“Freedom posits free will; that is self evident. But Will can only operate when there is first a motive. No motive, no willing. But motive is a matter of belief; you would not want to do anything unless you believed it possible and meaningful. And belief must be belief in the existence of something; that is to say it concerns what is real. So ultimately, freedom depends upon the real. The outsider’s sense of unreality cuts off his freedom from the root. It is as impossible to exercise freedom at the root. It is as impossible to exercise freedom in an unreal world as it is to jump while you are falling.”
I read this in the “Outsider” by Colin Wilson, a self educated man with insight that no education can guarantee. He, himself becomes the example of free thinking and free will which is unconditioned by modern education.
However, that is not the point I seek to make here. The problem of free will is impossible to solve without first understanding what “will” is. It is the classic Shakespearean phrase – “What would you?” which becomes the real question. The human will is not known to man in its purest form, but is infact clouded and convoluted by conditioning of education, society and so on. Therefore, real freedom cannot be achieved by ordinary mediocre mortals, for any amount of freedom in their unreal world is also tainted with unreality – just as felt by the protagonist of the Stranger (Camus).
It is an interesting thought that I stumbled upon while looking at orchids. Every orchid has a distinct colour and distinct smell which is meant to attract a particular kind of insect in order that pollination takes place. This implies that for every flower, there is an insect and for every insect there is a flower. Similarly for every animal there is a certain plant or other animal which completes what is known as the food chain and creates a sort of ecological balance. Man however, is the only creature who has the power and ability to create i.e. the power to take material and make something out of it. Therefore man is the only one who could be good, bad, better and best. No other animal can acquire these adjectives and if at all it will be wiped out in accordance with the survival of the fittest concept. Man is the only one who protects his weak. Is this a virtue? This though an important question is not the discussion today.
Thus, man himself is a disturbance in nature as he does not have a perfect balance in it. He exploits nature because his mind gives him the ideas and his mind can think as compared to the other animals and creatures who live in harmony with nature. Thus, man’s highest goal should be the seeking and finding of harmony with nature, whether you call it “salvation” or “nirvana”. Unfortunately, man is unable at his lowest level i.e. the mediocre man who shies from thinking – to be at such harmony. The good news is that there are people who have achieved that and who teach it to the world. Even Ouspensky explains that the persons who recognize this need a teacher who will first make them unlearn everything they have learnt and show them the path to harmony.
But, the predicament of the person in an unreal world who wishes to be free and experience reality is the same as a blind man seeing colours. A blind man who has suddenly gained vision would trust you when you point to something and say it is green, because no matter how much he is educated, he has never seen and sight is a novelty. Similarly, the person seeking emancipation must have faith in his teacher like a blind man for their predicaments are not greatly different. This is my opinion is true faith which though most scorn as blind, cannot but be so.