“We gallop through our lives like circus performers balancing on two speeding side-by-side horses–one foot is on the horse called “fate,” the other o the horse called “free will.” And the question you have to ask every day is–which horse is which? Which horses do I need to stop worrying because it’s not under my control, and which do I need to steer with concentrated effort?” ~ Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love
What is your understanding of free will? Do you agree that you are solely responsible for your actions? Or do you believe in fate? You possess an unshakable faith in fate and you leave it all on destiny. Another possibility is that you may have found a middle ground; at times you feel liberated by free will and other times you rely on your fortunate stars.
“To say that I would have done otherwise had I wanted to is simply to say that I would have lived in a different universe had I been in a different universe.” ~ Sam Harris, Free Will.
We have witnessed ancient thinkers and philosophers trying to prove that we do have control over our decisions, that our actions depend on us, and that they are not pre-written by fate or by subjective gods. A lot of time has passed since then and if we compare the number of people in the world who believe in fate and destiny, it exceeds the number of people who believe in free will. And by free will, I don’t mean your free will to buy sour cream potato chips or bunk work.
You have free will to have a dream and turn into an action. You have the free will to think. If you are locked in a room, you have the free will to hope that someone will unlock the door. You are caged, but your free will keeps the sense of freedom intact in you. That’s how powerful, one’s free will is. Each one of us possess that freedom. It’s a personal choice to be honest.
To have integrity and be kind is a domain controlled by you. God doesn’t ask you to be vindictive, envious or malicious. Wars are not predestined. They happen because mankind chose war over peace. Criminals choose to commit a crime. If everything is destined, they shouldn’t be punished. There is nothing that cannot be solved by having mindful communication. But humans use their free will to fight and create conflicts and division in the name of God, and blame it on fate as the reason for their inaction.
“If there was no free will in men, then there are no sins. When sins happened, it was ‘free will’ that made them doable. This is true, unless God has predestined human to do and to have sins.” – Toba Beta
One of the major argument against free will is that “free will is an illusion.” Several neuroscientists have claimed that one’s free will might be influenced by past experiences and stored memory in the subconscious. It is true that human beings are conditioned by culture, family, past and several other external catalysts, but at the same time one is totally capable of thinking beyond these lines, and recondition our beliefs and thoughts.
So, how do we understand free will and use it to become a better individual? Redemption and peace is the true quest of the soul. We are here to explore and evolve, and not follow a set of rules created in favour of the ego. It is in your control to not get swayed by your surroundings.
Going further on this line of thought, and placing metaphysics in context, your free will is ultimately the energy you emit in terms of thoughts and actions. Hence, you are solely responsible for everything that happens to you. As you sow, so shall you reap. Use your free will to think and act. Use your free will to be morally competent. Use your free will to emerge as a free soul.
“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in us.” ~ William Shakespeare