Since an absolute analysis of the living being shows that it is not a mere physical object, but has a nature so profound that its behaviour and experience of life is determined by a series of forces and realities that as yet lie far off the beaten track of the terrestrial human being's ordinary way of thinking and view of life, the above question cannot of course be answered without this answer representing precisely such unfamiliar spheres of thought. This answer will therefore for the great majority of people seem fantastic and strange, particularly for such individuals who are still so primitive that they believe themselves to be authorities on every imaginable form of analysis and therefore from the outset deny anything that they do not understand and are unable to sense. These lines are of course not written for such people, but on the contrary for individuals who really possess sufficient ability and tolerance to direct their glance towards the depths or the reality that is still hidden from the man in the street under the veil of mist that we call "imagination".
For these beings I will here attempt to shed a little gleam of light upon a few of the realities that determine the creation of the living being's ability to be able to do what it wants to do.
In order to be able to do what one wants to do, one must have a one hundred percent free will. By a one hundred percent free will is here to be understood a total surmounting of the obstacles to the satisfaction of one's normal desire. But since the surmounting, as well as the obstacles, can exist only as identical to energy, the exercise of the will will thus be the same as the reaction between two forms of energy. And it will thus be possible to experience free will only where the forces that represent the will are stronger than the forces that represent the obstacles. Where the opposite is the case the individual will of course be unable to have its desire satisfied and will therefore feel that its will is imprisoned or tied and bound. In order to free one's "will" one must thus reach a point of being able to promote this will with forces that are higher than the forces that constitute the obstacles. And it is precisely this acquisition of the ability to use higher and higher forces for the promoting of one's will that we in daily life experience under the concept of "evolution". When the living beings evolve from low, primitive forms of life to high, developed ones, it in reality means merely that they gain the ability to use increasingly superior energies for the promoting of their will, by which means the obstacles to a corresponding degree become reduced, in order ultimately to cease entirely. And the individual has then a one hundred percent free will. Gaining a free will thus consists in subduing the energies or forces.
I cannot provide a more detailed account of these forces here, but must refer to my work Livets Bog (The Book of Life). I can, however, inform the reader that the collected forces of the world appear in five different ascending degrees, of which the higher bind the lower. The freedom of the will is thus proportionate to this, and will approach the stage of totality as the individual in question attains to being able to use the fifth degree of energy. If it has, for example, attained to being able to use only the second or third degree, it has thus not freed its will, since this in such cases will still be unable to surmount obstacles that represent the fourth and fifth degree of energy.
Those beings that appear to us as "plants" are an example of beings that in evolution have arrived at being able to use only the first degree of energy. Plants are of course also manifestations of living beings, but these beings have thus life's most primitive will or a will that is merely latent. Next are the beings that use mainly the second degree of energy. These beings constitute what we call "the animal kingdom". This in turn constitutes the zone for which the Earth is pre-eminently the scene. The beings with the third degree's energy of will constitute the real "human kingdom". But this kingdom occurs as yet only in an embryonic state here on Earth, because the people of the Earth use mainly the second degree's energy of will, and only in an almost latent form or in a smaller sphere can use the succeeding degrees of energy. They can therefore be analysed as "transitional beings between animals and human beings".
We have thus here reached the limit of the forces that the terrestrial human beings in evolution have mastered, and of those that they do not master. The forms of energy, those that these beings master, will thus represent the first and the second degree. These two degrees, in combination with the third degree, constitute that which we call "physical matter" or "material forces". And these forces have to no small extent been subdued by terrestrial human beings. They have thus to a certain extent made themselves masters of fire and conductors of lightening. In the form of "horsepower" they allow the elements to transport themselves over land and sea, through the air, water and ether. By means of technical apparatuses they have extended their physical senses. They begin to gain insight into foreign worlds. They are initiated into the course of electrons. A single individual can speak to the entire Earth and be heard throughout the whole world simultaneously. Through photographic technology it can even see the light of day in the middle of the darkness of the night. People are thus well on their way to turning themselves into one hundred percent masters of certain parts of this sphere of world energies, and are thereby to a corresponding extent on their way to attaining a one hundred percent free will or the ability to do what they want in the same sphere. But nonetheless the sphere thus conquered is, all the same, so insignificant in dimension in relation to the sphere that has not yet been mastered by the human consciousness that people regard the thought of a free will as a utopia, as an abnormality, particularly because the forces are of course masters of people where people are not masters of the forces.
Since all absolute perfection is based upon the living being's mastery of the forces and not upon the opposite, and since this perfection in turn is a basis for that which is utterly pleasant, while imperfection is the basis for that which is utterly unpleasant, the forces will be extremely pleasant where they have been made "servants" of the beings, but extremely unpleasant where they are still "masters" of them. And one accordingly calls manifestations that represent an absolute mastery of the forces "ideals" or "good", just as the same manifestations of course also appear as the essence of all religion and worship of God. Is it not the very form of manifestation in which "one is able to do what one wants" that one has ascribed to the highest being or the Godhead, and at the same time promised the human beings appearing "in this same image after his likeness"? And is it not also in accordance with the above that one calls manifestations that do not represent total mastery of the energies "evil" or "punishment"? Is not "hell" the expression for the imaginary most extreme contrast to that which is pleasant, and "the devil" the expression for the imaginary most extreme contrast to the ideal being?
For the highly developed occultist, which means a being who has reached further in evolution than the great mass of his fellow beings, and has therefore senses that are fully developed in areas where his fellow beings are as yet unconscious, no "evil" or "punishment" exists, and no one in existence is "the devil" or "the Evil One". Everything that is utterly unpleasant as well as everything that is utterly pleasant is for him merely a manifestation of uncontrolled and controlled energies respectively. As a consequence of this clear-sightedness he will naturally expect to acquire full mastery of the energies, and thereby come to appear as an even greater representative for that which is utterly pleasant, the more he is ahead of his fellow beings in this acquisition. His manifestations are thus to be expressed as manifestations of utter pleasantness to the same degree as he has acquired mastery over the energies. The pleasantness arising from this mastery is in turn the same as that which we call "love". Every perfect manifestation or mastery of the forces can thus in reality exist solely as an expression of love. And we arrive here at the revelation of why the great commandment "love one another" constitutes "the fulfilment of all the laws", and is indicated as the way to life, since life, when at its highest peak or when perfect, can of course exist only as the mastery of the forces, and this in turn is love.
But as love is expressive of true mastery of the forces, terrestrial human beings have as yet still quite a way to go in training themselves to subdue the energies before they sense an absolute free will. These energies are thus not physical and are therefore expressed, even in daily life, as "mental forces". These forces are not directly visible to the physical senses, because they vibrate with rates of vibration that are quite microscopic in relation to the coarser rates of vibration that the physical energies represent, and to which the physical senses are attuned. But even if these spiritual forces are not physically visible, this does not of course mean that they are unnatural or unreal. On the contrary, they are just as real as the physical forces, and can in reality be expressed as a higher or finer form of electricity. This in turn means that the individual's mental functions in reality are the same as a manifestation of corresponding higher or finer forms of electric current, rays or waves. In order that the living being can use these currents it must have an antenna system. And we find this in the form of its organism. This organism, in the form of the brain, the nervous system and other organs, really constitutes an accumulator and antenna network maintained by an eternal "something", which I do not have space to define here either, but which is described in Livets Bog by the term "X1" and as "the I" in the living being. The connection of the I to the energies is sensed by the living being itself as "thought", this sensation in turn being the same as the experience of life.
As regard to this experience it will thus appear all the more pleasant the higher the degree of energy that the living being has trained itself to use as material for its thought and thereby for its will. When we here on Earth, in addition to the state of pleasure that I mentioned previously as a manifestation of the mastery of physical energy, also find countless states of unpleasantness such as war, murder, killing, mutilation and suffering of every kind, these thus show that the terrestrial human being still does not master the highest energies, and cannot work with them sufficiently; to a corresponding degree he must therefore still be cut off from having a totally free will. The great necessity for these beings will be to train themselves so as to be able to promote their thinking or will perfectly with the highest energies or spiritual forces.
As previously mentioned, in evolution the terrestrial human beings have passed the peak of the first and second degrees of the world energies. These two degrees in turn form the basis for the realities that we call "instinct" and "gravity". These two forms of energy in connection with a latent form of the energy of the third degree together constitute the basis for every form of exercise of the will that promotes the principle of "killing". This principle or exercise of the will becomes therefore the main condition of life in the animal kingdom. And the terrestrial human beings are thus to be regarded as belonging to this kingdom to the same degree as they represent such a way of exercising the will.
The forms of energy or higher spiritual forces that the people on the Earth still do not master are thus the three last degrees of the world energies. These in turn form the basis for the realities that we experience as feeling, intelligence and intuition. But here it must be noted that the last degree is made up not only of intuition but also of the form of energy that is the basis for that which we call "memory". These energies mentioned here thus constitute the mental forces that the people on the Earth can use as yet only in quite elementary or primitive forms, which is reflected in the great states of unpleasantness or suffering in which they live. Terrestrial human evolution then also goes in the direction of training the individuals increasingly to master of these energies. And we therefore see this being stimulated very strongly by various realities. Through religions, churches and temples an ennobling of feeling is aimed at. And through universities, schools and colleges the intelligence is expanded. And when the individual attains a certain perfect balanced mastery of these energies, perfect love arises. And through this gradually arises the perfect mastery of life's highest visual force and creative faculty, that is intuition, which in turn, along with a perfect memory, makes life the peak experience of immortality that we call "bliss".
Through a total mastery of the basic energies of the universe in the exercise of its will the living being will thus attain the highest experience of love, creation and bliss. But when terrestrial human beings represent such a state of consciousness, they are no longer human beings in the terrestrial sense, but belong to zones or kingdoms that are not of this world. The answer to whether the terrestrial human being has a free will or not can therefore be expressed as follows: Since the experience of absolute free will is determined by mastery of the universe's five degrees of basic energy, and the people of the Earth have only just passed the culmination of the mastery of the second degree, none of these beings will be able to do absolutely what they want, but are bound by the forces that their lack of evolution does not allow them to master. Yet we have seen that the eternal commandment "love one another" is science and not superstition when it is said to be the means to liberation or the road to life.
(Original Danish title: "Har det jordiske menneske en fri villie?", Danish edition of Kosmos 1933 nos. 1-2. Translated by Mary McGovern, 2001)
© Martinus Institut 1981
Published with permission from Martinus Institute