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(To my poem friends in Brazil I say, thank you!)

Betty Luceigh, December 2014

Lack of willpower often gets the blame–
eating extra chocolates,
getting drunk,
an illicit affair,
smoking anything–
blame, but does willpower even exist?

Philosophers may argue “free will” does not exist,
claiming it is but determinism in disguise.
Neuroscientists may measure regional brain patterns
and observe choices made before consciousness of doing so.

Nonetheless, we humans do experience what we identify as “free will”,
attribute our choices to it as a natural part of awareness,
believe in doing so we are autonomous humans,
not automatons.

But is this self-deception?
Trickery of the mind?
Is it too fearful to believe otherwise,
for if a choice is not our own,
must our minds not be held captive to another,
and rob us of our power to influence our fate?
Would all of life not then become
brainwashed by illusions?

For what purpose is human consciousness
without freedom to choose its expression?
If free will is inherent in the experience
of human existence,
must we not take responsibility for the gift of it?
Must we not first know our true selves
to know if our will is truly free?

To have willpower, we must first have will,
in truth or in assumption.
Only then can we direct its intention
with full integrity of our motivations.
We recognize our willpower
through the strength it demonstrates by deliberate actions,
and the management it exerts over unconscious impulses.

But most of all, to have free will and the power to use the gift wisely,
we must be conscious of its presence, its attributes,
its potential to influence for the better what is good, true, and beautiful.
For then we are not only free humans, but full.