Man’s Freedom, from the Nature of Human Being’s Course Reading, dissects the concept of freedom, how it is attained, free choices, truth and responsibility. These concepts, though related, are independent and important in their own unique ways.
They’re interwoven and manifested in our daily lives. Man is free. We do things we want or like. That’s freedom. The conscious knowledge of your ability to make rational decisions. Notably, we’re always given choices from which to choose from. Doing this is exhibiting our freedom of choice. Our ability to decide to do a particular thing amongst an array of choices is free choice. It is very important to understand free choice in humans. Every decision humans make has an array of options that they did not take. The ability to decide not to take those decisions for any reason, is what makes up free choice. The moment these choices are impeded or have certain caveats attached, they stop being a free choice.
However, in actualizing our free choice, we need to learn to take responsibility for our choices. So even when we make the wrong choice and it comes with consequences, part of free choice is taking responsibility for it. We already noted that humans’ ability to make a choice without any form of impediment is free choice; hence, the inability to take responsibility for those free choices makes those free choices questionable. Wrong choices exist; humans make certain decisions that have repercussions or bad consequences. For instance, deciding to go for a run at night even though you recognize that you have bad eyesight may be a wrong decision. Sustaining injuries from such activity may be described as self-inflicted. Bad choices come with consequences and humans should take responsibility for it.
The truth exists side by side with freedom. For truth, we need to understand what is right, socially acceptable and/or recognizes the rights of others. Humans should embrace the truth, even though it limits their choices. For instance, not wearing your seatbelt while driving is generally considered a bad thing. This is because wearing a seatbelt saves you and other people that you share the road with. It protects you and potentially protects fatal accidents that may harm other people. One may argue that it is impeding one’s rights; however, it does not change the truth that it is necessary and should be observed.
In attaining freedom, we need to understand and live by the truth. Notably, one’s freedom shouldn’t be exhibited when it is aimed at limiting other people’s freedom or destroying one’s self. So for someone who defends actions like dumping refuse inappropriately or driving beyond the speed limit by claiming to be free, they need to realize the truth. Not recognizing the truth and making bad choices usually inhibits one’s ability to make good choices in future.
Recognizing one’s freedom and how it can be utilized is the only way one can be described as exercising freedom. Usually, people abuse the term and use it to justify their extremities. This is not good as it questions the basic assumption that humans are rational beings and are not likely to self sabotage. So it is important to make sure freedom being exercised is not in any form of self sabotage or communal sabotage.. Here’s where critical thinking comes in. Conclusively, when faced with choices, it is crucial to critically examine them and go with the good choices.