People make choices everyday that demand you makes choices in response, demanding choices from them that again, demand you make choices causing choices again from them, etc, etc, etc, on and on and on, ad infinitum.
This is the infinite game that we all play. Although many deny this contingency and become finite players, actually believing they have individual "free-will."
You have no authority over your 'self.' But then neither do 'they.' We are so deeply connected and intricately intertwined as to negate and nullify the 'self' almost entirely. But still... the thought of being a separate individual 'self' persists even though our whole life as been directed by a world of others that direct us as we direct them.
However, it does feel good to think that you have separate authority over your self and make choices that are not contingent upon anything but "you." Ha!
Such is the myth of individuality….
The physical body has nothing to do with it. Animals have a physical body, but they lack a 'self.' Possibly, nature fully realizes its contingent interdependence and therefore, it has no need for individual 'selves.'
We are absolutely contingent on one another. You may choose not to share or cooperate on the surface, but below the surface, your existence is absolutely contingent on an interdependence with others, whether you like it or not or wish to be aware of it or not. It can be a frightening thought for an ego to consider.
Let's cut to the chase shall we... Do you use the word “I” in reference to your 'self.' So where did you come upon this identification? Did you simply conjure up this 'self; out of thin air? Most likely your learned to be a 'self,' so in essence, “you” would NOT exist if not for others. It's too late to consider returning to the forest to live out some primordial feral state of "non-self," because the self you learned to be, will only keep getting in the way. Your individual authority is absolutely contingent on there being 'others' for which to contrast a 'self' as opposed to, or in harmony with, others.
No others = no self.
You might as well engage in the interdependent flow, since disengaging is delusional.
Every choice is contingent on others being 'there.' Even the choice to completely disengage and live as a hermit in the forest, presupposes others for which to disengage from. Your Being is contingent on their Being as their Being is contingent on yours.
But wait, it gets better!
Because “you” were not constructed in isolation from a world of others, not one thought in your head belongs exclusively to “you.” (this includes everything I write in this blog and anything you read in every other blog....all absolutely contingent).
I'm not saying there is NO free-will, just that there is NO free-will exclusive to an individual “you.”
This interdependent contingency is absolute, even to make that statement “I am not absolute anything” demands others for which to contrast an “I” as not absolute. We are interdependent on one another and all choices are contingent on choices made by others, which are contingent on choices you have made.
We exist together interdependently, deluded into a belief of independent individuality. Watch how your ego squirms at the idea that individual "awakening" is a delusion and "you" can never have it independent of others. You will have something, but this is no more than individual delusion and any experience you interpret comes from a menu of experiences that we have all constructed together.
You can continue to exercise authority over yourself until the cows come home, but essentially, it makes little difference. You may choose to do anything you like, but your individual authority will always be contingent on the authority imposed by others who share an experience of a world and that world experience comes to you through a mutual exchange. “Free-will” is contingent on the free-will of others, which cancels out all individual free-will. All your choices are made in relation to a world of others and therefore, are never entirely free of that contingency (although this is often unconscious, maintaining the delusion of free-will and choices made separate from a world of others).
Certainly you may feel free to exercise independent choices, but you may wish to surrender the delusion of your choices being freely made. We live in a world of contingency, where the existence of "you" as a concept is contingent on the concept of 'them.' Your individual free-will is contingent on "free-will" being a menu choice. But only because we agree as to what is ON the menu. This makes your free-will choices entirely contingent on choosing from the menu, which means it is NOT free at all.
Free-will is real, but individual free-will is delusional. This is why individuals cannot "awaken" to anything more than what is on the menu.
It's all a 'given,' since you have no choice but to CHOOSE from the menu that the world offers and that menu is a mutual construct we have ALL manufactured collectively. You and I and every mind that thinks as a 'self,' has constructed the menu from which we all choose. If there is only one menu (world of others) to choose from, how are you then implementing free-will?
We can create a different menu, but only together, because the menu we created is contingent on all of us choosing from that menu for it to exist at all….and we always do.
You and I and everyone are contingent beings, entirely contingent on others defining us from moment to moment as we define them. There is no escape from contingency, best to engage it.
You are NOT free to claim "enlightenment" or "awakening," because if it weren't on the menu, you could NOT claim it at all.
You don't just live WITH others, you are contingent ON others as they are contingent ON you. We are all interdependently contingent on one another, but in our demand for individuality we are intoxicated with the self and so fail to see that, without others, a 'self' could NOT exist.
We may finally awaken, but never individually, simply because we are absolutely contingent on one another. We do not create ourselves in isolation from other selves. We construct the self contingent on other selves being 'there.' No one has any idea what a self-construct manufactured without others would be like and this is why contingency is absolute.
You and I are unique, but only in relation to the menu from which we have chosen our values in order to construct the self. The menu is, and always will be, an interdependent construct that we all created. No one chooses free of the menu, until ALL choose to discard the menu. Until then, individual free-will is a delusion, that we have yet to weary of.
Are you seeking to "awaken" to truth?
Luckily... that's on the menu too.
Artwork by Karl Persson - "Lunch Monkey"