A Web of Interdependence – Cutting through the False Division of Free Will vs Determinism

Free Will

Does determinism – destiny – exist? Or is there free will in life?

“In fact, it is meaningless to ask this. It is meaningless because we are not able to see it as it is, nor do we have any clear idea of it; we think in terms of determinism versus free will, fate versus freedom. We have broken them into two whereas they are two sides of one thing. If man is separate from life, only then can he be free, and only then can his life be determined.

But if he is one with life then what is the meaning of freedom and what is the meaning of determinism? There is no meaning at all.

“What I am saying is that if I am separate from life, then both things are possible: either I am free or I am dependent. In both independence and dependence, my separate existence is accepted. But I am asking, where is my separate existence? So, from whom to be independent and under whom to be dependent?

“Do you understand? Is this hand of mine independent of me or dependent? Is this hand of mine independent of me or dependent? If I say it is independent, then it is separate from me, and if I say it is dependent then too it is separate from me. But in the hand there is only me. It being independent or dependent does not have any meaning because it is not separate from me to be called dependent or independent. I am not separate from it that I can be independent of it or dependent on it. The hand and I are one.

“So, the way I see it, both are wrong. The people with the idea that free will exists say that everything is independent, and the people with the idea of destiny say that everything is in bondage, everything is destined. Both are wrong because the standpoint of both is the same: that man is separate; that the soul is separate from the whole. Both ideas are based on that same thing. Then, there can be two interpretations for it.

But I do not accept the view that man is separate. I say, all is one. Hence, the truth is interdependence – neither independence nor dependence.

“There simply cannot be two things, and dividing interdependence into two is making it into two things. It is like dividing life and death as two things.

There is interdependence and we belong to it:

The whole existence is one interdependence in which we exist.

“A wave has arisen in the water; it is very difficult to say whether the winds have caused it or the moon has caused it, or a child has thrown a pebble in some corner and the wave has arisen. The opposite is also possible: that because the wave arose, the wind had to blow. The opposite is also possible: that the wave called out to the child and he had to throw the pebble. All this is possible.

“Do you understand me? It is not that the child threw a pebble, and the wave arose. The wave called out to the child and the child had to throw a pebble – this too is possible. Many a times the wave makes you throw pebbles – yes, even the wave. It is not only that you throw a pebble and make the wave rise, many times the wave makes you throw the pebble. You are sitting by the bank of the river and the pebbles begin to get thrown. It is not willed and there is no rationale for it.

The whole universe is so interdependent that one can say, if the flower which has bloomed in the garden had not bloomed today, we would not have been here.

“There is nothing inconsistent about it. There is nothing inconsistent. Everything is all so interdependent that if the flower which has bloomed in the garden – and we haven’t even seen it yet, haven’t gone to it yet – had not bloomed today then perhaps we wouldn’t be here. Because in the flowering of that flower, all the situations of the universe are as included as in our being here.

And that web is so vast – the web of interdependence – that our brain will be shaken and shattered. Hence, we have made a convenient arrangement that either dependence or independence.

“Only two things – whether man is free or dependent – are convenient. The matter is thus solved very cheaply. But the matter is not to be solved, it is to be known.

“I am not so eager to solve it. The eagerness to solve it has been going on since five or six thousand years in the world, that ‘We must solve this matter!’ Thus, in order to solve it, we concern ourselves only with making clearcut concepts.

“I am not concerned with any of that – that if there is some issue, we have to know it. And when there is an issue that cannot be solved, that too has to be known. Why is it that all matters have to be solved?

And finally, the matter that is the whole issue of life cannot be solved. It cannot have a theoretical solution.

“Then there remains only one way that we take that whole question: ‘It is so!’ And in knowing ‘It is so,’ a solution will be attained which will be the solution of life, not of a concept. If we can know only this much, that we are interdependent…

“And it is not that only human beings are interdependent with each other; it is not that the stone lying by the side of the road is not related to you in any way.

We are related in a very deep sense, and the stone lying by the side of the road is also affecting you.

“It is not necessarily that only you hit the stone; the stone also hits you. So, this interwovenness becomes so frightening that we create convenient theories. But the convenient theories cause us difficulty; all around we have managed everything like this – that this is the soul and this is the body, and have turned it into a concept because it feels convenient.

“The reality is completely the opposite.

The reality is, it is very difficult to decide where the body ends and where the soul begins.

“It is difficult to say that a thorn which pierces the body doesn’t pierce the soul. And it is difficult to say that a pain to the soul doesn’t become unbearable to the body. The truth is that all those are your reckonings, all that you have divided.

So how I look at it is: the part of the soul that is visible is the body, and the part of the body that is invisible is the soul. More than that there is no other meaning to it.”



Excerpted from Kaha Kahun Us Des KI (What Can I Say Of That Land), Talk #1

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