Do we have free will or is our path already “written” and chosen for us? When we choose something, who is really doing the choosing? Read on to find some answers to those questions.
Free will: myth or reality?
Suppose you want a pet and you have free will to choose one. Typically, you start an elimination process:
- ‘I could have X but it eats too much and I don’t have that much money to buy the food, so I guess I just won’t “choose” it.’ Note: You could start earning more money but you don’t have free time for a second job, or so you rationalize to yourself.
- ‘I could have Y but it is too dirty and I don’t have the time to clean, so I won’t have it.’ Note: You can hire a cleaner but you would have to pay and you don’t earn enough money, so you are at a dead end here as well.
- ‘I could have Z, but I would have to travel to Antarctica to bring it home and I have no time, nor money to do that, so I won’t have Z either.’ Note: You could someone to make a trip to Antarctica, but you have a belief that you should never ask for help, so you simply don’t do that.
In the end, you “choose” Q – the only thing you can ever “choose” because it is the option that requires neither time, nor money, nor asking for help and thus fits perfectly your beliefs.
Did you exercise free will when you chose your pet? Of course not! Your choice was made by your conditioning and your perception of your own limitations. Anyone who knows you well enough could have predicted your “free will” choice.
But wait, it gets worse! If we live in a world of infinite potential, why did you not consider a wider variety of options to “choose” from? Why not include the possibility of having a robot as a pet? Or when you consider job offers, why don’t you think about moving to another country, or starting your own company, or setting up a risky investment plan which could allow you to live off passive income for the rest of your life? I am sure some of these options are quite appealing, right? You would have liked them, but… You can’t even see some of those options (although they definitely exist), let along take them into account when making your “free will” choice. Why? Because we all see the world from our limited perspective and our actions are determined by our limited beliefs. They have nothing to do with free will. They are pre-programmed choices. It takes breaking through our own limitations in order to even start thinking outside of the box. Only then can we start contemplating the possibility of exercising free will.
So how do we break through limitations? By becoming better observers. By turning within. By questioning our principles and beliefs. And by acknowledging and welcoming the existence of infinite possibilities. Learn to expect the unexpected and you will free yourself from the limitations of your expectations.