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Does Free Choice Really Exist?

Choice… much do we really have?

What is free will? Is it truly our decision? And what is karma, fate, or predestination?

“All things turn out as they were supposed to” – is one popular axiom. (And one I subscribe to, more or less). So there is this idea, that while we empower ourselves with the notion that we went to Lowes instead of Home Depot because we chose to do so; that in reality the trip to one or the other was decided upon long ago and we are just following a cosmic script as flesh and blood animatronics.

But assuming that things do, indeed, end us as they are intended, surely there is still the moment of decision – a conscious moment of cogitation where we turn left or right – say yes or no – regardless of the inevitability of that decision.  What is it that guides us; leads, nudges, cajoles, pulls, pushes, or whispers to us to make one choice over another? In the grand order of moments and decisions, these would be the mid-tier ones. I have wondered at length on those purely by chance, unknown, unrecognized, unconscious instances of milli-seconds that solely or cumulatively result in a moment either missed or met. And there are the BIG ones – I am taking the red pill or I am taking the blue pill – those are the decisions that could easily be successfully argued as predefined or predetermined. But in between there is this middle layer of choices……..

We are simultaneously as complex and simple as anything living (or not living) on earth. Oh yes but aren’t we special? Snowflakes, each and all of us – unique, one of a kind, unlike any other……ever. You’re a snowflake, and you’re a snowflake…..we’re all snowflakes – let us celebrate our uniqueness……high five!

Yet we are so one-dimensionally and inherently alike, we are much as assembly line cookie cutter stamped figures trundling down a conveyor belt without a whit of a chance of going somewhere other than the end of the line.

We seek love, kindness, admiration, acceptance, and forgiveness. We hunger for the same foods – spiritually. We cry out to the same pains of fear, abandonment, loneliness, and loss. How do we claim to be any different, one from another?

Cut me and I shall bleed; speak hurtfully to me and I shall weep. There are none immune, none who do not ache. Hate to be trite and quote REM, but everybody hurts. Granted, many display it (or not) differently – witness the rise of color in one’s cheeks, or the vein rise and gyrate in the neck or forehead; see the pupils dilate, the eyes moisten; watch the throat, the chest, as breaths quicken and words tighten.

Some will not show it openly at all, but is nothing necessarily indicative of…..nothing?  Does no visible reaction mean no reaction? No feeling? No effect? Of course not! Some hide and mask better than others – but the end result remains the same; consistently and constantly touching all of us – shown outwardly or not.

So given this group mindset, this mass mentality we all share, how do we hope to have freedom of choice and how do we ever make so many decisions every day that invariably vary, person to person? The finest tenets of humanity are pure and sweet and noble – altruistic and heroic and the fuel of ballads. We start out as such fine lumps of clay don’t we? The brilliant light of open honestly and love beams form within each of us at birth.

What turns one into a Chevy owner and the other a Yankees fan? I’m a Pepper and you’re not.

I like sweet foods more than salty. I prefer red meat to fish. I will always opt for pizza and beer over lamb and Pinot Grigio. Am I “wrong”? Of course not!! That is my taste, it’s my genetics hard at work guiding me to personal comfort and satisfaction.

On the other hand, I do not agree with badgering people; belittling them, or berating them. But others do believe in that method – those means to the end. Genetics again? Hardly.

Hhmhmmm. what is that dogged little speck in the salt making the pepper?

Genetics create paths and trails – general passageways upon which we may tend to wander, to roam – at least generally speaking. But they don’t create vast and deep chasms between one person or another. Tastes great, less filling notwithstanding – genetic predispositions do not lead to conflict, to anger, to dislike or even hatred. How do you go from loving all mankind to genocide? (My, but didn’t that escalate quickly?)

So what does this? What takes us from walking home from school in 3rd grade with your head low and your heart lower because you didn’t get any Valentines cards to hating an entire culture or race of people? Granted, ridiculous extremes there, but such as life is often.


Perspective……perception……filters of great magnitude that block, change, alter, manipulate and re-color that pure bright birth light that shines from all of us. It clouds it, masks it, and alters the frequency, the wavelength, and the spectrum.

How we view the moment, the situation, the words or actions of the other person. It runs, rules, this world, insidiously creating enemies out of people so basically and fundamentally alike that one unfamiliar with our race would mistake them as twins. Yet there is this lack of trust, this hatred that permeates their soul and leaves bitter thoughts in their minds and ill wishes in their hearts. Just because they perceive the situation differently. Isn’t that just the damnedest thing you ever heard? 

I am not done, but I am done for now. Chapter one perhaps then – there is so much to be said on this and so little time. Don’t forget my esteemed reader, my audience of one – the fastest way through this thicket of thoughts is to recognize that your own perspective will color it…….

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