Free Will versus Predestination and Predetermination

I am a self identified Hindu/Buddhist (meaning that I am syncretistic and pluralistic by nature) but I have spent years studying many religions as an avocation simply for enjoyment and may perhaps have the equivalent of a PhD in comparative world religions. Anyway I spent 20 years around Greek and Russian Orthodox Christian monasteries and so I am used to thinking and speaking about things in those terms. IF you have me on your friends list you will see my wall post just now about “causeless mercy” which comes from an ancient Hindu source. I am also thinking about some interesting aspects of Islam and also Sartre that touch upon notions of free will verses predetermination. But if all of this is distasteful to you (or anyone else for that matter) then of course I will keep it to myself. As I remember the SJC ‘program’ we read a lot of various Christian sources over the four years. Anyway, sorry if the context of my comments offends anyone. During my Freshman year I entered the room of a Jewish student and saw an abridged copy of the Talmud on his desk. He blushed a bit and said something like “oh, THAT thing..” I asked if I might examine it and he consented. I opened to the first page and the words burned into my memory (paraphrasing) “Although it is true that G-d foreknows the outcome of all our free will choices that in no way robs us of our freedom as we make them.” Would some of you find it LESS distasteful if we talk about Sartre’s notion that we are “doomed to be free?”

I just struggled for an hour and by some miracle was able to remember that the quotation I cannot remember is from Lionel Trilling’s collection of essays and I found in Jstor – LIONEL TRILLING. … known as Pirke Aboth, that is, the sayings, the sententiae, of the. Fathers. …. grace and yet all is according to the work.” And you must PAY THROUGH THE NOSE to access ….
… which enabled me to find this: Rabbi Akiba’s meditation on fate and free will: “All is foreseen yet freewill is given; and the world is judged by grace, and yet all is according to work.” – From Lionel Trilling’s essay on Wordsworth –


… but you see, I can already assure you that I am totally worthless to you, a failure by your standards, since you value succinctness and I am incapable of that. If you really want to know the sorts of things I have thought and wrote about since 1998 they are all on-line in various places. …. Wikipedia is succinct…. “Philosophy for Dummies,” “Ethics 101” and “Sartre in 10 minutes” and many other titles are succinct. … But, why me… why do you suppose that I have something which you will find useful…? Now what would truly be interesting and rewarding would be to post for days and weeks on end about whether this Johnnies group should be moderated and if so HOW it should be moderated…. @Daniel, and since it is likely that most things if not all things are “quid pro quo” in nature so, what is in this exchange for me? What do I get out of answering your questions in exactly in the manner, the style and length which you demand. You see, Daniel, you have FREE WILL (unless of course it turns out that there IS NO such thing as free will and you are predestined to have this conversation) but assuming that there is free will, then you have the option to browse the books at Barnes and Noble, or Amazon, or google on Wikipedia, or even read things that I have written…. I am holding RIGHT now in my hands (well, a moment ago because RIGHT NOW I am typing)… a book entitled “Teach Yourself ETHICS” and the goal on the cover says FUNDAMENTAL UNDERSTANDING and the category says PHILOSOPHY and the publisher, strangely enough is “Teach Yourself®” and the ISBN is 0-07-147799-3 and the price (which may have gone up) is US $12.95 and Canada $16.95 and it is a very good book (172 pages in length now would YOU consider 172 pages succinct or should it have been a page or two, ah… but how might one market a book that is only a page or two in length?)


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