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Do we have Free Will? by Swami Sarvapriyananda

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💫 Short Summary

The video delves into the age-old debate on free will, karma, and determinism, exploring philosophical, religious, and practical implications. It discusses the influence of past actions on present decisions, challenges the idea of true freedom, and questions the traditional concept of free will using modern neuroscience. The segment highlights the subjective nature of mental states, ethical appraisal, legal implications, and the role of God in actions. It concludes by emphasizing the importance of acknowledging the feeling of free will while surrendering all actions to God.

✨ Highlights
📊 Transcript
Discussion on the age-old debate of free will, drawing from Sri Ramakrishna's teachings and modern philosophical perspectives.
00:57
The segment presents arguments both for and against free will, as well as attempts to reconcile these differing viewpoints.
Practical implications of the free will debate are explored, along with its roots in Christian theology.
Recent articles by philosophers Arindam Chakravarti and Ayan Maharaj are referenced, addressing topics such as praying to an all-knowing God and theological determinism.
Overall, the segment offers a thought-provoking exploration of the complex philosophical question of free will.
Discussion on karma in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism, where past actions influence current suffering.
06:36
Contrast of multiple lives in karma with Christianity's belief in a single life.
Theodicy in Christianity justifies suffering as a result of misusing free will, starting from Adam's original sin.
Arguments against free will include determinism, stating every action is caused by preceding events.
Theistic argument based on God's omniscience suggests that future actions are predetermined.
Discussion on free will in relation to God's omniscience, the law of karma, and psychological determinism.
16:26
Past actions or karma can influence present decisions, potentially challenging the idea of true freedom.
Influence of genetics, upbringing, and environmental factors on decision-making may suggest choices are predetermined.
All Hindus believe in the law of karma and reincarnation, further complicating the concept of free will.
Logical argument presented highlighting the constraints of truth and falsity in statements.
The concept of truth and freedom in relation to statements about the present and future is explored in the video segment.
23:01
Statements about the future are considered to be already true or false, challenging the idea of free will.
Experiments by Benjamin Libet and modern neuroscience suggest that decisions are made unconsciously by the brain before conscious awareness.
This challenges the traditional notion of free will, leading to philosophical and religious discussions about determinism versus free choice.
The segment explores the debate between free will and determinism through introspection and the argument from contrast.
31:30
Creativity and conscious decision-making are presented as evidence for free will, contrasting with unconscious bodily functions.
References to the Bhagavad Gita and modern experiments emphasize the longstanding discussion on free will.
The subjective nature of mental states and the difference between compelled actions and voluntary choices are discussed.
The segment ultimately questions the nature of agency and personal autonomy.
Argument for free will based on ethical appraisal and legal implications.
37:10
Questioning the praise and condemnation of actions if they are predetermined.
Importance of free will in the legal system highlighted, with examples of pleas from insanity.
Refutation of the argument against free will based on the ability to freely accept or reject arguments.
Exploration of combining free will and determinism through examples of raising a hand and mathematicians generating theorems.
Discussion on free will in mathematics and philosophy with a focus on axioms and rules enabling genuine mathematics.
44:37
Sri Ramakrishna's perspective on free will - God is the ultimate doer of all actions.
Debate between free will and determinism, illustrated by examples like a cow tied to a rope symbolizing limited freedom.
Sri Ramakrishna's teachings emphasize God as the operator and humans as instruments, leading to the concept of Jeevan Mukta.
Jeevan Mukta is where one realizes God's control over all actions.
Perspectives on Free Will vs. Determinism.
52:24
Sri Ramakrishna and Girish Ghosh discuss the influence of liking on actions and psychological determinism.
Duryodhana's moral dilemma of not choosing righteousness despite knowing right from wrong is discussed.
Sri Ramakrishna stresses the significance of pure intentions in following God's will to prevent sinful actions.
The importance of having a pure heart to genuinely believe in God and rejecting the idea of using divine will as an excuse for immoral behavior is highlighted.
The concept of freedom over free will is discussed, emphasizing the idea that in enlightenment, there is no will.
01:01:44
Philosopher Arindam Chakravarti outlines three stages regarding free will: the appearance of free will, the realization of no free will through investigation, and the attainment of freedom in enlightenment.
The practical outcome is to acknowledge the feeling of free will while surrendering all actions to God, transitioning from the appearance of free will to understanding there is none.