It’s something I’ve been thinking about for, well, probably at least 40 or 50 years now. Certainly, for the vast majority of my life I doubted it not one bit, that every decision to be made for me was mine to make. I mean, really, when it comes down to it, only if another physically overpowers a person and forces her to do something she doesn’t want to do is she not acting of free will. I know, there is mental over-powerment, women have been doing that to men forever, or maybe that’s physical, even if not physically violent, there is the threat of physical violence to self or others that might compel someone to not exercise free will, but then, no, because whatever one does or does not do is still her or his free will.
It’s a freaking fact. The Devil did not make me do it.
But questioning free will first really came to me back when I was, um, dating, a fundamentalist Christian, who told me he knew for sure that predestination was the Way of God’s World, that the story was already written, but that we also had free will which we had to exercise in exactly the right way to prevent from burning in the fiery pits of hell, and really the only free will one had to exercise was to believe that Jesus died on the cross for all the sins I’d commit, which seemed so over the top so unfair to me, I mean, predestined fuckupery, how sad (and unfair) is that, culminating in eternity shoveling sulfurous shit for Satan.
Some folks were just designed for SSSfS, in service to the Saved, I guess.
So it got pretty easy to reject that idea, too, but then I got to thinking about the potential for infinite dimensions of reality, maybe just mine, or everyone’s and certainly a reality (I’m so concrete sometimes) that is affected by every decision and action, always, and not just everyone, but everything, I mean, those Dinoflagellates are wrecking havoc in Florida right now, and while that might ultimately have a human driver, and I hope it’s not just the mangoes I ate as a kid or something, but proximately, those Dinoflagellates be reproducing like mad, exercising their free will and incidentally killing things, all kinds of things, so their actions and free will do definitely matter to other life in the sea, just like mine do.
There’s quite a lot of life in the sea, or at least there once was. These days, mama mammals carry their dead babies around for months, and their friends help, all of them mourning.
But if there are those infinite dimensions of reality, perhaps there is one in which the seas are clean, people aren’t polluting the waters and destroying soils, they’re not mowing forests as quickly as they can, clear cutting, killing things everywhere, so that they can have a lot of cheap plastic crap and air conditioning.
Think clear cutting and cheap plastic crap aren’t related? Think again. It’s all related.
And then I can get wandering off on this Solipsist path that says that maybe the bad choices I’ve made, personally, have produced this karmic shit show I find myself in, I mean, it doesn’t feel like I’ve done anything that super heinously evil, even if I’ve not been a saint, and certainly I find and feel all sorts of wondrous joy, so that doesn’t sound much like karmic hell, and it’s not only when I’ve been super “well behaved” or had the “right attitude” or any of that, so it gets pretty easy to reject that idea, no matter what the happy fairy rich new age people think, that all I have to do is adjust my attitude and I can manifest something else, and the World will be Wonderful.
No more murder or mayhem or environmental melt down, but hey, it’s all on me, and my free will.
No, I don’t like that one, either.
Here’s what I like: We all have free will. We are not domestic sheep waiting for dog or man to round us up and tell us what to do, or at least I’m not. The state of the world is the result of every action of every person and thing, always, whether rocks rolling down a hill after rain has fallen, or lava spewing up and spitting out in Hawaii, or bacteria infecting a wound or a people starting a war.
Synchronicity is something that has added another piece to the puzzle of life, for me. In some ways, I love it, so much, it tells me a story that is Big, and Wondrous, Magical even. It doesn’t answer the question of how to act, always, no, and it doesn’t promise me that it’s not all my fault, my karma, not at all, the physicists and their abstractions keep so many possibilities open, which really, is quite cool.
But what it has done, in the way it has manifest, the gift of its experience, all of it has shown me that there is so much more than me, something so, so, much bigger, and more wondrous, and magical, than even me (giggle) and humanity, and even the natural world as we know it, well, gosh. There is something that makes free will all the more important, that makes our actions, and choices, so important, for more than just me or you, but for everything. Not everyone, no, everything.
What I see of the human condition is a species denying itself free will. Women who think they need to pay more for the pink razor, because it's made just for them, or men who say my country, right or wrong, dear gods, I know they're not that stupid, I know it, a whole civilization that seems to think that the next new man made magic might save us all, let us consume infinitely on a finite planet. I see sheep, waiting for dog or man to tell them what to do, where to go, how to act, what to think, sometimes even what to feel. No thanks.
Thus Spake the Spirit of Dream.