In my early college years back at the turn of the millennium, it bothered me to take courses on philosophy only to find that much of the lectures revolved around free-will. Having read certain philosophers outside of course material, I took a different perspective and understanding of each of these great thinkers insights. However, with an Eastern background, my answer to free-will was always "karma". Though we have the ability to make choices, such choices are causes that will have an effect.
Bentinho Massaro defines free-will as akin to the third density, or third chakra. The third chakra is the solar plexus that seems to embody the individuals identity. Of course, an individual identity is composed of different choices based on free-will. The third density is compared to the lower densities, particularly the second density that is the sacral chakra. The second density would be compared to the animal kingdom, particularly animals that are solely driven by base desires: to eat, to procreate, to sleep. The human is different in that questions began to arise beyond eating, procreating, and sleeping, where humans dabble in thought seeking for more.
Though compared to the animal, insect, and plant kingdom, humans seem to have a stronger grasp of holding the ability to make choices. Humans are driven by more than simple base desires where humans have created culture, art, science, etc. Nonetheless, beginning in 2014, I started thinking about the concept that what seems to be real, is merely an illusion. When taking our mass into a subatomic outlook, we are more space than mass. Moreover, information is floating around that we're only about 10% human, with the remaining 90% being microbes. In asking questions in attempting to discover what we really are, I started having fascinating ideas that have only lead me further down the rabbit hole.
My initial college assessment of free-will was to view such choices under the laws of karma. In studying astrology, and having my own reading where a Vedic astrologer eerily predicted the exact date my finances would start to change, it seems that much of our free-will is already predetermined by what is written/reflected in the stars. Even after studying the different astrological archetypes, whenever I see a close one act a certain way, my response is now "typical Virgo looking to serve" or "the Aries needs to get his name out there", etc. So, do we really have free-will, when although we may be blind to the astrological energies and think we're acting out of free-will, but we somehow end up acting out of our typical nature that's already structured?
Taking it a step further, I started having ideas of how easy it would be to control a human provided the correct technology. Imagine if you had a remote to someone's bodily chemistry, if you wanted someone to fight, all that would be necessary is to his the anger button releasing the bodily chemicals that get an individual heated. Same thing with hunger, sensuality, etc. All you would need is the ability to control certain chemicals within an individuals body to get him/her to act accordingly. It would be like playing a game of "sims" where you create a small society and control the characters daily functions.
When you take a look psychologically at most people, it seems that the majority are acting accordingly to these bodily chemicals. Advertisers play on this human weakness with images of delicious food, sexuality, and even prestige. In addition, when taking a meditative look at the plethora of human feelings, we're told things like "not to act out of anger". Under meditation when you are analyzing your thoughts, you'll find that such analysis travels into your daily routines. If one is angry, you can take note that the thoughts will be similarly based on anger. If one is happy, then the thoughts carry an uplifting flare. However, the point is that the "thoughts-feelings" seem to tag-team each other and somewhat direct our action.
With astrology showing some aspects of our personality and life-experiences as predetermined, and our "thought-feelings" being dictated by our bodily chemistry for which most humans typically submit too, do we really have free will? Thinking in terms of legality, our "thought-feeling" structure would seem to hold each human under duress to create certain life experiences. Though we have the option to fight against duress, is it really a fair battle?
Let's take it a step further. Most of the way we think and perceive the world is based on cultural perspectives, mostly given to us by our parents. For example, children are not born racists, but the external perspective and beliefs given by authority figures have the ability to instill hatred within a budding child. Racism is an obvious example, but the same applies with culture, religion, politics, etc., beliefs and theoretical concepts that children grow up willing to defend at all costs simply because their parents instilled those belief systems. Again, are we acting under free will, or acting under someone else's definitions of the world that is embedded into our (sub)consciousness.
I do not remember any of these concepts described above in any of my philosophy courses. Then again, such professors also had to get an education in philosophy where they are trained to see philosophy in a certain light, which is then again pushed onto the future generation of students. Again, where's the free-will even in the philosophy courses.
Under the yogic traditions, calming the monkey mind and controlling the sense are keys to liberation. With the assessment above, I can see why. With a clear head irrespective of emotions, we have clarity. With the senses under control, particularly the bodily chemistry and its desires, we finally have the ability to make choices out of free-will, a liberation. Like what Sri Yuketswar said to his student Paramahansa Yoganada, it's only on certain realizations that one is able to opt-out of one's astrology, particularly the negative aspects. That's just it, most of us don't realize that we're not the ones making the decisions as we typically don't dive deeply psychologically and ask ourselves the "why" for certain desires.
From continuing my studies and insights, I can see why individuals like Carl Jung sought the ancient texts, setting him aside from his western counterparts. Overall, maybe mastering the senses and monkey mind is the reason for third density (solar plexus) free-will, human evolution beyond the animal kingdom.
Overly educated and continuously exploring and revealing more behind the veil.
"It cannot be too highly emphasized that the mystic swims in the same waters in which the psychotic drowns."
-James Wasserman, The Mystery Traditions