Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Freedom is a process

Freedom is not a given of the human situation. Like the other distinctive achievements of the spirit - art, literature, music, poetry - it needs training, discipline, apprenticeship, the most demanding routines and the most painstaking attention to detail. No one composed a great novel or symphony without years of preparation. That is why most theories of human behavior are simply false. They claim that we are either free or not; either we have choice or our behavior is causally determined. Freedom is not an either/or. It is a process. It begins with dependence and only slowly, gradually, does it become liberty, the ability to stand back from the pressures and influences upon us and act in response to educated conscience, judgment, wisdom, moral literacy. It is, in short, a journey: Abraham's journey...leave behind all external influences that turn into a victim of circumstances beyond your control, and travel inward to the self. It is there - only there - that freedom is born, practiced and sustained. - Jonathan Sachs

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