24 Free Will

Free will is a phrase for one's freedom to feel, to desire, to think, or to act, as opposed to the inescapable necessity to feel, to desire, to think, or to act, in a given way.

It means the absence of prevention, restraint and compulsion that would interfere with physical, psychic and mental action and inaction. The phrase means that one can feel, desire and think and do as he pleases, and not be limited by bounds or coerced by goads.

Not only in this phrase but in the language generally, the word 'will' is used as if it were different from what is called desire. But so-called will is an aspect of the active side of the doer-in-the-body, which is desire, nothing more than that.

Will is one of the four functions of desire.

Desire, which is conscious power, has four functions: to be, to will, to do, and to have. To will is the second function of desire; it is followed by to do, and to have.

Will is that one desire which controls the other desires, be it for the moment or for a long period. It controls to the degree that it can
use the conscious power which desire is. It gets strength by exercise, that is, by long continued desiring. It lasts until its object is attained or until it is overcome by a stronger desire, which is then the will.

The cause or starter of will is immediately feeling and remotely unsatisfied desire, which is ultimately the longing for perfection and to be perfect. Will manifests by a surging up out of the inner depths, of a desire to attain an end. This manifestation may last for years. Will is weakened by the interference of contrary desires, and it is strengthened by continued exercise and by overcoming and compelling other desires.

Will is not free, cannot be free; it is much conditioned at all times. Each desire is will, but that desire is to be designated as will which at any time controls the opposing desire. One of the desires as will does not always control the other desires.

At no time has a human freedom of will, even though there be no physical obstacles to the actions, desires and thinking. A human has a limited amount of freedom to will. He has set the limitations. In so far as he himself has not prevented himself from acting, desiring and thinking, he is free to act, to desire, to think. All his bonds, obstacles or limitations are of his own making, but he is free to remove them when he wills.

As long as he has not exercised that freedom, they remain and they limit. He has made them by creating thoughts and the only way to remove them is by thinking without creating other thoughts.

Past thoughts are exteriorized in the physical body and mark the limitations of the body which are also limitations to the will. These physical limitations extend to the time when life begins, the race, the country and the nationality, the kind of family in which the body is born, the sex, the kind of body, the physical heredity, the chief mundane occupations, particular diseases, some accidents, the critical events in life and the time and nature of death. The limitations which a person has made extend to his disposition, temperament, inclinations, moods and appetites, which are part of his psychic nature, and to his insight, comprehension, reasoning and other mental endowments or the absence of them.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License