Hello Phil, all,
I was very interested in the whole "freedom of will or not" a while back ago. It seems to me that the prudent thing is to just do your best regardless how bad the current situation is. Everyone has to start where there are, and even the future-Buddha-Gotama-to-be was in hell in at least one life. Regardless whether the present moment is totally vipaka or kamma, fatalistically predetermined to happen or not, do your best. Maybe putting lots of effort NOW is totally conditioned and was fatalistically predetermined aeons ago.
Even if there is absolutely no control at all in any case, still the teaching of "do your best, and start from where you are because that is the only place you can ever start with" is a good conditioning factor. The proper conditions will be present only if they are made. Perhaps the reason why we aren't yet awakened is because we waited for the right moment "later, when situation gets better", for all those past aeons of samsara.
Tomorrow never comes, it is always "tomorrow".
Better conditions never come until one actually makes them, and the only time to make them is now.
I will be away on seminars from today until Monday (june 6).
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."