received from my “liberal” brother after posting your article. Not sure how to rebut this, even though I intuit that it does not preclude the existence of free will. What do you think?

    • The researchers who arrive at these conclusions are finding what they WANT to find — and they do so at the expense of a great deal of contradictory information. For example: Lee Strobel brilliantly summarized mountains of peer-reviewed research into ‘near death experiences’ in his book “The Case for a Creator.” What careful research found was that — in at least 10% of cases — medicine has NO answer for what the dead patients reported experiencing after they had been resuscitated. In one case, the patient who had died told of a shoe on the roof of the hospital. it was found, exactly as the patient had said it would be.

      How do such things relate to the claim that what we think of as free will is per-determined by random chemical events in our brains? Easy: the telling of the events, even the manner in which they are told and the words chosen is an act of will that — according to the same medicine that says will is just a chemical reaction — COULD NOT HAVE HAPPENED! After all, these people were dead! [NOTE: these cases controlled for medicines, oxygen deprivation, etc. In short, this is sound science here.]

      Then there is the matter of cause and effect. Assume that some chemical process does happen before a person becomes aware of there “decision.” How does one KNOW that the chemical process was not first initiated itself? If the will exists eternally, ouside of this material world, and the body is just an interface that allows the will to function within this universe, then it is just as easily explained that the will caused the chemical process that allowed the physical self to be aware of what the will wants.

      And one more thing. Think of how the notion of everything being the result of random chemical synapses affects the notion of ‘random.’ If I had you the pieces to a watch and tell you to put them in a bag and shake the bag until the watch ‘randomly’ assembles itself, will you even bother doing it? NO! Why? Because you know it will never happen. yet, the people who claim random chance accounts for what we conceive of as will are arguing that they just happened to arrive at their conclusions through random chance??? Then how can they know they are correct? Better yet, how could complex ideas such as logic be the result of random chance? They cannot.

      The end result is that you are dealing with people grasping at straws. They are trying to explain away the self-evident simply because they refuse to accept the implications of the opposite: that there IS a Creator and they are not Him!

    • BTW: there are many more arguments against the rejection of free will. I just offered the most obvious off the top of my head. Another good one is that there is absolutely no reason that our bodies should have thoughts at all. That force which animates us is a total mystery to science, yet, as with most things it doesn’t understand and cannot explain, science makes up an explanation and proceeds as if it is fact. In reality, it is just another form of religion based on faith. In this case, faith that man can know and explain (eventually control) everything simply by studying it. HA! History is very clear on this subject: man doesn’t know or understand anything! All we have learned is to be better at predicting a given probability of outcome — nothing more. 🙂

  32. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fecQUZ-ehKQ Thanks for the helpful response. This youtube addresses free will vs determinism, and the idea that there is no free will which is an illusion, like our ego. Leo uses self observation to prove no free will, like we cannot control our thoughts, can’t stop our thoughts, don’t now what sources our thoughts, etc. To become “enlightened” like a Zen Master, or Jesus, one must surrender idea of “self” and by surrendering to flow of life, actually transcend ego. Basically man is intricate part of the complex system of nature. Our thoughts are not an input into the system, but an output from the system. God or “the source”, or nothingness all the same thing, and we are not separate from it. By living in falsehood of ego, and thinking we control ourselves, we create our own hell. Our internal frustration comes from the fact that we believe we have control when we do not. I think his premise is wrong, that humans do have awareness above the intricate energy, matter, mechanics of the universe. Our ego is what separates us from animals and matter and other organic systems, yet we are also part of the whole.

    • mguag,

      I know you are correct. We are not part of some natural force like in Star Wars which only gives the appearance of free will. In fact, this is easy to prove.

      This universe is infinitely complex, and that is just the inanimate parts of the cosmos. Add the intricacies of life and the complexities of DNA on top of the way all things work together and you have a LITERAL impossibility that this universe is the result of chance and random happenings. IT IS IMPOSSIBLE!

      This means that those who make such arguments — like the one you mention in this video — are doing the same thing as those who say life on this planet came from aliens. They are just ‘kicking the can down the road,’ so to speak. If aliens created man, who created the aliens? More aliens? OK, then who created them? In falls into a reductio, which leads to absurdity and that means the alien explanation is false. A similar thing applies to the notion that the universe is the only free will. If that is the case, then the universe has to have a will guiding it, and then a will guiding that one until you are in a reductio again.

      What’s more, one cannot claim that the universe is God. We know that all things have a beginning, which means it is impossible for a thing to create itself. Thus, the universe cannot be its own creator.

      This whole argument about man not having free will is just an attempt to escape the natural implication of free will. If we have free will, then moral law DOES exist, and if a universal moral law exists, then there must be a law giver, and that is proof of God. Those who wish to free themselves from God will do anything to avoid him — even argue that they don’t have free will (which is an act of free will).

      But I’ll make the point even more obvious. If we do not have free will, then why do we bother making laws or putting people in jail. If we have no free will, then punishing people for doing something they had no choice in is evil. Isn’t it? So, how many of these people arguing we have no free will are willing to do away with laws? Or even simpler. If there is no free will, why do they bother making their arguments at all. No one has any choice in whether they agree or not, so making the case is an act of insanity — that is, IF you REALLY believe you don’t have free will.

      Do you see all the absurdities that come from claiming we do not have free will? Honestly, the people who believe that are either missing some crucial aspects of the issue, or they are trying to avoid responsibility for their own actions.

  33. I do see all the absurdities from claiming we do not have free will, and it hurts my brain to listen to this guy proclaim in very logical sequences how he can prove it. What is interesting is that he touches on the impact ” no free will” would have on the legal, education, political, security institutions, but pushes that to another discussion. He makes other videos on Actualized.org covering more thoroughly his views on “no free will”, and also showing ways to achieve “enlightenment”. Yes, the view of a wholistic universe, of which man is just part of the “flow of life” , he considers “enlightened”. To get to that “enlightened” state requires work like meditation. He mentions that Zen Masters and even Jesus achieved this enlightened state where they give up their illusion of “free will” or spirit, or ego, (or transcend ego) to a higher state of “oneness” with the universe. He says the ramifications are counter intuitive. As one gives up the illusion of self, one achieves peace. It requires self discipline and work, and time to surrender illusion of self. I think there is some cognitive dissonance here with partial truths. One can give up free will, as Jesus did, to God and the greater good of humanity, but it was his choice, not just giving up a demon of self illusion. ( He equates the illusion of self as separating from God and thus evil). What bothers me the most is that people who believe this, and there are many, believe that they are “enlightened”, but have actually created a tautological argument that cannot be penetrated by logic or faith. Thanks for your input and your website. I enjoy reading your articles very much.

  34. To Liberty2012
    I am intrigued by your question of God’s Law or Natural Law parenting, Leadership + principles vs control. Rewards and punishments can be a part of that system if they are applied as the natural consequences of an action. When a child breaks a neighbors window, with a baseball, it makes sense for him to clean up the mess and make retribution to that neighbor for the damages he caused. Requiring a child to take responsibility for his actions is part of God’s law. Rewards and punishments have to be applied in this manner, and sometimes parents fail to require children to accept the natural consequences of their actions, but impose consequences that are unrelated to the behavior. That is often easier for the parent, but does not teach the child the principle behind the natural consequences of an act. Hope this helps.

Your comments are wanted and welcome, but are moderated before posting

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s