Thursday, August 25, 2011

Free will

I can’t prove that we have a free will but I believe that this is the case. This is a useful belief, I think. It makes us responsible for at least some of our actions. (I didn’t pay the bills but don‘t blame me. I have no free will.)

There would be no point with doing anything if we don’t have a free will. There would be no point with paying the bills. There would be no point with booking the laundry for tomorrow. Equal rights and justice would be meaningless concepts.

However, what if our decisions are not really our own? Maybe we simply do what our parents have told us to do. Maybe we do what society has told us to do. Maybe our will is not our own.

It’s possible that we don’t have a free will, absolutely. Maybe the free will is an illusion similar to the illusion that the sun is moving and descends under the horizon. Cognitive neuroscientists have in fact been able to show that a decision, such as moving an arm for example, is preceded by specific brain activity up to a second before we become aware of the decision.

I don’t know how to interpret these findings. I may be wrong but I still find it more practical to believe that we have, at least to some extent, a free will. I’m still not totally convinced that free will is an illusion. Moreover, neuroscientists are also admitting that we always have the option to say no. We don’t have to act on all impulses.

Our free will may be very weak and it is often that things get in the way, but still, it’s there to be used if we want to, I believe. We don’t have to live all of our time on autopilot mode.

Some people assume that we don’t have a free will and that only the Gods, or chance and natural laws, are governing the course of events, but most people assume that we have a free will. I’m with the majority in this matter.

None of us knows for sure who is right. It’s a matter of how we look at things, our worldview, our attitude, not how things actually are, I believe. The scientists must also interpret their results and the theologians must interpret their scriptures.

Anyway, I don’t care if my intention to move my arm needs some processing time. I need to do my bills today.

This way of looking at things is similar to the question if an alcoholic a selfish idiot who is afraid of himself or if alcoholism is a disease, a kind of allergy? It depends on how you look at it. You can’t prove that alcoholism is an actual disease but this idea has proved to make it easier for alcoholics to recover. It’s therefore a useful belief.

I think that the question if we have a free will or not is actually a rather silly question which we can leave for the scientists and philosophers to debate. It’s simply not a relevant issue here in the everyday dimension.

Of course I get irritated if I don’t get done what I want to get done, and it’s unpleasant to feel irritation. This is the downside with the belief in a free will. However, irritation is not dangerous if you don‘t get to much of it. The belief that we don’t have a free will has also its downsides. Perhaps your bills don’t get paid. This causes also a lot of trouble.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Self inquiry

It is better to observe your actions than your thoughts if you whish to gain some knowledge about yourself. However, knowledge about oneself is seldom pleasant and it will not always be helpful. To see things clearly can make you downhearted or depressed.

Most people think they are more generous than they actually are. Most people overestimate their intelligence and their knowledge. Psychologists call this phenomenon illusory superiority.

Observe yourself when you don’t give money to a beggar Observe yourself when you give money to a beggar. Observe yourself when you try to get in first to get a better seat. Listen to yourself when you tell a lie or talk bullshit. You will be surprised.

The thinking mind is not reliable. You have to observe your actions if you want learn about yourself.

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Communism and Christianity

Of course it’s impossible to call oneself communist today after all the atrocities and crimes that have been committed in the past by people who called themselves communists. But how is it that so many people today can call themselves Christians without being ashamed, after centuries of cruelties and devilry that have been committed by people who called themselves Christians? The slave traders, witch hunts and inquisition trials seem to be forgotten.

Friday, August 12, 2011


You will not reap what you sow, this is just superstition. Many enormously selfish and greedy people live wonderful lives in mansions or penthouses and many good and honest people experience terrible misfortunes.

The idea that you will carry your good or bad deeds with you to the next life is of course also superstition, a belief which is not based on evidence or personal experience. To believe in the Karma theory is like believing that the earth is flat. It is the Hindu version of “You’ll get pie in the sky when you die.” or you’ll end up in hell.

Most spiritual seekers of today are still stuck in belief systems that are thousands of years old. Many people still believe in astrology and fairy tales about gods and angels. Many people are still prisoners in ancient delusions.

The age of enlightenment did not begin in the eighteenth century. The age of enlightenment begins now, in the twenty first century.


You’ve been dead for 13,7 billion years and at night you’re asleep. Now, however, you're here. Life is a flickering flame that soon will go out. Soon you’ll be dead again. What does it matter if you think too much or worry too much? What does it matter if you’re angry or sad? What does it matter if you’re happy in a fool’s paradise?

You don’t have to realize anything. You don’t have to wake up. You don’t have to change your outlook on life. You don’t have to give up smoking or drinking. You don’t have to give up lying, cheating or stealing. You don’t have to improve yourself.

However, at some point in your life you might feel that you’ve had enough of everything. This is a point where change can begin.

Both political change and personal change is possible. Muslims can convert to Christianity and Hindus can become Muslims. Communists can become neo-Liberals and atheists can get saved, but there is also another option, you can give up politics, religion, career plans and self improvement altogether.

The crux of the matter is that there are two ways of giving up. You can become disillusioned and depressed. You can get stuck, thinking that there is no point with anything, or you can wake up from your dream worlds. It is possible to realize that all the ideas about yourself and the world are just ideas, not who you are or what the world is like.

It is possible to wake up from delusions. It is possible to give up religious, political and self improvement nonsense. You don’t have to replace one delusion with another one. This is a special and new kind of change in the history of humankind.