Friday, January 25, 2013

Wei Wu Wei - Freewill and Reality

Freewill and Reality

Our reactions are our own, and free; our actions are determined - their apparent freedom is illusory.

Owing to our conditioning we have the illusion that our actions are free, that is we are unable to avoid behaving as though we had freedom of choice in our behaviour. But we are not constrained to believe in this apparent liberty in the execution of our will. We observe that we can often do as we will, but we have no reason to suppose that we can influence that will. Presumably that will itself is subject to determination the mechanism of which we are unable to perceive.

Just as we are apt to believe that our actions are free, so we tend to suppose that our reactions are determined, since we feel unable to control them. At most we recognise a power of suppression, but that is not control.

Since the ego is the subject of these processes the ego is unfree. As long as we remain identified with the ego we remain unfree - purely mechanical beings reacting to stimuli, as Gurdjieff said. It follows that in so far as we become detached from the illusory ego to that degree we attain freedom to act as we will.

But such freedom is not the arbitrary exercise of caprice that the term suggests according to our normal manner of reasoning. The Jivan Mukta, the man of satori, he who has transcended his ego, does not act as a result of choice: he acts as he must, intuitively as we call it, without reasoning, in accordance with cosmic necessity, and his action is always correct (or adequate) action.

That alone is Freedom of will in terms of Reality.

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