THE NATURE OF HUMAN NATURE — Free Will & Original Sin & Karma

It is difficult for any metaphysician to not return to the primal question–who are we?  Why do we behave as we do?  And more specifically why do I make the choices I do ?

The answers to these mysteries will remain in question despite new insights provided by neuroscience, anthropology, psychology, spirituality and other fields.

But I find the notion of original sin fascinating.  As I have discussed previously in a posting from nearly two years ago, Christianity and Judaism have radically different perspectives on this issue.

Rather than argue about which is correct, let me explain how I choose to understand the issue and how it relates to the Eastern notion of karma.

It comes down to the question of what is "free will" and how "free" our choices truly are.

Are we the product of neurochemical firings? The victim of inherited brain abnormalities which impel us to react to our environment and to those around us in ways that hurt others and ourselves?  What about damaging early parental influences? Drugs?

Or do we always retain the ability to choose between options?

I believe that in most cases–we do possess the free will and retain responsibility for what we choose to do.

Original sin freed Adam and Eve from the innocence of childhood but in the process gave them (and us) the responsibility for what we choose.

We are not inherently "evil" or "good".  We are ethically neutral until we think and act out our deeds.

We are in a difficult position and sometimes it seems as if we would rather see ourselves as inherently incapable of making responsible choices.

That may be the easy way out.  And karmically we may still be on the hook anyway.


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