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Posted May 17, 2012 by Jim Centi in Open

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commented on Dec. 6, 2014
by dustproduction



The debates over free will are beginning to rage and in my opinion, will continue much like the evolution vs. creationism, intelligent design debate; humanity will remain split over the issue.

I became interested in the issue many years ago as I was learning to meditate; thoughts would appear apparently from nowhere and I had no choice in the matter.

More interesting than the debate, is the growing consensus that the “I” that experiences thought is an illusion.

Rather than take a firm stand on any of this, as I did in another topic, I will wait and see what IONS has to say about this in its Noetic Now Journal, Seminars or perhaps in these Discussions.

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction Dec 06, 2014

    "A new study tested whether people believe free will arises from a metaphysical basis or mental capacity. Even though most respondents said they believed humans to have souls, they judged free will and assigned blame for transgressions based on pragmatic considerations — such as whether the actor in question had the capacity to make an intentional and independent choice."

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    dustproduction Jul 04, 2014

    Rereading the recent comments again I noticed it was being suggested that it is the BELIEF in free will that matters, not the existence of actual free will in an individual. This is much like the belief in a god; the existence of the god is of little consequence, it is the belief that acts as a motivator in the individual.
    Hasn't our understanding of things moved beyond this simplistic model of thinking? The answer is no, not for the majority.

  • NoetPoet Jun 10, 2014

    "For people who don't believe in a higher power (like GOD, etc) there has to be a belief in free will.Because if everything around is governed by science then we have to have free will.If we don't have free will then we are following someone else's will (which is contradictory)."

    No that doesn't follow. Just because no one else is controlling your will doesn't mean that your will is "free".

    "Anyway let me ask this.What if someone decides to take his own life in future (after 5 days) just to prove that there is free will.Are you saying that circumstances will change so drastically for that person that he/she wouldn't be able to execute his decision , if it's not meant to be?Or may be you will say that He/She was destined to die as a plan."

    Whether he takes his own life as originally intended or not has nothing to do with "free" will. If we could look closely enough at the workings of his mind we could see that his ultimate decision was entirely a product of various information, environmental conditions, external events, and the conditioned thinking processes and habits of his own mind - whether he takes his life or not. Destiny has nothing to do with it.

    "Now let me change the factors a little.What if not a single person but a lot of individuals just as an experiment decide to do something in future.If not taking their life, may be something less drastic like slapping a stranger on a busy street or running nude, etc.Do you think this act will prove free will? or will they not be able to do so because circumstance will prevent it from happening?"

    No it wouldn't prove free will. If they carry out their plan as intended, all it will show is that they calculated - according to criteria ultimately given by their biology, past experiences and environment - that the benefits of carrying out the plan exceeded the costs.

  • Anonymous Icon

    hemantprana Jun 10, 2014

    For people who don't believe in a higher power (like GOD, etc) there has to be a belief in free will.Because if everything around is governed by science then we have to have free will.If we don't have free will then we are following someone else's will (which is contradictory).

    Anyway let me ask this.What if someone decides to take his own life in future (after 5 days) just to prove that there is free will.Are you saying that circumstances will change so drastically for that person that he/she wouldn't be able to execute his decision , if it's not meant to be?Or may be you will say that He/She was destined to die as a plan.

    Now let me change the factors a little.What if not a single person but a lot of individuals just as an experiment decide to do something in future.If not taking their life, may be something less drastic like slapping a stranger on a busy street or running nude, etc.Do you think this act will prove free will? or will they not be able to do so because circumstance will prevent it from happening?

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction Jun 10, 2014

    For some the brain is just 3 pounds of flesh but to others it is a complex grouping of components from which the conscious experience and a sense of self as a knower arises.

    “I Know You Are But What Am I?!”: Neural Bases of Self- and Social Knowledge Retrieval in Children and Adults

    "Previous neuroimaging research with adults suggests that the medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC) and the medial posterior parietal cortex (MPPC) are engaged during self-knowledge retrieval processes. However, this has yet to be assessed in a developmental sample. Twelve children and 12 adults (average age = 10.2 and 26.1 years, respectively) reported whether short phrases described themselves or a highly familiar other (Harry Potter) while undergoing functional magnetic resonance imaging. In both children and adults, the MPFC was relatively more active during self- than social knowledge retrieval, and the MPPC was relatively more active during social than self-knowledge retrieval. Direct comparisons between children and adults indicated that children activated the MPFC during self-knowledge retrieval to a much greater extent than adults. The particular regions of the MPPC involved varied between the two groups, with the posterior precuneus engaged by adults, but the anterior precuneus and posterior cingulate engaged by children. Only children activated the MPFC significantly above baseline during self-knowledge retrieval. Implications for social cognitive development and the processing functions performed by the MPFC are discussed."

  • Joseph Smith May 09, 2013

    Illusion or reality? I spent a couple of years on my sailboat on the South Atlantic Ocean. It was just me, the water and heavens. When I left that life, I was different. When I went to sea, my life was in ruins. After I left the sea, I lived a charmed life. Are we personally responsible for making our own lives? The government entitled, like Pavlog's dogs, jump through the hoops of the master..

    John Newton was the captain of a slave ship. In a storm one night, he came to believe that God saved his life. He became a Methodist minister, and wrote a favorite hymn, "Amazing Grace." "Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I first was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see." Jesus said that you can't serve two masters. While I was at sea, I learned that had God not been there, I would not be here.

  • NoetPoet May 07, 2013

    I think you're onto something when you talk about the "I" being illusory. If the I is illusory, then the freedom of that I's will must also be illusory.

    Free will might be one of those things which only exists when you look at it from a certain perspective. For example, a high school student faced with a choice between going to university or doing an apprenticeship when they graduate has a freedom of choice between these two options, and because they have that freedom of choice we might reasonably say that they have the free will to choose their path. But once the student actually makes a choice, we can analyse that choice and see how various internal and external factors conspired to ensure that the student would and could have only made that choice. So I guess you could say that free will exists when you look prospectively at a choice which hasn't been made yet, but not retrospectively when you look at a choice which has already been made.

    So we could, crudely speaking, say that free will exists in the future but not in the past. But what about the present? Going back to the high school student example, let's suppose that the student has to make the choice on their high school graduation day. As graduation day approaches, the student thinks about the options more and gathers more information about them. As the student does this a clearer picture emerges of which option best fits the student's notions of an "optimal choice". By the time graduation day arrives, it has (hopefully!) become obvious to the student which option they "should" pursue given their assumptions, accumulated information, and thought processes. In effect, the student has exchanged freedom of will and uncertainty for information and greater certainty about which option they should take. Limitations (including information) allow possibilities to become actualities, but in return other possibilities must be sacrificed. We could also regard the infinitesimal present moment as a limit, and say that free will approaches zero as time (for a future decision) approaches the present:

    lim (time --> present) Free Will = 0

    So to summarise: free will is a product of uncertainty which exists in the future but disappears as the moment of decision approaches, and doesn't exist in the past.

  • James Davis Apr 25, 2013

    Freedom is freedom from forms, physical, mental, emotional. People are in to forms, so not much freedom. Most so-called freedom is a "form of illusion." But freedom is real, powerful and eternally and ultimately triumphant.

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    shapes Apr 25, 2013

    The hard thing about these kind of questions is that the answers sort of "loop". Every man who lives, has lived and will ever live on this earth has been, is and will be a product of all that has been before them. Everyone is programmed by enviorment and genetics. Considering this it appears as if we don't have a free will.

    But then again, The enviorment and genes are controlled by our will to some degree. Its as if this iternal circle started at the beginning of man kind and from those decisions that these early humans made comes the product that is us.

    Its a hard question because it looks as if both answers are right. Its like asking who came first, the chicken or the egg.

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction Mar 14, 2013

    Well, well well. I look forward to more info about this.


    Measurements of human brain signals on the level of neurons and synapses have long shown that acts of will are preceded by a buildup of neural activity in the brain. These signals can begin up to seconds before a person is consciously aware of the exercise of volition, according to the weight of data, Tse explains.
    Until now, neuroscientists have argued that because this buildup of signals comes before a person acts, or is even conscious of having decided to act, free will cannot exist, because it would require that a thought causes itself to exist before it exists.

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction Jul 30, 2012

    RE: .. if his (Holmes) shooting rampage could in some strange way be related to the Neuroscience material that proclaims free will is an Illusion?

    The suggestion that James Holmes was motivative in any way by "Neuroscience material" is a sad comment. Holmes also did a presentation on “temporal illusions” and “subjective experience” when he was in high school. Does this prove anything. No.
    Let's let the facts surface.
    Where is the compassion?

  • Anonymous Icon

    Jim Centi Jul 21, 2012


    You are voicing a worldview of which I share an affinity. I believe that the concept “I” is not a reality, but the result of inappropriate cultural conditioning. It seems impossible to speak without referring to the imaginary concept “I”.

    You seem to be supporting a view expressed in my previous comment that Holmes may have been acting out of a selfless ideological worldview, which is considered outrageously stupid or mentally deranged in our society.

    As his trial begins, we will learn if he was acting out of a selfless ideological worldview or if he was experiencing a psychotic episode.


    I am not assuming he was intelligent, I'm going by news commentary that says he was highly intelligent. Of course, we cannot always rely on what the news says.

  • Theoldman Jul 21, 2012

    The areas that I visited of my personal journey were mostly in cultures that did not have first person pronouns - or the word " I " was not in their point of view, language or relationships around them. There name was given by their matriarchs and as they grew they were given different names. The names given were a direct relationship to the attributes they displayed in community - that emulated the world around them. The consequence of these cultural relationships did not separate the human from the direct environment. This is their way of being and see those who have a centric sense of separateness or the "I" of entitlement as "the fall of humanity."
    When I visited these cultures in remote areas, where they do not like outsiders; in order to enter into their community there are levels of acceptance based on your behavior and understanding of all your surroundings. I was traveling to study healing techniques and their "alternative view of reality." What I came to understand that once I encountered one of these cultures - the next culture knew that I was "walking with that understanding" and frequently said : welcome back as if speaking to an old friend. I started to experience a completely different level of humanity once the " I " disappeared. The best way to summarize this is in this phrase; humanity is an individual species not a species of individuals - nor separate from all of creation. When you can find your place in this world - you thrive, because you are doing and relating directly to the change of the cosmos as it happens in it's totality. We are but "eye" balls for creation to witness change.

  • charliet Jul 20, 2012

    Just because a person is a PHD or is enrolled in studies to be a PHD it does not make them intelligent. Many lightly educated people are far more intelligent in regards to life and what is proper in this world, and we must live in this world, than someone with multiple degrees.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Jim Centi Jul 20, 2012

    This is an addendum to my previous comment.

    Those who have previously written about the freewill revelation by Neuroscience have stated that it is unlikely that freewill will be incorporated into society because it would destroy the legal system that is based on personal responsibility.

    Consider this: the news reports state that Holmes was a brilliant student of Neuroscience and that he surrendered to police as if his surrender was planned.

    It may be possible that Holmes’s intention is to have a defense that involves a cadre of Neuroscientists testifying that freewill is an illusion. In doing so, he may not go free, but because the trial is certain to get a lot of publicity, he will have succeeded in bringing credibility to the freewill material and placed it in the awareness of the general public. Also, he may believe that his efforts will cause a crack in the cosmic egg of the judicial system.

    Aside from the tragedy of the incident, Holmes’s intention may be based on an extreme idealistic perspective.

    Perhaps it takes a wacko to think like a wacko.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Jim Centi Jul 20, 2012

    I notice in the news that Colorado shooting suspect who killed 12, James Holmes was in a Neuroscience PhD program.

    I wonder if his shooting rampage could in some strange way be related to the Neuroscience material that proclaims free will is an Illusion?

  • A I Jul 11, 2012

    Since I’m limited in Character’s I’ll paste this is 3 sections: Numbering them 1, 2 and 3.

    I like you, thought long on free will. My answer finally after many years was it's a paradox. We both are free and it's also predetermined.
    We can look at a mountain from various relative perspectives and also know the mountain, in a trascendant way. All have there place.
    Will as we know it is seated, and exists in a compelx and simple series of spectrums of intellgience which are interconnected with their objective ecosystems related to our systems.
    If you consider the idea we in our earlier stages work on beavhioral or causial responsivness, and perhaps as we evolve we go with the flow, the differnce is our self concept changed.
    My sugestion that the universe is rooted in intellgience or responsivness that is universal. the human organism is a collective, with autonomus parts, and governed limtedly by a concsious manager, but again we have values, and the environment shapes our unconcsiosu values/images the forge emotions and beleifs and on level of consciosuness we have reason, or comparison relegated by limit and then imagination also relagated by limit. AS we go beyond this, remove the I, we perhaps see from a differnt level, moving to colective then to flow with universal.
    It's od as reality is a single event. It's causial at one level, and as it become smore subtle, it breeds dimentionality and eventually trascendance.
    We remove false belifs and interact more with reality. SOme can develope abilties that allow for precognition and see energy as it flows subtly, rather tahn superficiality, so we have choci again to jump here....all based on our nature or this or that.
    So we are free, and not free. We have choice but when based on limit, it is limited, when based more and leaning more to the perfect, then choice again dispears.....
    That strage idea that the universe is paradox.

  • A I Jul 11, 2012


    Why we struggle with self determination...is interesting. It is a existential time when we reflect on oruselves and the world, that is often nonsensical.....or we are confronted with limit adn also mental obsticles...and yet with otu consciosu midn can see they are beleifs regulated by autonomic emotional motivators based on desire...so depending on the level of self value we beleive we ar the doer or we feel victims.
    In the end we are in a cycle of thought abstractionism and at some times we abadon it as we gather that thougth itself is the problem.
    The struggle with individuality is an odd one. The ideas of death, vulerability, and the modern mind's insceeant attempts to maintain youth and life against the natural flow...I often thought that the balance to entropy was life. But again, odd place to be.
    I was for many years caught up in free wil because I have had precogs for 15 years now. It was frustrating. OFten I battled with it as precogs are troublesome when they arent good news. I saw any event that was of note in my life almsot daily. I went through many years of incredible suffering so that caused me to really investigate it. We want good news and the idea of being predetermined and it's not particularly delightful. Haha. To be able to change it. Hmm.
    In the end, one finds, what we seek really is freedom, but in the sense of wel being. Self authority in the sense of not being moved by outward events, internally. TO escape the bonds of desire and reach clarity, and to see with clarity and further, perhaps we feel more free, but again the above mentioned, choice again dissapaears.
    Ha, some peopel have terror from cnsidering the infinite...of te idea oppoite of that of vulerabiltiy and limit to being unborn and such thoughts of terms realted to immortality....all again swirl aroudn the I. Thought. Which I saw, wel stated, thought is a tool. So in a weird way lliek the movie the matrix, it was AI that went awry....haha.
    Odd, albeit this is an opinion. I always have you midn that. I remain always skeptical.
    My parapshycological studies when I did them years ago were about seeing events ahead of time as I wanted to find some basic blocks to argue reality from basic asumptions. BUt, now i suppose, I see time and space as not so much illusion but assets or symtoms of an area of reality, they apply and are to be respected. At other levels, it's difffernt.
    AM I certain my opinion, again no, I reamain skeptical.
    I do consider that what now takes me attention is well being. Inner peace. Ending sufffering and forging and repairing community, since suffering has alot to do with security based on community trust.

  • A I Jul 11, 2012


    Alot of why we seek certain infomation has perhas to do with ideals and blame and suffering.
    Stil see the coming evnts almost daily after 20 years. Stil not used to it. One thing you do start to realize is that the world below is change. So that, odd, good or bad, it changes. AN din that we find secuirty in all things, of change itself, in time, since, time[change] is dependable.
    I recall Rudolf Steienr saying there were 2 evils. Ahrimanism and Luciferism. That of mechanisation and narccissm or want of total freedom, of total intellgience....and that, the are of the good was the blance, to walk that fine line. Thus the Rule of the Christ was evenness, justness, balance and temperance. All weird stuff.
    Odd as I write more I become aware what I say is just words...and my own ranting becomes vapid...as it's endowed with, admitteldy, some self promotion, and thus it gets annoying as, words in the end....I have a life to live. It's sweetest when its free of selfishness....which does not mean I'm a flaggilant, or mascochist, jsut that it wastes energy..............so much loving to do, so much richness in even the smallest things.....
    In an "Ode to grecian Urn", the quote, 'truth is beauty, beauty is truth'. This world is rich, even moment adn quality of our experience is so full and complete if we forge a relationship with it...enter into monotheism, which jsut is, awareness that there is one....that all this is a single event......the personal struggles of life, we fall back and see that, gemerations of men, empires have come and gone and we are a imesurably small part of soemthing so great, we are a wave on the beach.....
    Yet out lives are precious beyond any measure. Mortality endows us with a change to appreciate what we have......
    Anyway, i can rant on can't I?

  • slowlygetnthar May 29, 2012

    Hi Jim, This definition of enlightenment as expanded awareness on a specific topic gives me pause and made me re-examine my assumption that it mean connecting with the eternal.

    I tried to introduce the question about should sciences teach compassion, but the postings were derailed by the usual attacks of the mindless copy/paster. I have begun to think that compassion can be transmitted in every discipline/job/daily life. It's just so far from the forefront of most human mind's on a daily basis.

    Essentially, the appreciation of which you speak would be like an appreciation of the Tao. This is a starting place for me to actually comprehend/digest what you are saying. Hope I am on the right track...

  • Anonymous Icon

    Jim Centi May 28, 2012


    Responding to your first comment “Do you really think the new world view will permeate and proliferate?.....etc.

    My comment states “The compassionate world may or may not occur during our lifetime, etc.”

    So far, the new worldview has been presented to what could be referred to as the academic community. We have not yet seen how the academic community will cause the new worldview to filter into other segments of the population. I am confident that IONS will eventually address this and when it does; we will have a better indication as to how the new world view will filter into other segments of the population.

    Regarding your second comment “but wouldn't enlightenment mean connection to the eternal?”

    Enlightenment means different things to different people. It has been described on this site as simply an expanded awareness on a specific issue without reference to the eternal.

    You are right; in its supreme or purest stage it provides an experience of the eternal. This is reflected in my sentence “This spiritual enlightenment can evolve to an appreciation of something that was never born and will never die.” This would be an experience of the eternal.

  • slowlygetnthar May 27, 2012

    Jim, I really appreciate what you said here: In my opinion, the previously unrecognized peace of mind, when experienced in its purest form, is spiritual enlightenment. This spiritual enlightenment can evolve to an appreciation of something that was never born and will never die.

    Currently, I am puzzling over the last part of it. Maybe I am being too cerebral, but wouldn't enlightenment mean connection to the eternal?~ sorta like a lightning bolt that understanding would be inherent, I would think....but I like the way you said what you said. I will leave it alone....but I will keep thinking on it...

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction May 27, 2012

    re: ego
    If one subscribes to the understandings of Brian Josephson, he explains that it is important to retain so of the organizing abilities of the ego. Ordinary consciousness, as we are experiencing it in this moment is "egoic". The ego "dominates everything" and one is no longer open to the influences and intuitions of the pre-egoic child.

    How do we achieve a trans-egoic state now that the ego has gained dominance?
    This is the point about how we learn language as children and incur accents when we acquire language once the developmental ends.

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction May 27, 2012

    Francis Crick has pointed out that even the simplest act requires vast amounts of neural activity that happens at a level below our awareness, "What you're aware of is a decision, but you're not aware of what makes you do the decision. It seems to be free but it is the result of things you're not aware of. Still, the perceptive to consciousness is we choose.
    If free will is an illusion, it is a necessary one, more so even than God. William James once wrote, "My first act of free will shall be to believe in free will."

  • slowlygetnthar May 27, 2012

    Hi Jim,
    Do you really think the new world view will permeate and proliferate? I see much of society caught in a rut and most folks just looking to resolve their daily needs, without a whole lot of thought about our purpose or direction.

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction May 27, 2012

    In Brief
    Most of us believe that we are free because, under identical circumstances, we could have acted otherwise. Determinism—the idea that all particles in the universe follow set trajectories—challenges this idea.
    Theories to explain the potential origins of free will draw on physics, including Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle.
    Whether or not free will exists, psychology and neuroscience are beginning to explain why we feel as if we can influence our destiny.


  • Anonymous Icon

    Jim Centi May 27, 2012

    This may appear to be repeating a previous post, but there is value in repeating with a new twist.

    A new worldview from neuroscience is being introduced to the academic community. The intention is that it will filter from the academic community through other segments of society.

    Succinctly stated, the new worldview holds that freewill is an illusion and the ego or “I” that experiences freewill also an illusion. This new worldview holds the promise of a more kind and compassionate world. Let me explain.

    The illusion of freewill generates the illusion of ego. The desires of the ego generate the “service to self” mentality.

    The negative influence of the service to self mentality is staggering. Consider how this mentality has contributed to political corruption, corporate greed and a general aggressiveness in society. This primitive service to self mentality breeds a malevolent deceit that permeates society.

    The service to self mentality has had a negative effect on the environment, contributed to continuous wars and large segments of the population being victims of both overt and covert aggression, violence and even dying of hunger.

    This new worldview resonates with the spiritual mandate that encourages enlightenment through a detachment from ego. The new worldview augments the spiritual perspective by pointing out that both freewill and the ego are illusions.

    When this new worldview is accepted and experienced by the population in sufficient numbers, it will cause a quantum leap in our mental evolution and individuals will enjoy a previously unrecognized peaceful state of mind and a more kind and compassionate world.

    The compassionate world may or may not occur during our lifetime, but we can watch it unfold as we begin to enjoy a previously unrecognized peace of mind that it provides for us as individuals.

    In my opinion, the previously unrecognized peace of mind, when experienced in its purest form, is spiritual enlightenment. This spiritual enlightenment can evolve to an appreciation of something that was never born and will never die.

  • slowlygetnthar May 25, 2012

    Jim, I completely agree with your assessment of the problems of ego and the abuse of others to gain ego-gratification. I also think most problems could be resolved by the means you suggest. I have always thought that if people would just take responsibility for their actions (which is ego subjugation), then, the planet would be peaceful.

    Essentially, I do believe most of human behavior is simply primal. An example of this: at a young age, practicing lathi & bojitsu, which are martial arts involving sticks, I noticed that if a male examined the bo stick, he immediatedly tried to test its strength to see if he could break it. To me, that is primal mentality. Women did not do the same behavior, so I found this to be a little study in observing primal nature.

    Road rage is a good example of primal behavior~~fear of crashing = anger = violence OR inability to be unable to control someone else's vehicle/behavior = frustration & anger = rage violence. Lately, I have wondered if obsessive shopping behavior (displayed by many of my female relatives) is really just the modern form/outlet/expression of hunting and gathering behaviors which women traditionally did/do in ancient and modern developing societies. The brain is still programmed to these behaviors/reactions.

    I think that meditation and martial arts, transcendental practices, etc.,... may help us do better, but how much of our thinking/behavior is just hard-wired primal critter thinking that we believe we have overcome due to our veneer of technological achievement?

  • Anonymous Icon

    Jim Centi May 25, 2012

    Can we see that the illusion of freewill supports the illusion of ego? Can we see that when these two illusions are transcended, nonduality and self-transcendence are experienced?

    Political corruption, corporate greed and aggression toward others are caused by egos and their quest for self esteem; it is expressed as service to self.

    Transcendence of the free will and ego illusions on a massive scale would have a profound benefit within the world. It would eradicate the primitive behavior pattern of service to self.

    The population of the world must be led to recognize that transcendence of the illusions of free will and ego represents a quantum leap in the mental evolution of our species. When this occurs to a sufficient degree, individuals will experience previously unrecognized inner peace and the population will experience a benevolent, loving planet.

    Of course, all this is simply my opinion.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Jim Centi May 22, 2012


    You say “But why do we participate in this reality?

    From your comment I sense that you are not comfortable with this material related to free will. I suggest that you back off from it for a while.

    I feel confident that IONS will eventually address this matter in a compassionate manner that will not be uncomfortable for us.

  • slowlygetnthar May 22, 2012

    Glad you are otay, Jim. I also like Moretocome's articulation/codification of "reality."

    But why do we participate in this reality?

  • moretocome May 21, 2012

    Dear Jim,

    THANK YOU for your incredibly kind words. Your additional comment regarding the lottery ticket made me laugh. :-) I'm very pleased that the post had the effect that it did.

    I consider it an honor and privilege to have met you through IONS. You embody open-mindedness, complete respect, and self-effacing courtesy to others. I have NO DOUBT that you bless others offline (in the 'real' world) as you do here. If you have, in fact, wandered from the 'path' (as you say you have), we should all be so lucky to end up where you've wandered. :-)

    I also look forward to our continuing interaction. As always, Love and Peace to you, my friend.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Jim Centi May 20, 2012


    There’s no need to try and cheer me up. Reading moretocome’s comments was like finding a winning ticket to the spiritual lottery that had been hidden in an old pair of jeans for several years.

    If this is going to make sense to you, it may be practical to somewhat grog moretocome’s comments. When I use the terms “absolute truth” or “relative truth, I will be referring to how the terms are used in his comments.

    Following my experience some forty years ago, I became greatly influenced by the perspective of “Absolute Truth”. I saw much of humanity as existing on the realm of relative truth, experiencing the illusion of free will, in an egocentric manner. Feeling somewhat detached from others, I lived the life of a recluse for many years.

    Within the past few years, I developed the attitude “if you can’t fight em, join em” and in an effort to “fit in” I became an expert at pretending to be completely immersed in the relative truth.

    This is why I was eager to join the neuroscience camp, because they were expressing the view of Absolute Truth that free will is an illusion. I haven’t yet arrived at a position on neuroscience yet; many of them may be simply experiencing absolute truth or the illusion of free will on a conceptual level rather than an experiential level. I doubt if the neuroscientists who are devotees of scientific materialism will understand what I am saying at all.

    Getting away from all this conceptual crap, to show you that I haven’t lost my sense of humor, I will quote George Carlin: “By and large, language is a tool for concealing the truth.”

    P.S. There’s a good chance that I will continue to view you as somewhat of an illusion that I really enjoy experiencing.

  • slowlygetnthar May 20, 2012

    I was off again, playing music a long drive from here, so haven't been online much.Yes, Jim, your saying cracked me up, reminding me of Ashley Brilliant comics.

    I was also trying to bring levity, and no one has shown the vaguest inclination towards Sea Monkeys or guessing what flavor Jell-0 holds the universe together! Your sort of deflated state/reaction to the news about "free will" reminds me of the situation I described..but I still believe in love as being one of the "real" things...I think. I hope you don't see yourself as irrelevant and become innert/unmotivated/depressed as a result of your conclusion that we don't have free will. Frankly, I am a little worried about that. So, what would cheer you up with regard to free will and free up your Free Will Willingness to act freely?

  • Anonymous Icon

    Jim Centi May 20, 2012


    Your short post contains more insightful esoteric wisdom than most books I have read. On a deep intuitive level, I accept what you say as a representation of truth.

    I have been spending too much time in the relative realm and have neglected my devotion to the deeper levels. You have shown me how far I have wondered from the path.

    You are a remarkable individual and I look forward to discussions with you, after-- or if --I can become reacquainted with what I have neglected....... Much respect…..Jim

  • moretocome May 20, 2012

    In my view, Free Will depends on which PERSPECTIVE of existence you're focusing on.

    For example, a few different perspectives of existence are as follows:

    1) The Unmanifest

    Description: The Unmanifest is referred to by some as the “Field of All Possibility”. This “Field” is pure, abstract, Infinite Potentiality. All of Creation arose from out of the Unmanifested state.

    Also known as:

    The Void
    Original Source

    The identifiable / knowable aspect of the Unmanifest is no-self.

    2) Absolute Truth

    Description: Absolute Truth is Source emerging from Infinite Potentiality to actualized Oneness of Consciousness. This is the perfect realm of Absolute Truth, Absolute Love, Absolute Knowing, ONE Consciousness, etc.

    Also known as:

    All That Is
    The Whole

    The identifiable / knowable aspect of Absolute Truth is ONE-Self (or God-Self).

    3) Relative “Truth”

    Description: Relative “Truth” is Source in manifested form. This is the relative realm of the Relative Universe, conditional love, limited understanding, ego-consciousness, etc.

    Also known as:

    Relative Universe
    The Hologram
    The Dream

    The identifiable / knowable aspect of Relative “Truth” is ego-self.

    ALL INFORMATION and insight changes depending on which of the three perspectives you're focusing on. When trying to understand any concept, a perspective from the viewpoint of Relative "Truth" can be quite different from the perspective of Absolute Truth. Thus, things will appear to be contradictory. This is simply the result of viewing things through different perspectives of existence.

    From the standpoint of Absolute Truth, there is only One Consciousness. However, in the Relative Universe, everything takes on its own ‘form of Consciousness’. Consciousness, as defined in the dictionary, is “the state of being awake and aware of one’s surroundings”. ‘You’ (as manifested form) are awake and uniquely aware of your individual surroundings. Thus, ‘you’ are individualized Consciousness (individualized Energy).

    As a conscious Being (individualized Consciousness), you have been given the power of thought and free will. The dictionary defines the word ‘conscious’ as “being capable of thought, will, or perception”. Thus, you have the capability of choosing what thoughts to empower (i.e. focus on) and what actions to take (i.e. free will).

    RE: Free Will

    INDIVIDUAL free will only applies to the Relative Universe (i.e. the realm of ILLUSION, maya, etc.). In the realm of Absolute Truth, Source remains as the perfect, undivided Whole (Oneness). Thus, in Absolute Truth, there is no INDIVIDUAL free will because there is ONLY the ONE Will of Source.

    (@ Jim- In a previous post, you mentioned looking at things through various perspectives. As such, that wonderful quality of OPEN-MINDEDNESS affords us the ability to embrace everyone's views as being valid. :-)

  • Anonymous Icon

    Jim Centi May 19, 2012


    I hope that you realize that the absurdity of my previous post was intended as humor. It was simply an attempt to lighten things up a bit.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Jim Centi May 19, 2012


    We’ve been dealing with some profoundly deep philosophical and esoteric issues here and I know you believe you understand what you think I am saying, but I am not sure that you realize that what you believe is not what I mean.

  • Kishi10 May 17, 2012

    In each of us is a spirit that is part of a greater whole. The ego controls the spirit within and we must learn to subdue or kill the ego to be able to connect. This is ancient wisdom imparted to all members of Freemasonry. It is especially necessary for physicists, I would argue.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Jim Centi May 17, 2012

    I also exclude religious types from discussions of science and spirituality.

    The following link was posted to another topic, but it makes a point.

    It takes you to a book entitled “The Universe Solved”. Scan down to page 12 where FREE WILL appears in bold print. On the next page [13] Dean Radin’s experiment is discussed and it is used to make the point that freewill is an illusion.


    Dean seems capable of keeping one leg in each camp i.e. spirituality and science. I think that discussions of freewill and the “I” could result in somewhat of a merger between science and spirituality. Of course, there will be extremists in both camps that will resist such a merger.

    When I consider that freewill and the “I” are illusions, I am forced to enter a realm of wonderment or the mystical. This can lead to an appreciation of what lies beyond the physical domain. [Which is treated as illusion in another topic]

    Perhaps enlightenment simply means “lighten up”.

    I notice that slowleygetnthar has joined us and my fingers are getting too stubby to respond to both of you…later…LOL….Jim

  • slowlygetnthar May 17, 2012

    You should be soooo lucky that I would abandon you...ha! Actually, it's another conference week, so have been away, off & on, again...

    I did not respond to your comments on free will because the material I have seen doesn't lead me to the same conclusion. It could be that I am grossly uninformed and therefore, need to poke around in more readings before I can formulate anything coherent. I was just plain buffaloed as to what to say that might have any relevance.

    Plus, Jim, I _promised_ not to hold your feet to the fire on free will (exercising my free will there : )

    This discussion does remind me of the conundrum I was in when I learned that most relationships with mates blossom due to chemical signals and biological responses. This sure takes the romance outta !LOVE! So, I went through a long period of wondering if there was little or no substance to romantic relationships in which we find ourselves~~is it all chemical magick that is good for 3 years, then, smells like last summer's fishing gear...leading Oscar Wilde to bemoan both polygamy and monogamy as states of having "one wife too many" and someone else to remark on marriage as 3 years of flames and 30 years of ashes....It just sorta shot the scat outta the "soulmates" theory...

    While I do believe the universe and music of the spheres "exist" according to rules, I do not see "reality" as a mechanistic, pre-determined set thing. If it is set, it is more like Jello-0 (what flavor? c'mon take a stab!), has wiggle room, and maybe things take shape more like those colored sands you put in water and they become kaleidoscopic rocks akin to Cinderella's castle or the Addams Family's house, depending on your take on it. If you are really lucky, you get Sea Monkeys!

  • charliet May 17, 2012

    Hi Jim

    You and I have always discussed things normally and respected one anothers outlooks. But I agree, we would get stubby fingers typing back and forth.

    Didn't mean to catalogue all as being narrow minded, just seems to be more science types that can't see the light in the other room come on than there are the ones who go to see who turned it on. By spiritual I am not refering to religious type of people but to the observers of natural state and believers in spirit, "ie" - life after death.

    Think maybe slowlygetnthar is having a nap. LOL.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Jim Centi May 17, 2012


    Thanks for the comment. I considered that I may be standing alone in a room with an eight hundred pound gorilla. Notice how quickly slowlygetnthar abandoned me? :-)

    I tend to disagree with you a bit on how you categorize those for and against free will and the “I” ...i.e. science types vs. spiritual types, but it depends on how we define the “I” that experiences thought.

    Rather than get into this with you, I prefer to stay on a friendly basis with you and wait to see if IONS considers “freewill” and the “I” to be important considerations in the exploration of consciousness.

    I’m beginning to feel like an illusion of an outsider making waves……Jim

  • charliet May 17, 2012

    Hi JIm

    Had a feeling you would post this - if you know what I mean. I believe you are correct in saying that the debate will go on and on ---.

    The nay sayers for "no self" or "I" and that "all is illusion", "no free will", tend to be the scientific data, the math has to work and this must be replicated in the lab type.

    The ones that believe in destiny with free will, that the self and "I" exist, and that all is real and not illusion are the Spiritual type, generally they have experienced something or do experience something that has no scientific explanation other than "its bunk" even though it has been documented and researched by some scientists and doctors.

    I fall into the last category, lets see where others fall. Like you I will opt out of my explanation for my way of seeing things, too complicated.

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