I am taking a class at my church on Buddhism and the other evening during our discussion the group that I was in got off track (surprise) and started talking about free will and whether it really does exist or is our fate and outcome already been defined. The discussion traveled along the lines of we are raised with certain ideals and mindsets and to some extent what we do and the path that we are on has been predetermined by our upbringing and the people that brought us up and how they were raised and so on. I mean, think about it, we either make decisions based on what we learned as children and we either decide to go with how we were raised and continue along in lock step or we shrug off our training/education/upbringing in large or small ways because we agree or disagree with how our parents thought and believed. And, of course our parents had the same situations and same choices...but was everything planned out a long time ago? Can we really call going with or against our upbringing 'free will'?
I have to say that the classes that I'm taking and the study groups that I'm joining lately are really opening my eyes and making me want to delve in and really think about things more...they make me happy because they challenge me to really question things and use the parts of my mind that I haven't really used in a very, very long time.
Oh, and the picture is one from my Italy trip...I'm fascinated by the desire of plants to push through rock and concrete to bloom and grow....is that their free will or are they predestined to struggle?