How many thousands of times we have heard from preachers and others that we have ‘free will’! And on the surface, to the unsuspecting, that statement may seem true. However, on closer examination, we can prove it to be %100 incorrect — there is no such thing as free will. Here is why.
For centuries, Thomas Aquinas and others have proclaimed that the will is an ’independent operating function’ of rationality. It seems clear that their objective was to satisfy the Churches’ meaning of sin and thereby, impale us with a blanket of guilt for purposes of control. In other words, they were determined to make ‘the foot fit the shoe’ rather than ‘allow the shoe to fit the foot’. By that, I mean that clearly, either they did not understand, or they would not accept the proper relationship between intellect and will.
The term ‘rationality’ applies to the concept of an ‘intellect’ which ciphers and perceives and a ‘will’ which accepts and achieves. Aquinas and others suggested and proclaimed that the will was an independent operator — no matter what the intellect suggested, the will was free to do as it pleased. I can prove to you that they were sorely incorrect. I can prove through your own observations that the will must choose what the intellect determines to be the better of two choices.
Let’s consider some every day, ordinary circumstances. Without doubt, most of the choices we make every day were predetermined by each of us a long time in the past — we call that routine. For instance, we learned early in life not to deliberately touch a very hot object, nor to chop at our fingers with a sharp tool, nor go out into the bitter cold naked, and literally thousands of other things we do or don’t do routinely. And how did those routines come about? It is our intellects which perceive the harm and tells us from experience not to choose those activities because they hurt us — our wills must obey if we are rational.
So, when people lose contact with reality, we describe them as being psychotic or insane —they say and do things which are totally irrational. But even there, it is their intellects which have gone awry.
The will is simply ‘the executive arm’ of the intellect. In a rational person the will must choose what the intellect present to it as the better choice. Many choices become routine because they have been learned in the distant past. However, it is likely that not a day goes by without some new, different, or perplexing situation presenting itself. So, what happens next? With our intellects, we analyze all possible solutions. We may begin our analysis with many possible solutions but usually rapidly narrow them down to three or four. From there we may seek advice, do research, and analyze each possibility more carefully. However, eventually we always narrow the choices down to two possibilities. Then with our intellects, we must choose one over the other, and which ever one the intellect settles on as being better, the will must choose — the will cannot choose otherwise.
Here’s the catch. Present five or ten people with the same dilemma and observe the results. It is possible that each may conclude a different option as being best. And how is that possible? Simply because each of them has been prejudiced by millions of previous experiences and choices which influence their final selection. If it were not that way, we would not be different individuals — we would all think and choose exactly alike.
So, it should be quite obvious that not even the intellect is free. In a rational person, it is never allowed to make an irrational selection. Despite that, because of personal, previously ingrained predisposition or prejudices, what seems rational to one person may seem irrational to another. And then we spend the rest or our day ‘scratching our heads’ and proclaiming, “I just don’t see why she wanted to do that”. Did you ever hear of ‘politics or religion’? Seem like nowhere is that “I don’t see why” illustrated better than in those two quandaries.
In general, humanity is hampered severely by ignorance which means ‘we do not know’. How often have we heard someone say, “If I had known that I would have done differently”? Obviously, we can’t know everything, and to make matters worse, we are constantly being bombarded with misinformation, disinformation, and oftentimes, deliberate lies. We simply do the best we can. We must do and act on what our intellects tell us is the better of the final courses of action to take.
I have outlined that understanding in my books and have extrapolated that knowledge to demonstrate many concepts regarding our relationship with God and our fellow man. I have demonstrated the importance of those concepts in the innate understanding of individual ‘personality development’ and have shown how important they are to understanding each other and ourselves.
So, go ahead. Stick your hand against a red-hot stove eye — let your will tell your intellect to ‘get lost’. I expect that now you understand ‘there’s no such thing as free will’ — if you’re rational, that is.
If you have not read my thesis, Wilderness Cry, I strongly urge you to do so. I’ll bet you’ll then want to read Peace in Spirituality and Provocative Catholic. You may wish to know about my ‘Tom Sawyer’-like childhood. If so, Growing Up in Fancy Farm Kentucky is for you.
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