About Free Will

‘The world indeed is forlorn
Of all good as thou speak’st it, and so swarms
With every evil. Yet, beseech thee, point
The cause out to me, that myself may see,
And unto others show it: for in heaven
One places it, and one on earth below.’

Then heaving forth a deep and audible sigh,
‘Brother!’ he thus began, ‘the world is blind;
And thou in truth com’st from it. Ye, who live,
Do so each cause refer to heaven above,
E’en as its motion, of necessity,
Drew with it all that moves. If this were so,
Free choice in you were none; nor justice would
There should be joy for virtue, woe for ill.
Your movements have their primal bent from heaven;
Not all; yet said I all; what then ensues?
Light have ye still to follow evil or good,
And of the will free power, which, if it stand
Firm and unwearied in Heaven’s first assay,
Conquers at last, so it be cherished well,
Triumphant over all. To mightier force,
To better nature subject, ye abide
Free, not constrained by that which forms in you
The reasoning mind uninfluenced of the stars.
If then the present race of mankind err,
Seek in yourself the cause, and find it there.
Herein thou shalt confess me no false spy.’

Dante – The Divine Comedy, Purgatorio 16

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