Friday, February 28, 2020

Free Willy



“…Some say it's just a part of it
We've got to fulfill the book.”

B. Marley


Before I completely run away from the point, the subject of this essay is free will, or, more accurately, the illusion of free will. It will be interesting to see if free will even comes up laterally over the next few hundred words now that I’ve set it up as a specific goal. 

The imp of the perverse makes it a sure thing that I won’t – but that surety might also double back and force
 me to stay on point. There are no dogs to pick  in this fight and it’s not a fight,  and if I’m right, none of this is anything but documentation for a litigious god that will never see it.

Like quantum mechanics, life is about either time or place, never both, and how we choose to pretty up our choices is neither the point, or even a choice – it’s after the fact punctuation we use to justify and make sense of our ontological messiness. 


(Science has proven that we decide things with our body before the brain makes its decision that tells us to act. There is no free will, only the helpful illusion of free will that we use to fool and motivate ourselves into getting out of bed in the morning. As Eeyore said, "Why bother if it's all been done before we do anything?” Google it.)


We argue about where to go for breakfast never knowing it was yesterday’s decision and that we didn’t make it.


Ha, second fucking paragraph and I’ve already blasphemed individual existence.


 I remember driving up Carmel valley road, cassette player looping Baker Street, without a dime for coffee or books, and ending up sitting at the Thunderbird CafĂ© reading half of something interesting until the fog melted as the outside burned into a California fall.


My bug cooled, until tired of sitting I drove up and over the top of the world to home, stopping briefly to play my flute over a valley of nothing, while smoking GI bill Thai stick and drinking something trendy from the Boones farm people.


 I remember the place and time; I remember my thoughts and what I felt -- I remember everything, and I remember me.


I haven’t moved, but something has.


You can never know the meaning of things - the fullness of the life, the sadness of the passing without sensing in it the movement of time. You can’t rub back against the friction of it because it only moves on, never back -- you can’t just lay unaware of the running shortness of breath of it all as it spits and grinds down unlaid tracks of apparently senseless order. It’s nothing but a remorseless forward to the next-ness, an unstoppable physical law that all things lead from order to disorder, over and over until gravity slaps it stopped and the button gets pushed again.


That being said, there are moments, and you can string them together like pukka shells any way you want, but that’s not really true, except if you are convinced you exist as an individual point of energy and mass– (one time I got yelled at by relatives for adding green olives and parmesan cheese to the traditional Christmas tamales, I liked to think that was free will.)

 So, it may not be not possible to make your own reality – but you can, subject to physical laws, make something really nice and cozy out of the way you see things, it just might just not be real enough for others, and you might not have any friends because of it.

(The relatives no longer talk to me; my picture has been taken down from the wall. Like all heretics, I dream of the great burning when I sleep.)


But without individual free will, all that’s left is what I choose to make of things – and even then, I have to accept that I may not be the one making the choice, and to be even more honest, it might not even be a choice at all, it might just be the way things are, I might be just playing out the words written for me the exact way they were written down a long time ago in a book, probably the Bible, but the Bible written in a dead language we’ve misinterpreted over time. Ok, the Bible. 


Are the stories I piece together and tell myself at the end of the day just creative movies and books made of meat and juice that I use to illuminate on the screen that is the back of my head what I want to believe? Does everyone just ignore predestination and randomly assign meaning and motivation in order to not give up – is it that important that we are the center of the universe despite all the evidence?


If it’s a good book isn’t it enough just to read it?

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