There are things we do and those we don’t — nothing else. We make choices. But do we actually make them? Are we just slaves to our biology, environment, and circumstance — our past programming? Is everything we think, feel or do simply part of that programming? Could we really make any other choice than what we do? Is this idea of free will just a coping mechanism to make life feel less programmed, more alive with possibilities?

Is free will like Plato’s platonic forms, beauty, and justice, or is it a mere creation of the mind? Free will begets regret, and lack of it hints at determinism. That idea tugs at me, that our choices are dictated from every antecedent event that happened before and that what we do now is, in turn, an antecedent cause of what must logically follow after. I must admit there is a seductive beauty in the notion that we are exactly who we were always going to be.

One choice I made twelve years ago dictates this week’s project. A simple choice to set aside a project I was working on. The reasons for my temporary abandonment are faded and indistinct. But that choice, that project, has its deterministic roots in a childhood memory.

I grew up fascinated with all the magical aspects of art and creation. The day I saw my first M.C. Escher lithograph my little child-brain exploded. Inspiration, muse, hero — these concepts found a home inside me. The feelings I received from delving into Escher’s creations solidified my desire to never stop creating.

So it was no surprise, years later, that I chose his creation, the Wentelteefje, to emulate in my first venture into wood sculpture. The project I would eventually abandon. Until now.

After working night and day for a solid week, putting in more hours than anticipated, always finding one more thing to sand, I have finished this epic journey. There is something about the sense of completion that energizes. Whether it be completing a project or something as simple as mowing the lawn, there is a fulfillment, an enlightened sense of purpose that beams throughout you.

I’m exhausted, my hands are riddled with cuts, and feel like they’ve been crushed in a vice. Yet, a smile sits on my face. And I beam.


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