Can one have Determinism and Free Will co-exist?

Consider; Free-will, the ability to choose their actions without being forced to follow a certain course by either by the influence of others or by natural laws

Determinism: Is the philosophical idea that every event or state of affairs, including every human decision and action, is the inevitable and necessary consequence of antecedent states of affairs. More strictly, determinism should be distinguished from pre -determinism , the idea that the entire past (as well as the future) was determined at the origin of the universe.

Now what if it was determinism but it FELT like free will?

I think the universe lives through us meaning we are an extension of the universe and all universal laws apply to us as they do with all things. What seems to separate us is this ability to choose free will.

We all are the same and yet very different and one can not deny that we have different traits and tendencies. One might say that some have a prevailing characteristic that lends it self to certain behavior, have certain talents and live different lives. These traits seem to point us in a certain direction. Einstein's tendency to be a physicist more than an athlete can be argued. Of course he could have chosen basketball as a career but he had a characteristic that leaned towards science.

I am forty-five and have chosen to live a certain life and if you ask anyone that has not seen me for 25 years they would say that they are not surprised at the life I chose to live. Free-will or Determinism?

This brings me back to determinism that feels like free will and how this can tie into LOA.

If the universe is always expanding and growing through us, it might be safe to say that it is true and it always has been. Then is it not true that all of our choices are moving the universe in that same direction? I often quote Shakespeare with his line “There is no such thing as good or bad but only thinking makes it so”. What if there is just no BAD. That every action either creates a good outcome immediately or after a lesson, a stumble or a side track, it also leads to good. The case can be proven that the universe is still growing, then yes all action is eventually “good”.

The Law of Attraction says that like vibrations attract. Does this mean we chose to align to what is already determined? An irrefutable law that has outcomes determined when likes align? Maybe say not going against the grain? Actually using our free will to align with the universe’s already forward movement. Then I say this is more of a Law of Alignment than anything else. Aligning, using less resistance to CREATE a more pleasing ride. What we resist persists. The universe is most certainly living its path and it lives through us. We FEEL that we have a say in how it grows. Do we?

That is my case for Determinism that feels like Free-Will

Choose Love


asked 17 Jan '11, 16:08

jim%2010's gravatar image

jim 10

edited 17 Jan '11, 18:00

Barry%20Allen's gravatar image

Barry Allen ♦♦

This question would be answered differently depending on where we are on this journey. I spent most of my life as an atheist, and at that time my answer would have been, free will 100%. As I got into spiritual exploration my answer changed to predetermined (just look at numerology for instance.)

The way I see it now, is that yes we do have a predetermined path we've chosen for ourselves for a particular lifetime and yet we have the free choice as to whether or not to follow it. Let me expand on this. We are basically like a toddler who is excited to explore the world around him. But our mother's watchful eye (higher self) is constantly monitoring us and is admonishing us to stay on the path. This isn't fair, there's so much out there for us to experience we don't wish to be limited! So, we take every opportunity we can to run off here and there and be able to do as we please. Once we get to do the "off-path" stuff and hurt ourselves in the process, (maybe instant karma!) We look around and she is nowhere to be seen (or so it seems.) The thought of being deprived of her presence is so intense and unbearable we start crying realizing, the off-path experiences weren't worth it (not to mention the price we had to pay for the exploration, like getting hurt.)

That's when we're desperate to have our mom back (higher-self guiding us.) Some may learn from this and stick as much as is toddlery possible to mom's path, others wouldn't. But no matter, there is always another lifetime to live!

Thank you, namaste


answered 20 Jan '11, 09:53

daniele's gravatar image


It is through the trials and tribulations of the restrictions and opposition provided by our manifestation in the material world, that we get to experience the attainment of freedom and mastery of our lives. If we so choose.

(21 Jan '11, 03:26) Duane Tilden

Duane, that was so well said! thank you...

(21 Jan '11, 08:46) daniele

When you make a choice, you set in motion circumstances that potentially exclude other outcomes.

If you plant a tree, for example, you make a choice as to which tree you plant. If you make a good choice about which tree to plant in your particular climate, and provide the tree with sunshine, fresh air, water, and the right kind of soil, there's a good chance that the outcome will be a large, healthy tree.

But if you plant a peach tree, there's no way you're going to get a lemon tree.

The seed of a tree has within it a whole tree. All of the information that is required to make that tree is contained within the seed. What you see as a seed is only the potential present of the tree at a moment in time.

It is the destiny of the peach seed to grow into a peach tree.

Let's say you decide to start a new career, and that career requires a deep knowledge of mathematics. Like the seed of a tree, mathematics is an informational system, a river of thought. When you decide on that career, you also commit to learning math, to swimming in that river.

Now you could take the contrary view, and either find some way to do your new career without math or invent your own branch of mathematics, but wouldn't you be swimming against the current?

Who is good at math, or anything else for that matter? In my opinion, it is those people who:

  1. Have an aptitude for it (talent), and
  2. Really enjoy doing it.

These are the two ingredients that insure success, because people that like doing something they are good at will persist until they succeed.


answered 17 Jan '11, 19:05

Vesuvius's gravatar image


Though it feels like a choice, is there anything guiding that choice? Are choices set in motion by the expanding universe itself?

(17 Jan '11, 19:14) jim 10

People choose what they like, what makes them feel good. Once that choice is made, and they begin pursuing it, they get better at it, which makes it easier to continue along that path. Whether they had that talent to begin with, or got better with practice, is a chicken and egg problem. The original choice could have been completely random, but people seem to be drawn to things for which they have an affinity.

(17 Jan '11, 19:25) Vesuvius

In addition, prior choices have an effect on subsequent choices. We build on the works of those who came before us. Remember, we are a part of the universe, and it a part of us; in a very real sense, when we are choosing, it is also the Universe choosing.

(17 Jan '11, 21:31) Vesuvius

So...FW or Determinism?

(17 Jan '11, 21:32) jim 10

Free will, with deterministic tendencies based on prior choices.

(17 Jan '11, 21:53) Vesuvius

Vesuvius "Free will, with deterministic tendencies based on prior choices." That was exactly the point I was working at in my pool game analogy. :-) +1 for you.

(20 Jan '11, 21:57) Wade Casaldi
showing 2 of 6 show 4 more comments

The limits of your free will is the level of consciousness you have attained. At the lower levels of consciousness, such as a baby, your free will is limited to a restricted number of choices by the parent. As your awareness and consciousness develops, so too does your choices, both in the inner and outer worlds.



answered 18 Jan '11, 00:38

Duane%20Tilden's gravatar image

Duane Tilden

I enjoyed reading your question, something to think about, and it is an eye opener indeed!

But indeed I feel that they both play their separate roles in our life, and are indeed important aspects in our decision making, and choices at large. Although, and I agree with you that they both feel the same at times, and one could feel unsure as to the operation of Free Will, or Determinism in some cases!


answered 18 Jan '11, 00:47

Inactive%20User's gravatar image

Inactive User ♦♦

Thanks Vee, It is a conundrum debated for millennia ;)

(18 Jan '11, 00:51) jim 10

I am trying to find how you see free will and determinism as opposite. Please join me in a game of pool here, I'll break. Now where were we, yes free will, I just used my free will to break the set here, you could have used your free will to say no I'll flip you for break. This would have changed things by your free will and my free will either agreeing or disagreeing with me. Next would have come the coin toss that on the surface would seem pure luck but if broken down would be determined by too many factors to calculate. "Three ball side pocket", now I just used my free will to choose the three ball but what you don't know is I am planing to bank the three ball setting me up for the nine ball over in that corner. "Look at that almost perfect shot but I over compensated!", by my free will I shot for the three ball and hit it in, it was my choice of angle and spin that the cue ball hit the three ball in so the three ball had to go in from the reaction of the cue ball hitting at the right angle and speed with the spin I chose to put on it. But as I said I over shot and that caused me to scratch out. The interesting thing is here you have a choice now, you can clearly see the nine ball is in front of the corner pocket, you could if you want position the cue ball in front of the nine ball for an easy victory or chose to shoot something else. Please chose something else I want to win this game, ohhhh you did it nine in the corner pocket you won! That was your choice to make using your free will but the determinism of how the balls all ended up where they ended up being from my break. You chose wisely, good game!

Conclusion free will and determinism work together perfectly.

I will review the game now, I wish I was good enough to say it was my free will I scored the one and two ball on my break but no that was determinism set in motion by my free will of how I broke. All those balls bouncing around determined that the one and two went in on the break.

Next my three ball shot was my free will, but my overcompensating determined that I scratched out thus giving you the three ball to spot where ever you choose.

You may say it was determinism that you had to spot the three ball in front of the nine for an easy victory. It was your free will to do so though, you could have chose to place it someplace else, a lot of pros actually do choose to shoot some place else just to show how good they are that they can still win.

Free will choices set up determining factors that cause a kinetic reaction down the road. Very similar to an old blues song "further on up the road, someone's going to hurt you, further on up the road someone's going to make you cry, the way you hurt me pretty baby someone's going to hurt you too." To use an old expression "what comes around goes around."


answered 19 Jan '11, 20:56

Wade%20Casaldi's gravatar image

Wade Casaldi

edited 20 Jan '11, 05:29

As I do see the point you are making, but life is more complicated than a game of pool. Playing on the same game, let me ask you this. Though you are a more skilled player than me, I might still win on your mistakes. And one can easily say that "I was supposed to win" Solely on the fact that I did. You see I am not the one saying they are different all of the time. It very well could all be determinism. The fact that I say that "It WAS meant to be because IT HAPPENED, can not be argued. LIke I stated in my question, can it be proven that it feels like FW but in a deterministic world?

(19 Jan '11, 23:10) jim 10

That is the proverbial fly in the ointment of this logic, much like in the movie The Matrix when The Oracle said to Neo "what is really going to fry your noodle later on is if I didn't tell you about the vase would you have knocked it off?" Sort like not seeing both are one not one causing the other. That is so hard to comprehend being we live in time and space one thing must follow the next or so it seems.

(20 Jan '11, 05:26) Wade Casaldi

It is both. All possible choices have been made but not in this world. We are just in the track of one of those probabilities. Edgar Cayce, Nostradamus have peered into probable futures. Ghosts are examples of bleed over of the parallel past. Within this reality, we have probable futures of our choices now.


answered 27 Jan '11, 08:41

The%20Knights%20Alchemy's gravatar image

The Knights Alchemy

I have had some question round the Free will issue for a while, so I'm just going to type here and see what emerges.

I think no matter what the issue is each of us can only speak from personal experience. Until I started this spiritual journey, I'd say that I've always had free will and every choice I've made, I've done so with this free will but often those choices have been made from an unconscious perspective... still free will, but maybe ego motivated ?

However, since beginning to awaken ( or at least become conscious of my true being) I think there is another force at work. And I don't mean there is a puppeteer pulling the strings ( although at time it does feel like that ) and I have no say in the matter ( I do know that it's all me ). I do still have that free will but now the decisions or choices I make have to be in alignment with that higher power... otherwise I simply don't feel good.

I've never liked to say that I believe in fate, which is really similar to determinism... but you've got me wondering?


answered 21 May '11, 00:56

Michaela's gravatar image


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Asked: 17 Jan '11, 16:08

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Last updated: 21 May '11, 00:56

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