From a materialistic/deterministic perspective, our bodies and brains respond to internal and external impulses before we even become aware of them. This is essential for our survival, as it would be impossible for us humans to exist without these instinctual and learned “automatisms”. From a spiritual perspective, where time is seen as an illusion, we are always in the present moment and there is nowhere to “go” and nothing to do; we can only surrender to that realization. So how can we have free will? Victor Frankl famously wrote: “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” His statement refers to an internal state of free will, which requires us to have present moment to moment awareness. Another take on free will is our creative ability to advance into novelty. And finally there is the term of being proactive; creating or controlling a situation rather than just responding to it after it has happened. We will explore and discuss all these views.

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