Thanks Katinka, for initiating this important discussion.
The entire philosophy of one of the most imortant branches of hinduism, the Kashmir Shaivism is built around this freedom or Swachchanda will of Shiva. Since Shiva has free will, and Shiva being no different from us, we all should have free will, provided of course, we are able to remove the five veils of ignorance. All the important works of this system, The Tantralok of Abhinav Gupta, The Shiv Sutras, The Spanda Karikas, mention this. There is even Swachchanda Tantra.
Other thought systems, stress on the causality, i.e. the law of cause and effect, diminishing the role of free will to a large extent. At least one renowned soviet scientist conducted experiments and established that causality is only a matter of where one is situated in TIME. Depending upon one's location in TIME, an event may appear as either cause or effect. His Causal Mechanics theory has not been disproved so far, being backed by hard research data and mathematics. Theosophists with strong inclination on reincarnation and Karma may like to ignore this.
Current scientific investigation on consciousness point towards existence of an information system in the universe which can interact with our brain and is perhaps capable of influencing our thoughts. Quantum Physics, many may argue, supports free will, for the particles at least if not humans if one considers them different.
It is all very confusing for people like us. Yet, equally exciting. I will certainly be looking forward to an intense discussion on this topic.
Hi Katina and All!
To me: Free Will means for one to accept one's duties humbly, (make the very best of every situation) or to go kicking and screaming (complain and have a bad attitude).
I could elaborate upon your question to give you yet another one of my "opinions" (at this time).
I have found listening to others opinions to be extremely precious; each individual human experience is “every” human's experience: Either one can sympathize with another's experience, and humbly accept that one day they also will feel that same experience first-hand. Or, one can judge their fellow brother, thus creating differences which creates separateness.
It is not from a book, although my opinion exists on my perceived intuition, which is based upon my intellectual knowledge of scholarly philosophic research plus my own environmental experience; the most important factor that influences my opinion (at this time) is my higher soul (which is aware soul experience determines Karma (impersonal and just).
Karma might be responsible for ones perception of reality. Acting on ones lower nature, one might drift along in their own “current vibrations” of the cosmos; acting on ones higher nature can elevate ones vibrations and unchain them to fly higher—freewill.
If it were not for Karma, would we be here (.)
Freedom might be the ability to rise above ones lower animal impulses to vibrate on the level of ones higher self.
The whole idea of karma can be examine in terms of information theory and in light of what we are beginning to understand the whole subject may be turned on its head. In a universe where things are assumed to occur sequentially, karma translates into patterns of cause and effect.
However, if we look at the view given in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, a view, much more in sync with quantum physics emerges in which past, present and future are all accessible. It such is the case, then karma may be viewed as a binder of states and a measure of the attraction generated by one state towards and from another. Psychologically it presents a challenge as it assigns the role of organizer to consciousness, both individual and 'universal'. Karma becomes something of a glue, acting as a binder of states.
@Joe: this is exactly what I like to see more on this forum! Connect to modern insights.
@ Katinka: the "subconscious" is a most abused term. Various writers have used it in various ways. Some see it as an inferior aspect, some include super-conscious states in it. My take on it is that there is a whole gamma of states of consciousness that we, as personalities, are not aware of. One must be able to perceive alternative options or possibilities in order to have a choice. Working with the subconscious? We do it all the time when we give a suggestion to the animal or subconscious part in us. Reversely, the subconscious works within us without us being aware of it. The Kahunas from Hawaii have a lot to say about this all, in the Huna religion/philosophy. They seemed to know how to direct the subconscious and let it communicate to the higher manas ("superconsciousness").
Very well stated. ...remember, as Karma allows, one gleans interpretations resembling picture puzzles etc. How one defines the picture "at the time" is key.
Right thinking and right action lie within these variables [were one perceives the picture from the Book of Life--correctly--or perceives with yet veils which remain. These might be peeled away and let to fall, thus revealing the real thought "within"].
"Yes, one aspect here is certainly, as most of you have hinted, that just because the body is in a certain circumstances, that doesn't mean the spirit is limited in how it responds."
My thoughts also.
I'd go one step further and say that karma isn't merely the past. Our response to our circumstances today is also karma, and there is freedom in that response. Not just in the optimism vs grouchy response, but also in the option to create something new, break a pattern. Like, an alcoholic has the choice to stop drinking. Because of past karma, aka having drunk too much for years, it's going to be hard. But there still is that choice.This subject is heavily debated in my psychology circle; I am not certain all people with an alcohol addiction are meant to overcome their behavior, least one might escape their Karma chosen for this life.One other issue I'd like to go into here is the issue of the subconscious. Is freedom about being fully conscious, or is it about being able to work with the subconscious? Perhaps even in harnessing the subconscious?This raises the question of pure divine magic. One cannot progress in a safe way without purifying ones self. Once opening doors, which at the time seem attractive, one might find the fall hard with no explanation other than the base of all--intent--pure or selfish. One with selfish intent surly will be mislead down the Primrose Path only to find one might experience hurt and confusion thus despairingly search for peace. A circle of learning one's self...Interesting: Karma and intentThanks Katinka for a great conversation and deep thoughts!tilnextme
I wish I felt that way. I get stuck on this thought: Before we are born we see our life pass before us and see that it is just.
Please, convince me, as only you can do!
The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna (pg. 379-8):
"it is God alone who has planted in man's mind what the 'Englishman' (footnote: Sri Ramakrishna used this word to denote Europeans in general, and also those whose ways and thoughts were largely influenced by Western ideas.) calls free will. People who have not realized God would be engaged in more and more sinful actions if God had not planted in them the notion of free will. Sin would have increased if God had not made the sinner feel that he alone was responsible for his sins.
"Those who have realized God are aware that free will is a mere appearance. In reality man is the machine and God is the Operator, man is the carriage and God its Driver."