Some scientific studies have shown that “Free Will” is actually the result of series of causes and effects in that occur our subconscious. It claims that we exist in a dream-like fugue state, is this true?
The Creation of Destruction
¡@¡@ Since ancient times humans have used the tradition of scholarship and the development of wisdom to conduct and develop their civilizations, but where does this drive for intellectualism and scholarship come from? Why do we crave wisdom? Because only through erudition and wisdom can we have a free will, knowing who we are, where we come from, what we’re meant to do, and where to do it.
¡@¡@When Cang Ji created the Chinese written language, the skies were turned and the earth shaken, and the lives between the two were forever changed. As recorded in Sema Qian’s Book of Histories the “heavens poured millet, and souls wept in the dark.” The accounts illustrates that with the creation of a written script, and the consequential development of civilization hence, human beings would have a completely altered life path. Now humanity had the capacity of attaining higher levels of wisdom, to create greater civilizations, and in doing so, attaining an abundance of benefits and conveniences. However, as in The Book of Genesis, when Adam and Eve ate from the tree of wisdom and gained the ability to discriminate between good and evil, the natural innocence and sincerity of the human spirit was dispelled. In the wake of building civilizations comes the possibility for equal amounts of destruction.
¡@¡@In our modern development of computer technology, we have formed a union of man and machine with the advent of the smartphone. People walking the streets with their heads down and fingers swiping, some are robbed blind, some swipe themselves off the street, into traffic. Trivial matters of possession are causing more deadly conflicts than ever, even between family members and loved-ones.
Equal and Opposite Forces
¡@¡@The intention of civilizing is meant to improving lives, to elevate the standards humanity, however, when humans crowded together under nationalism and militarism, they began campaigns and began destroying, using language and intellectual tools to empower themselves. When they reached a state of martial superiority, they begin wreaking havoc and destruction on their opposition, looting, raiding, and dominating their neighbors.
¡@¡@Civilization was developed for the expansion of human wisdom and poetential, instead the result mirrored Adam of Eve’s taking the fruit from the tree of wisdom under the influence of evil. Learning to separate Good from Evil, Right from Wrong may sound good, but it presents a conundrum, as different cultures have different standards. Something that my people and I can accept, others may not. Who is in the right?
¡@¡@The purpose of civility or having a civilization is not in being able to judge between the right and the wrong. Civility is meant to give us reverence to life, and to all things in life. Only by working towards this manner will humanity find greater hope in its existence. The present stance of modern social thinking chooses to emphasize on the indoctrination of Democracy and Western thinking, instead. What we find most in these models is sophistry, an environment that lacks respect for opposing opinions and outward thinking, where only prejudice grows strong.
All for One, but One for None
¡@¡@ Democracy began in the city-state of Athens, in ancient Greece. However, the social system lasted for only two hundred years before it collapsed. It made a brief reemergence in the dark ages, but could not withstand the pressure of the times and vanished. Democracy remained untouched until the French Revolution, but this time it came back with capitalism and a modern judicial system. It had little in common with the Democracy from Ancient Greece.
¡@¡@Classical Democracy relied on the ethos and virtues of its subjects, it was a call to the righteousness and fairness of its people, which required its subjects to take critical responsibility for themselves as well as their society. Today’s Democracy, however, is mercenary capitalistic, judicial and morally absolute, has successfully eradicated the core philosophies of Democracy, and with it human kindness. The powers of today that have the most resources and capitol run Democracy, using capitalism to colonize the world.
¡@¡@The push for Democracy started in goodness, as the people then were purer, and more idealistic, but as Democracy grew in popularity those with ulterior motives connived to exploit the system, and Democracy began to decay.
The Monstrosity of Civilization
¡@¡@Since all cultures began with their writing systems, the appearance of a written script was good. When Chinese civilization developed to the Eastern Zhou dynasty, during the era known as “Nine Genres and Ten Schools,” things became complicated with the presence of numerous schools-of-thought, providing contradicting theories, and general stubbornness. On the surface the era of “Nine Genres and Ten Schools,” showed an eclecticism of thought, and such a phenomenon should be helpful in the advancement of a civilization, however, all schools wished to have authority over each other. People believed firmly in their opinions, and that were the only ones who had found truth. People argued incessantly with intellectual contention and with philosophies not quite complete, the only that thrived was the construction of their Egos.
¡@¡@The same phenomenon occurred in the Western world, passed from Greece, to Rome, from Rome onward, places that were illiterate slowly began to have evidence of a written language. Everywhere in the world writing was regarded with the upmost importance, as long as one was literate and had a sharp mind they would succeed in life, but when everyone was literate and educated, it became easy to disagree with different views and values. People don’t take lightly to any form of contradiction, and too easily does contradiction become confrontation. The creation of a written script, and the creation of civilization were equivalent to the endless, unknowable possibilities of an opened Pandora’s box, and once opened, all the greatness and monstrous possibilities of Humanity came into fruition.
Finding Fidelity Through the Classics
¡@¡@The Ancients had a devotion to their language and their scripts. They read with fidelity, reverence, and cherished each and every word, infusing the spirit of the teachings into their lives. Hence the teaching, “choose not a life against the way of Benevolence, but accept one of sacrifice in the name of Benevolence,” as taught by Confucius.
¡@¡@Today we choose to cherish our computers, and we wait for hours in line for new smartphones, who could possibly choose to sacrifice their life, even if it meant peace and benevolence for the world? Who would find it possible to emulate the spirit and calling of Southern Sung poet, Wen Tianxiang, as he contemplated the destruction of his home and country in the face of war? The last two lines of his poem, Ferrying the Empty Sea, read, “At the shores of panic we chant our fears; an empty sea, we sigh for our desperation. From our past to present times, who has not faced the common state of death? Save your hearts and souls to keep, for the sweat and ink and blood of history.”
¡@¡@Life in the past was not as convenient as it is today, the people of ancient times had to grow their own crops, make their own tools. In all matters of food, clothing, shelter, and travel, the responsibility and labor was their own. Life was acute and demanding, and we now accomplish so much more by barely lifting a finger. Just a simple slide of the screen, a tap of your finger and the whole world is within your reach, we can even do without books today since the Internet has everything. We have high tech gear and gadgets for all occasions, our cameras don’t even need shutters anymore. Bit by bit, life is becoming mechanized and automated, and we’re left with only programmed responses like software, there is no more vitality and hardly any humanity left. Our thoughts are just reflections of the frequencies we have chosen to emulate, chosen from a selection of predefined personalities, or simple sensual reactions based in chemistry and primal conditions. The soulless regurgitation of input and output renders us as the “Living Dead,” how could there possibly be any free will left?
The Capability of Choice
¡@¡@The Ancients had stronger free will than modern people do. Zhang Qian lead two expeditions to the western regions, discovering and permanently establishing the Silk Road. Ban Chao lead thirty-six men into the far western regions of China and lived there for forty years, quelling and defending cities from the warring nations out west. General Ma Yuan, titled The Pacifier of the Seas, brought peace to a violent rebellion in what is now Vietnam, when the people overthrew a corrupt lord of the Han dynasty. These individuals had unparalleled strength and impetus inside them. They had the motivation to serve justly to their nation and its people, and they understood the purpose and consequence of their actions. Many of us work very hard, but lack the inner strength of Autonomy.
¡@¡@ We seek out and cram knowledge into our bodies and minds, and as we mature into adults we are abandoned without any sense of direction, just a bunch of information and knowledge racing about our minds without a center. Without a driving essence to engraft and implement this information, people will never know the importance of being alive is to protect and establish the virtues and morals of the world past and yet to come; we should be responsible for the security of life and peace for those in our lives; we should humble and dedicate ourselves to the teachings of the Ancients, and to live with a heart that wants to bring tranquility and promise to the world. Because of this lack of duty, the quality of the living today is trickling down into an abysmal stream.
The System Holds Me Fast
¡@¡@Modern people’s actions and words ride the tides of karma, swallowed by the waves of their own causes and effects. They cannot find their own footing on the currents they ride, they have little to no control over their environment. Their thoughts and emotions are predetermined by their own subconscious. Like the countless lives that were plugged-in in The Matrix, individuals void of meaningful existence.
¡@¡@On the surface we seem educated, well read, very knowledgeable, but underneath there is no real ownership of the self, just very developed and strong Egos. The more knowledge settles in our minds, the more petrified the consciousness becomes, fastening it firmly to the foundation of the ego, making it invulnerable to flexibility or suggestion.
¡@¡@People are too worried about their ego and their consciousness’, afraid that it might not be strong enough, they constantly empower their egos, rewarding it with “because I like it” as an excuse to their actions. Sky’s the limit, never an ounce of introspection. Thus, never making any real realizations on life, and effectively trapped by the daydreaming fugue state of our subconscious. In severe cases we allow the great perversions to take control over ourselves, such as Columbine incident, the Newtown shootings, and the recent Taipei MRT massacre.
¡@¡@May of 2014, in Taipei, a young man named Zheng Jie took the MRT and traversing the entire length of one of its lines. On the return trip, he unsheathed two knives and committed mass murder. He admitted later that he had thoughts of murder since childhood, and that his original plan was to wait until after he graduated from high school to commit the crime that he has today. On the day of the event, his subconscious was triggered by the forces of the universe that effect us daily, and just as if walking through a dream, he acted out the monstrous act. There was no control, he heard no conscience and saw no mercy.
¡@¡@The truth is that many of us experience what Zheng Jie had, we’re consumed in a fugue, too, simply living in a dream. We’re just not as severe as Zheng Jie was, but still clueless of our actions and the reasons why we perform them.
Fooled by the World
¡@¡@Modern education focuses on the student’s future, potential occupation, and potential for renown. Very few parents or teachers are impartial towards their children or students. With their ulterior motivations of fame, fortune, and power, they propel the pupil with aspirations of greatness, but all the while forgetting completely how to raise a balanced and moral human being. Teachers fill in all the answers that they can, parents give in to every need that persists. They believe that what they give and what they answer can only be good for the child, unaware that what they’re doing is simply teaching the child to open their own Pandora’s Box. Children follow their subconscious, lingering in a dream searching for pleasure from their boxes of treasures. Some children become consumed by video games, almost addicted to them as if they were drugs.
¡@¡@Left to make their own decisions, children are more than likely to learn from the pleasurable and empowering, and not want to learn harder lessons of sacrifice and humility. Children can very easily tune out the importance of virtue, because they’re harder to understand and enact. As the whole world follows this trend, those with the ability to change the world will still do so, but very few of them will have the capacity to bring the world to a more stable, harmonious state. Instead, everyone wants to use their knowledge as power, but lack the reverence that Ancients had for the true value of wisdom.
¡@¡@Technological advancement was meant for the broadening of life through convenience. By reducing of the amount of labor and exertion required in a day, we would have more time to seek nonmaterial happiness, and spiritual soundness. However, as technological advancement grew, and life was made convenient with washing machines, automated robotic vacuum cleaners, and online shopping, we actually became more burdened than freed.
¡@¡@Now we were expected to accomplish much more in a days time. In the past, there weren’t any home appliances, we could only focus on one task at a time, and because of this limitation we weren’t as harried. Now that we have computers, and smartphones, people tend to be serving them, constantly working, reachable where ever they go, at any time of the day. The work that’s required is a mental labor that doesn’t demand any physical commitment, simply giving the mind room to end up spending most of its time thinking of how to reap the greatest reward of every situation. By doing this people lose their center, and their morality dissipates, so it’s only natural that people enter a subconscious state of going from one task to the next, as if following an illusion.
Practice Morality, Honoring Ethics
¡@¡@Whether or not we benefit from our technological world without becoming consumed by it, is dependent on our attitude and intentions in life. There needs to be reverence, as Cang Ji had learned to have in his quest to create the Chinese writing script. He learned to humble his ego, to be weary of the course of human nature; to honor culture and respect knowledge, and to venerate the value of life.
¡@¡@The Ancient’s classical refinement of the “gentleman” was done with sculpting from the six arts, and Kung Fu is the pinnacle of exemplification of the six arts. Cang Ji’s quest to invent the writing script and create a civilization emulates the discipline one undergoes through Kung Fu. Kung Fu provides the practice of leading a meaningful and purposeful life, where every move is a reflection of the individual’s inner forces, used in operating, recalibrating, devoting, incarnating, and refining of their lives. Through the constant molding and sculpting from the six arts, and through the experience of discipline with Kung Fu we create stronger, more stable, and peaceful internal forces. Combining this energy with martial arts, we learn the power and beauty of compromise and respect. Our actions and thoughts become the quelling harmonies to dissonance, finding common ground with all distinctions, crossing generations and continents, and even transcending the physical and into the hearts and minds of all things living. With this our lives now begin to elevate.
¡@¡@A well-read, educated mind, without the capacity to enact the same wisdom through the six arts, can easily stray into the fugue, and become towed by their subconscious.
False Benevolence, False Righteousness
¡@¡@Our world is dominated by the Western mainstream, through the avenues of pop culture, Hollywood, and modern art. Whether it is intentional or not, western influences have effectively gained control over the thoughts and conscious’ of the common folk of Asia, Africa, and South America.
¡@¡@The civilians of Taiwan are disappointed that their own government is not more like the Western nations, or that of Japan. Yet the people are ignorant to the fact that the effects of the colonial world have directly influenced our state of slower development in the past two hundred years. These nations hijacked the world with their superior technology and destructive weaponry, proudly waving the banner of capitalist colonial-enterprises, forcibly selling opium on the one hand, while robbing, invading, occupying the rest of the world on the other. The whole world was under colonial control. Although China was one of the few places that weren’t colonized, she was annexed nonetheless.
¡@¡@Japan took advantage of a weakened China during the Jia Wu year (1894). It entered the theatre of colonialism as a major player, with the wanton murder and oppression of its neighboring states, and this year is the second Jia Wu anniversary of the Sino Japanese war, one hundred and twenty years later.
Achieving the Impossible
¡@¡@America is the new oppressor today, this is an objective observation; the vacuum of power left by the colonial giants of the past has been filled by the majorAmerican business corporations of today. It begs the question, who has “free will?” the oppressors, the oppressed? The sinful manipulating of others should not have the privilege to do-as-they-please, simply because it is done in the name of Democracy and free trade. This is an act done out of Evil, or in Chinese, the Five Vices from Buddhism (Greed, Hatred, Ignorance, Pride, Doubt). The concept can be related to the One Ring from The Lord of the Rings, it symbolizes and promotes the Evil nature of its wearer.
¡@¡@Mencius believed that Humanity had both Virtuousness and Wickedness in their nature. Acts that take root in the wickedness of our nature, even if done for achieving greatness, are still evil. The greatness of free will is in the purity of the spirit from the initiation of the action. Mencius said that, “man and beast have but a slight difference.” The slight difference is spiritual awareness and human insight.
¡@¡@Because the essence of free Will is divorced from stubbornness, ulterior motivations, wickedness, evil, and the five vices, it generates a permeating atmosphere beginning within the individual. They possess incredible capability, able of taking on and letting go of any and all ventures. They are precise and succinct, without doubt, or fear of loss, thus having a pervading sense of clarity, becoming a beacon of virtue, and illuminating the world in the face of adversity.
Achieving the Unspeakable
¡@¡@The definition of freedom in today’s Democracy has been altered to be more synonymous with convenience, or “of little resistance,” as those with power simply do as they please. During the cold war, the US and USSR were evenly matched in their power and influence, which created peace through terror. The US used media to vilify the Soviet Union, and to glorify themselves, but the US’ actions remained relatively moral due to their values in the preservation of human life and a refined sense of duty.
¡@¡@Once the USSR collapsed, however, the American way transformed into, “I do as I please, for it pleases me,” replacing few ethics of the previous generation with a questionable slight of hand. The US of this era seemed to be spearheading for the newly formed democratic nations in the fight against the communization and the slavery thereof. However, after America’s involvement in Yugoslavia, the Czech Republic, Kosovo, both wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Arab Spring, Libya, Syria, Ukraine, as well as the conflicts in the name of the “balance of power in Asia,” America has only brought war and turmoil to the issue of freedom and slavery, scorching and brining chaos to the world in the name of justice and human rights.
Restraining the Ego; Reinstating Etiquette
¡@¡@So much harm and pain is caused by humanity’s ignorance, wickedness, and our diabolic potential. Constantly we glorify and create synonymic titles to conceal and excuse the true intentions of our actions. Only by respecting the free will of others can our own wills be free. Only by accepting and honoring the liberty of others can we demonstrate what it means to be “united through our differences.” The foundation is in a great conscience, a great heart, capable of trust and finding respect, the type of sincerity and respect shared between heroes.
¡@¡@An individual who can operate in the middle-way while keeping altruism intact, who is capable of taking responsibility as well as letting go when they must. This is what it means to “restrain the ego to reinstate Etiquette,” to act accordingly to the demands of a situation, to stop on a dime and withdraw oneself, and forego their title and take on the challenge.
¡@¡@Only those who have a massive heart, who can traverse all states of being, the stillness and void, the kinetic and chaotic; while enveloped and guarded in them are the four corners of Chinese philosophy of Benevolence, Righteous, Etiquette, and Wisdom, can claim to be exemplars of humanity, supporting heaven above and grounding earth below with true free will.
If Only It Were Real
¡@“If I Were For Real,” sung by Teresa Teng, from the titled feature film, starring Alan Tam, and directed by Wang Toon, describes the confusion and corruption that people experience from the acquisition of fame, riches, and power. The protagonist of the film is a conman, who nearly succeeds in the end. He progress farther and farther in his trickery, fooling more and more powerful people, they think he’s the real thing.
¡@¡@His is a situation where “success” is based in whether or not his contortion of the truth is believed, and “failure” is when he is exposed by the truth. It’s safe to say that the odds are against him. However, many cases of conning have “success” stories, and especially those who not exposed or discovered for years to come, which are regarded as “legends.” Supposing that “success” in conning people was bad, and in the David versus Goliath stories of a thief robbing those corrupted with power and riches are considered poetic justice, where would truth stand in the morally gray, where would free will exist in the presence of so many perspectives?
¡@¡@In Christianity, God wagered Satan that Job would not abandon his faith, and after all the suffering and loss imparted by both parties, Job still remained staunch in his faith, but did Job have free will? Job’s tale in the world of belief shares the fate of those who are plugged into the matrix, programmed to the laws and algorithms of the world they exist in.
Self-Victory of the Self
¡@¡@Neo from The Matrix didn’t have free will until he reached enlightenment. The same free will as Yue Fei had, when he gave up his army’s chase before the town of Zhuxian, deploying his army to wait in Xiangnan, for the return of the foreign army, while he faced his execution in the capitol. Wen Tianxiang was adored by Kublai Khan, but would not surrender himself to serve his invader, and was executed with dismemberment by five horses.
¡@¡@Wang Guowei, the poet once said, “last night the western wind felled the trees of emerald green, I took to my solitude up the stairs. I have become frail, and my cloths have since gone loose, but I have no regrets. I have been searching a thousand times over, in the crowds, the cities, the nation spent for them. Just then, as I came around again, and found them where they had always been, waiting beneath the light that I was blind to see.” Under the trials, the torment, the frustration, the rendering, the wrath, the panic; after countless exchanges from joy to loss, and loss to joy, and seeing all walks of life; learning to the snow as carried history, deciphering the secrets of the past, silently accepting and transmuting our experiences into rebirthing, finding true freedom from severing the chains to our soul; so few have had the privilege in the course of history to have true free will.
Release the Self to find Rebirth
¡@¡@ In the film, “The Legend of Zu,” the mystical hero Dan Zichen fell into madness, battling Hsuan Tianzhong in the Blood Pit for the enlightenment of Dao. Dan Zichen sacrificed himself, condemning himself so that Hsuan could have time to stop the true enemy at large. Master Gu Yue also learned to reclaim her heart of purity and of true love after her crushing self sacrifice.
¡@¡@Only when people enter treacherous turmoil and true suffering, by keeping a heart of benevolence, mercy, sincerity and honesty divorced from the passions, will they find free will. Otherwise, they are just slaves to the world, following the trends of the west and putting down the rest of the world, ignorant of the world’s conflict, its origin and malicious embedment in our subconscious, and continue to believe that the will they have is a free one. Like zombies they remain blinded by the deception.
¡@¡@The only way to transcend this fugue is through the discipline of the six arts, through the inoculation of Chi Kung and Kung Fu. Then we can infuse what we learn into our lives, and unify it in our life to create real power. We can then generate life force, and then find the impetus to “secure morality on this earth, and secure life and freedom for those around us; devote our learning to the lessons of the Ancients, and bring peace and tranquility to the world,” and “choose not a life against the way of Benevolence, but accept one of sacrifice in the name of Benevolence.” Only then do we have the transcendent life of a being that has true free will.
Chi Kung Culture Society of TAIPEI