ATTRIBUTES OF THE SPIRIT
Immortality & Individuality |
Intelligence, Thought, and Reason |
Conscience | Free Will | Relative Power
FREE WILL AND RESPONSIBILITY - Free will refers to the ability of a spirit to follow the path that it creates for itself, making its own decisions and choosing its own acts. The discarnate spirit enjoys that liberty when it has reached a level of evolution in which it is allowed to chose, whether alone or with guidance of mentors, the trials and expiations of its next incarnation. The incarnate spirit conserves this freedom of action in order to fight against the struggles of the material life. These struggles serve as trials that test some knowledge previously gained, or as expiations that that afford ways to make amends for past wrong-doings. The spirit develops free will as it gains self-awareness throughout the course of its incarnations.
Free will is a right that a spirit holds by nature. The spirits teach us that an alteration of our mental faculties, through a natural or accidental cause, is the only case in which man is deprived of his free will. However, it must be understood that spirits do not have absolute freedom, that is, a freedom of action with no consequence. The more enlightened a spirit's conscience is, the greater its free will, and the more accountable it will be for its actions. This is where responsibility is employed. The spirits tell us¹ that we do not experience absolute freedom of action because we need one another. They explain that only a hermit in a desert enjoys such freedom, for as soon as two people find themselves together, they have reciprocal rights and duties to respect, whereby they are no longer absolutely free. It should also be pointed out that our evolutionary progress depends our abilities to interact appropriately with our fellow human beings, and therefore, the life of a hermit does not allow for such an advancement.
While such an absolute freedom, as mentioned above, does not exist, the spirits tell us² that there is one condition in which we can enjoy absolute liberty, and that is in thought. They say that "God alone has full awareness of our thoughts and deplores or approves them according to the dictates of Divine justice."
questions 825 and 826 of "The
² questions 833 and 834 of "The Spirits' Book"