Wednesday

Can There be Free Will While Functioning from the Conditioned Mind?

The human mind is conditioned by several factors, some overt and others covert. By and large, there are three major conditioning influences: (1) The Genetic (2) The Environmental and (3) The one due to Past-life Impact. A human being's mental make up is a complex product of experiential residues influenced by the above three. Let us call this as the Mental Content of a person. Decisions are actually made by this content though the apparent assessment, based on the superficial thought process, is too shallow to recognize this. It is because we sense, knowingly or unknowingly, the Mental Content in others that we are able to predict a person's reactions after we observe his or her behavior for some time. If that person can function entirely from a free will, uninfluenced by a background, it will be difficult for us to do so.  This implies that the past plays a significant role in determining a person's reactions. One of Jesus' statements is relevant here:  Forgive them for they know not what they are doing.

 That brings us to the question: Where does free-will come into all this?  The only psychological state that is free and untouched by the past is the simple self-awareness.  It is like a non-interfering witness. That is the only thing free from being influenced by the Mental Content of a person. When that aliveness is there, the content's reaction is modified and one's response is imbued with compassion rather than be merely controlled by the past. To think that free will implies that one can take any decision one wants, uninfluenced by one's Mental Content, is to be ignorant of the hidden forces of past residues. Those who have sensed the content's power know that it is a juggernaut. The joy of self-awareness clears the obstacles for more intense awareness to step in.

The general human tendency is to let the mind rule the roost through its inherited and acquired conditioning. Unknowingly, we all get caught in this momentum and lose our lives in the rut that captures us early in our lives. At some stage, some of us become reflective and realize with a shock the damage done to our psycho-physical system as a result of unknowingly falling a prey to the Mental Content. Can we do something to get out of the rut? The answer lies not in conforming to some systems, religious or anti-religious, but in standing alone, free from all conditioning. That is like shining like a single star in a limpid sky.  We see that this delusion is the same when one thinks "I am the one who is taking decisions." 

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