Free Will Is a Seductive Delusion

endeavor book excerpts personal development stoicism Oct 29, 2018

Is “what happens next” due to fate or the exercise of your free will?

It's comforting to believe you control what happens next. But do you? What if what happens next has already been decided? What if everything that happens is fated?

"My formula for greatness in a human being is amor fati: that one wants nothing to be different, not forward, not backward, not in all eternity." - Friedrich Nietzsche

Why not love fate? A life that is fated does not imply that it just happens to you. Life also happens through you.

In a fated cosmos, you may be a tiny cog in the machinery of the universe, but you still have a vital role to play.

Past events alone don't determine your future. You can, and should, be an active participant in your life now. How your life proceeds may be fated, but it also reflects your character. Why not do your best and let what unfolds be what it will be?

Acceptance of what happens next is the path to well-being in your endeavor. This doesn’t make you a doormat. It’s a measure of your character. Accepting what is allows you to decide what’s next with deliberation and determination.

Hardship is inevitable. Suffering is a choice. Attachment to past outcomes and future expectations are the path to suffering. Suffering is self-imposed punishment and imprisonment.

The past is fixed. The future is uncertain. Only in the here and now, the present moment, do you possess agency.

If you can not absolutely know or control what happens next, why not act "as if?" Step into what's next with intention and integrity “fate permitting.”The result of your effort is not the reward; the reward is the opportunity in front of you.

Fate or free will? The answer matters less than the quality of your choice and virtue of your effort.

Keep flying higher!

*This is an excerpt from the book, Endeavor: Cultivate Excellence While Making a Difference.


Scott Perry, Chief Difference-Maker at Creative on Purpose.

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