Is free will an illusion

Is free will an illusion

28 Dec 2019

Is free will an illusion? The argument of determinism vs free will is something that philosophers and mystics have pondered over for millennia. The case proposed by believers in determinism is essentially that of the law of cause and effect or karma - everything that happens has a prior cause and that cause leads to an effect which itself becomes the cause of future phenomena.

The problem with this idea is that it is embedded in time and thus requires an initial cause to get the ball rolling. Even if we wind things back to the 'moment' prior to the big bang, when time didn't exist, we are still lacking the impetus which brought about the expansion of the universe. If an initial cause, that appears as a perfectly spontaneous occurrence, can exist then some point in the past then why should it not be plausible that it might occur again in the present or future?

The Tantric tradition states that the Highest Reality, Pure Consciousness or 'God', to use a familiar term, is endowed with perfect freedom, called Svatantrya. It is this freedom which permits the perfectly full and complete Consciousness to willingly impose limitation on itself and manifest as you or I. However the Indian philosophical and mystical traditions also agree with the position that all action in the material world is subject to the law of cause and effect. They essentially seem to be playing both hands, in that at the highest level of perfect Consciousness there is true freedom, but as one 'descends' into the realm of manifestation, that freedom becomes more and more restricted. At the surface level of life all of us have the very clear sense that we make choices freely, yet we are unaware of all the motivations and influences that cause us to make the choices that we do, and thus determinist's argue that we have no free will. A

t what point and where is a choice made though? Is it made in brain's and indicated by neural activity? or are conscious decisions made in consciousness which is connected to yet independent of brain's ?

What do you think?