A question occurred to me that i thought i would share.

it asks, if free will exists can we renounce it?

if the answer is yes we can renounce it, then how do we maintain our renunciation without the power of free will?

if the answer is no we cannot, then the question is asked, is free will forced upon us? and if it is forced upon us then can we not surrender our will to god/the universe/the higher self?

i cant remember if it was Thomas Aquinas or St Augustine that said that Man only has will, in that he is ignorant of gods will and mistakes god's will for his own. perhaps we have no free will and are purely ignorant of the will of the universe. but where does this leave renunciation? is there such a thing? or is renunciation mere illusion as well? is there such a thing as choice, spiritual progress, or the Bodhisattva path? or are these not choices and commitments at all but the product of the inevitable will of the universe?

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Comment by william bradley crawford on June 11, 2009 at 11:27pm
The Will of the ONE LIFE is the supreme cause of all things: the cause of the lover and the hater. All things
tending toward the universal objective. It seems to me that we may be able to manipulate what we think
to be our free will,to occupy the position of either the lover or hater in the story which must include both.
It seems that the results of our karmic record may CAUSE us to "will" to love, hate or whatever else we
tend to do. The christian scriptures say that the end is known from the begining.
Comment by Bill Meredith on May 12, 2009 at 6:56pm
It may be that free will exists when there is no 'I' to renounce it.

J.J.Van der Leeuw has some interesting comments on this which I just posted here
Comment by Katinka Hesselink on May 12, 2009 at 1:53am
Just responded to your comment about me calling what I think about karma ' theosophy' on my blog here: what is theosophy?
Comment by Katinka Hesselink on May 12, 2009 at 1:49am
When I say 'basic theosophy' - I refer to what I've learned from Blavatsky, who did after all refer to her work as 'theosophy'. Should be a different thread though, so I leave that for now.

Karma is not about things being predetermined - it's about context and options. Some people have lots of options, others have less. This is partly determined by personality and talents. Partly by the perception of those limitations.

Since you're putting opposite points in your post, on the one hand us not being fee at all, because there is no 'I' to be free - on the other that people don't seem to realize what freedom they do in fact have - I have to agree with Susan: you're doing some deep thinking on this one. Balancing opposite points of view is the beginning of wisdom.

I tend to hack through such nuances by staying with what we CAN see - and then applying my understanding on them, theosophical or otherwise. Hence my referring to karma and all that - but if that doesn't fit where you're going, fine. Buddhism does have a long history of balancing the no-soul doctrine with karma (and from there predetermination in a different form). See for instance this on karma, and this on fate.
Comment by Susan Thomas on May 12, 2009 at 12:12am
Good inquiry. I appreciate what you are sharing, the true depth of which will help you in that "i" quest. You really would benefit from reading the book, "Money, Sex, War, Karma," by Loy. It will give you a succinct synopsis of the way Buddhism deals with the "i/self" illusion. Who is it in me that has free will? "me" being that which my mind differentiates from "other" which is all illusion, because it's all one universe. As we inquire, the trick is to maintain what we perceive as sanity, so that we can be productive in this society and this time. Keep asking, and don't believe any of the answers that don't spring from within you.
Comment by Mikhayl Von Riebon on May 11, 2009 at 6:00pm
probably two points here i would disagree with. firstly "A more theosophically basic answer is that: yes, of course we have free will" - i thought the point of theosophy was to inquire, not to be a bench mark of authority to state what is and what isnt true. secondly, i probably wasnt quite clear with my understanding of free will, its not that things are pre determined that i struggle with, but the idea that our 'self' or 'i' is illusory and transient and so therefore 'free will' must also follow to be illusory and transient. that no doubt will appears to be integral to the universe, but in the act of identifying it as our own, and something sovereign, we seem to fall into a contradiction.

i have noticed the trend amongst people that believe all things to be pre determined, to be passive in their own lives. i can only think that this seems to be laziness, or fear of change passing off as some sort of 'wisdom.' the knowledge of pre determinism cant replace direct perception. in fact i dont think the knowing of anything can replace it, but only moves to stengthen the position of the ego.

what are your thoughts?
Comment by Katinka Hesselink on May 11, 2009 at 9:36am
A more theosophically basic answer is that: yes, of course we have free will - and choosing to not use it is making a decision to not act - which is karmically detrimental. In Blavatsky's first writings she stressed the importance of WILL in occultism. Which is paradoxical since on some level this is also about giving up yourself to the will of the Divine - but figuring out what that is, is another matter of course. And may require a lot of will to find out.
Comment by Katinka Hesselink on May 11, 2009 at 9:28am
I think Susan has the main point here - free will isn't an on or off thing. It's clear to anybody that our options in life are limited by our circumstances and though we can change some of those, some we can't. Like the time it is right now, or the weather. So having free will isn't an absolute anyhow. It doesn't make us omnipotent.

People who don't believe in free will are generally saying, these days, that they are determined by their genes. The 'hey I have ADHD, so I can't be expected to behave' problem. In other words: their very belief that they cannot change, stops them from changing. But people who believe that usually also believe that they can choose to walk on the left side of the street instead of the right. Science is very clear on this one these days: yes genes play an important part, but training also plays an important part.
Comment by Mikhayl Von Riebon on May 11, 2009 at 1:52am
the myriad of things divided by zero? 1 divided by zero? the ultimate paradox of all science and eastern mysticism combined? how do you divide by something that has no attributable value? what is the real size/value of something when the ruler used, derives its authority from the object measured?

probably enough to start a new blog.
Comment by Mikhayl Von Riebon on May 10, 2009 at 11:08pm
I think i can say i had never thought of it that way. its definitely a refreshing point of view. i could imagine the idea in quantum physics as being like 'confidence boundaries' the more complex a system is the more likely it will perform a specific set of actions as opposed to complete random actions. but i think this view is counter to what your suggesting. i think your suggesting the more karmic good, or spiritually advanced one is, the more free will they can exercise. ive wondered if perhaps the idea of self, extends to just more then our bodies but if it perhaps extends to how far our will reaches. in other words a CEO can make a decision to steer a company in such a way that his choice is manifested by all the workers of that corporation. as if he were a small man inside a giant robot. and the robot becomes a part of himself. the extent one can exercise their will in this sense becomes their real body. but i think one can counter argue and say that perhaps the CEO is actually a puppet as well of the will of the corporation. because the CEO will only makes decisions that supports the company and ultimately keeps him in a job.

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