You are free…...!! 😊or are you??
Part - 1
(Disclaimer- Reader's discretion advised⚠ I am sorry in advance🙏 my writing may seem a bit complicated or you might lose track of what I am saying, but as an amateur writer I ask for your mercy and kind attention🙏🙏. I hope you can relate and atleast stay around my point to some extent. I just hope I don’t sound completely vague and request for your conscious presence while going through this article😊)
I believe that it’s tough or even un-fair to generalise people into different categories. Labelling people as over-thinkers, overexcited, gloomy, attention-seekers, happy-souls, cheerful or light hearted etc. these according to me are all futile efforts to identify somebody for what “we think they are” but the identification is quite often different from what they actually are! So this game of perception is a tricky one, and keeps going on-and-on-and-onnnn…
The fun fact is that we don’t live with perceptions about just others but I also feel most of the times we have this “false-perception” about ourselves too. I guess I can solely blame this on our ignorant nature. This has been an integral part of us humans but I will not hesitate in saying that, we the social-media generation is a bit more ignorant as we “lack-time” to actually introspect and see or feel where we are going…what we are doing etc... So this is a bigger problem for us because- “mighty ignorance and the false-perception” are dangerous qualities to have and guess what….we all have them! And from this deadly combo arises the real topic I am about to discuss.
The ignorance stops us from listening and learning new things and we just keep nourishing our already existing pile of perceptions and just do what suits us, even listen to only what fits our pre-existing believes. It’s a never-ending cycle, which just goes around with no start or end. At a particular time, it’s hard to differentiate whether we are actually learning/changing or just fooling ourselves? Whether we actually accept/deny something on the basis of its merit/demerit (or even call of your heart/gut-feel) or is it just the aligning/differing of our pre-existing perceptions that is shaping our decision/action?
So, I am asking you, do you think you are free to do whatever you want? If yes, then why? If no, then why not?
Well as I said I avoid categorising people so I will not say “many” of you might be thinking about one or the other option. Rather I will discuss both points of us being free or not-free and also share my views on this whole concept of our perception of having control over things and role of ignorance in all this.
One view can be that we are always free to choose whatever we want, like whether we want to eat or not? What do we want to eat? Who we want to be friends with? How much we want to give into a relationship…. and so on. Like we can choose to love somebody loyally or we can cheat on them! Undoubtedly “we are free” to do either of these.…. We have ‘the perception’ of a sense of control over things and to an extent we think we are controlling our actions and more or less can do what suits us. We can argue on the degree of control we have but I guess we can’t deny that we feel to be in control of things or actions.
On the other hand, we are not free. Our actions are more or less predetermined or atleast not fully in our control. Even while doing small everyday tasks like brushing or taking a shower…we don’t or can’t decide everything all the time ‘on our own’. If we take the example of loving someone loyally or cheating on them, we might think that this we can decide because what we do is our business, but actually actions of our partner, our overall nature, past relationships or may be our surroundings do play a role in it. So, I say- “we are not fully free” to do whatever we want.
This sounds confusing right? That’s exactly where I come whenever I think about it. Because no doubt freedom is action or time or situation or place specific and may vary when one or the other factor changes but when I think thoroughly, I find all this fussy and unclear. But no matter how many times we try to figure this out, all in vain because it’s nothing but a paradox. So I'll leave this here because what I actually believe is much bigger or beyond this and is something I can find peace with*. As we’ve established that it’s not our actions where freedom is certain and there’s no point in calculating that ‘degree of freedom’; so something that would give us a bit of clarity is the fact that- “we might be free to choose and do whatever we want but not free of the consequences of those choices or actions.
(*Personally speaking, I believe we as atman/brahman (it’s tough for me to define atman but I will say its definition is not just limited to your, mine or anybody’s soul) do not do anything, neither are we attached to anything nor we face the consequences. But this “I” (physical body+soul), does the actions and faces the consequences as well. This is a long topic and beyond the range of this writing and coming from someone who believes in non-dualism (Advaita-Vedanta) i.e., it’s all one, there is no “other”, all of the existence, even the non-existence is a part of that oneness- तत् त्वम् असि) to be continued....... Visit the link below
- Pankaj Istatu Sharma