Life as a total of our choices

“There is no shadow in the soils of the great humanity,
no beacons in its streets,
no glasses in its windows,
but what the great humanity has is hope,
it is not possible to live without hope”

(Nazım Hikmet, The Great Humanity)

One of the fundamental questions in the history of thought is whether we, the humans, or the things/structures that are at bigger and invincible levels are the essential determinant of our choices. This is called a “freewill problem” or “determinism problem” in short. Let’s try to have a closer look at this situation which we frequently encounter both in our daily lives and ideal adventures.

What is meant by the term “freewill problem” is two essential questions: does the willpower have a determinant aspect in human life or doesn’t it have any determinant aspects at all? The answers to be given for these questions reveal extremely meaningful data regarding the relationship established by humans with the world. If this question is answered with “there is not”, references are made to another superior will (or power), while the fact that the functioning of this world is within the borders of the human mind when it is answered with “yes, there is”.

Two different world perspectives are essentially shaped over this. The fact that the world is within the borders and willpower of the human mind is a significant point within the context of the relationship established with the world. This is the point emphasized by the term “earthly” (sometimes “secular”).

People’s power to be a changing/transforming subject by being actively located, instead of being a passive spectator seating on the stands and watching from a distance, is related to this. Here, it is not implied that willpower forms independently of all other conditions.

Nevertheless, on the contrary, the existence of a human willpower is clear as a day against the claims that it has no determinant power. Humans determine their own world of life, yet they do it collectively with the framework created by several conditions they come across. But how does this “framework” form? In its broadest sense, it is created by taking its final shape through the contributions of other people; the “thing” that is created is a product of humans.

It doesn’t contain anything that is not of this world. In that sense, a human can take their own “destiny” in hand and act as a determinant of that. Right at this point, it is useful to remember Beethoven, a man of the century which saw the most intense discussions on the subject, and his fifth symphony, which is known as his “rebellion against fate” (link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jv2WJMVPQi8 ).

Humans show the power to determine their own “destiny” once they attempt to explain what’s going on in this world by using the concepts of this world through the courage they show to use their own minds. With this power, the fact that they can determine and channel the world through their willpower simultaneously appears.
The discussion of “determinism” must be taken into consideration with this background. Thus, it will be easier to comprehend it.

In one of his works, Karl Marx, a 19th century philosopher, gets involved in these discussions as he says “humans create their own histories, but based on the conditions they found it in.”. As we tried to point out above, he emphasizes the intense relationship between “willpower” and “structure”. There is an emphasis on the point that willpower is not fully swallowed by the structure, and that they take their final shapes jointly through interactions.

After all, one would fall into the pressure of “determinism” in an absolute manner within the borders of an opposite situation. Then again, life would turn gray with its entire vitality and colors in such a case. What’s more, it would fully become mechanized and take a human-free, petrified shape. A structure, which is independent of humans and which has no ties with humans, has nothing to do with this world and with the problems this world has. It belongs to other worlds with all the characteristics it has.

A “worldly” type of approach, the essential problems of which are limited to this world, principally rejects the determinism’s pressure and goes beyond its limits. It naturally recognizes that humans are entities that have the power to be subjects. Although this seems to be an extremely simple thing at the first glance, it is important in terms of giving humans their reputation back as their significance in this world is becoming indistinct while they are being pushed into a passive state.
Despite having relationships with various things, humans determine and shape their own worlds; they naturally have the power to determine their own fates.

Humans can achieve many things in this world through their own freewill; they have that power. It is not possible to pour concrete over this power of humans’, even though it is under constant “fire” through stereotyped words stating the opposite. There will be a set of willpowers as a consequence of their own free choices and preferences. This set of willpowers is the main thing that will shape the life itself at the end of a long-term living.
This is probably an essential principle which we forgot today on many fields and which we must remember over and over again.

Z. Soner Dinç
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