This article was originally posted in 2019 and very appropriate this week in light of the Mars-ruled Aries Full Moon opposite the Sun/Mars conjunction, squared by Pluto. Mars represents our idea that we have Free Will and Pluto represents Fate so this question is very relevant right now.
Sometimes people write me asking for a reading, saying they want to know what their karmic lessons are in this lifetime. One gentleman wrote me saying he wanted a “straight” reading, with no attempt to frame the difficult in positive language. He referred to this article in the New York Times in which scientists have proven that humans have no free will:
The German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer said, as Einstein paraphrased it, that “a human can very well do what he wants, but cannot will what he wants.”
Einstein, among others, found that a comforting idea. “This knowledge of the non-freedom of the will protects me from losing my good humor and taking much too seriously myself and my fellow humans as acting and judging individuals,” he said.
How comforted or depressed this makes you might depend on what you mean by free will. The traditional definition is called “libertarian” or “deep” free will. It holds that humans are free moral agents whose actions are not predetermined. This school of thought says in effect that the whole chain of cause and effect in the history of the universe stops dead in its tracks as you ponder the dessert menu.
At that point, anything is possible. Whatever choice you make is unforced and could have been otherwise, but it is not random. You are responsible for any damage to your pocketbook and your arteries.
“That strikes many people as […]