For those who wonder what free will be, I say right away: no relation with dieting. Free will is the fundamental freedom to decide for oneself and by oneself. Everyone believes in it. Democracies too, at least they pretend. And even dictators, who believe only in their own. But does it really exist? Including for dictators?
Free will comes from ignorance of the real causes that make us act. (Democritus)
Christianity says that God gave us life, but also the right to decide, instead of blindly following divine orders like angels, for example. This is how sin appeared in the human race: sin is the fault of those who do not follow the divine law given by God to Moses at the summit of Mount Sinai. This law is called the Decalogue or the Ten Commandments. Yahweh God magicallyor by laser beam? etched it on two slabs of stone that Moses had very opportunely carried on his back in the climbing, just in case.
So sorry, I had to add it for the Bible keeps silent.
In short, beyond the pretty stories repeated, there is this question that arises to all of us, Christians or not: who decides in me? Am I remotely piloted, like a drone? Or am I the only master on board my body? The clever ones -or the small sailors- will answer in chorus: you are the only master on board after God, since this is the consecrated formula of the Navy. What does not suit us… Who is this God to whom I seem to belong?
Whatever their belief, all believers will tell you: God is the voice that speaks in me. Wow! If that’s it, take care! There are thousands of entities that can imitate this voice. If there is only one original voice, given the number of gods in the heavens, and the number of eons they are there.
The machine man
Free will works the same: it is individual freedom. Ya … Let’s see what philosophers think, because freedom is also their thing. “Illum liberum esse dixi qui sola ducitur ratione” claims the philosopher Spinoza.Ethique IV – see also the whole book De Libertate of the same author In French, it gives: “The free man is the one who lives according to the only advice of reason.” Gee! I already disagree. Reason! Lawd ‘ave mercy!
Why reason please? Reason has no reason to reason in my place. Spinoza clearly appears to be Descartes follower: fellow Descartes has been the theoristI first wrote terrorist of the machine man. Who uses only logical reason, if not the computer? Man is not bot. He has more than reason and logics to drive himself. He has intuition. Senses, feeling, emotion. Subtle perception. Etc.
Other times, other customs. Formerly many other motivations made our ancestors act. In more precarious and dangerous living conditions, reason is the surest way to die young. Think before act, will I be objected to. Do we have time to think when a wild animal leaps?
But you will say to me, if you do not follow your reason, you sink into madness, it is not better. Madness, no; but controlled madness … Are we freer when we’re crazy? No, because society locks us in a straitjacket, chemical or by force. Good enough. Reason is a prison like any other if you let it be your only guide. So? Is freedom an invention of our jailers, who only enjoy it when we work for them? Or should I just be free in my heart of hearts?
John Stuart Mill makes a useful point: “A person feels morally free when he sees that his habits and temptations do not dominate him, but that he dominates them.” source)J.Stuart Mill, Logics, IV Spinoza says the same. To follow the only advice of reason is to dominate one’s passions. I must disagree. Reason has nothing to do with it. To dominate his passions, the human being will use his will, whose seat is not the brain and its logic, but the belly and its power.
The will too allows him to dominate the cold logical reason, which the old Kant revels in. Thanks to the will, we find a little freedom. We give slack to our chain … In any case, it is always better than trusting in the goodness of God! You have already seen that goodness? I have not. And yet, all our hopes for a better life are based on it.
When you’ll give up hope, I’ll teach you will. (Seneca)
I intuit, so I’m
Next to reason, there is intuition, a fundamental, essential and unknown quality. Intuition is what saves our brains precious time. Guessing is saving ourselves from lines of calculations and equations. Intuition is precisely what the computer lacks. For the human being, it is especially the door of the nagual, the passport for the left side according to Carlos Castaneda. Left side of body corresponds the right hemisphere of the brain. Left side is governed by the belly, and more precisely by the neurons of the colon. Did you know that there are more neurons in your guts than in your brain? Time to wonder what they are for.
To operate one’s being according to the only principles of the left side presents a serious disadvantage: the loss of reason, in other words madness. Not everyone is the perfect warrior or sorcerer capable of practicing controlled madness. To achieve this, we must resort to a force more powerful than the will: intention. In front of this exercise of high aerobatics, many of us deflate and remain on the rails traced by reason.
Yes, in this material world, nothing can be done without the recourse to reason. However, is it reasonable to make it our sole judge of referee? If we strictly obey the injunctions of reason alone, are we freer than a computer that follows its programs? We deprive ourselves of infinite resources of intuition, creativity, imagination and the spirit of invention, just as divine as reason, if not more.
The solution to this dilemma is given to us by the old Druids, by los antiguos videntes according to Castaneda. The Druids practiced an intuition of pure nagual, which they called the Mad Thinking. Thinking? Because reason exercises its control in the background. Mad, because without the control of reason the druid would sink into madness. In Brocéliande, ie Dark Forest in France, the hamlet that gives access to the sacred fountain of Barenton bears this beautiful name: Folle Pensée, ie Mad Thinking. Exciting program!
Less mad, Renouvier’s thought goes beyond the moral point of view. His definition of freedom is a radical challenge. “Man believes himself free: (…) he directs his activity as though the movements of his consciousness could vary under the effect of something that is in him and that nothing predetermines” (source)Renouvier, The Meaning Of Morality, I, 2
Our freedom is conditional, Renouvier says. Our choices are predetermined, but the philosopher does not say by what. Let’s guess: by our education? by the buggy program that spins our brains? by a superman who manipulates the avatars that we are? Impossible to decide. Unquestionably, our most intimate thoughts are subject to the thousand and one unconscious influences that we receive throughout the day … not to talk about the night.
I like that reserve. Renewing shows real knowledge of our nature and how we work, but refuses to go any further. Well, as usual, it’s me who sticks!
Inception! The big word is dropped! A Hollywood blockbuster brings the final blow to the philosophical notion of freedom. The subject of the film: how to direct someone by making him believe that the idea comes from himself. This is the absolute limit of free will. An external mind intervenes directly in the consciousness – or rather in the unconscious of the subject. And this trivial spirit is not a god or a superior being. He knows how, that’s all.
This idea is not new, but it is beautifully treated here. I just saw a quasi-turnip whose name escapes me, and so is the plot. It exploits the same idea, it is the British counter-espionage which affirms and proves that the Russians manipulate us constantly with great skill. They make us believe that all our decisions come from us, while they are guided by their knowledge of human behavior. In such a situation, the average individual reacts in such a way. If the Russians want to get that reaction, they just have to create the situation that will produce it. Manip behavioral well in the FSB style. But I prefer Inception, and by far. The manip is more skillful, it is also more focused, and totally undetectable. Unless you are an astral traveler.
No one is more enslaved than the one who falsely thinks he is free. (Goethe)
Hollywood movies fascinate me. Next to a stack of bad movies, there are rare pearls. Vivid keys, these masterpieces explore the mysteries of the unconscious. Such as Matrix, Avatar, Memento or Inception. And a few others, whom all of us enjoyed.
Dilemma: freedom or not? Is free will a vain word? Is mental conditioning the norm? Are we a species under control or are we flying on our own?
Nietzsche does not believe in freedom, he is very clear on this point. “You have to dance in chains,” Zarathustra said. Everyone has channels as shown in the movie Matrix. “You gonna have to serve somebody,” adds Bob Dylan. Whatever happens, you’re going to have to serve someone. Then choose your master, and choose him well. “Neither God nor master,” Nietzsche yelled. Which side are you on, Master Friedrich? Nietzsche feeds on his contradictions, and so do I. But his feed me more than mine.
Am I guided by the voice of my conscience? Is the voice of my conscience that of someone else? “I is someone else” wrote Arthur Rimbaud. He knew the intimate strangeness that inhabits us, the abyss in which reason is lost, and he had learned to rub shoulders with his abysses. Is there a safety barrier in me, is there any other safeguard than reason? Is there in me a law to which I must obey?
Castaneda says nothing else. For nagualism, there is a Rule that the warrior must follow. He has no choice. Every transgression is punished. A second transgression will be punished even more harshly. And death is at the end. The warriors of the Nagual do not laugh with the Rule. It is not written, and no one can claim the right to do so. It is transmitted orally, or not at all. It must remain in the heart and consciousness of the impeccable warrior. Only its impeccability guarantees it to stand on the right path.
No more than the warrior, the Neo-Kantian has the right to be myopic.
Who has enacted this moral law? Mother Nature? Please! Stop it. For fellow Kant, no doubt: the ruler is the God of the Bible. Which one? In his time, had it been noticed that in the Bible, the one god exists in very many copies? They rarely agree with each other. The archons, our managers envoyed by the Great Goddess, are sometimes traitors to their cause. They fight each other all the better, often through the intervention of human armies used as cannon fodder. There I am lost. Tell me Daddy Kant, which of these gods should I listen to?
Whether it be reason, morality, nature, a god, an angel or Papa Smurf, something or someone is leading me. And my role is very thin. So my freedom…
“Your freedom ends where the freedom of others begins,” my mother said. Free will is always framed. If it does exist! You better accept it… Again! At the end of the day, I’m no further ahead. Inception makes me doubt. Who is my inner advice? Am I another, yes or shit? Is there a pilot on the plane or not? Is there someone else in charge, someone who makes me believe that his desires are mine? Who leads me? Who rules me? Is that the reason? Intuition? Instinct? Faith? My head? My belly?
My ass! And even of it, I doubt. A philosopher in short pants once told me at recess, my ass is chicken. So what to believe? Castaneda will tell us to believe without believing. And it works every time.