Big Other is Watching!
Yes, here it is: our intimation of "freedom or rather free will belies mere material existence.... in the final analysis, the elemental registering of free will almost exhausts whatever else can be said about its reality. Everything else is embellishment, very useful and informative as it may be, because it is irrelevant unless achieved and articulated freely."
In other words, any argument for or against free will obviously presumes its existence, since it proves the reality of the subject who is free to either accept or reject it. Conversely, to affirm that free will doesn't exist is to void one's argument at the outset, since the argument can appeal to neither truth nor to the subject who 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 the very basis of illiberalism, and which is why the secular left is so spiritually destructive. We've been thinking about this a great deal lately, as Bob finally got around to reading Whittaker Chambers' Witness, followed by a more recent intellectual biography. (Actually, since Chambers was more of a prophet and mystic, the book is more of a pneumacognitive biography. Can't get into details at the moment. We hope to say more about it when we have the time.)
Intrinsic to the project of leftism is the abolition of that which transcends matter, which must result in the dehumanization of humans and the end of Man. This is why their assault on religion in general and the soul in particular is not peripheral but absolutely essential to their goals; it is not a bug but a feature.
In short, the left must replace transcendence with immanence. Once that has been accomplished, then everything else falls all the way down 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, but which suppress and nullify the mythic imagination. Instead of imagination containing the world, materialism contains 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, beauty, etc. -- it seems that we know everything about it except what it essentially is.
This leads us to suspect that these fundamentals are somehow implicitly linked to one another, and that there is but one Incomprehensible Thing with several different modes, depending upon how one looks at it. For example, life is interior time; time is freedom; intelligence is freedom + truth; virtue is truth + will; beauty is form + truth; etc.
We are free to the extent that we are a conscious subject rather than an object that only reacts and is acted upon. 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).
This is why man is more or less free, depending upon the existence of mind parasites that live off the central host by appropriating a portion of its existential freedom. Like our trolls, mind parasites are certainly willful, but not free.
If everything were subjective, then there could not be free will either. This leads to an interesting spookulation about the "necessity" (so to speak) of the world (i.e., a creation) for God's total freedom.
In other words, just like us, how could God be meaningfully free unless there were objects 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, and even a kind of ultimate -- if inverse -- and perverse -- seal of his divine freedom. (This is similar to how the denial of truth is its assertion, or the promulgation of materialism is its refutation.)
There is no meaningful terrestrial 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 something that could ever be attained, only revealed and discovered in natural law (which is obviously supernatural). For 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" (Jaki).
Hmm, why does that ring a bell of freedom's fleshing? Oh yes:
Starry-eyed and laughing as I recall when we were caught
Trapped by no track of hours for they hanged suspended
The Judeo-Christian affirmation of man's freedom is "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). Here again man would find himself in another kind of cage, only a transcendent one instead of the immanent prison of the psychospiritual left (one thinks of the Islamic world).
In Keys of Gnosis, Bolton widens the argument to a more meta-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 nonsense 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 or descends into a world of fate which it must transcend.
On the human plane there can be neither pure freedom nor pure determinacy -- or, by extension, pure providence nor unalloyed 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, chance and necessity, horizontal parasites and vertical symbionts, flack and slack.
Furthermore, this would imply that a central task of spiritual growth is to increase the one while diminishing the other, i.e., mind parasites and other mechanical patterns of thought and behavior, so that we may increasingly "rise above" fate and become relatively free. Here it can easily be understood how an improper kind of freedom is slavery while a proper kind of slavery is freedom. It is not actually a paradox at all, especially since truth (and only truth) sets one free, and truth simply is. To deny what Is is to submit to slavery.
Ironically, it is during our early childhood that we are most "free," i.e., unconstrained by any limits. But we actually aren't really 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 (not to mention the existence of the Big Other whose job it is to sponsor and maintain the illusion of our freedom, and to introduce painful limits only gradually).
For just as there is an infinity of endless numerical succession, there is also the infinity of the pre-numerical Zero. A better word might be innocence than freedom. Innocence literally means "without knowledge," and in childhood we are without knowledge of our freedom or our fate. 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.
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." Thus, political freedom is a means, not an end. By making it the end, the left undermines it in any meaningful sense. And then, since it doesn't mean anything anyway, they just go about eliminating it altogether, so they can do the choosing for you. Which is why tyrannies are only free at the top, in the Big Other who knows better how to run your life.