Free will is what presumably makes us different from other animals. We believe we have a unique ability to choose and act freely. (See Free Will: Fack or Wishful Thinking?, p.586)
The well-known proverb, “Necessity is the mother of invention”, points to the actual truth. Simply put, necessity is the mother of all choice and action. That obliterates any notion of free will. Nonetheless, the idea of necessity as the mother of invention should have challenged my firm and long-held belief in free will earlier.
Why did it take so long to realize this obvious inconsistency? Undoubtedly, harboring both beliefs offered me the comfort of having it both ways. The comfort that a viewpoint offers us easily overshadows the truth of that view. Looking honestly and impartially at life can be very sobering. It is much easier to remain intoxicated by our long-cherished beliefs, no matter how inconsistent with the facts they are.
This reminds me of chapter 81’s, True speech isn’t beautiful, Beautiful speech isn’t true. I see beautiful synonymous with pleasant, desirable, and comfortable. This comfort issue also reminds me of the Bhagavad Gita, when Krishna (the divine exemplar of yoga) appears before Arjuna in his true infinite form, where upon Arjuna freaks out and pleads for Krishna to return him to the comfortable “PG-13” rated humanist view. These lines are from the end of chapter 11.
11:45 In a vision I have seen what no man has seen before: I rejoice in exultation, and yet my heart trembles with fear. Have mercy upon me, Lord of gods, Refuge of the whole universe: show me again thine own human form.
11:47 By my grace and my wondrous power I have shown to thee, Arjuna. this form supreme made of light, which is the Infinite, the All: mine own form from the beginning, never seen by man before.
1:48 Neither Vedas, nor sacrifices, nor studies, nor benefaction, nor rituals, nor fearful austerities can give the vision of my Form Supreme. Thou alone hast seen this Form, thou the greatest of the Kurus.
11:49 Thou hast seen the tremendous form of my greatness, but fear not, and be not bewildered. Free from fear and with a glad heart see my friendly form again.
11:50 Thus spoke Vasudeva to Arjuna, and revealed himself in his human form. The God of all gave peace to his fears and showed himself in his peaceful beauty.
11:51 When I see thy gentle human face, Krishna, I return to my own nature, and my heart has peace.
We respond to life in accord with our projected version of reality. In other words, our emotions, fears and needs, paint the picture of what we perceive “out there”. We are so busy chasing down the loose ends of that projected reality, we are seldom able to stop and ask ourselves what is going on “in here”. As chapter 16 offers, Devote effort to emptiness, sincerely watch stillness.