Free will and power to shape destiny


For ages, prophets and theologians have talked about free will and destiny. Destiny, often explained as a predetermined course of events, is attributed to a divine power or force. It signifies that certain events and outcomes are fated to happen and cannot be changed, regardless of the actions or choices of an individual. Free will, on the other hand equates to the concept that humans have the power to make their own choices and decisions, independent of any predetermined fate or destiny. Free will empowers individuals to make choices that can positively impact their own lives and the lives of those around them.
One of the earliest prophets, Zarathustra’s teachings were all about the struggle between good and evil, and the importance of choosing the path of righteousness, he emphasized that humans have free will and the ability to choose which path to follow, and thus guided to live a virtuous life by practicing good deeds, telling the truth, and avoiding harmful actions. Islamic philosophy affirms that God has granted humans free will as a test of their faith and a means for them to earn reward or punishment based on their choices and actions. This means that individuals are responsible for the choices they make and the consequences that result from those choices.
Free will is indeed a central concept in the Bhagavad Gita, wherein it is closely linked to the idea of karma, which is the law of cause and effect. The text teaches that individuals create their own karma through their thoughts, words, and deeds, and that they must accept the consequences of their actions. It underlines the idea that humans have the power to shape their own destiny.
Free will and the Middle Path are related but distinct concepts in Buddhism. The Middle Path is the Buddha’s teaching that the path to liberation from suffering lies in finding a balance between the extremes of self-indulgence and self-mortification. The Middle Path involves cultivating the Noble Eightfold Path, which includes right understanding, intention, speech, action, livelihood, effort, mindfulness, and concentration. While the Middle Path emphasizes the importance of cultivating a balanced approach to life, including our thoughts, words, and actions, it does not directly address the concept of free will. However, when the emphasis is on mindfulness and meditation, this very cultivation of mindfulness and the ability to make conscious choices appears very close to free will, and both emphasize the importance of personal responsibility and accountability for one’s actions.
In Judaism and Christianity too, free will is the idea that humans have the ability to choose between good and evil, and that their choices have consequences. It is closely linked to the concept of sin and redemption. And free will is closely linked to the concept of moral responsibility. In both Christianity and Islam, God is often viewed as all-knowing and all-powerful, and the concept of free will can be seen as challenging this view. If God is all-knowing and all-powerful, then how can humans have true free will? The counter-argument is that God’s omniscience does not necessarily mean that he predetermines every event, but rather that he has the ability to see all possible outcomes based on different choices.
Interestingly, free will is a central concept in Jain philosophy. It is the idea that individuals have the ability to make choices, and that their choices have consequences. Jainism emphasizes the importance of personal responsibility and the avoidance of harmful actions.
These are also bundled into various schools of thoughts. In Libertarianism, the free will is real and that determinism is false. Libertarians argue that individuals have the ability to make choices and decisions that are not entirely determined by prior causes and conditions. According to this view, free will is a necessary condition for moral responsibility and personal agency. The other school of thought is compatibilism. Compatibilists argue that even if all events are determined by prior causes and conditions, individuals still have the ability to make choices and decisions based on their own desires, preferences, and beliefs. In other words, free will is compatible with determinism because individuals can still act according to their own motivations, even if those motivations are ultimately caused by prior events.
Free will is a concept that has been widely discussed and debated by modern philosophers. Some argue that free will is an illusion, and that all human actions are ultimately determined by prior causes and conditions. Some also argue that the two concepts are incompatible, while others believe they can coexist. Those who argue that free will clashes with destiny typically believe that all events and actions are predetermined by a higher power or fate, and therefore, human choices are ultimately an illusion. From this perspective, any choices we make are simply a result of pre-existing causes and conditions, and our actions are predetermined. On the other hand, those who argue that free will and destiny can coexist believe that while some aspects of our lives may be predetermined, such as the circumstances we are born into, we still have the ability to make choices within those predetermined parameters. They may argue that while some events may be inevitable, our response to those events is still a matter of choice.
There are many examples of how the concepts of free will and destiny can coexist. While some people may believe that their career path was predetermined by fate or destiny, they still have the free will to choose how to pursue that path. For instance, a person may feel destined to be a doctor but still have the free will to decide where to go to medical school and how to specialize in their field. And this very coexistence of free will and destiny can be seen in many aspects of life, as individuals navigate predetermined circumstances while still make choices that impact their future.