Free will

Deliverance is out of time into eternity, and is achieved by obedience and docility to the eternal Nature of Things. We have been given free will, in order that we may will our self-will out of existence and so come to live continuously in a “state of grace.” All our actions must be directed, in the last analysis, to making ourselves passive in relation to the activity and the being of divine Reality. We are, as it were, aeolian harps, endowed with the power either to expose themselves to the wind of the Spirit or to shut themselves away from it.

We humans are here because God wanted to behold God. He created us in His image and gave us free will to behave one way or another, to choose between doing the job of reflecting Him and doing what looks more exciting.

Man’s free will differs from every other force in that man is directly conscious of it, but in the eyes of reason it in no way differs from any other force. The forces of gravitation, electricity, or chemical affinity are only distinguished from one another in that they are differently defined by reason.

If there is free will, all things do not happen according to fate; if all things do not happen according to fate, there is not a certain order of causes; and if there is not a certain order of causes, neither is there a certain order of things foreknown by God - for things cannot come to pass except they are preceded by efficient causes - but if there is no fixed and certain order of causes foreknown by God, all things cannot be said to happen according as He foreknew that they would happen... But it does not follow that, though there is for God a certain order of all causes, there must therefore be nothing depending on the free exercise of our own wills, for our wills themselves are included in that order of causes which is certain to God and is embraced by His foreknowledge, for human wills are also causes of human actions; and He Who foreknew all the causes of things would certainly among those causes not have been ignorant of our wills.

Things as they are are changed when we demonstrate a new reality. A very small change in perception can result in a change in behavior and, cumulatively, in a very large change in cultural patterns. Our purpose and destiny are encoded within us. But they do not automatically propel us to the next act in our day, let alone the next stage in our evolution. Our Fourth Instinct allows us to see that next stage, and our free will enables us to act on it so that it can become a reality.

Art is a kind of innate drive that seizes a human being and makes him its instrument. The artist is not a person endowed with free will who seeks his own ends, but one who allows art to realize its purpose through him. As a human being he may have moods and a will and personal aims, but as an artist he is "man" in a higher sense- he is "collective man" - one who carries and shapes the unconscious, psychic forms of mankind.

Without our faith in free will the earth would be the scene not only of the most horrible nonsense but also of the most intolerable boredom.

Every one has time if he likes. Business runs after nobody: people cling to it of their own free will and think that to be busy is a proof of happiness.

The first paradox of our lives is that nothing is fixed; and yet nothing is random or accidental, either. We co-create with our spiritual source. We have free will, and yet we are not in control. The second paradox is that when we set our intention for what we desire, we achieve it usually only after we have released our need to have it. This is the paradox of intention (personal desire and will) and surrender (letting God or the universe provide what is best for our highest good). You are both a finite earthly being, and an infinite soul of greater spiritual dimension. Your are both/and. You are the drop of water and the wave. You direct yourself, and you are directed.

When we contemplate the meaning of life, we are thinking on the plane of action, of practical decisions and choices we have to make. No matter what the metaphysicians say about free will, we have to experience the world as one with choices and dilemmas and we have to resolve them as beings able to think them through and make decisions

True liberation comes through grace and not through free will.

He produces not only our choice, but also the very freedom that is in our chance... In order to understand that God creates our free will in us, we must understand only that He wills us to be free. But He will not only that we should be free in power, but that we should be free in its exercise.

Grace does not destroy our liberty by its certain efficacy; rather by that very efficacy divine grace moves the free will without doing violence to it.

Free Will does not say that everything that is physically conceivable is also morally possible. It merely says that of alternatives that really tempt our will more than one is really possible.

Behind all faith... lies the plain fact that man, as a creature of free will, cannot shirk the ultimate responsibility for his own fate.

A linear medium cannot represent the simultaneity of processing that goes on in the brain – the mixture of language and image, the intimation of diverging possibilities that we experience as free will. It cannot capture the secrets of organization by which the inanimate somehow comes to life, by which the neural passageway becomes the thought.

God will not do everything, in order not to deprive us of free will and the portion of glory that falls to our lot.

[Man’s] self-conscious existence as man forces on him a choice of uses for his faculties... This choice is what is called free will. Free will, therefore, not only a prerogative but an obligation for man. Free will thus understood, has nothing to do with destiny. It is a power which man is compelled by his own nature to use, whether the use he makes of it is predestined or not... the responsibility of deciding rests with me just the same whether the outcome is predetermined or not. If it is predetermined, it is my own past habit-forming and character-forming decisions in this and previous lifetimes which have predetermined it; and this decision in its turn will help to condition my mind, thus determining future ones.

The alternative to the illusion of an ego is the Reality of inexhaustible, radiant Being. So long as the appearance of an ego remains, so long does the appearance of free will; in fact they are mutually dependent.

There is no free will in the human mind: it is moved to this or that volition by some cause, and that cause has been determined by some other cause, and so on infinitely.