Choosing Free Will over Determinism


I read with interest the Fullness of the Gospel series on Agency which addresses free will. This has caused me to contemplate the lyrics to a great song called ‘Free Will’ by my favorite music group RUSH. The lyrics to me seem to take one through the process of naive free will, to determinism, to choosing free will over determinism, or what may be called enlightened free will. Those of you who know me a little know that these are words I barely even know. I am like a fish out of water here, but I would not mind increasing my understanding of this type a thing, at least a little.

Does this song not suggest that we have the ability to choose not just our actions but our view of life? Is choosing free will in itself a defining moment of taking responsibility for your actions? Is this the type of choice all of us made in the council of heaven, and the same type of choice made in the Garden of Eden.

I may not know much about philosophy, but I will choose free will. I would be glad to read any straight forward thoughts on my comments here or the lyrics to ‘Free Will’. I realize that parts of this song may imply an atheist conclusion, but hey it’s just a rock song. The important part to me is the choice of a free will approach. A choice which I have made.

Free Will, by Neil Peart

There are those who think that life has nothing left to chance,
A host of holy horrors to direct our aimless dance.
A planet of playthings,
We dance on the strings
Of powers we cannot perceive
“The stars aren’t aligned -
Or the gods are malign”
Blame is better to give than receive.

There are those who think that they were dealt a losing hand,
The cards were stacked against them – they weren’t born in Lotus-Land.
All preordained-
A prisoner in chains-
A victim of venomous fate.
Kicked in the face,
You can’t pray for a place
In Heaven’s unearthly estate.

You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice.
If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.
You can choose from phantom fears and kindness that can kill;
I will choose a path that’s clear-
I will choose Free Will.

Each of us-
A cell of awareness-
Imperfect and incomplete.
Genetic blends
With uncertain ends
On a fortune hunt that’s far too fleet.

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6 Responses to “Choosing Free Will over Determinism”


  1. 1 Eric Nielson March 15, 2006 at 11:41 am

    Thanks Eric.

    I was beginning to think no one was interested in this at all. Why do you think that is?

  2. 2 Eric Nielson March 15, 2006 at 11:43 am

    You’re welcome.

    My guess is that the philosophy gurus on the ‘nacle would view your post as juvenile and a waste of their time. The rest of the ‘nacle don’t care much about philosophy based posts. Also, there are very few RUSH fans out there.

  3. 3 Eric Nielson March 15, 2006 at 11:45 am

    Sounds good. Look forward to reading your post.

  4. 5 Naiah March 16, 2006 at 2:59 pm

    OH NO!!!!!

    Eric!!!!!

    Or should I say “Erics!”

    So, my ex-husband, who happens to be one of my best friends and a lifelong Rush devote’ thinks it’s about a hoot and a half that one of my favorite LDS bloggers likes Rush. He discovered it in your profile when we were clicking around one weekend. It shoud be noted that Geddy Lee’s ( no clue if I spelled that right) voice feels about like cats’ claws scratching up and down my corpus callosum. That aside, I also want to say, “The Ayn Rand!!! It burns!!”

    Ok, now that I got all that out of my system…

    I’ve alwyas loved (yes, I will confess to loving ONE LINE of Rush.) the line where he says that choosing not to decide is still a choice. I think that’s a trip wire that most agnostics miss.

    Does this song not suggest that we have the ability to choose not just our actions but our view of life?

    totally

    Is choosing free will in itself a defining moment of taking responsibility for your actions?

    It’s the absolute vector point.

    Is this the type of choice all of us made in the council of heaven, and the same type of choice made in the Garden of Eden.

    Totally, wasn’t that the crux of both of those choices? Lucifer’s was to compel us, and Christ’s was to choose. We chose choice. Eve’s chose to have the capacity to judge, to weight, to choose.

    It’s fascinating that such vital choices in our eternal progression can and should be reflected in our mortal sojourns in a moment when we realize and accpt an dtake upon ourselves the accountability of our free agency–to decide to decide.

  5. 6 Eric Nielson March 16, 2006 at 5:03 pm

    Wow. Thanks again Naiah. I was way out on a limb on this one.


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