The society supplies a person with artificial behavioral models, playing off his ego. And it never asks the person whether he wants to live by these models or not. He is born in a certain location on earth, and this determines the general cultural values he will receive from childhood. This determines his upbringing and the kind of person he has to become. Whether he wants to or not, he absorbs these values and then continues to follow them for the rest of his life. In addition to this, society supplies him with promises of reward in the world to come, but this is done in order to use the person even more. In this regard, a person has no freedom of choice, no freedom.
But one day, a person’s “point in the heart” awakens and he starts feeling disillusioned with all of his previous life. It’s as if he begins life from a fresh, clean page. All of his previous values come tumbling down and disappear from the horizon, losing all their importance. His previous behavioral models become canceled because they no longer hold any reward or punishment for the person. The only things that remain are those necessary for one’s survival, the things without he cannot exist.
If a person is religious, then he also starts to have doubts about the world to come. Thus, the circumstances bring him to the group and the Kabbalah books, and then he has to make a choice: how much does he want to become part of this society and this path? He is not free to choose the path, but he is free to choose the speed at which he will advance, how much energy he will put into it, and how quickly he will absorb the right examples from this environment, in order to adopt the new behavioral models and the new values.
So, one’s only choice is in how much to become a part of the common process: to advance quicker or slower. In this regard, a person does have free choice: the choice to quickly absorb the new examples and models that are provided for him by the new society.
And even though he is only free to choose the speed with which he adopts these new examples, this is nevertheless true freedom. That’s because it is above his egoistic desire to enjoy. And in this way, he already begins to build a “human being” within.
(From the Preparation to the Daily Kabbalah Lesson)