A POLL on free will vs. need

edited January 2005 in The CenterTao Lounge
No, I don't believe I choose conciously to feel these things.
While free will is still something i'm clinging to in many instances, in these, I don't feel they apply.
What we feel when we like or dislike someone is instinct.
The concious part enters into the picture when we try to deny these feelings, change them to suit our curent needs or society's expectations-I have very good first impressions, good and bad, and only when I try to change these feelings conciously does the relationship turn sour. worse than it otherwise might have. Only when I try to overcome fear does it become more difficult to deal with the situation at all. Better to feel the fear, acknowledge it, and then you can deal with it more appropriately.


  • edited December 1969
    Necessity and Free Will

    Throughout life, we do what we personally feel most important. What we feel essential at any given moment determines our action (or inaction). In fact, the experience of necessity drives all life, from a plant growing toward the sun to drink photons, to a thirsty hiker drinking water. Life seeks what it needs to survive.

    How does the idea of free will play into this dynamic? First, note that important, essential, necessity, need, and thirst (i.e., feeling a need for water) are closely associated with each other. In fact, all but thirst are synonymous. As necessity drives life, the question becomes, do we freely choose what aspect of life we are going to feel essential? For example:

    * When you feel thirsty, are you consciously choosing to feel this need for water, or does the need awaken within you subconsciously?

    * When you feel fear and run away, are you consciously choosing to feel the fear and/or run away, or does the fear awaken within you and drive you to run away?

    * When you feel love for someone, are you consciously choosing to feel love for that person in particular, or does the feeling of love awaken within you and attract you to him/her. The same applies to the opposite, of course. Do you choose who you dislike, or do those feelings of repulsion to particular people awaken within you and repel you from them?

    Do you believe that you consciously choose to feel those feelings of need, fear and love above? If yes, then you truly believe in free will. However, if you suspect that these impulses awaken within you subconsciously, there is more to ponder. To be continued...(in two weeks)
  • edited December 1969
    Necessity and Free Will

    The meager response to this poll is more interesting than the poll itself, eh? Anyway, here is the conclusion. Consider the following scenarios:

    Scenario #1: Let's say thirst awakens within you and you want to drink. However, the only water available that day costs $1000, which is money you need to buy your family food. You need water... you need family food. Does free will and choice enter the picture now?

    You will probably choose family food over a day's supply of water. But, did you really choose the food over water? Or did the dominant need you felt pull you to 'choose' food over water? If the dominant need pulled you to 'choose', then wasn't it simply that, i.e., the strongest need you felt determined the action you took.

    Scenario #2: Let's say you fall in love with someone who lives abroad. You also love your native home and family. Which are you going to choose? Won't the dominant love pull you its way? If both loves are fairly equal you will be torn until one becomes dominant enough to force your action.

    Scenario #3: Let's say you love rich food. Eating it makes you feel so good at the time. You are also obese with high blood pressure and 'hunger' to eat less for health. You desire two things, rich food and health, which in your case are opposite. Which do you choose? Won't the more pressing 'hunger' pull you its direction. If you feel a greater need for health than for rich food you'll end up eating accordingly. The same scenario applies to 'couch potato' vs. 'fitness', as well as issues around TV, smoking, drugs, and ... you name it!

    The bottom line: It is either dominant need or free-will which decides action, or inaction. If we admit that dominant need directs life, we lose two benefits we get from believing in free-will. First, we lose self importance when we discover we're not in control. It is very humbling. Next, we lose the fundamental rationale behind judging others, e.g., "they made the wrong or evil choice". Losing these advantages is not worth facing up to our simple animal nature. In fact, the same dynamic continues to apply. The human need to feel in control (and superior to 'animals') dominates, and makes our belief in free-will irresistible. Indeed, feeling a lack of control can terrify us. So why would anyone ever let go of that belief? Peace. When we know we're not in control, we can relax knowing that control lies with 'nature', 'God' or you name it (or don't).
  • edited December 1969
    why would anyone ever let go of that belief? Peace. When we know we're not in control, we can relax knowing that control lies with 'nature', 'God' or you name it

    That is the program of Alcoholics Anonymous in a nutshell. "Step 3: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood him (sic)". The rest of the steps are meant to teach us how to actually "turn it over" which is the work of a lifetime, or more. It's all about surrendering to God/our Higher Power/The Way, becoming peaceful and serene and carrying the message to other suffering alcoholics.

    AA never questions whether we have free will just like it never asks why we are alcoholics. It doesn't matter. At the point we hit bottom, we have to surrender to live and so we do or end up in jails, institutions or the grave. The motivation (insanity or death) is very compelling.
  • edited December 1969
    for me, sometimes it is consciously subconscious ..

    for instance, I have friends I love dearly, I know it and it is a subconscious "effort" on my part to love them, but this love comes unbidden, but I know when I see them I'll consciously "love" them. ** looking confused ** strange ??

    I guess it is free will on my part because I know the emotion and embrace it, and thinking of them or seeing them I know will bring out the love.

    I think it may just be in my nature to love my friends, be loyal to them and be there for them.. almost to the exclusion of all else.

    peace out my friends,
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