Tuesday, February 23, 2010

"Free-Will" is on the Menu (but we all chose the menu)

Are you an individual? An individual actor pressing against the world in order to self-actualize as an individual with goals and dreams, lodged solely in your mind, dissociated from a world of other minds?

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.

Bon Apetit!

Artwork by Karl Persson - "Lunch Monkey"


  1. Bravo, Mike!

    Not only are we absolutely interdependent...we are all the same thing. Whatever that is!

  2. hi mike

    how can disengaging from the interdependent flow be delusion ... it is not possible to disengage from the interdependent flow... rather the flow is engaged differently - creating different causes and effects. (whether aware of that or not)... so for example - i do not actively participate with the "pod" at Gaia anymore - so that a portion of energy/form/thought is engaged in a different part of the same never-ending dance.

    and not only are we interdependent in our humanmess - we are entirely interdependent on everything that has elemental form (and therefore with the formless as well )

  3. Christine,

    "how can disengaging from the interdependent flow be delusion"

    When individuals believe they make decisions to disengage. This is delusional.

    "it is not possible to disengage from the interdependent flow..."

    Indeed, however, we have the choice to disengage and this is delusional.

    "rather the flow is engaged differently - creating different causes and effects. (whether aware of that or not)...

    It is ALL engaged the same due to contingent interdependence. Although we can judge differences in determining some delusional uniqueness in interacting with "parts." Because of contingency you always interact with the whole (I sense you may be saying this?).

    "i do not actively participate with the "pod" at Gaia anymore - so that a portion of energy/form/thought is engaged in a different part of the same never-ending dance."

    Individuals decide to engage/disengage with parts, but if all parts are contingent on other parts, such decisions are delusional. Are you assuming that you made and independent decision to exit a social forum? But that social forum is contingent on other "parts" which are contingent on other parts, etc, etc...

    Essentially, when you go deep into this rabbit hole, you'll see that you never left anything at all. This is what I mean by delusional.
    If "you" are contingent then "you" have essentially decided nothing at all...ever.
    And this applies to everything I do or do not do here or anywhere else. In this "flow" no decisions are made by 'individuals.'


  4. Mike - another in a fairly long string of excellent postings.
    I am wondering about the significance of your choosing to change the font color now and again in your posts. It definitely gives me pause - and I imagine that it is supposed to.

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  6. Hey Willie,

    Glad you it was a good read for you.

    I sometime use bold-blue to highlight what I think may be a main point.


  7. Maybe we are simply cells on one stupendous body universe...and we know how it goes when a cell decides to go its own way. It changes things. There are two oppositions in message going on though: think for yourself and follow the structure. Well, we know how following the structure goes...has gone...will predictably go. Even as both are interdependent, I wonder about the subtitles. What makes one self say this is nuts and another self say, I've found the way.

    I am not convinced to say unequivocally that an animal does not have some sense of self, but might go as far as perhaps to say not "self reflection". Clearly, an animal, like ourselves, shows evidence of disposition aside from instinct/mechanism. Maybe animals think in hieroglyphics or something. Who knows.

    The Karl Persson image is rather gruesome. If one were able to actually paint a portrait of the demand of self, that'd probably be the one.

    Blessings, Mike~