(NOTE: This transcription has been automatically generated through an AI program. Consequently, this transcript may not match everything you hear in the podcast episode, and it may contain errors such as spelling, grammar, word choice, etc., due to the limitations of current AI technology.)
Hi everyone and welcome to episode four season two of Midnight Carmelite. So I just want to remind everyone, we started this season with inconstancy in love and that leads to ignorance in the spiritual life, which is basically confusing God with things we don’t prioritize. And then we discussed appetites and we showed that through discussing them in the context of quietism that we shouldn’t shut off any desire at all for appetites, but we just need to have the right desires, desires aligned with God’s will for us, a cooperation.
So desires for real goods are not bad. In fact, you need appetites to pursue any goods, right? That’s the whole idea of being a person who have appetites that you pursue goods, but you don’t want to shut off your appetite because you’ll never pursue any good at all, which means you’ll never pursue the ultimate good, which is God. So that’s kind of what we’re trying to get out there. But with the discussion of the appetite came, the question of freedom. Freedom is an important question that we’re going to dive into in this podcast and it’s something that especially in the context of prayer and St. John of the Cross is important.
So let’s begin. So, first, I want to make clear what I think freedom is in the human person. I need to discuss truth first briefly, and how it relates to all things that exists. So you may be like what the truth and freedom to do. So all beings have existence prior to a person seeing everything given being is true in the person’s intellect, After apprehending the thing. And this is truth, right? So truth is something that does not corrupt limit or contract or minimize being.
So it’s not any perfection added to being. It’s not a special mode of existence outside of the existence of each being. And so again, there’s nothing about truth that limits being and that circumscribes it in any way that prevents its fullness of being that corrupts being, that in it makes something less perfect than it was prior to a knowing agent that is a human person apprehending and seeing the being is true or doesn’t contract being, that the true takes away anything from it. Okay, so truth is a state of being and generally found in every being, but it’s not an added perfection that is a quality of being.
So it’s not something added onto it. It’s just found in it’s a state of being. All beings are true by virtue of being beings, right? So goodness capital T truth itself and other beings by virtue of being beings participate in truth.
Okay, now on to freedom. So now freedom isn’t not found in all beings unlike truth like we’re just talking about for example a bee in a beehive has never nor will ever without extrinsic activity acting on the bee decided to start painting or composed music, the bee’s goal is ingrained in its very being, depending on what be it is.
So, obviously, a queen bee would behave differently than a worker bee. Right, furthermore, unless in some extrinsic cause intervenes to change how the bee behaves, that extrinsic cause must have intelligence to be able to change the bee. To behave differently because the bee inn and of itself cannot do so by nature. Okay, so why is that the bee is not free? So that’s the key. The bee is not free. So while the bee is free to move this way or that are adjusting, you’re not obviously, hopefully not.
The bee cannot change itself by pursuing goals. Outside word is inherent, it is to being, its nature. That’s what a philosopher would say by its nature. It cannot change its goals to something like painting or music. The bee lacks intelligence, like a human person and lacks freedom. Like human persons. Okay, now, we’ll take this one step further. Let’s consider a highly intelligent primate. Is the primate free? No, not any more than a bee. I would say. Well, he would obviously reply, why, why is that?
And I say, well, the primary behaves in a set way with more variety. Some of its actions even seem similar to human persons in some ways they are, but they cannot be like a human person completely because intrinsically they cannot cause creative change again. Painting and music is a good example, A primate also does not sacrifice his or her life for complete stranger that may sacrifice it for one of the tribe. Primate does not see formal objects in reality. So they can’t do metaphysics. For example, I could go on, but it’s not really the point of this podcast to draw these distinctions between other animals and humans. So anyway, onward and upward here, so the point is here about the primate and bee is that they both do not possess a spiritual soul.
They have a sensitive soul which reacts to material stimuli and they inherently navigate their life with the limited choice under the governance of their nature. Remember I mentioned nature earlier, the bees being doesn’t allow it to do art or music, but only a human person is in the state due to the spiritual soul. And here’s the key to deny his or her very nature and to creatively build up that which only existed as an exemplar in the person’s mind. An example of this would be a symphony or a painting or anything that exists which is beautiful.
Human person is the only being in the material order who delights in beauty. And while we can discuss truth and debate real or apparent goods it’s through beauty that the spirit of the person has shown. The person can delight in beauty because the person by virtue of being a spiritual soul is in the state of freedom. They probably haven’t heard this. So let’s continue as a free person. Okay we are our own efficient cause of our actions and we are the exemplar cause of what we create.
So if we have, you know again if I if I wrote a computer algorithm right? The computer album exists in my mind. I put it into the you know the IDE, text editor, or whatever I’m using and the algorithm now participates in the exemplar. That was in my mind. It’s more or less like what I had intended. Right? Same with music or poetry or profession. Our relationships. God is the primary cause of our freedom because God not only maintains our existence but God made us in his image and likeness.
So our state of freedom is given by God. And as a state that neither adds limits or contracts are spiritual soul much like truth with being this gives us the faculty of choice. We, unlike the previously mentioned animals can actually choose goals and what we believe completes us, makes us authentically who we want to be as human persons. So here it is, we are in a way through our spiritual souls. In a state of freedom able to make or unmake ourselves depending on what goals and ends we decide to pursue and really ultimately what we delight in.
So you can think very quickly here and say, well what is an evil person delight in? What is a good person delighted we’ll look at the goods they pursue, right? Because when you achieve a good and you know, you’ve reached that good, you delight in that good to some degree or less right? And then find out goods. Obviously the delight is in the beatific vision. The delight is infinite, right? That’s the beatific vision. So your vision of God. However true metaphysical freedom is to be the master of one’s self because this state will allow you to be the master of what you judge truth.
And like Pope Leo XIII said, freedom of Judgment is the fountainhead from which liberty of whatsoever kind flows. So since you have freedom of choice through the will do to human persons, being a spiritual soul that is made to love. That’s another key thing. We are made to love. Because what’s our ultimate goal is. Our ultimate goal is consummated in seeing God and spending it with heaven and exchanging love with him, being participants in the divine nature. So we’re not made to know were not made to know, were made to love and that follows on knowing.
And we went over this in two types of knowledge follows unknowing the metaphysical freedom of human person then is directly related to the freedom of judgment. Because if a person cannot freely judge and order judge goods. So for example, a person can’t you know, if a person can’t say, do I want a ham sandwich or a roast beef sandwich, both are good, right? They can’t decide what’s best for them. Then the person is not a master of him or herself and therefore has unmade and limited the state of freedom of the spiritual soul, which is evidence of the inherent freedom of the human person.
So the point is, again, like the animals, if you can unmake if you can become a slave to something through your own choice, and it changes your nature, you’re no longer as fully human, right? You’re, you know, you’ve again like an alcoholic slave to alcohol, their functioning at a much lower level. Are they still human? Yes, they’re made in the image and likeness of God, but their likeness there, their development is unmade. So that’s what metaphysical freedom is.
So next episode next week, we’re going to discuss the two vices of freedom in the human person, it’s freedom of indifference in the freedom of necessity and those are how we’re gonna put together, we’re gonna put these two together to understand freedom as a whole and how it relates to our spiritual life.
So looking forward to talking about it, And I’ll see you next week.
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