No Freedom without Meaning

If there isn’t a big purpose that is captivating us, we will likely be lost in one of two realms. We would either be lost in a flurry of activity bouncing about from one whim to another or in the realm of inactivity callously slipping into a depression. Both of which makes man less human.

I was reading the book ‘Loves Me, Loves Me Not’ by Laura A. Smit in which she has a quote from Harry G. Frankfurt in his book ‘Reason of Love’ saying,
 

“the necessity with which love binds the will puts and end to the indecisiveness concerning what you care about”. 

Laura A. Smit goes on to comment that,

 

 

“real freedom then is not found in being autonomous selves but in having a worthy direction and purpose that we can embrace completely and whole heartedly without ambivalence”.

Reflecting on this… if there isn’t a big purpose that is captivating us, we will likely be lost in one of two realms. We would either be lost in a flurry of activity bouncing about from one whim to another or in the realm of inactivity callously slipping into a depression. Both of which makes man less human.

Purposeless distracting activity, as in watching cats videos on Youtube cannot captivate us. Indulging too much on it makes us but less human. Purposeless inactivity, as in being lazy to the point of getting depressed, leads to a dreariness that would ultimately make one less human.

On the other hand, some people find their bigger purpose in their family life, everything they do is guided by demands of family life. Some others find their bigger purpose in their careers. Some other find their bigger purpose in some altruistic motives, like solving world hunger or promoting greener energy resources.

In all this, ‘purposeful meaning’ that firmly binds us to a some BIG goal helps us to be truly human. To try to be untethered oneself from any semblance of meaningful purpose of the human enterprise is to make of oneself, ‘an empty bubble floating about in void’ (borrowing a phrase from Sartre).

Often, man, at least the bohemian one who values freedom, dreams of running away from any meaningful responsibility and be in a state of perpetual vacation. The irony is that if any man would truly achieve a state of responsibility-less vacation, he would find that he isn’t so much free as empty.

Author: Emmanuel R Paulpeter

I am a writer, spiritual director, life coach and a Church Planter who love all things pop culture, theology and spirituality.

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