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The U.S.A. was founded on a concept of freedom much different than that which lies at the heart of so many conflicts today. It was not an all-encompassing freedom affirming absolute choice to all members of society, but one denying the absence of choice. Freedom, back then, was the right to not be so devoid of choice as to be forced down any one particular path. Lack of freedom was synonymous with lack of choice, and as soon as choice was available there was freedom, even if there were but two choices available.
Freedom today is quite the opposite. Instead of the denial of choicelessness, it is the affirmation of infinite choice. For most people, two options are hardly enough. Indeed, if you have a gun pointed to your head, you technically are free to choose to either give in to the aggressor?s demands or to surrender your life. But this is hardly freedom. People today want all possibilities to dangle at their fingertips. The problem here, of course, is one person's unlimited freedom inevitably infringes upon that of others'. As a result, the tricky business of establishing boundaries around an infinite desire is called for.
Two choices are not enough, but an infinite amount is realistically inconceivable. Nevertheless, today the latter highly impractical variety is pushed for most, and this irrational drive comes at a high cost. Infinite choice is not possible, but people delude themselves nonetheless into thinking it is. A gun to their head, they surrender themselves to their aggressors and, in return, the gun is retracted; in its place, a distant sniper on the rooftop, barely noticeable if one doesn?t look for him.
People want to believe they are completely free and are willing, paradoxically, to sacrifice their freedom to this end. They willingly trade the real, limited thing in for an illusory, unlimited projection thereof. It is comforting to think ?I live in America, the land of opportunity. I can do anything I want, but I choose to be a good American, to support my family, to work from 9:00 to 5:00, to accept the apparent boundaries with a sly wink that they exist because I choose them to.? Such is a wink of self-deceit, from the egoic mind to the true mind, the former reminding the latter to keep quiet. In a society as monotonous, dehumanized, and rigid as is too often the case today, it is easier to imagine unlimited freedom rather than acknowledge the presence of little or none at all.
To reaffirm this notion of infinite people point to God, the ultimate symbol of boundlessness. But this line or reasoning is backward-thinking, utterly mistaken. If God does exist then he is but a point, a spec, beyond any physical form. In god, past, present, and future are one. Since god created everything, and since he is timeless, it stands to reason that the origin of all existence is timeless in nature. God, being timeless, created everything all at once, though we perceive it in a linear fashion. In other words, the past and the future must necessarily exist, and simply lie beyond our conventional human reach, in ?the past? and ?the future?. As I type this, all that ever was and will be exists.
Unlimited freedom suffers greatly in face of this deterministic hell. It is this hell from which people seek desperately to escape and it is this hell, as a result of their cowardice, in which they now live. Since we cannot change God?s work, we must either accept it or deny it as part of our reality. Most people deny this deterministic state of affairs, relentlessly.
But what are the real implications of a deterministic universe? Does God control every single event, or does the individual human being hold even the minimum ability to make an individual decision apart from God?s will? People do have freedom over the smaller, more specific things in life, but no more. The result is that people attach huge significance to their tiny, yet free, actions. Their realities become limited to the finite so that, within, the illusion of infinite is created. To dabble in more important matters, that which they have no control over, is to acknowledge their lack of control. No sir, we can?t have that!
Imagine that God?s work is like that of an abstract painter?s. He takes a large white board and throws buckets of paint at it. He can control the general direction in which the paint is shot, but the final destination of every little splotch is beyond his control. In fact, it is this element of naturalness that gives beauty to the work. Similarly, God creates a general framework, but when it comes to the more specific details, we humans are free to choose. The further away the board is from the painter, the less calculated is the paint?s direction and the more random and natural is the final product. Similarly, the further away you are from God, the more, though never total, freedom you have.
What good is this partial choice if the bigger picture?our destinies, our fates?are already set in stone? And, in light of this general non-freedom, how should we use, or manifest, our specific freedom? Should we strive with every fibre of our being to deny the existence of the hopelessly rigid framework of things? If we attain total ignorance (towards our destiny), are we indeed blissful?
Or, should we accept our fate? Should our smaller actions, in which we have a say, serve to reflect this destiny in all its glory? Should we demonize this choicelessness, or should we sanctify it? Sanctify it, I say! Clearly we should sanctify it, lest we desire all our hopes and dreams to be completely demolished when our destinies catch up to us. We cannot escape our fate, so why deny it? Denial will only cause us pain in the future; it pushes the pain and intensifies the magnitude of its inevitable release to excruciating levels.
To polarize the issue, there are two ways to live: in the channel of God, or in the channel the furthest removed from Him. To live in the channel furthest removed from God is to be an atheist or to believe in God so superficially and symbolically that you don?t really. In both cases, God is practically completely cut off from your life, from your individual self. To be cut off from God is widely misconstrued as freedom, in the sense that one can act free of God?s influence. That is exactly the misunderstanding?no matter how strongly you deny God, you can never escape your God-created destiny. In other words, if you live your life as a lie then it will inevitably be revealed to you as such when, upon your death bed, your destiny stares you in the eye and whispers into your ear apocalyptic prophecies of your ego's?your reality's?demise.
In cutting yourself off from God, you assert more and more your own individuality. But since God controls the bigger picture, what?s left to constitute one?s individuality is all of a trivial and superficial nature. That?s why people are so concerned about seemingly unimportant things; were they concerned about more important things, they?d be forced to confront their helplessness, their lack of any true individuality.
The correct path is not to construct and define yourself, to create for yourself an individual identity. Rather, it is to surrender your individuality. Take, for example, the problem with unlimited freedom in modern society. We all go about our individual paths, blind insofar as the bigger picture is concerned. As such, through carelessness, waste, misunderstanding, and an all-around poor aim, we destroy the environment and spit on our fellow human beings.
Our individuality is the chief cause of one person?s ?unlimited? freedom infringing upon another?s, and of the practical impossibility for every member of society to possess unlimited freedom. However, the more the society works together and its members respect one another, the greater each person?s freedom may be, for it is less likely to infringe upon another person?s. The more a society is of the same mind, the less recklessly individual freedom is used and the more, quantitatively, such freedom may exist. It is a matter of dissolving the barriers between one?s self and the society one lives in, or more generally, between one?s self and God.
Those who insist steadfastly upon defining themselves as individuals manifest, accordingly, an identity detached from God. The extent of their detachment from God, in fact, is directly proportional to their insistence on individual identity, or the freedom of being able to act in accordance with one?s own personal will. The stronger, in turn, is this drive, the more notions of duality are enforced. In other words, whereas a fundamental perspective sees only God, a conventional, egoic perspective sees two distinct identities?God and itself.
As such, people cut off from God necessarily manifest their individual identities in increasingly conventional manners. That is, they look to external means to define who they are. Appearance, social status, monetary gain, and egoic idealism, among others, are all heavily relied upon to foster individual identity. To look elsewhere, to look inside, would be to realize the individual?s lack of freedom and, to look even deeper inside, to realize the illusory nature of the individual?s very existence.
To compound matters, duality manifested in increasingly conventional forms is extremely dangerous. You?re left with a person split totally in two. On one end of the spectrum there is the ideal, external, egoic self, and on the other end the true self, free of the ego and in touch with God. When understood internally, the latter part, one?s true self, is infinitely more powerful than the egoic self which is understood to be illusory. But when understood externally, the egoic self is more powerful.
Anger, hate, and fear hold no power under the light of one?s true inner self; darkness can obviously not possibly remain in the presence of light. Conversely, however, where there is no light there is necessarily darkness. To be completely cut off from the light of God is to live in an external hell filled with anger, hate, and fear. People cut off from their inner light are all necessarily angry, hateful, and fearful, and, being completely cut off from their inner selves, they project these emotions outwardly, onto others. The anger, hate, and fear they feel towards their own helplessness in a deterministic universe and their according lack of freedom is directed at YOU.
The solution? To surrender the individual egoic self, for it is the very thing that restricts one?s freedom and subsequently causes anger, hate, and fear. Through acceptance of the true inner self, inseparably connected to God, compassion, love, and joy arise just as surely as light vanquishes darkness, and ?freedom? is finally understood as the greatest misunderstanding of all.
To walk in God?s channel is to surrender yourself completely to God and, in doing so, to surrender your will to his. In other words, you are no longer confined by God?s will for there is no distinction between his will and your will. The merging of duality. God preaches compassion, love, and joy...is it not desirable to aim towards these things? If such is the aim of God?s will, is it not wise to embrace His will as your own? Why fight? Why desire to be ?free? from perfection?
We all have freedom. We are free to surrender and become compassionate, loving, and joyous, or to resist and become angry, hateful, and fearful. This choice is always yours to make and it is always available. Nobody can make it for you and nobody can ever take it away. Freedom is your privilege as a human being?what do you choose?
In relation to God and freedom, I believe the two occuring in coincidence causes a critical error in one perspective. God is supposed to be an all-knowing of course, and perfect, so his framework placed for the universe is set so that he could determine exactly what would occur after placement. Based on your fundamental aspects of all composition abstract and physical relating to you, he could determine exactly what would happen. This means if you take one of your choices and reverse time to be faced with the same choice in the identical situation, you would make the same decision. Of course here you've got freedom, but how is God giving you that privelage when he technically placed you there and thus is responsible for your decision. Then comes my second perspective.
The answer would not be possible to philosophise because simply if you could comprehend it, it's not God. On this basis your soul is responsible for this decision making, and God knows simply because he's all-knowing. Not a very convincing approach, but doesn't God say you're stupid and he's all-knowing anyway? I believe in God for reasons otherwise, but it's a bitch when you couldn't possibly explain the true nature of God's freedom given to you because God as a concept is abstract.
As far as your considerations on the US, I think like you said as a human being you are given an infinite selection of choices. The government can't control your bare choices, but they can beam consequences. Government, so much like religion, is there to create what they believe are an optimal basis of moderation for the affected people in question. I mean, say if everyone followed precisely the standards in Christianity or the US Govt, hell, that would be a perfect society of unreal puppets.
Toward your conclusion, I believe all emotions have little to do with your freedom. Emotions often tend to cloud judgement, for better or worse, but surely being a happy, depressed, or angry person doesn't necessarily make you a better or worse individual. Some people even strive for "negative" emotion because those are their pleasures, whether an associated action is tabboo or not. Nonetheless, following God in any religion would surely make anyone reconsider their position in life. Athiests and Agnostics either don't want to take responsibility or believe they're purposeless. Most want scientific support or have a see it believe it attitude and are defeating the purpose of faith. Rationally since there is a possibility of a God, why not take what you think is a chance? Looking back on your life, God or not, you should be looking for an individual with many positive attributes affecting oneself and people around you. Religion is a fine methodology to achieve this.
-------------------- ...hypothetically speaking of course.