Concerning the question of Free will, Destiny, Frustrated Hope and our inherent Divinity
On 22nd May 2007 Shazia Kanwal Naz from unknown location wrote:
I found most of the stuff on your site interesting as for a long time the question of whether we are puppets of our fortunes or have our individual free will has been lingering on in my mind. The idea that we have free will and can create our destiny is the greatest of all things i have known. But the facts go against it. Why do simple things we want not happen our way? How can, then, we claim Godliness?
The question relating to free will comes up a lot in the public talks and increasingly through the website. The answer to it depends on context or domain of consideration. Like the idea of the World being round or spherical. Of course this is the case but at the same time an architect doesn't need to take into account of the curvature of the planet when he is designing a building, in this context for all intents and purposes the World is flat. However an airline pilot does need to take into account the bigger picture that the World is round.
And so it is with the question of free will. In the personal, moral and legal context then of course we have free will and should be considered as self determining entities who are accountable for our actions. In the real world that we inhabit responsibilities need to be allocated and blame appropriately apportioned. So it is necessarily the case that we should consider ourselves free agents possessing free will. In a court of law proceedings would be futile exercise if every time a person is found guilty, the appeal that 'Society made me do it', 'My genes made me do it', 'The Universe made me do it' or 'God made me do it', is allowed to be a mitigating factor.
While at the same time we are heavily influenced by culture, society and the circumstances in which we find ourselves. And psychologist tell us that indeed our behaviour is heavily determined by genetic influences. Also physicists say that through the phenomenon of Quantum Entanglement, somehow every particle in the Universe is mysteriously inter-connected with every other particle. In this way the motion of all matter in the Cosmos is a single inseperable coordinated dynamic to which everything is bound, including the seemingly free agents called human beings. Finally if you take Religion seriously then passages in the Bible, Koran and Bhagavad Gita all support the view of predestination, that our fates have already been divinely predetermined. So the view from Religion and Science is that indeed we are as puppets but I'll add that the mystical view of things is that we are the puppet but at the same time also the puppeteer. And also that it is this mystical view of the Universe towards which science will inevitably converge. When Quantum physicists talk about the Universe as an inseparable oneness then they are really touching upon timeless mystical or spiritual truths.
The philosophical problem of free will really derives from the problem that we don't know who we really are and the solution to the problem of free will emerges when we understand that our true identity is God. In the so called state of duality then we see a reality of separation and separatedness. We come to consider things as seperate and possessing seperate agency i.e. free will. As we deepen our understanding of the Universe then we discover chains of determinancy and webs of inter-dependency. And as discussed earlier we know find that the Universe is a single inter-connected oneness. This is preparing humanity for the acceptance of the idea of non-duality or that Everyone is God. So rather than considering ourselves as separate entities contained in material bodies looking out upon a vast impersonal physical Universe, we instead see ourselves as God living through the transient human form reflecting upon itself that is the Universe that is God. So as humans we do not move, it is the Universe that moves and we are not the doers it is God that is doing. Recognizing this truth and living it is the real meaning behind expressions such as, 'To flow with the Tao', 'Peace thru submission to Allah' and 'Being one with the Force'.
As an individual we do not know our destiny and we are without perfect knowledge. In this state we act and form our judgements. And as individuals we have fears and desires peculiar to our particular identities and circumstances. In a competitive and imperfect world we will in the course of our lives face frustration, dissappointment, regret and pain. In ideal circumstances this may be made up for by our successes, personal victories and times of happiness. This is the human condition and a state of imperfection that would seem far from anything divine. But of course if we always identify our self with our transient bodies and transient surroundings then we will always be bound to our rational and irrational fears and desires. It is only through identifying with our true self, i.e. God, that we can ever hope to start to transcend the realm of suffering and transience. This has always been the purpose of Religion, to give people some sort of connection with the eternal and divine. The ultimate purpose of religion is to realize the truth at the esoteric heart of all the Worlds Great Faiths, that is the God within, Christ within, Krishna within, Allah closer to you than your jugular vein etc. etc. which is the state of union with God.
You say that because sometimes simple don't happen the way that we want, therefore we can't claim godliness. Well you have to ask yourself who is it doing the wanting. It is the selfish limited view of who you are, i.e. this physical body, this physical body that is wanting this or wanting that is getting frustrated and dissappointed. When a person starts to identify with the divinity within, then a persons purpose and desires are re-oriented towards the divine purpose. Through a slow and steady process of spiritual awakening and awareness, that person starts to see the order and perfection behind the disarray and seeming randomness in the Universe. The more a persons will and purpose is aligned with the Cosmic purpose the greater the persons connection with God, up to the ultimate point where God realization is achieved. This doesn't happen very often, but when it does all the tragedy, suffering and frustration of the human condition becomes justified. Good and evil are atoned and it is directly realized, not merely conjectured or argued, that it was God that was bearing all the pain and ills of life all along. It is God that is the knower of your thoughts, the bearer of your angst, the ground of your being and the your inner most true identity.
The main spiritual problem today is not only that people don't know the way to God, it is really that the masses don't even know the journey exists. In a World where Materialistic philosophy and the reductionist outlook reign supreme then there will necessarily be much confusion concerning the nature of self, the nature of consciousness and the problem of free will.
I could go on, will stop for now, but will write a more comprehensive article for the website and upcoming book in the not too distant future.
p.s. I'd like to post my reply on my website. With your permission may I use your name. Also if I may ask where are you writing from and how did you come across the website.