5 Aug

It is fundamentally understood that we all make choices based on what we think is best. We make choices that hurt us, do nothing, or help us. We do this every waking minute of our day.

The key point in this process, however, is how conscious we are when we are making those choices and how many of those choices are already pre-set by the hundreds of little pieces of feedback our conscious and unconscious system is receiving minute by minute.

A recent article by William Egginton in the Opinionator (from the Times Online) puts forth a strong position as a result of an experiment involving monkeys thought and decision processing that seems to indicate that ‘free will’ doesn’t really exist.

However, the experiment does not take consciousness into serious consideration because they are dealing with a monkey, which has limited consciousness. During any given moment in our waking life, we are influenced by many stimuli. We have the obvious visual experiences as well as the subtlety of senses derived from base emotional structures, such as our reaction to fear, anxiety, hope, etc.

Every one of these stimuli helps forge our decision on practically everything. What is left to our free will then?

I’ll tell you what; the depth and level of consciousness to these feedback stimuli individually and cumulatively.

In a perfect world, even in this incalculably complex life, we would be totally aware of all the small and large influences acting upon our system and then make decisions from that state of being.

This isn’t so in common reality…such a state of being.

Although humans have developed the only real sense of consciousness (one could argue and hope that it is still evolving), it is, in itself, severely limited by many factors from hundreds of emotional experiences as we were growing up to moderate and severe traumas
experienced through our adult lives. At some point many humans attempt to “grow” their consciousness through meditation, religion and learning (spirituality).

I guess this is referred to as ‘enlightenment’; however I don’t believe many of us really achieve this state. Most of us are overwhelmed with stimuli. Many of those stimuli function much like a filter and tangibly effect and help form our thoughts and hence our choices.

Our capacity to express ‘free will’ depends on just how aware or conscious we are with regard to those filtering stimuli and how much we can “override” it at the moment of decision.


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