Now, man is never radically free, obviously. We are not free to rewrite the past or be another gender. Unless you are on the left, in which case you are free to do these things. But is this actually freedom, or flight from it?
Yes and no. Just as we cannot be radically free, nor are we totally determined. Rather, a mixture of each: freedom and necessity, which -- it seems to me -- are like prolongations of infinitude and absoluteness on the human plane.
In this context, necessity consists of all the things that Must Be, whereas freedom is an orthoparadoxical realm of things that might be, AKA potential. But freedom itself is a necessity, nor can it ever be radically excised from Necessity itself, AKA the Absolute. Indeed, to do this -- to treat freedom and necessity as separate things -- is the essence of diabolical freedom.
As Schindler explains, "The moment the will becomes an expression not of goodness but of arbitrary power, an essential opposition is introduced."
In paradise -- or, if you prefer, the upper vertical realm from which we are an ontological declension -- the will is not separated from its telos in the good. To turn it around, to rejoin the will to the good is the royal road back to said paradise.
The point is, freedom is always relational. This is precisely what you would expect in a cosmos that is likewise relational -- AKA trinitarian -- right down to the ground. Therefore, diabolical freedom occurs the moment we descend into an atomistic universe, which is to deny God. Three times, as it were.
You can get this principle via Christian doctrine. That is not how I first encountered it. Rather, I cobbled it together from several sources, and only later realized I had stumbled on something Christians had been teaching for almost two millennia. For me, one big hint was the irreducible intersubjectivity of the mother-infant dyad. It's not that we are intersubjective because we were all once helpless babies.
Rather, the converse: ultimately, this dyad -- and the natural family -- is an icon of the interior life of the Trinity. Thus, just as it is a Christian heresy to posit a Father-God separate from the Son-God, it is a cosmic heresy to atomize man. Other heresies follow from this, such as pretending it is possible for a man to marry a man, or that it is possible to choose one's gender, or the belief that one can have a natural right to murder one's baby.
For which reason you could say that Satan's own definition of freedom was perfectly articulated by the Supreme Court: "the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life." That case is called Planned Parenthood v. Casey, but it would be more accurately called SCOTUS v. Man, God, and Reality itself.
In reading that wacky opinion, there is just enough truth in it to make it appear plausible to the unreflective. We do indeed have the "freedom of meaning," but again, if we separate freedom from its proper telos, then it immediately reduces to mere willfulness and power. It then commits the cosmic inversion of placing man in charge of defining reality, instead of being an adequation to it -- in other words, a complete rejection of human privilege and a denial of the human station. From there, hell is right around the corner.
Literally. For just as reuniting freedom with its telos is the royal road to paradise, dividing them is the cosmic U-turn in the other direction: the progressive path of Good Intentions animated by Strong Feelings. And in fact, "reuniting" is itself a misleading term; analogously, you wouldn't say that you need to "reunite" the first and second persons of the Trinity, but rather, see that they can never be separated to begin with.
Back to how Bob stumbled upon all of this. It must have been providence as reflected through the holy happenstance of amazon surfing, which puts one in contact with books one would have never encountered in a thousand years prior to the internet.
Back then, your best shot at widening your world -- or rather, gaining access to the Wider World -- was via independent bookstores run by intellectually and spiritually curious and capacious (and inevitably eccentric) people. And even then, the Search was bogged down by a lot of randomness, AKA cosmic noise.
I'll try to be brief, so as to not get too sidetracked. The author in question was an apparently obscure philosopher named Errol Harris. I see he has a wiki page, so I am about to learn some things about him I never knew -- for example, that he was from South Africa. He wrote a lot of things with which I disagreed or were irrelevant to me, but perhaps the most useful was his critique of logical atomism, which might as well be another name for the metaphysic that gives rise to diabolical liberty.
concludes that science supports a worldview that is relativistic, holistic, organicistic, teleological, and hierarchical in character -- a worldview contradicted by the unconfessed atomistic, mechanical, and pluralistic metaphysical presuppositions of formal and mathematical logic that are wrongly privileged by philosophical empiricism.
Better than "relativistic" would be relational, but you get the point: the world doesn't consist of unrelated monads bumping around together in the void; rather, reality is, as Norris Clarke puts it, substance-in-relation. Being is communion. You could even say it is intimate communion. Some might even say it is love, but here again, that cannot be severed from truth and beauty. Indeed, when you so much as bear witness to a beautiful sunset, you are quite obviously on unspeakably intimate terms with the universe. You are knowing it in the biblical way, pardon my French.
I didn't start to "get" this stuff until I was well into my 30s, and even then only in a piecemeal fashion. I didn't yet see the One Cosmos. My son is on much more intimate terms with reality than I was at his age (12). For example, he has taken up photography, not just to shoot snapshots, but with a real awareness of beauty. If you had asked me about beauty at his age, I would have wondered if you were doubting that I was all boy (to put it euphemistically).
We are getting rather far afield this morning, aren't we?
I'm going to dive back into Schindler and double-check, but it seems to me that he keeps saying the same thing in a thousand different ways -- that freedom severed from its telos devolves to its diabolical counterfeit. Everything becomes a cheap shadow of itself, while swallowing up the reality to which it is supposed to point.
I suppose the final common pathway of the illness is the creation of counterfeit humans, AKA zombies. Which puts our present politico-cultural divide in a deeper context. Yes, we are experiencing a zombie invasion, with President Trump standing between us and a full-on zombie apocalypse.
This reminds me of something I want to mention before sliding into the weekend. I received an email from a reader asking me for advice on how a Christian is supposed to love our zombie invaders. It's an excellent question about which I have a lot of thoughts. I don't have time to spill them right now, but perhaps this will spark a conversation over the weekend. Here are some excerpts from the letter:
In the past few years it's become more and more clear to me that some animals are more equal than others, and some populations are being asked to adhere to a higher standard than others....
It's so blatant now; professors as well as the unwashed on places like Twitter are openly saying white people should be exterminated; they say this with absolutely no fear of sanction or consequence. We are told that for the good of the planet we shouldn't have children, but then we're told we must bring in millions of nons to buttress (replace) our aging workforce.
It's all around us everyday. It's all bullshit, this moral demand for egalitarianism coupled with constant anti-white sentiment. And it's here where my excruciating dilemma comes in. How do I hold in one hand what I know; and in the other hand hold my desire to draw close to God, who demands that I love my enemies, and treat everyone with compassion, as He treats us? Is there some way to balance this and keep my integrity, to not lie to myself or God?
.... So there it is, the splinter in my mind. I guess if I could encapsulate my problem it would be to ask how can I resist society's demand that I engage in genetic self-loathing and suicide and at the same time obey God's commands to love my neighbor (and enemies)?