"Can The “Limitations” Of FREE WILL Be Defeated?"

[Perhaps, we should start this essay, by reminding the reader of the real virtue of being, what we call “human”: the solution of our problems, by us1 – problems, that make all our lives difficult!

Yet, that seems to be the real problem behind what we call “free will”: that very thing that seems to actually cause all of our problems. So, let's now probe this seeming contradiction. Perhaps, even explain, why I call it: “seeming”!

So, let's see where this takes us... ]

When Eve gave the apple to Adam2, FREE WILL raised its ugly head, and resulted in the loss of “Paradise” for all, humanity! Thus, says the Bible – that book that has, ever since, broken the back of humanity, by giving it the ability “to choose” its fate (the virtue of free will); while, at the very same time, denouncing it, as the curse that destroyed all its dreams (Eve's temptation of Adam, and the resulting loss of Paradise)!

So, can we overcome that free will that really makes us what we are, yet, forever divides us; and, thus, seemingly, makes all our actions to aid ourselves (as a species) futile? Humanity has struggled with this question, off, and on, again, since its inception, without any definite answer; and, instead of answers, has only been brought to a complete standstill, in tackling the world's problems, by the introduction of religions, economies, political ideologies and parties. Even the supposed freedoms of Democracy and “free” enterprise have fallen to this division and futility that the problems of free will have caused!

Does the freedom of the will make the answer to humanity's problems unanswerable?

That is what I will try to answer, in this essay. So, where shall we start?

But, first, lets take a look at that attribute of humanity that makes free will such a thorny problem; yet, at the same time, may hold the true answer to its solution: rationality – the human's ability to reason.

The human ability to reason is what makes free will possible; yet, it can also handle the biggest problem of free will: the futility of not finding the very answers that humans need to solve their problems, and thus, bring them together, instead of dividing them!

We have delved into the divisions of humanity through past essays on this website3, but we have not really probed the important aspect of rationality in finding answers to what seems to be the real problem: free will!

So, here is the real question: how can something created to solve problems, actually be the biggest problem of all? Wait... am I saying that rationality is a problem? Well, yes and no... yes, because it gives rise to free will; and even furthers it, in many cases... no, because it is the only thing that we have to actually counter the divisions and futility, free will causes! But, wait a minute, that's like saying that something is, and is not, its opposite, at the same time – can that be?

Perhaps, now, you grasp the whole problem with free will – it is both a blessing, and a curse! Well, that's a lot of help, isn't it! Again... yes and no!

Think about what makes a human different from an animal. Is it not the ability to think – reason – about the world that that human lives in; is it not the ability to let that human expand that thinking into mutual actions, between itself and others of its species, through this same thinking process? Then, where does the trouble arise?

The trouble arises, in what I touched on, in another essay4judgment! We (humans) tend to see the world, only through our own eyes, not through the eyes of others. We are, forever, stuck in that world of our own minds – not, other people's minds! Ah, “so, there's the rub”, as Shakespeare would say! That “rub” is what we call “free will”!

All right, so we have clarified the problem side of rationality – so, what is its good side; or, perhaps, that side that allows us to right all the wrongs, it, itself, causes?

Rationality, or thinking, is the ability to find answers to the problems, the world confronts us with, by not taking actions within that world, but, by only thinking and determining possible actions, within our own minds. Thus, we can preview our course of action, as opposed to the animal kingdom's actions, which can only be, in immediate reaction to outside stimuli – almost like an automaton or programmed machine. So, we see here that the real benefit is that “choice”, shown in rationality, which is not shown in the lower creatures. But, wait a minute – now, wasn't it choice that caused all the problems, as the above problematical free will? Yes; but it is the context of that choice (within, or not, just, within our own minds) that causes problem or benefit here. The difference, here, is that we can also choose that context: as it relates merely to ourselves, or, also, to include others, outside ourselves. The latter, makes it a benefit, not a handicap, as the former does!

Unfortunately, there is even more involved: the self. “The self” is what prejudices rationality in favor of the organism doing the thinking – thus, we see where problems can arise, do to limiting our solutions to only certain groups (or just ourselves), instead of the ALL that, truly, makes up humanity, as a whole. So, we can see how religions and political ideologies can limit solutions, even very rational solutions, because they limit the scope that these solutions serve, through the partisanship (or, perhaps selfishness) of their originators. That is exactly how free will becomes harmful or limiting – as the very thing that the Bible condemns in Genesis.

So, enter religions, economics and political ideologies and their parties – and, out the door goes solutions that benefit ALL – the failure to fix everything that rationality should have actually been able to fix – in other words, the freedom of the will, killing all the benefits, it's freedom should have conferred!

So, what's the answer? That nebulous answer begins with that ALL, I mentioned above! But, please note, I call it nebulous, just as I called the contradiction of free will, itself: “seeming”; because both can be what we want them to be, by changing the “who” that profits, or suffers from their use. By allowing only ourselves, or our group, to profit, we end in the downside of free will; and, continue in the problems, we have always had, where nothing changes. But, in seeing that ALL benefit, we can create true solutions for ALL.

What this will entail, will be the seeing of the world as one – one world – populated by humans that seek true solutions that allow all to benefit, instead of just, the self. And, the additional insight, into the true nature of religions and political parties and ideologies, as not autonomous groups, but gatherings, reaching out to all, through the true guiding force of humanity: love! A love leading to universal solutions, instead of futile dead ends!

Futility is the result of today's grasp of free will. In order to make it the true solution, it was meant to be for humanity, humanity must take the next step in the evolutionary process: the enlargement of the self to include ALL, in the three areas, where the self precludes true solutions: the economy, religions and political ideology. Thus giving free will its unlimiting definition.

As I write, the world is growing ever smaller – in that it is starting to see one world, rather than many countries. And, as this becomes more of a reality, another enigma will also take hold, where the self begins to dissolve into ALL; as people see each other as fellows, instead of competitors. Fellows, seeing all fighting for the rights and freedoms of all; not just the personal rights and freedoms that “free will” confers to the self, but the rights and freedoms that humanity confers on itself, by seeing only one humanity made of ALL.

For that is the true enigma of our species: a species capable of going outside of itself! For that is also the true definition of human freedom, a freedom conferred by “free will”!

The glories and limitations of free will are the enigmas of humanity, itself: the only species capable of feeling for ALL, instead of just the individual, itself; and the only species that can choose, if it will use this "free will" as a blessing, or a curse!


To return to note's origin click the footnote number at left

1 Take note of the plural, I use here, instead of the singular. We will see more of the importance of this, below.

2 The Holy Bible: Genesis 1 – 11. This is Christianity's account of the downfall of Adam by the temptation of Eve.

3 As one example, see: “Playing One Side Against The Other, When Does It End?”.

4 See the essay: "Judge NOT... ".




Originally Published:

November 25, 2017


November 25, 2017