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back to first free will page

Discussion between Miguel-Angel Carrasco and Dan Berkow, Ph.D.

Miguel-Angel(MA): I'm curious to know where J.Krishnamurti states there's free will.

Dan(D): I don't think he did. He seemed to raise questions about the nature of an entity who would have or not have free will. He then left the listener in "choiceless awareness" in which there wasn't an entity who could either be "oppressed by determinism" or able to "exercise free will".

MA: Yes, that's what I thought too, but the post from Noumenon made me wonder. From Krishnamurti, I have only one quote regarding freedom:

"In observation one begins to discover the lack of freedom. Freedom is found in the choiceless awareness of our daily existence and activity."

This quite agrees with what you say.

MA: For a nondualist, who sustains that everything appears in Consciousness, and that there is only that One Consciousness, there is no such thing as free will, because all individual body-minds are not real entities, but mere appearances without substance. Where there is no real doer, there cannot be a free will.

D: Nor can there be any entity anywhere, hence what can be said to be determined by what? Determinism implies causation, and with no entities, what causes what?

Miguel-Angel had quoted Nisargadatta several times. This continuation of the discussion has Dan commenting on some of the those quotations

MA: Free will does indeed require an independent entity. I'm not so sure about determinism. As you say, determinism implies causation, but I don't quite see why causation implies an entity. Why can't a part of the projection be determined by the whole of it or by the source of the projection?

D: Because the projection is actually undivided. The apparent divisions being projected *are* the projection. Individual/group/world are united as projection-whole. Thus, Wholeness and projection aren't two, aren't divided. This might be called "seeing through projection".

Causation means there is an entity that affects an outcome. For example, eating strychnine will kill you. The entity is strychnine. In unprojected reality in which the entire projection-whole is seen and understood as whole, there are no separable entities. All separations are convention, word, thought - projection of projection being taken as independent realities. Does this mean you should eat strychnine since its unreal? No! It means that you, strychnine, eating are all projected, that Reality as such is unprojected, unsplit, and without causation or determinism.

"Causes and results are infinite in number and variety. Everything affects everything. In this universe, when one thing changes, everything changes. Hence the great power of man in changing the world by changing himself." (I Am That, Nisargadatta Maharaj, p 490)
Separating a cause and a result is to define an entity. A causal entity is separated from a result. This separation is conceptual. The division of cause from effect is conceptual and depends on an entity experiencing a sense of time to make such a division.
"The mind and the body move and change and cause other minds and bodies to move and change, and that is called doing, action. I see that it is in the nature of action to create further action, like fire that continues by burning." (IAT, p 398)
This description is an explanation of how events are contrued to occur in time. Who is observing this time? Who is commenting upon it? Is this observer separate from that which is being observed???

It is important to understand this, as seen here, otherwise construals of things like bodies and actions will be taken as real rather than projections, and the idea of everything being determined will seem to make sense.

"You hear yourself talking and you say: I talk. I have no objections to the conventions of your language, but they distort and destroy reality. A more accurate way of saying would have been: "There is talking, working, coming, going". For anything to happen, the entire universe must coincide. It is wrong to believe that anything in particular can cause an event. Every cause is universal. Your very body would not exist without the entire universe contributing to its creation and survival. I am fully aware that things happen as they happen because the world is as it is." (IAT, p 389)
Yes - exactly. Follow this through - there is only "universe" - there is no place where It ends and I begin -- every action that occurs is Universe. Nothing is caused as Universe is acausal Reality itself.
"I do not say things have no causes. Each thing has innumerable causes. It is as it is, because the world is as it is. Every cause in its ramifications covers the universe." (IAT, p 347)
Yes, but each cause has other causes, ad infinitum. This only leads to infinity, and infinity is finally, seen as undivided, nondetermined, timelessness.
"All that happens is the cause of all that happens. Causes are numberless; the idea of a sole cause is an illusion." (IAT, p 398)
"Paramakash is (...) the origin and the end of all manifestation, the root of time and space, the prime cause in every chain of causation." (IAT, p 251)
"Beyond the self (vyakta), lies the unmanifested (avyakta), the causeless cause of everything." (IAT, p 143)
"Pleasure and pain have causes, while my state is my own, totally uncaused, independent, unassailable." (IAT, p 179)
MA: From these quotes, it seems clear that Nisargadatta saw the Absolute as the causeless cause of everything, and, within the world of phenomena, that each change is produced by the whole and affects the whole.

D: It seems clear to me that the causeless cause of everything is in no way separate from anything. There is no separate world of phenomena, phenomena have never separated from That which has no divisions.

How can you talk about a "change" being produced "by the whole" as if the "change" is somehow separate from the Whole????

There is only Wholeness, which is Nowness, which is undivided Infinity. It is this Nowness that is speaking as you there, replying as me here. No division.

MA: On the other hand, if phenomena are not caused what makes them appear? Pure chance? I've never seen anything else grow on peartrees but pears. Why the invariable constancy?

D: This is too funny!! Who are you to raise these questions??? You are the universe Itself!!! You are the universe observing itself and apparently not realizing that all this is Self. When you ask "why the invariable constancy" this is your conceptualization of a situation. All "why" questions go back to the original "why" -- "why anything" "why this" "why 'me' asking 'why'"

There is only one answer to why - it answers the original "why" - hence it answers all subsequent "why's" that can be derived. The answer is itself the acausal truth of being which is You, not opposed to me, not opposed to any other - simple Nowness - unexplained, not determined, not bounded -- just "This" and by that I mean "This" not separate from "just this" ...

MA: What regards Consciousness Itself, being the only and ultimate subject, It is not an object. It is thus free of attributes or qualities. It is free of action, free of decisions, free of choices, free of will. It is pure Freedom.

D: Freedom in the sense of boundless, yes. Freedom in the sense of free to make something happen a specified way by making a choice about the situation, no.

MA: Of course. When I said "IT is pure Freedom" I meant freedom *from* any bond or limit, and also freedom *from* choice, not freedom *to* choose.

D: Yes!!! Precisely. Acausal, nondetermined Boundlessness is all -- the rest is projected divisions. Once recognized that projected, projector, and "screen" are one resonant Whole situation, there is no conflict.

MA: In fact freedom to choose is a chimera, an unreal creature of the imagination, a wild fancy, both applied to objects and to the subject. To objects, because they are mere projections without substance or entity. To the subject, because it is not an agent, a doer, but pure consciousness, and also because being the One without a second, there's nothing and nowhere to choose from.

D: Yes, quite. All this is That, and That is nothing other than this, here. Through you, I speak to me. Through me, you speak to yourself. The subject matter of all our discourses is the nature of who I am. The results of all our discussions always add up to this: I am who I am.

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Jerry Katz
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