Until the End of May these blogs will focus on problems related to creating a spiritual life.
Lewis Answers: One of the most commonly discussed ideas among thinkers great and small is whether human have freedom of choice or is everything we do predestined? Historically, there have been two schools of thought concerning whether or not we have free choice. 1. Determinism: This is the idea that for everything that happens there are conditions that dictate that, given those conditions, nothing else could happen. 2: Metaphysical libertarianism: Implies that though there are many factors, variables and events that cross our paths the individual may be able to take more than one possible course of action even under this set of circumstances. Metaphysical libertarianism is concerned with how something is known rather than what is known.
The principle of free will has religious, ethical, and scientific implications especially for a student of the Wisdom Path. Recent neuroscientific findings regarding free will may suggest different ways of predicting human behavior, which is an essential factor in the creation of life strategies.
Even if free will exists there are always going to be constraints that define how we are able to make choices such as physical constraints (e.g. chains or imprisonment), social constraints (e.g. threat of punishment or censure), or psychological constraints (e.g. compulsions or phobias). In fact, some important thinkers concerning this discussion (compatibilists) will often assert that determinism is not just compatible with free will, but actually necessary for it.
In the end there is actually no way to know if there is or not free will. The illusion of ordinary life convinces us that we are free to choose but there is much evidence that could prove that this is not the case. The best one can do is live daily applying the four pillars that define the Wisdom Practice – Meditation, the study of koans, chop would and carry water, laugh sing, dance and be silent.
Lewis Harrison is a poet, author, teacher, speaker, life coach and contemporary spiritual teacher and mentor. He is the creator of www.AskLewis.com. Lewis specializes in helping individuals and organizations solve basic and seemingly unsolvable problems through the application of principles and ideas drawn from Decision Science, Positive Psychology, Game Theory, Zen, many of the great thinkers and from his personal life experiences.
Lewis will be teaching a weekend program “Make, Choices, Not Excuses” in Oneonta, New York May 3-4
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