(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.)
Hey everyone and welcome to this week’s episode of Midnight Carmelite. So like I’ve been saying this season, we’ve talked about inconstancy in love, ignorance in the spiritual life, why a person, you know, it’s good to have rightly ordered appetites to God, and to things that are good for you, not not having any appetites at all. And we also discussed what it means to be free metaphysically briefly in the last episode. So in this episode we’re going to discuss what it means to be free in the ethical order, what’s usually called ethical freedom.
And we’re going to take it from the position of the human person, from the internal nature of the human person, internality, it’s a good way of saying it. So let’s begin, we did freedom in the metaphysical sense, let’s do freedom in an ethical sense. So really there’s two vices of freedom and a lot of this is based on if people are interested Bishop Sheen, I love Bishop Sheen, and I think he nails this. So basically there’s some modifications obviously. So there’s two vices of freedom.
First, freedom of indifference, which traditionally means relativism of some kind. So an indifference to truth, good or any objective measure truth. Right? So now the problem I have with this understanding that there needs to be built on is that and this is the more of the traditional understanding is that it takes out of the assessment how someone receives reality and that effect on the person’s judgment of what is being received, because if you here’s why it’s a known metaphysical truth, this is like one of the foundational things that that which has received is received according to the mode of the receiver.
So it’s not just about persons, like a person’s indifference is a product of both. Maybe them not seeing the objective reality, or them not being able to receive the objective reality because their subjective experience, their mode of being due to there are other choices, let’s say doesn’t allow them to receive that. Okay, So, because remember, it’s a relation, it has to two points that doesn’t necessarily mean the relation is mutual, like and that’s what we’re going to go into the next podcast.
So I’m gonna go down this road, different types of relations. But the key is that, you know, the limiting factor could be the person. You could, you know, people have done this all time. You know, they say you can lead a horse to water, but he won’t drink, you can lead them right to the water, but they won’t they won’t accept it for whatever reason, and it has nothing to do with, you know, maybe how you laid it out or you know, whether what you’re saying is true, really, It’s how they’re receiving it.
Let’s continue here. So, let’s consider this example. So let’s say, a person needs to take medicine that tastes terrible and the person doesn’t understand why he or she needs to take this medicine, the person is not indifferent to truth when the person is not jumping up and down to take the medicine. Okay. Right. So they may have taken the medicine before, or they’ve heard it tastes terrible, whatever. They just, the fact that they’re not jumping up and down to take, it doesn’t mean they’re indifferent to truth, right?
They don’t like the medicine. They don’t see the point in this. Maybe they, you know, like maybe they think they don’t need it right now, whatever. So they’re not being indifferent to truth. It’s only when the person understands with full consent despite receiving this horrible tasting medicine that the medicines aim is to cure the disease that the person suffered from. So the point is, is the person sees that okay? Like, you know, and this is easy with a child. So a child doesn’t want to take the medicine because it tastes bad.
You know, the parents say, look, the medicine is not bad, I’ll take some, you know, and they take like a spoonful, right? And, you know, and then the child tasted too, right? So that’s that’s the key. It’s like this idea that um you know, when they see when they’re when they see the objective truth of it, a person sees the objective truth or something, and then they are subjectively able to receive it basically by, you know, in this case, the child, they see the parent giving the example, oh, I trust my parents.
Okay, I can consent to this now because I’m you know, basically being disposes the person to receive because they see by see by example examples of very powerful way to overcome someone’s objections. This subjective experience that I’m talking about, that people are ready to receive its seeing by seeing action speaks the loudest in my opinion, to that barrier. Um, so anyway, so that doesn’t mean that freedom of difference where freedom of difference ends up being, it’s like a kind of idealism and it begets moral relativism. Since the person idealizes the means of freedom, what is that?
It’s the freedom of choice. What we were talking about earlier, freedom of choice, they idealize it becomes an immutable ideal. And so by assenting to this idealism saying that freedom of choice is king whatever. You know, people can choose whatever they want and that’s the end of it. You know, stay off my lawn type of thing. The person relegates the common good and other shared values to being merely tyrannical since something like the common good would necessary limit freedom of choice. And since freedom of choice is an end, not a means here.
Remember it’s a means right? You have the ability to choose your goals. Like I was explaining earlier to unmake yourself, the person who suffers from the vice of freedom of a difference says no, no, no, it’s not about choosing goals. It’s about having the choice period, that’s all it’s about doesn’t matter the goal just the choice. The choice is the goal which is obviously false. So the person who subscribes to freedom of indifference inevitably at the end has to say that God is not good and someone who say whoa Andrew that’s pretty extreme.
Why? Because if the Supreme Good for this person is a means as an end, there are no real ends. They’ve already there, God is freedom of choice, their own choice. You can’t go beyond that. Say God is good because they’re not sitting there looking at freedom of choice as a means to an end. They’re looking at freedom of choice as their God. That the standard is the fact of having a choice, which means that then they can’t say that there’s some good that all people should pursue, which is God, who is Good.
So there’s no real ends. So God can’t be good which you don’t want. So the error here of freedom of the indifference is that since the basis is freedom of choice and not subjective good, the person can never claim nor ever be fully oriented towards the good capital G. Which is God. Thus the person instead of using freedom of choice is a means to adhere and love to God in self-mastery, freedom of judgment, freedom of choice as it means becomes the goal of the person and the only good and therefore the good for this person is now arbitrary.
Like I just said, the good is now arbitrary. If the supreme measure of this person is freedom of choice than anything goes what I mean by that is the person arbitrarily decides with that person as the measure, not God, as the measure, what happens and what results from this anarchy and chaos in the human person. And if enacted in society is the necessary consequence of this notion of freedom. So the point is that if it’s just enacted in a human person, that person is arbitrary, completely arbitrary.
Now, that doesn’t mean they’re not good in some way, but it does mean they’re not properly oriented and so that’s a it’s a very subtle thing here, but it is, and then in society it’s going to lead to anarchy because if everyone’s just doing what they want. I mean, I think common sense will tell you that that doesn’t work, I mean, and and even having some sort of standards, the standards are still arbitrary, even if they align with the proper standards of God as a measure of all things.
So do you see the distinction? So just because someone on a lower orders agrees with standards that, let’s say a Catholic would hold about, you know, do no harm to others right to say like, you know, you’re trying, you’re not running around trying to hurt people. Even though that may agree, that doesn’t necessarily mean there engaged in the same order of things, it’s just they happen to agree on one level. But even then it’s in my opinion a superficial agreement.
Okay, so anyway, so there’s another voice of freedom and this is called freedom of necessity. Now, freedom of necessity sprouts like an ugly weed from freedom of a difference. So you have this anarchy and chaos in the human person, and what happens, freedom of necessity inevitably grows out of freedom of indifference. It’s kind of like the freedom we were discussing in animals and that the animals act according to their determined laws of their nature, right? So what they are, o a human person must act according to determine laws.
Yet these determined laws, in the case of the human person are superficial, external. So in this vice of freedom, someone thing determines the boundaries of freedom. And this is usually done by force in the case of governments. Now, in the case of the human person internally, which is what we’re talking about here, the person will say things like quote, it’s necessary for me to drink so much. It’s just who I am unquote or they’ll say quote, my understanding of God is the right understanding, despite what others may say about him unquote.
So the person who has this vice of freedom internally belongs only to him or herself and this self is the sole judge of what is good and what is right. So in a sense, in the case of the human person, internally, freedom of necessity as a vice of freedom binds the person to something arbitrarily set up either within the person as a superficial added attribute or outside the person in extrinsic forces like the state to force the person choose one thing or another. So I want to pause here.
I want to pause here. I don’t know if people caught this because it’s really important. Freedom and necessity binds this person to something arbitrarily set up. Freedom of indifference sets this up. Freedom is choice as the end and not the means. But freedom, as I said earlier, is like truth. It does not add limit or contract anything from the person. So true freedom has to meet those three qualifications. And obviously, freedom of necessity does not because it adds to it subtracts from and it limits all in different senses.
So that’s really important here to understand. So let’s continue. So the person, you know, who possesses the vice of freedom as freedom of necessity is unreasonable and capricious because unlike freedom of choice, being the goal intended instead of the means, as we just mentioned, freedom of difference, freedom of necessity arbitrarily makes freedom not a state of the spiritual soul that is made to love. Freedom. State of the spiritual soul being made to love, which is really, you know, in our case as human persons right? We possessed spirit.
But instead, freedom of the necessity is an external measure that binds the person to an external unity. Such as as I said, a person’s thoughts about God where the person’s drinking habit. Now, listeners may say, wait, I have thoughts about God. Does that mean I have freedom of necessity? It depends and what do I mean? It depends. Where did those thoughts come from? How do they conform with the objective reality that we’re talking about here? Right? Do your thoughts conform with the objective reality? Are they only your opinion?
Can you have an opinion? Yes. Can your opinion become fact? If you don’t check it against reality? Yes. If it becomes fact without checking it against reality, then you’re probably suffering from some degree of this, right? But the problem with freedom of necessity, as you see it all the time, people get like, let’s use people’s opinions. People get so attached to their opinions. Unbelievable. So so attached. What they’ll do if you notice they’ll do when they’re attached to their opinion is when someone brings something up that may challenge the objective reality.
If they’re suffering from this vice of freedom, This freedom necessity, what they’re going to do is it the the external measures going to start crumbling? But remember what Saint John of the Cross said about love, you become equal to the thing and in a way, serve it. And so because you develop this likeness to what you love to what you go out to, if you love your opinion about something and someone comes and shows your reality, that contradicts your opinion about what that reality is. It feels personal. Why?
Because you’ve been serving this external unity maybe without even knowing it. But this external unity shakes your person, shakes your personhood. So, again, this is, I want to be clear. Ah this podcast is dedicated discussing freedom internally, but you can obviously see the external consequences of this. You can see this in an internally conflicted person serving these vices of freedom. Okay, so let’s continue. So the point is, is with freedom of necessity, persons bound to an external unity Or whatever that the person loves? That is not God 1st.
So here’s the point. Thoughts about God are not God and we’re called to love God. So it really should be about God, not thoughts about God. That’s how that’s another way of finding your freedom and necessity, right? Or drinking is an activity. It’s not God. Freedom is a state of a spiritual soul that is made to love, were made to love God? Not thoughts about God. See that’s the key. That’s another. That’s the real easy way out. That John across gives us here, is it really about God?
Or is about your thoughts about God? Is it really about is drinking really anything about God is really just about you liking to toss back a few, that’s the key. And so thus a person becomes a slave to whatever this unity is. So, as Saint john of The Cross says about what we ought to love. Now just say it’s easy nada nada nada except God alone first. So instead of being open and truth and receptivity to discover and hold on what ought to be loved by God.
First, the person and freedom of necessity has arbitrarily and capriciously and unreasonably decided. What is lovable with no basis in the truth about him or herself or the truth about the thing being loved. And then the person forces this external measure on him or herself, internally or worse on others too, or even worse hypocritically only on others and not on him or herself. Saint john of the Cross here is emphatic that a person cannot either suffer. The vice of freedom of necessity or the freedom of indifference, which are both really attachments.
We talked about so much like a person who’s attached to receiving honors or high position or money or something else. Besides God. First, Saint john of the Cross explicitly says that freedom does not exist and cannot remain in a heart dominated by these desires. Therefore, if a person suffers from freedom, necessity or freedom of indifference, this is an attachment and therefore this is what John would call a slave’s heart. You’re not free. Therefore, in our next episode, we need to discuss a bit more about the heart and how we can avoid having the slaves heart that Saint john of the Cross talks about and heed his warnings.
We’ll see you next week.