India's leading daily, The Times of India can easily put other contenders of the same bracket (like the widely-praised The Sun) to shame. Today, scanning the lifestyle section, I came across the following lines in what was more of a self-help piece than a philosophical one.
There is a difference between the human and material world. According to the creation plan, the material world has no freedom of choice. The course of the material world is pre-determined while man is free to make his choices.
Now, everyone loves to take something out from whatever this 'creation plan' is. No one is quite certain of what it is and the term has recently been abused a good deal. Since these views run consistent throughout the piece, let us assume that they were held in entirety by the person who wrote the article.
Now, here's my problem with this. I'm sure that a lot of work has been poured in this direction and I'd be more than content with an answer that does nothing but point me to the works of thinkers who've held an opinion on the matter.
In the light of some recent scientific findings, we can refute the fact that 'the material world has no choice'. But we'll ignore it for the moment and also take up a dualistic approach to the matter.
As Physics tells us, everything in the world is causal. Therefore, it wouldn't be wrong to say that we can predict events and their outcomes. This would be taking it a little too far, but let us bring ourselves to agree that "the course of the material world is pre-determined".
But how can it be that we have free will understood to mean "simply being able to make a choice independent of the external world", while the outside world is rigged, of sorts?
Everything we perceive from our senses relates to a corresponding experience. That immediately puts limits to our choices. Also, if everything in the external world is causal, why can't the same be true for our mind? Do thoughts not run in succession? In this case, even if the mind runs parallel to the outside world, aren't its contents ultimately shaped and influenced by the seeming reality around it?