One of my greatest concerns in life, both as a philosopher and as a person, is the paradox of free will; namely, how can we have freedom as a person, if the identity by which such freedom might be asserted, is by definition trapped inside the conditions that make up a person’s “will” in the first place? I first encountered this seemingly self-defeating dilemma in my post “Pride”, 3 years ago, tried and failed to solve it in several other posts, and I made another breakthrough recently in my post “The Root of Motivation”, in which I finally realized that pride was more than just the Ego trying to validate itself, pride is the root of all motivation, the ultimate source of all that we do.
But even arriving at this answer, I was still at a loss, because this still did not solve the paradox of free will. After all, if we cannot escape our pride, then we are entrapped by it, making the very concept of “free will” an inherent impossibility. So then, why did I find myself at a loss, knowing this? Because free will is very real, as evidenced by its universal acceptance in nearly every culture, religion, and belief system in the world; even those that do not agree with it, still must acknowledge the prominence of its acceptance. Free will does exist, I just was not able to see how it exist. There was a logical fallacy somewhere, and I needed to find where my logic had gone awry, so as to correct my thinking and finally arrive at the solution to this paradox.
Fast forward a few months later, and a good friend recommended I read the book “The Children of the Law of One, and the Lost Teachings of Atlantis”. Admittedly, I still have not finished reading it, but by the time I got to page 40, I realized the error I had made (and so very much more!): I had neglected to realize that a person does not need to identify with oneself to exist. But to have this crucial epiphany, I first had to realize something even more important, which is that true happiness comes from selflessness, the specifics of which are best explained in my post Altruism, which I wrote the same day I had that epiphany.
After I realized that a person does not have to identify with oneself to exist– that is, one does not need to be possessive of one’s identity for their individuality to manifest, everything all started coming together. While perhaps most people might indeed be trapped by their own pride and enslaved by the very will through which they assert “freedom”, Oneness through Selfless Love enables us to have an identity which is free of the constraints of pride; the reason for this is because there is no motivation for such constraint, because the selfishness that would reinforce this prison of the mind no longer exists in the first place.
Additionally, because the natural result of Selflessness is Oneness, the will of the One and of the All become no more than two different ways of looking at the same thing. Even if I am an individual, I am not constrained by my own will, because I am also everyone, everything, and part of all that is, and even that which is not. Oneness through Selfless Love is able to accomplish true free will not because it conquers the prison the will creates– rather, the caliber of its existence is so transcendent that it renders the very existence of the will completely irrelevant!
In my post “No Excuses”, I knew I was onto something when I purported to have discovered the two primary ways to attain “true” free will. But the post ended up being incomplete, my ideas fallacious and full of holes, and it turned out to be another dead end. But One thing I knew for certain was a hint of how to attain free will, was in the “AT Field” metaphor so prominent in the Anime “Neon Genesis Evangelion”. To quote from “No Excuses”:
The AT Field, first understood only as a forcefield that repelled or absorbed most conventional weaponry, was later revealed in NGE to be the spiritual barrier that separates the consciousness of the world from itself (to protect itself).
In a poetic sense, it is “the light of the soul”. As individualism is incremental, progression towards such an ideal would equate to the strengthening of one’s AT field; this renders one impervious to pain and every kind of emotional negativity; Hypothetically speaking, a person with an infinitely strong AT field would live forever.
The disadvantage of an AT Field is the loss of all positive emotions, as well as complete apathy, detachment, and a sense of life being fake, and ultimately, meaningless.
In this context, the AT Field is equivalent to “will power”, where Pride is the container through which that power is stored. Pride is what separates us from the world, isolates us, and protects us from the energy, both positive and negative, that the world might otherwise ‘infect’ us with. Ultimately, pride becomes a barrier that separates us from God, which is the greatest evidence that pride is the greatest of all evils. Pride protects us from being hurt, but at the horrible consequence of us actually living life, truly communicating with the world, or really experiencing God.
For most people, pride is a necessary evil, with a common argument that Pride does at least as much good as it does evil. But even for those good deeds that are done, is it not meaningless if they were motivated by pride? Wouldn’t it be better if people did good not because they were obligated to (Pride), but because they genuinely wanted to (Love)? As Saint Paul put it in 1 Corinthians 13,
1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
Now I finally understand this important truth: the only way to attain true free will, is through the relinquishment of my selfish pride, in favor of the Oneness that comes through Selfless Love!