One Man Versus Freedom
by Christian Thomas Golden
When a man is free, he has responsibilities. A free man has choices. A free man makes his own decisions. A free man is not bound by external forces. That is, a free man is not bound but by those forces he subjects himself to. But then, he wouldn’t really be free, would he?
Let’s say there are degrees of freedom. No. Scratch that. The makes no sense. When a man is free, a man is free. When a man is not free, he is not free. In a sense, then, it makes more sense to talk of freedom in its absolute form.
Freedom is the state of being completely unrestricted. For man, pure freedom (the state of being completely unrestricted) means thinking, speaking, and acting without any influence. Now, whether such a man exists is unlikely. In fact, it is impossible for a man to live completely free of influences. From birth a man is pushed and pulled by many forces, especially social and physiological.
So, now we see that no man is completely free. In fact, I believe that freedom (in its absolute form) does not exist but conceptually.
Ah, so then it only makes sense to discuss freedom as it exists on a continuum (I’ll make up my mind eventually).
So much as a man is free, so is he responsible. A man is responsible for the words he freely chooses to speak. A man is responsible for the actions he freely chooses to take.
What does it mean to be responsible? To be responsible is to have ownership of thoughts, words, and actions and the consequences thereof.
Now comes the part no one wants to hear.
Consequences are the outcomes of actions. Actions are outcomes of thoughts and feelings. Thoughts and feelings are the matrix of one’s character. This means that so far as we are free to think, speak, and act, we are free to choose who we are. So far as we are free to choose who we are, we are responsible for who we are.
Isn’t it so much easier to place the blame elsewhere?