Beyond Karma

Prashant Sharma psharma at BUPHY.BU.EDU
Wed Mar 18 11:43:57 CST 1998

On Wed, 18 Mar 1998, Jonathan Bricklin wrote:
> [...] as long as we have a belief in free will we experience ourselves
>as individuals

        Individuality (and the experience of it) is something more than
what arises from a belief in free will.  It is knowledge itself. How do
you explain the fact that two people react in very different ways in the
same situation.  You have to admit that they *are different beings* and
this is not something related to their will but more to their

 > [...]
> The non-existence of free will applies to every level of reality including
> the one members of this list server are on.  Thoughts arise.  You cannot
> make a thought.  Free will is not some state you exist on at the
> vyavaharika level, it is a misinterpretation--communicated through such
> emotions as pride, guilt, anxiety--of  the feeling of choice.  A thought to
> act has an immediate connection to our motor responses unless a competing
> thought robs it of its energy.  What seems like the surge of assertion that
> goes into a feeling of a willed response is the release of the energy from
> the thought that loses out.   What makes one thought linger more than
> another and thus dominate a particular outcome is not knowable.  Any
> analogy with making something--which a belief in free will demands--does
> not apply, since making something implies knowledge of the thing being
> made, how it is brought about.

        Free will is really a matter of choice that is present (goes with
the individual), rather
than of "making something new".  It is not too difficult to take the view
that nothing "new" is ever created (in the sense that the knowledge of it
didnot exist in some form).  However, even that view doesn't deny the freedom
of choice that an individual has. Let me state it this way.  The knowledge
of individuality is inherent and has nothing to do with a belief system
but more to do with the way the thing is structured.  Along with this
comes the knowledge of choice and thence free will.  I really don't see
how you can deny that.

> Metta,
> Jonathan Bricklin
> Brickmar at
> ----------------
> "Nor ever [it] was, nor will [it] be, since now [it] is all together, one,
> continuous,"
> Parmenides

Prashant Sharma.

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list