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 Free Will Vs Determinism, What is real free will?
post Mar 8 2013, 07:42 AM
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I have a few burning questions about the nature of free will. To explain where this is coming from; there is a raging debate going on between psychologists and neuroscientists about whether or not we actually have free will. The argument that states we don't have free will is called determinism. I always believed that we have free will, but then again, I had no evidence to prove it, and this is also what I wanted to believe. Then I read an article written by a psychologist arguing for determinism, and after the twenty minutes it took me to read the article, I was fully convinced that free will is a psychological illusion. (It was a really well written article.) Back then I was a stubborn atheist, which means that on top of believing I lived in a meaningless universe, I also began to believe that I am a slave to this meaningless universe.

For those who are unfamiliar with the argument of determinism, it states that we live in a universe where cause and effect is the rule of law. For every effect there is cause, which means that every effect is determined, no exceptions, ever. This means that what we label a 'decision' is merely the end result of psychological and neurological processes that lead to an action being taken. In other words, our decisions are determined. (This is a gross oversimplification. Wikipedia has a great article about this if you're interested to read more.)

But since I've gotten into magick, I find myself questioning whether this is completely true. Maybe this is just classic wishful thinking in action, or maybe I'm sensing it intuitively. There is no doubt in my mind that in the physical world, the effects we observe all have causes. However, it is already clear in some branches of physics (notably quantum mechanics), that causality becomes problematic as an explanation to some of the effects observed. Take quantum entanglement as an example. Two particles can be galaxies apart, yet still share information and energy. And the kicker is, it happens instantaneously. Einstein famously refused to believe in quantum entanglement because that would mean that energy and information can travel faster than the universal speed limit, which is the speed of light. (But it has been confirmed as real in many experiments since then.) With effects such as these, and there are many others, it becomes difficult to consider plain causality as an explanation.

So here's what my intuition is prodding at. Experienced magick users tend to agree that there are seven distinct planes of experience. They are labeled differently, but in a nutshell they are these:

1. The physical plane.
2. The emotional plane.
3. The mental plane.
4. The astral plane. (Where dreaming, lucid dreaming and astral projection takes place.)
5. The aetherial plane. (The realm of subtle energies. Often described as existing between the physical and emotional planes.)
6. The metaphysical plane. (The realm which contains all of the previous planes, but at the same time also transcends them. Also called the spiritual plane.)
7. The non-dual plane. (The realm where everything is unified. In this plane, there is no here or there, no sooner or later, no you or me. Everything is wholly united. Here change is brought about by synchronicity.)

What if causality is the rule of law only in the lower planes? This would mean that as long as our consciousness is confined to them, we don't truly have free will. Our decisions are then determined by the laws of cause and effect. However, if we expand our consciousness into the higher planes (and intuitively speaking, I refer specifically to the metaphysical and non-dual planes), where cause and effect is not necessarily the law, we may find a kind of liberation from causality, which means that real free will is attained. This process may be vital in order to pursue our 'true will', and could also be the liberation from suffering attained by enlightenment, which was described by the Buddha.

Unfortunately, I haven't had any experiences of the upper planes. So I would like to ask the more experienced magick users on this forum, when you experienced the uppermost planes, did you experience a kind of liberation? A new and unique sense of freedom? Did you experience more synchronicities in your life at that point? (Synchronicity being defined as two events occurring that share the same meaning, or a dualistic expression of a unity, or acausality, which is indicative of an event in the non-dual plane.) Or am I missing the pot completely with this entire line of thinking?

Life is profound.

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Vagrant Dreamer
post Mar 8 2013, 01:05 PM
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Spot on.

You can look at the planes, in a way, as a spectrum from the highest (acausal) to the lowest (causal).

We're not actually in the lowest plane of experience. Below us are the plant and mineral planes, which is meant both literally and symbolically. The mineral plane is governed strictly by causality - it's chemistry and physics and no 'free will' or anything like it is present.

In the plant plane, everything is largely governed by causality as well, but plants have the first hint of awareness - they respond, move, grow, change, etc. They operate on principles as well, but will the plant grow left or right? Free will is non-existent from our perspective but it begins to develop in a way we don't recognize because it is too different.

On the animal plane, we're governed by chemistry and physics, yes, and by a variety of animal urges, but we have the choice whether to obey those things or not. And, we have the ability to develop tools that allows us to overcome them. Higher up, outside the physical all together you start to see an attentuation of causality and an intensification of the role of will. There are still laws as you ascend, causal structures, but they are less restrictive and the necessity of will becomes more important to functioning there.

For instance here on the animal plane, you can live your life just fine without every accessing any kind of free will. But, you will live a more fulfilling life probably if you do intentionally use it.

Now, the unconscious mind does do a lot of processing for you, and if you wander around without any attention or awareness of yourself it will drive the boat, absolutely. But, you can modify the unconscious in a variety of ways from mystical practices to hypnosis (and they may all arguably be hypnosis in some form) and because you can do that, you do ultimately have free will over how your unconscious mind drives you; most people simply never make the modifications intentionally.

Good observation! Hope the extra info makes it more clear.


The world is complicated - that which makes it up is elegantly simplistic, but infinitely versatile.

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post Apr 2 2013, 08:05 PM
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I think you will go nuts trying to map out all planes.

they are called upper for a reason me thinks, so that when to invoke them, a whole new set of laws are a bidden by.

I suppose your argument is one of acceptance, do you trust the laws at work in all planes?

Or do you doubt?

Do you know that you are all powerful in your essence?

And yet as time goes on, you will become dust.

What a queer set of imaginings.

There are only two types of magick, White and black.

Or have you convinced yourself blue is black and red is too?

Ah, good college.

Only you can choose.

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