Free Will, The Disease of Man

Oct 17, 2012 by

Reason and Free Will, individuality, these are the qualities we, as humans, value most highly.  However, it is my belief that these qualities are not to the betterment of man, but to his detriment.  Why would I state this?  I mean, it seems clear that we possess these abilities, and if we possess them, there must be a reason for our possession of them.  Because along side these capabilities are desires of the contrary nature.  We desire acceptance, love, friendship, economy, and social acknowledgement of our accomplishments.  These conflict with out desires for logic, reason, ethical decisions, and the truth.  We are base, petty, and weak.  Though these desires conflict, that does not mean that they are incompatible.  What makes them incompatible is when we decide to value one set above another.  Humans do this.  They value the non-rational desires, the communal desires, over the rational choices.  We rarely act by what is rational, but what is acceptable to our group of people, only going about and beyond our group in short bursts of insight or to achieve a personal benefit that may later produce the social acceptance desired.

Thus, should we not submit to our true nature?  Truly we are, by our nature, a herd animal.  We, like sheep, follow the rest of the group wherever it may lead.  However, since we possess no shepherd, we are driven by aggregate group desire rather than and individual’s independent logic.  Yet, it may be pointed out that there are individuals among us who possess the capability to choose logic over communal desires for long, sustained periods of time.  They may fall occasionally, but they prove the concept in the long run don’t they?  These people I would first of all claim do not exist, since their end goals are most likely recognition by society either in this life or in the history books.  However, let us assume they do exist.  Then all that has been accomplished is the location of a shepherd for our group of lost sheep.  These will be, more than likely, the shepherds of societies.  They will be the people who direct society towards the truth and virtue rather than mere personal interest.

Finally, some may argue that what I am saying has been proven wrong by the great success of America.  History has shown us, if anything, that all nations, and America in particular, suffer from the problem of not wanting Liberty.  Athens had a Democracy.  That ended in the death of Socrates because so many people disliked him and what he taught.  Rome was  a Republic and symbol of the people’s right to choose.  They chose Caesar as Dictator for life.  Finally, we come to the American Experiment.  Can man govern himself, or is he destined to the rule of others.  The base of this American Experiment rests on the desire for Liberty, Free Will and self-government (reason) implemented to the greatest degree logically obtainable.  Yet this nation has become a cesspool of Bureaucracy, regulation, and control.  People cry out for government help constantly.  We cannot possibly be expected to manage our retirement funds on our own, manage them for us:  Social Security.  We cannot possibly be expected to know to what organizations we should give money to, invest in charity for us:  Medicaid and various charity donations by the government.  We cannot possibly be expected to keep informed on the economy so that we can make smart choices, regulate it for us.  We cannot be expected to be responsible and educate our own kids, educate them for us:  Department of Education.  We have taken what would have been a noble idea and, in only a few short generations, turned it into a controlling state so that we do not have to be responsible for our duties.  And, if we are not responsible for our duties, we do not possess liberty.  One can only be free if one can make a choice, and one can only make a choice if one is willing to know about more than one choice.  That takes responsibility.  Liberty not License.  Yet, these responsibilities mean that we have to answer for our actions.  When we are responsible, Society might reject our choices.  Therefore, it is better to be a drone in society than a wise man all alone.

This is the mentality of Man.  Thus, why not just accept this as our true nature and forgo this idea that choice, free will, and reason are something to be made common, but rather scarce save in those individuals who can consistently promote them?

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1 Comment

  1. Either/Or

    It is not entirely clear that you even think man possesses reason or free will. We are on your account buffeted about “…driven by aggregate group desire rather than and individual’s independent logic.” Do people have the capacity for choice? Isn’t reason just a means ends tool, we use to facilitate whatever end we are working for, regardless of if it is some individualistic project or some herd scheme?

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