• Uplifting Education

Freedom, Free Will, and Free Action

Let us look at human nature from the viewpoint of freedom and responsibility. Unlike animals, we enjoy a certain degree of self-determination that enables us to transcend the determinism of natural law. We have the freedom to choose to develop our potential for being fully human. Furthermore, we are truly free only when we have carried out our responsibilities for our own development.

Perfect freedom can be defined as the harmonious unity of free will and free action. Free will is a function of the mind (I may do this or that) and free action is a function of the body (I can do this or that). Potentially, human beings are capable of remarkable accomplishments. A strong and well-trained swimmer can cross the channel from France to England. However, human beings are not biologically able to fly, and therefore, we have no possibility of traveling any distance in the air without artificial equipment. Our freedom is limited by the laws of physics.

Freedom is related to the dual dimensions of human desire (physical and spiritual) and the dual purposes (to maintain our existence and contribute to a higher purpose.) We have responsibilities both to ourselves and to the larger whole. Our freedom may be restricted by spiritual laws. Although we may have strong desires to do something, our conscience may not permit us to do it.

Fulfilling our responsibility helps mature our character. When we do not fulfill our responsibility to develop our character, we remain either overly dependent or overly independent. Realizing that our actions have consequences and that we are personally responsible for such outcomes is a critical step in the process of cultivating our character.