Wednesday, March 29, 2006

No evil

The universe enjoyed its ride to work this morning. Photons traveling from the sun reflected off mass-energy patterns that were in the form of two adult bald eagles and formed an image in the eyes of the universe. The universe was happy with this vision of itself.

translated: I enjoyed my ride to work this morning. I saw two bald eagles. I was happy to have seen them.

It has been pointed out that IF no one has a free will how can anyone be to blame for their actions?

Since each person is really just a different, temporary, manifestation of the universe then every action of the universe is also your own action. You are as much to blame for the behavior of your body as you are for causing hurricane Wilma. Which means that you are both responsible for everything and oddly responsible for nothing. The idea that you are responsible for some things and not other things is plainly wrong.

Thus, if your body does something stupid you are unlucky. It's that simple. I feel bad for all those consciousnesses that are trapped inside poorly trained, stupid or malfunctioning bodies. It's not their fault. They're just unlucky.

If it's a really stupid action then you might want to try to train your body to not do that again (like, say, driving drunk for example). If your body doesn't take charge of training itself then other bodies might do so. They might try to punish your body to teach it to stop behaving that way. Thus there is every reason to try to train people - just as we train dogs, to change their behavior. Dogs, like people, are not responsible for their actions. They are just unlucky enough to have been in a body that did something very stupid, unwise, wrong, hurtful, etc. The universe trains itself to get itself to behave.

This pretty much does away with that crazy notion of good and evil...

45 Comments:

At March 29, 2006, Blogger aumeye said...

I, for one, would never "punish" a dog. Sorry, I know that is not the point, but I couldn't (didn't) help myself. Now, will I be punished?

 
At March 29, 2006, Blogger gniz said...

Here's my response to this posting.

Do you actually KNOW any of what you just wrote? Not, "I am pretty sure...", not "everything in science tells us..."

No, no, no. I am asking if YOU actually KNOW what you are talking about, 100%, beyond the shadow of a doubt.

Because, if not, its pretty much useless. I mean, it sounds good and it probably makes a ton of sense. But, and it's a big BUT, maybe there IS choice. Maybe there is a part of you that does choose things and is responsible for YOUR body's actions. It might not be your thoughts but there might be something that chooses.
Until we have dug deep enough to really see what we are beyond the shadow of a doubt, to understand what all of this crap is, then its just more philosophy, albeit entertaining philosophy.

 
At March 29, 2006, Blogger me said...

aumeye, I don't mean physically harm a dog. Withholding affection is a type of punishment. How else can a dog learn to behave? Untrained dogs can be a terrible menace to cats and other people.

gniz. No. it doesn't matter though does it. It entertains me to view the world from a possibly more accurate framework.

 
At March 29, 2006, Blogger gniz said...

Oh, and on top of the notion that maybe this theory isnt true, theres the fact that if it is true it doesnt change ANYTHING.
You talked about still punishing dogs, training your body to do things, etc. So in other words, do everything exactly like how it already is.
Only we call it different stuff.
-Aaron

 
At March 29, 2006, Blogger me said...

It might not be your thoughts but there might be something that chooses.


and that something is what needs training. Don't stick your (the universe's) hand in fire.

 
At March 29, 2006, Blogger me said...

My daughters were talking about a terrible teacher last night. They criticized her as being the bane of the school. I felt sorry for her - so unlucky to be such a mean person.

So it does make a difference doesn't it? All that talk on the last post about cultivating compassion...

 
At March 29, 2006, Blogger gniz said...

You arent taking your theory to its natural conclusion.
first of all, everything in the universe is the same and none of it made a choice as far as we know.
The universe is responsible, but not in any way that we can understand.
Mind you, this might be true.
If so, it changes nothing. The fact that you feel compassion is a temporary manifestation of the universe--and even if the theory behind it is what led to it, that theory actually doesnt change anything.
In a sense nothing changes anything. Things happen. So why try to "have" any kind of perspective?
The point is, you are going to do what you are going to do regardless of whether free will actually exists.
The fact that is appears to exist is enough.
Now, if through your meditation practice you get to the point where free will actually doesn't even FEEL like it exists for you anymore, that would be an achievement of note.
This is just more philosophy.

Aaron

 
At March 29, 2006, Blogger me said...

So why try to "have" any kind of perspective?

Good question. My wife asks me this all the time.

But if no one sat zazen and realized these things, well... zen wouldn't exist at all would it? If we simply kept the perspective we had before we started practicing zen then what's the point of practicing?

And fyi, it was practice combined with thought which resulted in me starting to see things this way.

I don't KNOW this view is correct but I FEEL it is. It contradicts nothing.

Perhaps I'll get to some sort of non-thought stage sooner or later, but then how would I describe my perspective to anyone else?

 
At March 29, 2006, Blogger gniz said...

"But if no one sat zazen and realized these things, well... zen wouldn't exist at all would it?"

Agreed. Only, I am not sure that what people realize through Zazen is that we have no free will.

"If we simply kept the perspective we had before we started practicing zen then what's the point of practicing?"

The point of practice, at least for me, is to see clearly what this life I am living actually is. Do I exist, what are these thoughts, what is this body, etc?
If at the end I find there is no free will that would be extremely ironic, but that hasnt happened yet. Albeit, it IS a distinct possibility.

"I don't KNOW this view is correct but I FEEL it is. It contradicts nothing."

Thats great. But there are many views which contradict nothing and yet they may still be incorrect. Also, I am still willing to bet that you live your life exactly as if you have free will, and indeed, feel deep down that you are choosing things all the time.

 
At March 29, 2006, Blogger me said...

"Philosopher Dan Dennett (1991) has used much empirical evidence as well as philosophical thought to destroy the idea of the "Cartesian Theatre"; that mythical place where sensations and imaginings are brought together to be seen and actions are decided upon. No - there is no such place and no one in there.

How do you live accepting this about yourself? Isn't it hard, cold, unfeeling and cruel? No. I think the essential insights that science is forcing on us are precisely the same as those the Buddha discovered when he sat under a tree with an unshakable determination to look inside himself and see what was there. What he saw is described in the Buddhist notion of "no-self" and the doctrine of dependent co-origination - a sort of causeless interconnectedness of arising events. They are just as difficult to accept for us now as they were for people then but whether you want to do it or not depends on whether you want to face up to the truth."

from: Susan Blackmore - The Question Is - Who Am I ? Researcher Profile 7. Exceptional Human Experience, 10, 167-170 Reprinted in Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 96, 2002, 143-151

oh.. and regarding what I feel about whether I am choosing... it's actually been changing, believe it or not. When I make a decision now I ask myself immediately who made that decision and why. So far I have not gotten a very good answer.

 
At March 29, 2006, Blogger Atman Anatman said...

The question of free will is closely related to the question Do I Exist. If there is no I, then there is no one choosing. This perspective does impact my daily life. Although I still function day-to-day in a similar fashion, this “awareness” results in much faster, smoother decision-making. I do not stress, fret and agonize over decisions as I previously did, and as I see others still do. Also, regret is not an issue.

 
At March 29, 2006, Blogger Anatman said...

Oh, that last one is me. I used my full real name by mistake ;-)

 
At March 29, 2006, Blogger Siren said...

I think the reason why so many people think zen is so nihilistic is because of a lot of the philosophizing (yawn) that goes on about it. Yay that we've hooked up some monks to electro-brainwave-thingies, and that zen is connected with science and psychology. It wasn't that long ago that those two words would not have been in the same sentence: science and psychology, and a lot of psychology is still pretty questionable. It seems like I am hearing an undercurrent of, 'See, I told you, since we can prove zen doesn’t contradict science, we're right, and all you other religious/non-zen people are wrong!’ Dangerous road, that one.

I’ve had plenty of blissed out by the ocean, in the woods, I am so connected to everything stuff. That's super. But the reality is my life right here, right now, and the mass-energy pattern that is me is sore as all get out from the silly yoga class I took last nite, my voice is tired and makes practice difficult, and the litter box needs cleaning.

PS. Misbehaved dogs get that way specifically from being punished. Surely, by now, there is not one us that has not seen positive reinforcement trainings on the Discovery Channel! Horse Whisperer, people!

 
At March 29, 2006, Blogger amanzi said...

Why is the dog upset?

Maybe we should stroke his ears.

 
At March 29, 2006, Blogger me said...

It seems like I am hearing an undercurrent of, 'See, I told you, since we can prove zen doesn’t contradict science, we're right, and all you other religious/non-zen people are wrong!’ Dangerous road, that one.

Is it just the arrogance that you see as dangerous or something else?

 
At March 29, 2006, Blogger Siren said...

'I'm right-you're wrong' is the definitive characteristic of fundamentalism. Fundamentalism is dangerous. Buddhism has been fine bopping along on its own without the need for science or any other system to validate it. I don’t have a problem with all the cool science stuff. It’s fascinating. I think some people may be attracted to zen because they think science can quantify/explain/validate it, and therefore zen is ‘right’. We may find out tomorrow or in 1000 years, or never, that everything we’ve thought about the universe is wrong (or right). So what.

 
At March 29, 2006, Blogger aumeye said...

siren > PS. Misbehaved dogs get that way specifically from being punished. Surely, by now, there is not one of us that has not seen positive reinforcement trainings on the Discovery Channel! Horse Whisperer, people!

I just felt this was worth repeating.

amanzi > Why is the dog upset?
Maybe we should stroke his ears.

This too.

 
At March 29, 2006, Blogger Justin said...

good, evil, freewill, self, non-self, moral responsibility - these are conventions not metaphysical entities.

 
At March 29, 2006, Blogger gniz said...

ME wrote: "When I make a decision now I ask myself immediately who made that decision and why."

You ask that when you move your finger? You ask that when you type, when you dont type, when you move your head (or don't), blink, breathe, smile, chew?
Or do you only ask "who is making the decision" when you are trying to decide whether or not to go for a walk in the park...
We are CONSTANTLY making choices and it is so implicit in our activities...maybe it is changing for some of you. However, I am always cautious about accepting that theories and philosophies are bringing about these changes.
I have had days and weeks where I felt that things were changing in such a way, only to be bounced right back to my "normal" state again, usually because my thoughts on the matter changed or I encountered stress, etc. Many times, that "no doer" type of state seems to go along with my life happening to be running smoothly at the time.

Aaron

 
At March 29, 2006, Blogger Jinzang said...

The universe enjoyed its ride to work this morning. Photons traveling from the sun reflected off mass-energy patterns that were in the form of two adult bald eagles and formed an image in the eyes of the universe. The universe was happy with this vision of itself.

To quote from two scenes from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory:

"You mean that's it?"
"Do you even know what it is?"

and

"You think too much."

 
At March 29, 2006, Blogger me said...

Yes, I think too much. For a while (most of my life actually) I thought this was a problem. Maybe something I could fix with zen, perhaps. Then I'd be better!

Ha! Now I look at it differently...

Regarding training of dogs (and people for that matter): Just so no one thinks I'm some sort of punishment-meister - dogs and people will do stupid things regardless of how much affection they are given. When they screw up they need to know they've screwed up. Communicating this fact to them is important.

I agree that if a dog or person gets no positive reinforcement they can be totally warped and ruined as a result. However, I think if a dog or person gets no negative reinforcement they can be just as ruined. Spoiled is the proper term.

How would one reward good students if every student in the class is given an A+ regardless of the quality of their work?

 
At March 29, 2006, Blogger me said...

Siren - I like your comments, thanks.

I'm right-you're wrong' is the definitive characteristic of fundamentalism.

But isn't it also the definitive characteristic of a doctor who knows the correct solution to your problem? or an engineer who knows the proper way to build a bridge that doesn't collapse?

I suppose there are some parts of life where it doesn't matter what people believe, but isn't Zen about seeing reality for what it is? Not being deceived? Seeing 'the truth'?

 
At March 29, 2006, Blogger Anatman said...

Gniz said: "Many times, that 'no doer' type of state seems to go along with my life happening to be running smoothly at the time."

As an experiment, try to remember the 'no doer' awareness when things are not running smoothly. For me, it helps lift some of the weight.

 
At March 29, 2006, Blogger aumeye said...

me says > I agree that if a dog or person gets no positive reinforcement they can be totally warped and ruined as a result. However, I think if a dog or person gets no negative reinforcement they can be just as ruined.

Just to be clear on the terminology:

Negative Reinforcement strengthens a behavior because a negative condition is stopped or avoided as a consequence of the behavior.

Punishment, on the other hand, weakens a behavior because a negative condition is introduced or experienced as a consequence of the behavior.

Thank you. I will stop now.

 
At March 29, 2006, Blogger Siren said...

Me, I definitely want a good bridge to cross, and I want brilliant medical professionals if I need them. But I don't think a zen teacher can tell me 'the truth'.

Great comment, Jinzang!

 
At March 29, 2006, Blogger me said...

Thanks aumeye - I wasn't aware of the distinction between punishment and negative reinforcement. That's helpful (my family has a 5 month old dog - our first - and we're learning as much as we can about training dogs. Lots of conflicting opinions!)

Siren, good point - a teacher can't tell you the truth. I guess in Zen the truth is particular to each individual.

Thanks, (time to finish the dishes!)

 
At March 30, 2006, Blogger gniz said...

I have yet to hear an awakening story that said "after re-reading one of his 800 books on Buddhist philosophy, Mr. So-and So finally dropped all attachments and became enlightened."
I have yet to hear a story where someone "got it" after having yet another circular conversation about Truth or Reality.
Now, by the way, I am not giving awakening stories any particular credit--as Brad says, the idea that you are going to "get" something is probably counterproductive.
But even among these stories of awakening, I've never once heard of it occuring due to some amazing passage in a book...
Usually someone gets slapped or something.

Aaron

 
At March 30, 2006, Blogger me said...

gniz. I agree. And I also am so thankful that Brad emphasizes staying in the present rather than 'revelling' in cool thoughts of mental excitement. (I totally missed, while digging those eagles, the fact that the car's oil has needed changing for some time now!)

All I can add is that I think perception can be altered if one has a different perspective (model of the world in one's head).

Buddhists concepts like no self and impermanence take some thinking to understand - but zazen is critical too. I find that knowing what science says makes these concepts easier to understand (since people are arriving at the same conclusions independently, using different methods).

I don't know much about awakening, other than what I've read - and some authors emphasize that simply doing zazen is being awake, being enlightened. Others like Brad say, more or less, there is no enlightenment.

I am most definitely NOT claiming to have obtained an uber-aware state or satori. I will say my perspective is different and consequently my perception (thus my desire to blab about it because I think it's cool or at least entertaining)- but as you mentioned, perhaps when my life gets tough all this will fade and my perception will be the same it was a year ago.

This leaves me a little confused and wishing I had a teacher. Should I try to maintain this unusual perspective / perception of the world? Or not?

 
At March 30, 2006, Blogger gniz said...

Hey ME,

Well, if your perspective has been different for a year consistently, its probably unlikely that you will go back to some old perspective.
As for the teacher part, it seems to be helpful. I can say from what I've experienced, that even having an awakened teacher doesnt really save you. I think if you can get to a certain point of understanding, you know what to do to be present and pay attention. Then it becomes a matter of doing it as much as possible.
Most of these conversations (and believe me, I include myself in this 125%) arise as a result of people NOT wanting to pay attention.
When we talk or chat on the internet, many times we are completely unaware of everything but our thoughts and the screen infront of us. It's just another way to escape from the present and our bodies.
We CAN pay attention and gossip, we can pay attention and discuss philosophy. it just so happens that most of the time while we talk about our grand theories, the moments are just passing by unnoticed.
I believe most of the right-thinking, right-doing sorts of precepts are just taking into account that when we have certain kinds of conversations and engage in certain activities, it is to escape from our lives.
So it comes down to paying attention from moment to moment, in whatever we do.
A teacher can help emphasize this and bring you back when you go astray or get goofy. They can help you cut some corners. But ultimately it is up to the individual.
We are responsible for our own awakening. Although since we dont have free will, i guess its the universe that is ultimately responsible...

:)

 
At March 30, 2006, Blogger gniz said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At March 30, 2006, Blogger me said...

gniz - GOOD points.

One of the stronger thoughts that popped into my head during zazen this morning was 'I wonder what's been written on the flapping mouths blog?'

Perhaps this is all counterproductive?

 
At March 30, 2006, Blogger gniz said...

I'm not personally saying to not ever have these kinds of conversations, or anything.
I guess I just try to look at them for what they are. Diversions.
Now, maybe they serve as more than that for other folks--people have said as much.
When I am paying attention to my breathing and my senses, etc, I find I dont have a lot of use for this stuff.
But other times i want to be unconscious and goof around, talk smack, read philosophy, watch cartoons...
BTW, EVERYTHING can be done consciously, but one must be honest with oneself for this to happen.

-Aaron

 
At March 30, 2006, Blogger karen said...

I'm really in bad shape. I been thinking this is all bullshit and so are the books! I am at the point that I can't stand to read one more "You should do this or that." etc. I love books. Now what am I going to read?

 
At March 30, 2006, Blogger earDRUM said...

Some thoughts…

I don’t like the idea of the world of people and animals being a huge Skinner Box, where the only exchanges are positive or negative reinforcement/feedback. I think that our natural state is to move along through our days, aware of our surroundings, and acting appropriately.
We learn appropriate behaviour through the experience of living. The stove is hot… don’t touch the stove. And we learn appropriate behaviour through communication. We are a social, communal species, just like dogs, birds and whales are. We know that we can survive better through cooperation… through community. We share our lives with animals because there is a mutual benefit. If we treat our dogs and cats with respect, they do the same to us.
But we get trapped by our thinking. We delude ourselves, thinking that we perceive “reality”… when really, we only perceive a very thin slice of reality. Our mistake is to believe in our thoughts… to be certain of things. But we should always question everything… especially our thoughts. We should trace our thoughts to the very core… to their origins. Practicing this can be very illuminating.
There is no “truth” except for everything there is, everywhere, right now. We can only perceive a tiny bit of it. And our perceptions are coloured by our thoughts and automatic responses to of past experiences.
The second time we come close to the stove, we are over-cautious. But soon we learn that things are not so black and white. We continue to adjust our view of our experience as we live each moment.

The idea of there being no free will sounds like a load of crap to me. Sorry, but in the Relative world we do make choices. I agree that there is no “separate self”, but that doesn’t mean that this conglomeration of energies (that I call Me) is not conscious, and not able to choose its route through the world. Recognition of the fact that there is no separate self allows us to act more appropriately. But we still act in the Relative world.

Awakening stories are sometimes useful because when we experience a calm awakening of deeper awareness… a letting-go of the thinking mind… we can recognize it as such. And, upon knowing this, we can train ourselves to let go of counterproductive thinking… and just be in-the-moment.

There is a difference between getting lost in thoughts about chatting about philosophy on the internet… and being aware while chatting on the internet. Every action that we do should be done with the same presence and awareness. It is only when we get lost in thoughts and emotions that we fall off track. It doesn’t matter if we are thinking about philosophy or zen or the grocery list. It is all “thinking”. Thinking is a very useful tool. But it is such a trap. Decartes said “I think, therefore I am”. He was right, in a sense. But he didn’t realize that the “I” (the ego… the sense of separate self) was the big “problem”.
And that is what zazen is for… to allow the thinking and feelings and sense of separate “self” to fall away… to let us be here now… to live in harmony with our surroundings. When we are calmly aware, we make better choices. Our morality is not guided by thoughts or feelings, but by perceiving our situation more clearly… by knowing what the right thing to do is.

Or not.

 
At March 30, 2006, Blogger me said...

After all that discussion about punishment I edited my post to replace 'punish' with 'train'. Hope that better explains what I was trying to say. (although someone reading the comments now, after reading the edited version might wonder what all the comments about punishment are about...).

Thanks again for the feedback.

 
At March 30, 2006, Blogger me said...

eardrum - I agree that there is no “separate self”, but that doesn’t mean that this conglomeration of energies (that I call Me) is not conscious, and not able to choose its route through the world.

This differs from my view. I agree that there is consciousness in the conglomeration of energies that you call yourself (or others call "you").

And I agree that the conglomeration of energies is able to choose its route through the world.

BUT I disagree that your consciousness is actually doing the choosing. I'll admit it feels very much like one's consciousness is doing the choosing, but this is a feeling only.

Realizing that the universe is making all your decisions for you is a pretty odd and typically unbelievable realization.

 
At March 31, 2006, Blogger earDRUM said...

I would like to understand this idea of "the universe making our decisions", rather than our conscious minds.
I assume that this is different than saying that everything is predetermined. But I still don't get this idea.
I would appreciate it if someone could explain this.
And where would the subconscious mind fit into this?

 
At March 31, 2006, Blogger me said...

eardrum - I understand it to be like 'being with the Tao' - the condition when 'you don't get in your own way' - your life happens naturally, spontaneously. You don't fret and plan and strategize. You don't agonize over decisions or regret them later because you didn't make them. The Tao made them.

Alan Watts has described the Tao as like being in a river - those who are with the Tao swim in the direction of the current and they have the entire force of the river behind their every action. Those who don't get it are constantly fighting the current and expending enormous energy unecessarily.

I'm not sure how evenly this applies across all humanity but I definitely tended to be one of these people who agonize over decisions and who thinks that if I think more I'll be able to decide what to do. That tends to just lead to paralization - no action happens because you think you need more time to think, more information needs to be gathered etc. And the fear of making the wrong decision! If only I had more information!

DROP all that crap. It's such a release to not worry about decisions (so much) because I now feel it's not even ME who is making them!

I was just reading a Buddhist explanation of this earlier this morning but the book is at home. I'll get it later and write up the Buddhist view on this.

 
At March 31, 2006, Blogger me said...

I bet we've all felt this at some time or other. I recall as a child I was on a high-dive. I was terrified of jumping into the pool below. I stood there rapidly thinking of all the possibilities, worrying about the jump, worrying about the embarrassment of climbing back down the ladder in front of all the other kids waiting their turn.

Then, without having made up my mind, I just jumped. At that point I saw, with stunning clarity, how useless thinking can be!

(it was an awesome fall & splash - very memorable!)

But I still didn't get it. It was my nature to think and to think that my very 'self' must be constantly thought about, constantly attended to. I must worry and concern myself with myself lest I do something stupid. I think this is what drew me to Zen to begin with - some sense that it offered a solution to this problem.

I never really understood what the Zen masters were saying until I was hit with this realization that even when we try to control the course of events of our life, we aren't really doing it - all we're doing is interfering! Or so it seems.. I haven't got it all figured out yet either.

 
At March 31, 2006, Blogger gniz said...

Sorry, ME--I still don't see how your point about free will changes worrying or overthinking.

Worrying, like anything else, is something YOU have no control over (based upon your theory).

So when you "let things happen instead of thinking", isn't that just a fancy way of saying "I made a CHOICE to just go with the flow and stop thinking so much?"

In order for your theory to be true, you would not think about worrying or not worrying (since it is out of your hands anyway) and therefore you might worry as much or more. Where is that you that "realized" something? Isnt a realization and the following outcomes a result of choice, no matter how subtle?

I'm not buying it...again, I admit we may have no choice. But i state that we FEEL as though we have choice and it is everpresent. Making statements where you leave out the choice part doesn't change that, it just means you have found new ways of phrasing things. Even if you feel LESS like you are making choices, I submit that this FEELS like a choice also. Which is why you are so happy about it. You feel good that you have chosen this philosophy because you CHOOSE to believe it is correct.

Aaron

 
At April 04, 2006, Blogger grisom said...

I'm not sure how evenly this applies across all humanity but I definitely tended to be one of these people who agonize over decisions and who thinks that if I think more I'll be able to decide what to do. That tends to just lead to paralization - no action happens because you think you need more time to think, more information needs to be gathered etc. And the fear of making the wrong decision! If only I had more information!

...I must worry and concern myself with myself lest I do something stupid.


Wow, yeah, I know exactly what you mean.

DROP all that crap.

Slowly learning to do that myself. It's encouraging to hear that someone else has found a way out of it. Thank you.

 
At July 16, 2007, Blogger crazy said...

all people have a mind & spirit capable of choice of actions. many times that is forced into areas which the person would not go normally. outside forces have much to do with the action or direction a person dictates for them selves. however it still is a choice, even if it is between "a rock and a hard place."

 
At July 16, 2007, Blogger crazy said...

all people have a mind & spirit capable of choice of actions. many times that is forced into areas which the person would not go normally. outside forces have much to do with the action or direction a person dictates for them selves. however it still is a choice, even if it is between "a rock and a hard place."

 
At July 16, 2007, Blogger crazy said...

all people have a mind & spirit capable of choice of actions. many times that is forced into areas which the person would not go normally. outside forces have much to do with the action or direction a person dictates for them selves. however it still is a choice, even if it is between "a rock and a hard place."

 
At July 16, 2007, Blogger crazy said...

all people have a mind & spirit capable of choice of actions. many times that is forced into areas which the person would not go normally. outside forces have much to do with the action or direction a person dictates for them selves. however it still is a choice, even if it is between "a rock and a hard place."

 

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