Degrees and Chimes of Freedom Fleshing (12.29.10)
In other words -- which I have freely chosen for the occasion -- any argument for or against free will automatically presumes its existence, which in turn proves the reality of that which is free to choose, i.e., the soul. To say that free will does not exist is to void one's argument at the outset, since one's arguments can appeal to neither truth nor to that which may know it: as Poincaré commented, "no determinist argues deterministically," so "all arguments against free will are so many proofs if it" (Jaki).
Every free act transcends matter, which is why any form of materialism is anti-liberty, which is why the secular left, dipso shitso, is so dangerous. I'm very much looking forward to Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning, as I am certain that this theme will be explored, thus freeing me of the responsibility. That is, intrinsic to the project of leftism is the abolition of that which transcends matter, and therefore, the dehumanization of humans. This is why their assault on religion in general and the soul in particular is not "accidental" but absolutely essential to their goals. They must replace transcendence with immanence. Once that's accomplished, then everything else falls into place. It's like building the cage. Once the cage of immanence is complete, then man lives behind bars he can't even see, bars as strong as steel and as high as the imagination.
The problem is, not too many people think about what the existence of free will implies, since it is not quantifiable or reducible to anything but itself. Like so many other fundamental realities -- time, life, intelligence, consciousness, etc. -- it seems that we we know everything about it except what it actually is. This leads me to suspect that these fundamentals are somehow implicitly linked to one another, and that there is but one Incomprehensible Thing with several different sides, depending upon how you look at it, e.g., life is time, time is freedom, consciousness is life + time, intelligence is freedom + truth, virtue is truth + action, etc.
As Jaki writes, in a certain sense, free will "is subjectivity itself." Thus, we are free to the extent that we are a subject rather than an object. However, freedom can only be exercised in an objective world, which is to say, on objects, including "objects" within oneself (including objective pseudo-subjects that have no business being there, i.e., mind parasites).
If everything is subjective, then there can't be free will either. This leads to an interesting speculation about the necessity of the world for God's freedom. In other words, just like us, how could God be meaningfully free unless there are objects (or, in his case, subjects) to act upon? To put it another way, perhaps God's freedom is ultimately given its highest expression in the existence of the human subject which can either deny or align itself with him. Thus, denial of God is the ironyclad proof of his existence. But you knew that already.
There is no meaningful freedom in the absence of the human will, but the will is only free to the extent that it is free from certain repetitive actions and mechanical patterns of thought, which we call Mind Parasites. As Emerson wrote (cited in Jaki), "Intellect annuls Fate. So far as man thinks, he is free." But freedom itself is not necessary. Rather, its existence brings one "face to face with that realm of metaphysical reality which hangs in mid-air unless suspended from that Ultimate Reality, best called God, the Creator."
Hmm, why does that sound zimmilar to some other hearsong I've heardsung?
Starry-eyed an' laughing as I recall when we were caught
Trapped by no track of hours for they hanged suspended
The Judeo-Christian insistence "that man is free was born out of the perspective that man was given freedom not in order to do anything he wants to but that he should be able to do what he is supposed to do." We are created free so that our actions "may have that merit which only a freely performed act can have. God therefore has to remain a subtly hidden God, lest man should find himself 'constrained' to obey Him" (Jaki).
In Keys of Gnosis, Bolton widens the argument out to a truly cosmic perspective. He begins with the premise that "Free will and its opposite, determinism, form a duality in human consciousness which parallels that of Providence and Fate in the world." This makes perfect sense if freedom is only free to the extent that it both emanates from, and returns to, the Creator when exercised responsibly, and yet, can only exist in a world that is other than free, which is to say, partially determined and bound by Fate. (When "the word becomes flesh," it essentially submits itself to the world of fate which it must re-transcend -- or as Petey cryptically expressed it in the Coonifesto, "ascent you a son, amen for a child's job.")
In reality, there is no pure freedom or pure determinacy on the human plane -- or, by extension, no pure providence or fate -- but always a mingling of the two in various proportions. As Bolton explains, this is why the issue can appear confusing to people, since it's not as if freedom is an either/or proposition. Rather, each individual has a varying mixture of freedom and determinacy. Furthermore, this would imply that the central task of spiritual growth is to increase the former while diminishing the latter, i.e., mind parasites and other mechanical patterns of thought and behavior, so that we may increasingly "rise above" fate and become truly free. Here it can easily be understood how an improper kind of freedom is slavery while a proper kind of slavery is freedom. It's not actually a paradox at all, especially since the truth (and only the truth) can set you free.
Ironically, it is during our early childhood that we are most "free," i.e., unconstrained by any limits. But we actually aren't free at all, since there is no will to choose or to mediate the freedom. Thus, when we nostalgically yearn for the freedom of childhood, we are actually pining for the absence of freedom, or the "pre-free" infinity of non-choosing. For just as there is an infinity of endless numerical succession, there is also the infinity of the pre-numerical Zero. A better word would be innocence than freedom. Innocence literally means "without knowledge," and in childhood we are without knowledge of our freedom. This implies that the exercise of free will and the "fall" from the innocent paradise of infancy are indistinguishable, just as it says in Genesis. Therefore, Everything means less than zero just as Elvis said it did.
So, as Bolton writes, we are "originally unfree, but with a nascent free will which can develop to its full potential under the right conditions."
There he goes again! I mean my master, the toddler in the next room. For a long time Bob didn't want children, because he thought it would constrain his freedom. He was right. Free at last! From mybob.
I wonder if the Creator feels the same way about his unruly brood, or if he doesn't, how that could possibly be?
To be continued...
Through the mad mystic hammering of the wild ripping hail
The sky cracked its poems in naked wonder
That the clinging of the church bells blew far into the breeze
Leaving only bells of lightning and its thunder.
Striking for the gentle, striking for the kind,
Striking for the guardians and protectors of the mind,
An' the unpawned painter far behind his rightful time
And we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing. --Bob Dylan, Chimes of Freedom