Free Will or Fate?
Everyone at some point seem to come to the question of free will. Are we just passengers on a journey where our future is mapped out already, or do we have freedom to change and choose our fate? See what you think in the following parable:
Imagine you are a musician. You are the peccussionist in a symphony orchestra in a major city. You are also a phillosopher and lately you have been contemplating free will. Tonight is the opening of a new series of operas and you a dressing up in your finest clothes.
You take a cab to the opera-house, enter, and meet with collegues, who are all modestly excited about the night. You file into the stage with a full house in attendance and find your place and your instruments.
As you settle in your mind returns to the thought of wether or not you have free will over your life. The music in front of you dictates what you will be doing, when, how loud and for how long. Your first notes call for series of triangle triplets at bar 62 and you think to yourself: To prove to myself I have free will, I could decide to not ring this triangle at bar 62. And you consider the idea more. The price to pay would be a few raised eyebrows, a comment afterwards by the conductor, perhaps, but you would not be fired and life would go on as always.
The conductor arrives. Everyone settles down. He raises his arms and the music begins.
It is Wagner tonight, and the overture swells and turns as you dutifully count the bars. At bar 40 you pick up the triangle, but you are not sure if you will chime at 62 or not. So much of your life is series of have-to’s and must-do’s – it would be delicious this once to have your own will to follow. You are now at bar 50.
The music is like a stormy ocean, the waves are building under dark and powerful clouds. At bar 56 a chrescendo reaches up towards the heavens and as the wave crests and breaks into a million particles you are supposed to be ringing your triangle as the music falls into the abyss. Bar 60. Bar 61. Bar 62…
What will you do?
What will you do in this story?
Don’t read further until you have answered for yourself.
If you are like most people, you say you would ring the triangle.
First of all, if you are a musician, you belong to the music more than to your mind. But more importantly, at bar 62 the moment and everyone around you cry out for a triangle, and you are the only one in the hall who poseesses such a thing – and you are even trained in how to use it.
Here is what I have found: When we have an opportunity to supply what is truly needed, and what nobody else can provide, there is nothing more satisfying that that. The thought of free will is purely academic – you simply don’t care about choice if you are in the right place at the right time and you can provide the right stuff.
One day I had 3 errands to cover. I wanted to ask my mechanic something, pick up dry cleaning as well as some duplicated CDs of music. I had planned to make the run starting with the CDs, but in the last minute I changed my mind and for no reason took my third destination first. It could have been my imagination, but it seemed to me that traffic was arkward and slow the whole way. When I got to the garage I was told that my mechanic was out to lunch and would be back in 45 minutes. At the dry cleaners the woman reminded me that I had promised her a copy of one of the CDs I intended to pick up first. It was as if my sudden change of plans had reaked havoc in some cosmic planning team. As if someone sitting on a cloud yelled out: “Whoa, hey, lookout – he went the wrong way. Anyone in Goleta we can call?”
We live in a Biological Matrix and when we are in harmony with ourselves we experience an ease with which all things flow: Traffic isn’t bad, we find a good parking space, meet helpful people, and so on and so on. When we are out of sync, the alarm fails, we get a flat tire, people are late to see us, etc. etc. and the more we try to forcefully put things right the harder it gets. I don’t know how it works, but this seems to be true, that what we think and say has power to create, but when we change our minds it takes a while for the world to catch on. There are moments where it best to have a cup of tea and turn off the cell-phone for 10 minutes and let reality catch up with us. We may simply be ahead of ourselves. Go with the flow, as they say.
Yes you have free will. You can use this to complicate your life or concentrate on finding where existance has a place reserved for just you.