Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Freedom and Free Will

America was founded under the assumption of Divine Providence. Whether or not some segments of our current population might like it, our Founding Fathers believed that God had given them this opportunity, and in fact, duty, to establish a new kind of nation in which the people had protected personal freedoms, the utmost among those the Freedom of Religion. They were well aware that with great freedom comes great responsibility.

Humans have always had trouble obeying rules. Part of that problem is that we have these wonderful, highly evolved minds that live in still rather animalistic bodies that can and do overwhelm our minds sometimes. And then there are just some people whose minds are faulty too. ;-)

What can people do if they want to allow everyone to have great Freedom but some people aren't really capable or even willing to exercise the responsibility that comes with that Freedom? Well, usually, we have to make some rules that protect everyone's freedoms, and when certain people refuse to honor those rules then we try to reform them or remove them from society.

God gave Mankind "free will" which means that we have the choice to do what's right or to do what's not right and many other things in between. God knew that this free will put a lot of pressure on mankind to learn how to respect each other and further evolve spiritually, emotionally, and mentally, and that's why He did it. (just as we challenge our own children to become 'better' people)

What would be the point of a Universe with no degrees of freedom? String theory suggests that even in the "beginning" there were/are at least 10^500 degrees of freedom. ;-) Well, I'm probably (or definitely) misusing that whole thing, but please forgive me since my own brain's 10^500 degrees of freedom are a bit unruly today. ;-)

Of course, I know by looking at the natural world that we do operate under a certain amount of determinism in the form of the Laws of Nature. But the Laws of Nature/God and the Laws of Man do basically serve the same purpose of containing chaos, though usually the Laws of Man achieve this by severely limiting choices and freedoms. And that's just not Natural. While the Laws of Nature tell me that I can't flap my arms and start to fly (except when dreaming), they also tell me that I have the choice as to how I think (or don't think) about God, religion, science, and just about everything else. Our minds are kind of a reflection of all those degrees of freedom.

Well, what was I trying to say anyway? I guess the point I'd like to make is that God/Nature has "given" us a great deal of freedom by virtue of Free Will and that America was founded on the precept that using this Free Will for the advancement of individual Freedoms was the purest use of that Free Will.

Unfortunately, I see too many people forgetting all about Free Will and Freedom in the way they think and act. They forget that their Freedom ends where someone else's begins. They forget that with their Freedom they have a lot of Responsibility, including not to infringe on others' freedoms. And it is hard sometimes to accept that others have the freedom to do or think things that we disagree with or don't like. The point of Freedom of Speech, for example, is not to protect abusive behavior because abuse is the result of exercising no Responsibility. The point of it all is to learn tolerance and to transcend the base impulses to oppress the Freedom of others in whatever forms that oppression might take (abuse, ridicule, insult, imprisonment, etcetera).

Freedom does not insure constant Happiness. But it does insure the Pursuit of Happiness, as our founding fathers already told us. Free Will is our gift from God/Nature. Freedom is that gift in action. And Responsibility is what keeps it pure.

Amen. Go in Peace.

No comments:

Post a Comment