“’I am following needfully,’ said I, ‘and I agree that it is as thou sayest. But in this series of linked causes is there any freedom left to our will, or does the chain of fate bind also the very motions of our souls?’
“’There is freedom,’ said she, ‘nor indeed can any creature be rational, unless he be endowed with free will. For that which hath the natural use of reason has the faculty of discriminative judgment, and of itself distinguishes what is to be shunned or desired. Now everyone seeks what he judges desirable, and avoids what he thinks should be shunned. Wherefore, beings endowed with reason possess also the faculty of free choice and refusal. But I suppose this faculty not equal in all. The higher divine essences possess a clear-sighted judgment. … Human souls must needs be comparatively free.’” ~Boethus
Cause and Effect
In his fictional dialog that Boethus is having with Philosophy, he has been told that life is a string of one cause creating an effect that creates another effect, and so on. In short, that Karma is real and fate is real. That when you jump off a cliff, you will fall to the ground. Action determines reaction.
This seems to deny the possibility of any kind of free will. Philosophy, however denies that. She says free will does exist.
Freedom and Fate
Hot and cold, male and female, free-will and fate. Just another manifestation of the Yin-Yang power. In the realm of matter, everything has its opposite. All movement, all change, takes place when the two opposites interact. So in order for much of anything to happen, both fate and freedom must exist. In one case, freedom may win out. In another, it will be fates turn to get the upper hand. But in many cases, it is more of a compromise. So for a given cause, there may actually be several possible results. Fate requires that one of them happen. Free-will give us the ability to choose which.
Lets look at a hypothetical example. Suppose I steal something valuable that I have not earned. Fate (or Karma) says I have to pay for it eventually. I could be given a severe illness as punishment. I could have something of even greater value stolen from me. Or I could see the light, and return the thing to the person I took it from. I can make the last choice using my free will. If I don’t make a choice, fate will do it and it will probably be some less easy to bear. So both fate and free will can exist and play a part in the same total event.
Reason and Freedom
I’m not sure how anyone can say that man has a reasoning mind, yet has no free will at all. If everything is determined by fate, what would be the point of having a reasoning mind? Reason is all about making choices. If all choices are actually predetermined by fate and karma, a reasoning mind would be a joke. That is not the case, however. We do have a certain degree of freedom, so we need a reasoning mind. We even have some freedom in making big decisions, not just selecting what socks to wear today. Where fate and karma come into it is that although we have free will, there are still consequences for making bad choices.
Freedom and the Soul
Unfortunately, no matter how smart you are, your reasoning mind sometimes makes bad choices. That is especially true when it comes to the development of your spiritual side or higher Self. But if we make the effort to awaken our soul, the soul can advise the reasoning mind. Since the soul has access to all knowledge and truth, it makes much better decisions than the mind. So exercise your limited free will, but awaken your soul to help use it wisely.