I sit now and listen to music, watching my body and mind run automatically.
What is about the self-referential nature of our beings that convinces us that we make choices in this complex universe? Why do we assign blame for things which we humans have no control?
Is a drug-addict baby responsible for its actions? If not, at what point does the child bear the responsibility?
Is it a continuum, and as it grows older it is more and more responsible for its actions?
Yet at what point do we accept a man is not to blame? Did he choose his genetics? Did he choose his parents, his schooling, the century in which he was born?
If not, can an objective label of “evil” really apply? Sure, there are evil things, but will we not accept that from some evil can come good?
It is wrong for a bear to protect her cubs from wolves? What if the wolves have pups that will otherwise starve?
Is it really right to place a limited frame on a situation in order to create a separation of good and evil?
I am not saying it is always useless to divide good from evil, such as philanthropists from murderers. What I am saying is that division comes from a simple mindset and sometimes more nuanced views can lead to greater happiness.
Another thing I am not saying is that murderers should be set free. I am instead saying that neither the jailer nor the prisoner can truly be responsible for their actions.
A jailer should stop a murderer if he feels it is right.
We should try to reform criminals. At the same time we must admit they are not to blame for their faults, no more than an earthquake is. The thief caused the action but the universe created the thief.
We should not hold grudges against them personally but should see them as forces of nature to protect and defend against.
Obviously this thinking is a hard pill to swallow. That does not mean that it is useless.
When we seem criminals as acts of nature, we are more compassionate. We can treat them with more love and kindness, and help them develop their lives so they can escape the terribleness they were born into.
So an interesting question is brought up: Does believing in natural will make you more dangerous, violent, evil? Does realizing your actions are caused by subconscious and quantum physical processes make people behave in socially destructive ways?
First off, an honest reader must admit that free will has no basis in reality.
Given that, we can then discuss the belief in natural will, rather than the fact of natural will.
But let us not presume that we have any choice in whether we embrace natural will or not. Things in the universe happen, either like a clock or a cloud, and we are simply along for the ride.
So does an understanding of natural will cause global chaos? Will it turn us into lazy bums? Do we have no passion or love if we are forces of nature? Are we more willing to hurt others if we feel our actions are out of our control?
I think the answer to all of these questions is “No”.
The reason is because belief in free will is not what causes us to love, or stops us from stealing TVs. It is actually precisely the opposite: Natural will presumes the reason for our love and curiosity and order and passion is because of the people we are and the situations we grew up in.
Natural will says those feelings of joy in creating and working and compassion come from the universe rather than from the individual. The universe is inspiring those feelings: You are not a self-emoting being.
If you feel destruction is wrong, does it make sense to say you decided destruction was wrong via free will? No, it was not your choice but one that helped people get along and so it spread.
So does natural will make people violent? No, it makes them less violent because they do not hold individual people as the doers of their bad actions.
Believers of free will hold individuals responsible for their actions and so perpetrate revenge and anger upon these recipients.
Do the criminals deserve it? Perhaps.
Do the free willists deserve to enact internal conflict within their own souls? Perhaps not.
Those that believe free will is beneficial need to examine the facts:
1) Free will holds baby drug-addicts as responsible for their actions.
2) Free will creates a desire for individual revenge.
3) Free will creates an artificial striving for the impossibility of control over life.
4) Free will encourages self-punishment and doubt when goals go unfulfilled.
5) Free will hampers the ability to enjoy the fluidity and humor of life.
These are real reasons to give up the specter of free will.
This belief in control over life is not freeing, it’s imprisoning.
An impossible life is led when trying to control the future. It’s so much more elegant to accept the curve balls of life with light-heartedness rather than the somberness of the illusion of choice.
You are not a slave to the universe, you are the universe!
Instead of seeing the universe as “out there” with you “in here”, natural will recognizes the scientific view that there is only one thing, and it is mysterious and awesome.
We are discovering more about it all the time, but every tool we unlock reveals new tools we can unlock. It’s a magical process.
Free will creates blame; natural will sees forces of nature. Why beat yourself up if you didn’t choose when or where to be born?
Natural will can be a cure for inner suffering, for doubt, for fear.
Realizing you don’t need to force yourself to follow the universe’s laws, you are free to enjoy the present rather than fretting over the future.
Some argue that the reason free will should exist is because control over one’s life and control over destiny is a good thing. Control and choice are seen as positives.
This seems a simplistic idea: If you are responsible for your decisions then every goal you fail to reach invites self-punishment.
I’m not really arguing control is nasty business, my main problem is belief in control when it doesn’t exist.
If you think you control your ability to complete a project, and then if falls through, you beat yourself up.
If you think you have control and you don’t, you end up hurting yourself when expectations aren’t met.
Are you responsible for the good things in your life? Not really, but you can still savor and enjoy them.
Learn to accept what the universe gives. To fight the universe is to fight yourself. What is the fun in that?
Control would be cool if it were real, but it’s even cooler to be on the front lines of your unpredictable life, watching and enjoying unexpected events, rather than struggling with chains of false control that you wrapped yourself in.
Free will is a lie that sucks the marrow out of life. It is a twisted notion that should perish as slavery and feudalism have. It is of no more use than the idea that a hole in head is helpful.
Natural will, in contrast, puts us back in the front of our lives. Rather than being trapped in our bodies, we can now see with our bodies, and enjoy the Now instead of pining for different sensations.
With natural will we can enjoy equanimity in the actions that befall us, seeing both the good and the bad in pain and anguish.
After all, “The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.”
It is not by becoming motiveless or detaching from desires which brings happiness (as the Bhagavad Gita, Tao Te Ching, and Zen Buddhism would say), but the recognition and acceptance that control over life is an impossible fantasy.
Rather than trying to fit in some artificial predefined box, however, natural will shows that we are free to “be like water” through life, collecting and sharing experiences and accepting that it is from fluidity that joy comes.
Joy and control, these words seem at odds, don’t they?
Joy is what we should be after, not control, and joy comes through acceptance, not expectations.
Belief that one can exercise control over life is a sickness, and the sickest do not admit they are sick.
It is by accepting that control does not exist that we are free to lead lives of true excitement and mystery.
When a person believes he can violate the order of the universe, he separates his self off into the corner and is afraid to reveal his true nature. Do you think this is how people should live?
No, natural will is a much more satisfying conclusion. It frees us from worrying about the future because we realize it’s not up to us. We are able to be ourselves, because we are not tied up inside our heads, wondering what others think of us.
And here’s another question: If one admits control is impossible, even limited control, does that make him less likely to fight and achieve his goals? Does giving up the illusion of free will reduce the good he will do for society?
First off, again the honest reader must admit the scientific evidence shows free will to be incompatible with the facts. Therefore regardless of a man’s desires to achieve something great with his life, such as curing aging or building smarter-than-human machine intelligences, he has absolutely no control over whether he will be successful.
It may not be pretty, but them’s the facts.
No matter how long someone went to school, how hard he works, how many business connections he makes, it is well and truly out of his hands.
Either we live in a deterministic predictable clockwork universe or an indeterministic unpredictable cloudlike universe. Either way, we are an output of the universe, not an input.
It’s all well and good to aim high and enjoy what you do. If setting goals makes you happier overall, do it. Just don’t think the conscious bit of your mind is achieving the goals. It simply isn’t so.
You are no more in control of achieving your desires than a leaf in the wind is of controlling where it lands.
While that may seem disheartening, actually it is quite freeing. When we admit our plans are artificial constructs, we free ourselves from the pain of failure to achieve them.
If we don’t achieve the goal, does it really matter, or was it a fantasy?
Should a falling leaf be upset when it hits one spot instead of another? If not the leaf, then why should we moan when we fail to meet some artificial definition of “success”?
Science already admits free will doesn’t exist, so why do we put ourselves through the struggle of believing it does?
To think you can disobey the universe is to think a dog or dolphin can disobey the universe. How is that sensible?
I hold that awareness and self-awareness is a continuum, and at no point is it possible to jump from natural will to free will.
We are apes, and we will have that legacy until we go extinct, if we ever do.
If gorillas and bonobos do not have true free will, then neither can we.
Yet again, when you compare free will and natural will side by side, it turns out free will is the real oppressor.
Free will imagines we are responsible for our lives, the good — and the bad. At least, this is the logical conclusion that the simplistic belief of free will runs to.
Free will sounds sexy: Who wouldn’t want control over life?, but the problem is that believing you have control when you really don’t creates self-blame.
When you realize the true fact that your will is natural, that you’re no more responsible for your actions than a leaf is for its, there is no sense in blaming yourself or others.
It might be great if it were true that the harder we worked the more successful we’d be, but the truth is your brain is not in control of nature, nature is in control of your brain.
This is freeing, because it means you can’t make a wrong choice, not truly.
Within some artificial prison of plans and goals and objectives you can choose incorrectly, but the leaf is going to fall where it will and crying over failed dreams only creates heartbreak.
So why do it? Why put yourself in this harmful box?
It is because of a desire for control? Well, a desire does not create a reality.
Is it because we want to hold others responsible for their actions? Well, they can be treated more humanely and compassionately even if it is accepted that they have no control and aggression is intolerable and a jailable offense.
Is it to stop people from being lazy? Well, even that has no basis because the very absence of free will means they can’t be prevented from learning natural will. They will be lazy or they will not be, and no one can control it.
Does the desire for free will come from a want for objective good and evil? Too bad such a thing is impossible, like deciding whether the mama bear protecting her cubs or the mama wolf feeding her pups is right or wrong. It’s simply not possible until assumptions are made, and those assumptions stem from natural will in the first place.
Is it because we can achieve anything we aspire to? It might be fun to believe it, but when a star exploding 10,000 light-years away affects the gravity of your neurons and sets off a chain reaction that causes you to not reach your aspirations, what is the point of claiming control over life?
Do we want to believe because we fear being a slave to reality? Well, just because our wills are natural does not mean pleasure and love and joy disappear. In fact, by accepting the automaticity of nature we free ourselves to enjoy the present more, instead of being yanked around by our conceptions of what the past and future should be.
Do we desire free will because we fear everyone will become criminals and steal TVs left and right? Well, that conception is silly because our feelings of morality come not by one vague notion of free will but from billions of years of evolution that encouraged intraspecies cooperation. Our ethics stems not from free will but from genetics and culture.
Do we love free will because destiny and fate are anathema to our individual tendencies? Well, natural will does not presume determinism and fate are true. A majority of quantum physicists believe quantum mechanics is indeterministic, probabilistic, and unpredictable. Instead of a clock, it’s a cloud.
Natural will notices that regardless of whether at the base this is a clockwork or cloudlike universe, both show free will is wrong.
Therefore fate is not necessary for natural will to be right.
We can live in an indeterministic universe where anything can happen and free will is still wrong.
These arguments for the need for free will seem not to hold water to the idea of natural will.