« A mindfulness lesson in the checkout lane | Main | Likely we don't even know the questions to ask of the cosmos »

September 28, 2023


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Free will is all around us. We are given free will as part of our destiny..

"Your destiny will cause you to act and make effort according to its plan."
Jagat Singh

"But with our limited view, looking from here up, we have free will."

When you enlighten yourself to your options, when others enlighten you to new options, when you acquire new wealth, skills or understanding, you now have greater freedom of choice. When you discipline your will, strengthen your will to fully pursue your heart's desire and avoid distractions, you increase your free will.

As your fate and circumstances have so determined.

So seek to increase and strengthen your free will. And return to the path of your heart.

All free will is conditioned and limited to one degree or another.

But people are freed of slavery and abuse. They can become free.

In stages, and by effort, we can increase our freedom.

We can do the hard work, make the difficult effort, and reach the summit.

We should always encourage and never discourage it.

The greatest choice to raise freedom, consciousness and find success within and in the world is two words...

Deferred Gratification

Charan's views on free will were obviously informed by his theistic outlook. That is, we have no free will because God has ordained that our past karmas dictate the events of our present life and the even broader theistic determinism that God is everything and does everything.

But it wouldn't be correct to say that Sant Mat is absolutely deterministic. If that were the case, then how to explain the 99% of the times when Charan urged on our efforts vs. the rare instances that he spoke in favor of divine fatalism.

My problem with the no free will argument is that, at best, it's only half true. It's true that our will isn't absolutely free, but neither is it precisely true that we're absolutely bereft of will. Just as Godel showed that no formal system of mathematics or logic could ever be complete, the existence of agency is still an open question, and probably always will be. And I think the totality of what Charan says on the topic of karma points to the same conclusion.

Another problem with the concept of absolutely no free will is that it's potentially a permission slip for nihilism, lotus-eater ennui, social disorder, and immorality. In a word, hippies.

NYT crossword September 16th,
34 across: Nihilistic query


Free will is the notional capacity or ability to choose between different possible courses of action unimpeded. Traditionally, ‘unimpeded’ has religious connotations and is synonymous with having a soul or spirit that is uninfluenced by the flesh (nature). The concept that we have an independent free will is confused because of the similarity to having choices.

Choice’s stem from the knowledge and information our brains have accrued over the years. It’s impossible to make a choice that is not part of such programming. Choices arise in response to a situation and that situation (or something very similar) must have been part of past experience for the brain to draw upon.

It’s a simple matter of observation to see how our choices arise. To choose something you need to have knowledge of it. If you have never encountered an orange before, the choice between an orange and an apple doesn’t exist – you just take the apple. Once you have knowledge of oranges, you then have a choice.

When it comes to social, moral and behavioural issues, again, it is impossible to make a judgement if you have no background information to draw upon. What seems like free will is where you open yourself to new information and have that new perspective to draw upon. This may require a degree of focussed awareness.

Awareness and openness to arising situations go hand-in-hand as all life situations are vibrant and new. Even new information may be used inappropriately where there is not a recognition of the uniqueness of each situation and moment.

Determinism is simply an aging concept that is growing out of date.

Notions of cause and effect behind Determinism are linear.

But effects in complex systems are not.

Ten times the effort to produce an effect may only result in a 5% change, or worse, a negative interaction resulting in decline in a host of systems. Whereas a 1x or 2x effort is below threshold and produces zero change regardless of its sustained duration. And yet a sustained 3x effort after a short period unleashes a reaction of near parabolic increase in outcome. If that 3x effort isn't sustained the system implodes after a time and now it takes a ten times effort to reform and restart it.

The complexity of systems is practically unpredictable. And so are our choices, as a result of the complexity within and around us.

Therefore there can be cause. But effect has its own life.

Spence, you should educate yourself about science before spouting absurd comments like the one above. Determinism isn't outmoded. It is the foundation of science, of reality, of human life. Non-linear systems are deterministic. Chaotic systems are deterministic. These are simple facts. But you love to twist reality to fit your own subjective beliefs, rather than adjusting your beliefs to reality. Your path is the outmoded religious path of dogmatism. Mine is the modern path of knowing reality as it is, not as how we'd like it to be. I'm glad to be on that path.

RSSB and the crook gurinder singh dhillon brain wash sangats minds saying that they are suffering because of karma, and a past store of bottomless karma. They are therefore holding the sangat ransom on a sin they know nothing about and on a false promise to heaven if they do their impossible head banging meditation - which has an impossible objective for most. This belief, a lie, gets embedded in the sangats psyche, and anchors them to come back to this hell hole of suffering again and again. Gurinder You are a murderer, obtained fraudulent billions from your nephew's, your own blood and you yourself cannot measure up to your ideals. Yet you can sit on stage posing as an enlightened god, talking nothingness in satsangs. You love the suffering of others while you and your sons live in absolute luxury.

Brian, sorry, didn't mean to accidentally step on your beloved dogma with scientific fact.

"Determinism in nature has been shown, scientifically, to be false. There is no real debate about this among physicists. So the question as to whether determinism, if it really existed, would be compatible with free will is merely an academic question, an interesting bit of metaphysical speculation."

"Complexity science, also called complex systems science, studies how a large collection of components – locally interacting with each other at small scales – can spontaneously self-organize to exhibit non-trivial global structures and behaviors at larger scales, often without external intervention, central authorities or leaders. The properties of the collection may not be understood or predicted from the full knowledge of its constituents alone. Such a collection is called a complex system and it requires new mathematical frameworks and scientific methodologies for its investigation. "

One basis of hard scientific evidence that determinism, in any practical form, is obsolete in describing complex systems, like human beings. Where outcomes arise that are unexpected even with the best mathematical modeling.

Just bringing you up to speed...
"A complex system is a system composed of many components which may interact with each other. Examples of complex systems are Earth's global climate, organisms, the human brain, infrastructure such as power grid, transportation or communication systems, complex software and electronic systems, social and economic organizations (like cities), an ecosystem, a living cell, and ultimately the entire universe.

"Complex systems are systems whose behavior is intrinsically difficult to model due to the dependencies, competitions, relationships, or other types of interactions between their parts or between a given system and its environment. Systems that are "complex" have distinct properties that arise from these relationships, such as nonlinearity, emergence, spontaneous order, adaptation, and feedback loops, among others. Because such systems appear in a wide variety of fields, the commonalities among them have become the topic of their independent area of research. In many cases, it is useful to represent such a system as a network where the nodes represent the components and links to their interactions.


"Complex adaptive systems are special cases of complex systems that are adaptive in that they have the capacity to change and learn from experience. Examples of complex adaptive systems include the stock market, social insect and ant colonies, the biosphere and the ecosystem, the brain and the immune system, the cell and the developing embryo, the cities, manufacturing businesses and any human social group-based endeavor in a cultural and social system such as political parties or communities."


Hi Brian
You wrote, "Chaotic systems are deterministic."

No that isn't exactly so...

"Small differences in initial conditions, such as those due to errors in measurements or due to rounding errors in numerical computation, can yield widely diverging outcomes for such dynamical systems, rendering long-term prediction of their behavior impossible in general.[7] This can happen even though these systems are deterministic, meaning that their future behavior follows a unique evolution[8] and is fully determined by their initial conditions, with no random elements involved.[9] In other words, the deterministic nature of these systems does not make them predictable.[10][11] This behavior is known as deterministic chaos, or simply chaos. The theory was summarized by Edward Lorenz as:[12]

"Chaos: When the present determines the future, but the approximate present does not approximately determine the future."

And the only present we can know is approximate.

Hence, determinism is only a theory, and unprovable, since we rely upon imperfect measurement to confirm it.

All of the sciences today are probabalistic, where Degrees of Freedom determine the likelihood of actually identifying a true cause. Those degrees of freedom are part and parcel of the mathematics of research.

We cannot prove our system of reality is a closed system, which would be necessary to prove determinism.

Science has proven, both at the quantum level and the complex systems level, that determinism is not proven. And Chaos theory is one well-documented argument why... That we simply can never measure with enough accuracy to predict long-term outcomes, even when all elements appear to be deterministic.

Both chaos theory and complex systems reflect the three body problem, where results cannot be predicted reliably and accurately.

Functionally, determinism is too simple, too linear and formulated long before even common methods of statistics used in all of today's research design were developed.

New ideas, new direction, awakenings entirely unpredictable happen. And when they happen in you, you now have choices you never had before, greater freedom of choice and the will to use it. Results that no one could have predicted. Relative free will.

"Those degrees of freedom are part and parcel of the mathematics of research."

There is actually an assumption that there are more variables at work freely than we can know... Built into all hard and soft scientific methods, to help prove the likelihood of a cause. The likelihood requires a threshold of variability due to the unknown.

That flies in the face of determinism as a sweeping generality for all reality. The scientific method we use today is based in part on determinism and in part on unpredictability that can arise from no detectable cause. Both.

There, I didn’t connect the fact that all our choices having their origins from the mass of information our brains have imbibed during our lifetime equates to determinism. So, same thing, I guess.

Determinism states that occurrences in nature, or social or psychological phenomena are causally determined by preceding events or natural laws. That’s just plain common sense – and if one is aware enough, observable in the everyday, minute-to-minute thoughts and actions that continually arise.

Of course, if one believes in a free will then it must rankle somewhat. Where Spence introduces something called ‘relative’ free will, that sounds an awful lot like the new information that the brain continually has access to and has taken onboard, furthering the natural choices available to the brain/body organism. Still, not free will – although I can see that such new information and the ensuing choices may feel a little like a free will.

The concept of free will being a dualistic doctrine attempts to divide man from his natural life, and for that reason free will can only ever be a religious doctrine.

Hi Ron
You wrote
"The concept of free will being a dualistic doctrine attempts to divide man from his natural life, and for that reason free will can only ever be a religious doctrine."

My argument was not for free will but to share how outdated the concept of determinism is, when used to describe all reality.

As for free will, it is an obvious practical reality and the basic foundation of personal responsibility, putting aside any arcane and pointless theological arguments.

Every scientific experiment relies upon a measure of statistical significance against a background of" random", uncontrolled variability. That variability has no known cause at all. Without establishing a threshold of indeterminate variability, statistical significance can't be established to prove that one independent variable does indeed determine one or more dependent variables.

In quantum mechanics as well as complex systems, exact prediction can never be achieved and attempts at prediction are often far off the mark . In chaos theory entirely unpredictable events can arise, simply because we can't know all the variables and their interactions.

Therefore apparently new things take place all the time. And new ideas, and need awakenings.

You can try to claim all this takes place within a larger universal determinism, but that is pure speculation and has been largely disproven.. What evidence every experiment reveals is that there is more going on than we currently understand, and that this system of reality may not be entirely closed.

And that is why free will is important. Not to prove God exists, but to acknowledge that we can't nor should attempt to predict, codify, or control the lives of others when we can never know what is really in them and what is their next best step in their own progress.

If strict determinism, as a universal principle, is disproven in every experiment in science, then it can't be used to make any claims for or against God.

As for dualism, that happens whenever a person takes a side on an issue. They indulge at that point in dualism.

But nature is far more complex, and we should avoid trying to contain it, assuming it to be a closed system, in our limited thinking.

I think we become one with nature when we lean to observe and appreciate.

Spenser stop spamming the blogs, go and preach on rssb sites where the blind sangat will welcome your babble, and endless preaching of nothings - rather like gurinder singh dhillon does.

Karma is something which many religions go by but none can prove. As no one even knows that the word Karma even is a reality or a religious lie.

Going by Radha Soami and Gurinder Singh Dhilion it has to be a lie!

Just look at Gurinder Singh Dhilions record of fraud and criminal Karma it can put anyone to shame. The little man has no shame he sits on stage and blah blah blah and then gets off and sets off again on a path of greed and lies.

Has he no shame? Doesn't he even think of his Karma? So why does he tell the vuneranle gullible sangat too?

A Contradicting Donkey is in play here

Save the lies Gurinder Singh Dhilion you're EXPOSED as anyone with a IQ of even 1 can see through you're petty lies

Live life forget the Karma crap these so called clowns like Gurinder Singh Dhilion have invented to control and manipulate the millions

It's for them and not for us, shove it Gurinder Singh Dhilion


Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)


  • Welcome to the Church of the Churchless. If this is your first visit, click on "About this site--start here" in the Categories section below.
  • HinesSight
    Visit my other weblog, HinesSight, for a broader view of what's happening in the world of your Church unpastor, his wife, and dog.
  • BrianHines.com
    Take a look at my web site, which contains information about a subject of great interest to me: me.
  • Twitter with me
    Join Twitter and follow my tweets about whatever.
  • I Hate Church of the Churchless
    Can't stand this blog? Believe the guy behind it is an idiot? Rant away on our anti-site.