Alan Watts discusses the perceptually blurred line between voluntary and involuntary actions.

Going through everyday life seemingly exercising free will while apart of a larger system of life and creation is wondrous. You are not only a part of the big picture, you are the big picture.

Alan Watts – Voluntary and Involuntary Actions Transcript

You see the problem is this; we identify in our experience a differentiation between what we do and what happens to us.

We have a certain number of actions that we define as voluntary; we feel in control of those.

And then over against that there is all those things that are involuntary. But the dividing line between these two is very arbitrary.

Because for example, when you move your hand you feel that you decide whether to open it or to close it. But then ask yourself how do you decide?

When you decide to open your hand. Do you first decide to decide? You don’t do you. You just decide. And how do you do that? And if you don’t know how you do it; is it voluntary or involuntary?

Let’s consider breathing. You can feel that you breathe deliberately. You can control your breath. But when you don’t think about it, it goes on. Is it voluntary or involuntary?

So we come to have a very arbitrary definition of self; that much of my activity that I feel I do.

That then doesn’t include breathing most of the time. It doesn’t include the heart beats. It doesn’t include the activity of the glands. It doesn’t include digestion. It doesn’t include how you shape your bones, circulate your blood. Do you or do you not do these things?

Now if you get with yourself and you find out that you are all of yourself; a very strange thing happens. You find that your body knows that you are one with the universe.

In other words, that the so called involuntary circulation of your blood is one continuous process with the stars shinning.

If you find out that it’s you who circulates your blood you will at the same moment find out that you are shinning the sun.

Because your physical organism is one continuous process with everything else that is going on. Just as the waves are continous with the ocean. Your body is continous with the total energy system of the cosmos and its all you.

Only you’re playing the game that you’re only this bit of it. But as I’ve tried to explain there are in physical reality no such things as separate events.

So then remember also when I tried to work towards a definition of omnipotence. Omnipotence is not knowing how everything is done, it’s just doing it. You don’t have to translate it into language.



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