Originally Posted by Erock
In the past couple weeks I've probably made 4 or 5 posts relating to reading Maharj's works, but I think this guy really had it all figured out, and he maintains that we are not volitional beings. Reguardless of your beliefs about what you truly are (an objective person, consciousness, or pure subjectivity), do you think you are volitional or not?
I think it's hard to answer that question without knowing "what/who we truly are", simply because that question assumes knowledge of who we are (at least I think it does... someone with superior logical deduction can prove me wrong if they want/are able to).
To explain further, saying “do you think you are volitional?
” is the same as saying “do I think I am volitional?
”. You’ll note there are two references to identity there (“I”). The letter “I
” is representative of something -- who you believe/think you are.
But that aside (as you requested in your post), based on my current beliefs, I’d say that it’s not as simple as black or white, yes or no. I’d say that it’s more of a “yes, but...
” situation, where there are levels at which we have free will, and levels that we do not. If anything, there definitely seems to be some universal constants that we can't really get around, free will or not.
From my current perspective it certainly seems like I have free will, however I’m aware of how limited my perspective is compared to the vastness of the universe (whatever that is), so I think it would be foolish for me to adopt a belief that wasn’t flexible. So my final answer is: Based on my current perspective/knowledge, yes, I do think I am a volitional being, however I’m open to changing that belief if I feel it would be intelligent to do so, and suspect that there's a good chance I'd have to do that if I expanded my understanding far enough.
I think I’d have a better chance of answering that question with more certainty if I had a better idea of what happens after death (I’d want answers to questions such as: is there any reincarnation? If so, why do we reincarnate? Do we have some divine or universal will to carry out? Are there universal rules that bind us even in the non-physical?), but at the moment, I’m quite happy to be ignorant and toil away at life. No need to get off the ride when it's not finished -- it could be hazardous to your health.
Of course if you bring in the whole “reality is subjective and beliefs have creative power” into the equation things become even more interesting (and tricky), but lets not go there.