Freedom of Will
Does man have the freedom to act according to one’s own free will?
If we consider our actions, we will find they are compulsory, that we are forced to do them, and that we have no freedom of choice, since our actions are driven by either pleasure or pain. Thus, we haven’t the freedom to choose pain or to reject pleasure.
Man’s advantage over the beast is only that one can endure suffering for a remote, future goal. However, here, too, it is not a choice, but rather a calculation. It follows that Providence guides every person towards the goal, using pleasure or suffering, and without consulting us.
The social environment determines what people enjoy; every movement they make is subjugated to the fancies of society.
It follows that if there is no freedom of will, one is not one’s own master. And if we are not our own masters, that is, if we do not do what we want to do, but what society dictates, then there are no reward and punishment.
Influence of the Environment
Man is necessarily placed in a social environment, since our bedding evolves through contact with its environment.
Environment as a Cause
There is always more we can always add to our choice of society: friends, books, and teachers. A person’s future depends on one’s choice of society. There is freedom of will in choosing such a society that will create good thoughts in a person. One is not punished because of one’s bad thoughts or actions, in which one has no freedom of choice. Rather, one is punished for not choosing to be in a good environment, since here there is choice.
One who strives to choose a better environment is worthy of reward. But this is not because of one’s good thoughts or actions, where one has no choice in the matter. Rather, it is because of one’s efforts to acquire a good environment, which produces good actions and thoughts within him.
The Necessity to Choose a Good Environment
One can control one’s fate only through one’s choice of society. However, once a society has been chosen, the individual is in at its mercy, like clay in the hands of the potter. In that state, one uses others’ minds as if they are one’s own.
The Overall Shape of the Progenitors Is Not Lost
The bedding consists of accumulated knowledge from previous incarnations, in the form of tendencies and instincts. One is unaware of why one does what he does.
The Necessity to Maintain the Freedom of the Individual
It is forbidden to destroy even a single tendency, since it will not reoccur in another.
Every individual is created as part of the collective, always ready to serve the public.
This is an abbreviated version of the article “The Freedom” by Baal HaSulamLesson on "The Freedom" [01:57:42m]: Play Now | Download
Lesson on "The Freedom" [01:57:42m]: Play Now | Download