Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Harmonic Blend

Free-will is a general cosmological theory of promise, just like the Absolute, God, Spirit or Design. Taken abstractly, no one of these terms has any inner content, none of them gives us any picture, and no one of them would retain the least pragmatic value in a world whose character was obviously perfect from the start. Elation at mere existence, pure cosmic emotion and delight, would, it seem to me, quench all interest in those speculations, if the world were nothing but a lubber land of happiness already.

Our interest in religious metaphysics arises in the fact that our empirical future feels to us unsafe and needs some higher guarantee. If the past and present were purely good, who could wish that the future might possibly not resemble them? Who could desire free-will? Who would not say “let me be wound up every day like a watch, to go right fatally and I ask no better freedom.” ‘Freedom’ in a world already perfect could only mean freedom to be worse and who could be so insane as to wish that? To be necessarily what it is, to be impossibly aught else, would put the last touch of perfection upon optimisms universe.

William James wrote those thoughts in 1906. He does have a point. All the words we use to express free will are meaningless in a perfect world, but perfect is not a fixed condition. Perfect continues to expand as we expand in awareness. Our ego consciousness is gifted with free will, so we can form beliefs that create physical choices and experiences. Free will allows us the opportunity to create good and evil, right and wrong as specific qualities in our reality.

We identify these qualities in order to track the growth of the self. Free will is the ability to accept what we create regardless of the quality label we assign to those creations.

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