Here I am, pondering the universe in my chair, wondering what it means to accept natural will.
What is natural will, precisely? It is choices made due to the entirety of nature’s influences. It is the counterpart to free will, the idea that we can make choices outside of external influences. How could we have free will if our minds are byproducts of physical brains?
And yet the question is raised, does belief in natural will allow for detrimental behavior? Do we act less successfully if we understand control over life is entirely an illusion?
First off, honest people must admit that free will is scientifically invalid. Either we live in a deterministic universe where everything runs like clockwork, or we live in an indeterministic universe which operates probabilistically, where if the clock is turned back and run again, things might turn out differently. These are the only scientific options.
There are other options, like the idea of a soul that is disconnected from the physical world yet directs and influences it. The problem with this notion is in how the spiritual actually interacts with the physical.
If every aspect of sensation and mind can be understood physically, such as with brain imaging machines, then what use is the idea of a duality between mind and brain?
If you get hit in the head with a rock, your personality can change. This illustrates identity is a fallacy. The sensation of free will is wrong.
My conclusion is that it is actually harmful, as well. When we believe our souls are separate from the world around us, we invite failure into our lives.
Consider this, can a leaf falling from a tree, fail? Can a rock rolling down a hill, fail? In what sense can these things fail? They can only do so once we attach a fictitious story of how they “should” operate. Yet if the rock “should” have rolled a different way, why didn’t it?
Can a rock truly make a mistake? Surely not.
Once that is accepted, it is a simple step to build up in complexity to an insect, a fish, a bird.
Can a bird do something “wrong”? Only if we stuff it with imagined expectations.
Perhaps we say that if the bird doesn’t replicate, it has “failed”. Yet isn’t that simply a limited viewpoint? Perhaps it needed to die so that others could live.
Perhaps by dying events ripple out and many others of its species live on. So aren’t expectations of what “should be” only in the eye of the beholder?
When we realize the bird, the dolphin, and the dog can make no objective mistake, we are free to understand humans are the same way.
It’s not that the bird is necessarily perfect, it’s that it is incapable of being imperfect. The same holds true for humans.
Either destiny was already set or events are probabilities that we cannot control. Either way there is no way to do objective wrong.
It is always a story, a perception, and these are beholden to the very universe that generates them.
That is, thoughts about actions being evil arise in a universe where actions cannot be evil. Not only can’t you do wrong, but you can’t even contemplate doing wrong unless that’s how the universe rolls out.
So what sense does it make to worry? What sense does it make to try to force your life to fit in some artificial mold?
If your identity is created by a universe run on clocks or dice, in what sense can your identity exist separately from the universe?
If a rock can do no wrong, how can you?
Sufficiently abstract things can appear like magic, but we are piercing deeper into the mystery of consciousness every day.
To assume identity has a core is to forget that a rock to the head can change every aspect of perception. With free will being such a fragile idea as that, why believe in it?
Are you freed by free will? No, you enslave yourself when you buy into it. You allow the possibility of fault, of wrongness, even though you operate as a physical process just as a molecule does.
It is impossible to disobey the universe.
It is possible to think you can disobey the universe, but thinking emerges from the complexity of the universe, so even these thoughts are ultimately physical.
Where do we go when we accept natural will?
Well, the idea of a “self” vanishes. Only a self can err, and rocks and molecules do not have errors.
Everything happens for a reason but that reason may not be liked by the imagined “self”.
How does one let go of free will? By recognizing that every aspect of science has pointed to a naturalistic will.
From neuroscience and biology, to physics and sociology, everything points to human minds being created by the environment, and subject to it.
We are not separate, we cannot do wrong, and that is what is freeing. That is what gives confidence and fluidity to life.
Free will is like a mirage in a desert: you chase it and end up hurting yourself.
Free will is not only not true, it’s actually dangerous. It creates the possibility of suffering, of internal conflict. It introduces artificial separation into a universe that is one.
Why put yourself through this?
Do not think that our intelligence or wisdom is what gives us free will. No, complex systems are built from simple pieces, and unless we grant molecules and proteins free will, we have none.
Yet this is not a bad thing! Natural will means we do not have to force ourselves to do what our “identity” thinks we should.
By accepting the universe is in control and not our limited egos, we free ourselves from artificial expectations and can enjoy both the “good” and the “bad”.
The Bhagavad Gita, Tao Te Ching, and Zen Buddhism have missed a step! It does not start with equanimity to get contentment, but instead an acceptance of natural will which gives equanimity!
What a simpler path: instead of believing you can fail at renouncing desires or becoming motiveless, you realize it’s impossible to act against the universe. You are an output, not an input.
Why bind yourself to an unhelpful dichotomy of mind and matter? All that does is lead to suffering.
Scientists have a term for harmful beliefs: delusions. A delusion is a belief held so strongly that it negatively affects the well-being of the individual. Does this not sound like free will?
Belief in free will is like wrapping yourself in a blanket of disease. It is a harmful parasite on happiness.
Let go of free will, it’s not helping you.
Accept natural will, it will give you fluidity in life.