"Free will" has been debated for a very long time. Normally it is adjudicated to "voluntas". Nonetheless, you can speak of freedom of thoughts, freedom of action and even freedom of love. Notice that I am nameing the three aspects or scopes of our lives: knowledge, love and action (power).
Freedom is, in the first place, a mistery. In no place to the day you will find an adequate definition of what is to be free or a proof about if we are free or not. By the contrary, there are numerous proofs that we are not. At this point of our evolution, we already know that we have strong limits externally as good as internally. External ones as money, political actions of our governants, counter-actions of the communications media, etc. Internal ones, as our inconscious complexes, the type of education we received, and even our plain instincts playing many times in spite of our will, draging us to actions from which later we repent. Even so, many philosophers have proclamed the human free will as absolute...
I dont pretend to conclude or put a final point to the topic, only to bring some light into it. For that I use whatever I consider apropiate, and my first act of freedom is this proclaim: that each of us can use whatever he or she considers apropiate, and that not necessarily must all people to coincide that such fundaments are absolutely definitive. That is why I have said "apropiate" or in other words, "useful". In another post, "My sources" (a page really) I have explained which are my basis and why.
Lets go into the topic. The first that we can understand about freedom, is that it is not an absolute state of consciousness like black-white, but there exist graduations of freedom. It is not the same a person pulled, draged by his senses, a person who dominates his senses but who cant stop de constant flux of his mind, a person that has even controled his mind and catches the knowledge instantly like if he has a wi-fi conexion with the "universal knowledge central". I am talking about knowledge in this case, the same we could say of the action of a person who has to be thinking each movement, that is not the same as an expert that dominates his body to the point of adaptative instantaneous non-thinking response. The love terrain is even more slippery...
No obstant, knowledge happens first. This is a fundamental rule. That's why Jesus -for instance- said "truth will make you free". The difference between an animal -the immediatly previous level of evolution- and a human being -which follows- dwells in these three aspects: more consciousness-freedom-responsability, more inteligence-wisdom-cunning and the ability to love (again love is too complex to be explained in a few words). And it is the knowledge, the use of his intelligence, which allows human being to free himself from the grasp of deceit that is meant by pre-human life. This is easily understandable: just watching the animal life, one realizes how one DOES NOT want to live.
Many will defend that animal life is less abhorrent than human. They say that because they watch how bad are some humans acting (and today it is the majority of population) and how good are some animals acting. It is a selective observation. One could say "look the paceful pigeons", but if you watch how they defend they territories or fight for a mate, droven by luxury or sexual desire, the pacific envision is over. What to speak of predators, what to speak about the constant anxiety to which are exposed the non-predator species. Even in the life of a plant, it can be so nice, but sincerely, which human would want to be a plant?...
It is positive in this selective observation to understand that many persons "with human bodies" they act efectively like animals, this is, being draged by their senses and emotions, without control over them. Then we finally understand in which way we are not free if we are in this type of pre-human existence even having a human body. The second step is when our senses doesn`t drag us so much, but we have became "mental ruminants" which cannot resist the constant insinuations of our mind to commit little or big "evil" acts to a more sofisticated level than simple sensorial compliance. Then we notice another mental phenomena, like ideas fighting for supremacy in our mind, which disturbe us and deviates our attention constantly... Well, there are a miriad of this kind of "mental" phenomena. This is what is called "the mind" and it is a subtle element of our bodies. There are people who prefer to think that it is a mere emanation of our brain... anyways, there it is to make our life unbearable... until we discover what to do with it...
Anyways this problem is not easy to solve, "to dominate the mind is more dificult than to try to stop the wind with your hand", but there exist techniques -meditation techniques- that help us to achieve it.
Finally, the state of consciousness where you have dominated the mind and the senses, that is the true human state of consciousness, and it means that you have achieved real freedom.
Without real freedom, any decision that we make is useless. How could we take useful decisions if we are not even free? That is why it must be understood that, with the objetive of a functional society which doesn't desintegrate, others take decisions for us when we are not yet ready to take our own decisions.
If we notice the way a family works, we understand this instantly: the kid is not ready to take important decisions by himself, and that is why his parents do it for him, either he likes it or not. Humanity on this planet has been until present times like a child, and others have taken decisions for us. Even those who thought that they took the decisions "in the shadows", you must know that it is not so. As it is stated in the Bhagavad-Gita (3,27):
"The person who is confused by the influence of false ego, he believes he is the author of activities that in fact are executed by the three gunas or modalities of material energy (nature)".
Even in our awaken life, the actions are not executed by us, but by our bodies (when we are onfused by the influence of false ego). To better understand this, first one must situate himself in other "place" than his body. Believing to be the "material body" is called "false ego"... A complete reading of the Bhagavad-Gita helps us to understand this... to realize it...
Basicly, our margin of freedom has been reduced for so much time to wish, believe and feel. In the basis of these three aspects of our action, Maya or the illusion (or the Matrix) has created for and through us the world in which we have existed for so long time. As we gain consciousness, we gain freedom and so we will be more and more the makers of our own reality. How is this done? The diverse masters of all the philosophic schools, of all the religions and of all the no-more-esoteric practices are teaching in this very moment to all the people of the world to control their minds and bodies and -once they achieve this- they teach, themselves or another masters, how to create the new reality in which we are destined to finally realize all our dreams.
Now I must talk about responsability. I have already told it is a fundamental companion of freedom: to grow and acquire more knowledge means that from now on, each one must be responsible for his own acts or in another words, stop "blaming" another people for what happens to him. To understand the karma law or the law of action and reaction is a fundamental. This law is the only real, universal, absolute law in existence. All other laws are mere illusions, mere conventions to which we were submited for so long because of our immaturity. With the passing of time and as long as we make ourselves responsibles, such laws start to being revoked in an ever growing number of levels of exitence.
The law of action and reaction is real and absolute. Everyone should understand it and accept its existence, if we are willing a society where all people is included. To accept it means to accept that everything that happens in my life, I myself have generated it, and there is nobody else than me that is responsible for it. Sometimes you put this as the atraction law, it is a version of the same, but the way it is explained this attraction law, it has a deceiving hue, that dilutes the responsability with a promise of omnipotence that never happens in practice.
Sometimes it is not posible to track the causes in the immediate past, then there exists another concept that is pair with and twin of the law of karma, and it is called reincarnation. This is a very icy point to explain. I will not go on with it here, because it would be too long. Even without believing in reincarnation -the eternity of soul in front of the caducity of the material body- it is posible today to perfectly watch the imperium of the law of action and reaction in every aspect of our lives.
Finally, I want to insist that please, you leave your commentaries. I dont like monologues, and mine specially. I also have feelings and I need to know if somebody comes by here, so please leave a "souvenir". And if you can correct me in something or to agregate new elements, we will have all enrichen toghether.