One definition of free will I haven’t seen before and came up with a few minutes ago is as follows: “Free Will IS ACTUALLY the self – there is no division.”
The question of “Does the self have free will?” in this case is not the issue. The issue is rather “Is free will EQUAL to the self?”
Thus, asking if a self has free will is like asking water if it has liquid? Or asking space if it has time? Or asking matter if it has energy?
For if I define self in this way, I have a new way at looking at death: Death occurs whenever I no longer have free will, and have thus my self is gone temporarily out of existence.
THOUGHT EXPERIMENT: My mum and I have a boat accident and are swimming deep underwater and desperate for oxygen. I wouldn’t normally kick my mom, but if she is above me and my body’s survival mechanics kick in, I may kick and pull on her to get to the surface twenty feet up. Once there, we both (hopefully) recover and talk about why I kicked and pulled the shit out of her.”
So, according to this definition of the free-will-self WAS I DEAD in those desperate moments?
Yes. My conscious choosing self was gone and only animal instinct remained.
And, later, back on shore I came back to “life” and would not willingly kick or pull on my mother.
Epictetus, Free Will Champion of the Roman stoics, said this once concerning the two men who worked to condemn Socrates to death, “Anytus and Meletus can kill me, but hurt me, they cannot.”
But Anytus and Meletus could torture Epictetus until he begged involuntarily for mercy or made other concessions.
So … IF the self is dead during overwhelm, is the self actually hurt in this definition? No. Because a self that cannot choose does NOT exist. Existence IS choosing.
Epictetus defines what we control (AKA: Free to Use) as follows: “Things in our control are conception, choice, desires and aversions and in a word, anything of our own doing. Things not in our control are body, possessions, reputation, and office and, in a word, anything not of our own doing.”
So, in the example above if the body’s needs dominates the will to where it can no longer choose and control is the self dead?
And that would mean the free-will-self is dead also during anesthesia and deep dreamless sleep.
So, reincarnation AT LEAST has one place where it occurs according to this definition:
In. Your. Real. Life.