Friday, November 23, 2018

Free will vs a will that is free

Stop thinking you have "free will." Free will is not a thing in itself. Rather, you have a will, and that will is to varying degrees free and to varying degrees enslaved. The better you are, the more your will is free. The worse you are, the more enslaved.

You are almost always choosing, and whenever you choose something, you choose what you think is good. Notice that I didn't say it was "the" good or the "highest" good. I just said that it was "good". Anytime you choose something, you choose it because you think in the moment that it is good. Your will is your drive, your longing for and reaching out for the good. That exists in you no matter what. It's one of the deepest, most foundational and constituent parts of you, and it's reaching out for the good all the time.

Of course, you're not always able to get the good your will is reaching out for. I might reach out for the good of making a basket from half-court, but unless I have the requisite skill, I'm not going to be able to accomplish what my will is longing for. Again, my will might be reaching out for the good of health, but if my knowledge and intellect is so deficient that I think a diet consisting entirely of Snickers bars and Peeps will keep me healthy, then I won't be able to accomplish that good, either.

So your will is always reaching out for the good, and a free will is one that exists in a whole self that is able to recognize the good and which has the strength and virtue to actually accomplish that good. If your intellect can't tell which door has the new car behind it and which has the ravenous grizzly, the will isn't free to choose the good of stylish transportation, no matter how choosy it gets or how unforced its choice. Furthermore, if you don't have the skills of playing the flute really well, your will isn't free to choose to play the Flight of the Bumblebee, no matter how badly it wants to or how much everyone informs it of the fact they really believe in it.

So don't scream and shout over your "free will." There's not much good in being "free to choose" when your choices are limited by your own ignorance and weakness to the Dollar Menu of Life.

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