July 18, 2007
If life is hard to you, this may help – Freedom requires resistance, and resistance comes via your own chosen ends.
People oftentimes wonder why this world isn’t “perfect”. Why God created a world with such suffering. Why would he do such a thing? I’d like to show that a lot of this is based on confused thinking. When I thought about all of this I came to the conclusion that freedom itself is not possible without resistance, and that without resistance there is nothing.
I tried to come up with an example which would illustrate this point. Let’s take for instance a Nascar racing video game. Let’s say in this game (for simplicity) you can steer using the joystick, accelerate by hitting one button, and brake by hitting another button. So you load up the game, and you begin to play.
The first time you load up the game you lose very badly. You keep wrecking your car, and you lose every race, in last place. So you think to yourself, “Hmm, wouldn’t it be neat if I could CHEAT!” So say you get out your Gameshark and you are able to put in a code which enables “auto-steering”. Auto-steering steers the car perfectly.
Now you do the race and you do much better. Only having to manage the acceleration and the braking helps greatly. Now let’s say you still lose the race though. You are incredibly bad at video games. You go back to your Gameshark cheat device, and enter codes which allow for “auto-acceleration” and “auto-braking”.
You load up the game again, navigate the menus, start the race, and are thrilled to watch your car fly past the competition. You win the race every single time. Yet, this is still not enough. You want more! You go back to your Gameshark and enter a new code – ‘Infinite Speed Engine’.
Your car is now so fast that the second you hit ‘Start Race’ the race ends. You finish the course in 0 seconds. You think, “Wow, this is great!” So you go back to your Gameshark and enter another code: “Auto-Menu-Navigation”. Now you don’t even have to do anything. The game automatically selects ‘Start Season’, ‘Start Race’, and every other option of the game. In fact, it does it all instantly.
So, after entering Auto-Menu-Navigation, along with the other previously mentioned cheat codes you find one interesting thing. Once you start the game, the game also ends. In fact, whenever these “perfection” codes are entered they also take away from the game itself. Curious thought. And whenever you entered all the “perfection” codes, there became no game at all!
In other words, whenever you entered codes to take all the RESISTANCE away from the video game, there became no video game at all!
People oftentimes say that God wants us to be free will creatures which utilize freedom. Well, as we have just seen, freedom requires resistance.
Really, the concept of absolute “perfection” is simply confused thinking. If perfection means there is no resistance (Ex: you are the perfect video game player, you can beat this game effortlessly) then absolute perfection means there is nothing.
Whether the world comes across to you as “in the way” or “perfect” will be based on the ends you choose. On a hot summer day, if you’re trying to cool off, the trees found all throughout the park may be excellent shade to keep you out of the heat. On the other hand, if you’re out to mow the grass on your riding lawn tractor, you find these trees to be a nuisance and in the way.
If this still sounds a little strange to you, then I’ll state it all technically and exactly. Freedom is a person choosing between things which exist. You can choose to be this, or you can choose to be that. Now whenever you choose what you want to be, you place an “image” in your mind of what you want to be, and then you look at how the reality as things are right now comes short of that. You compare what are you right now, with what you want to be, and you come up with what needs to CHANGE. We utilize our freedom to CHANGE the world to make ourselves and the world what we want it to be. Resistance comes about during change. We exert effort, or ‘freedom’, to bring about the change.
Now in a “perfect” world, what you want to be, and what you are are one in the same thing. There is no need to change anything. Therefore, there is no freedom in a world with no need of change. You’d be everything you want to be, so therefore you wouldn’t change.
God has to create a world which offers resistance, and some degree of “imperfection” if we are to utilize freedom at all. If what we desired came to us with no resistance everything would end. There is no longer a distinction between imagination, and reality. They are now the same thing. You cannot conceive of even a concept of “possibility” because possibilities are things imagined, but things imagined are now reality. Since there is no longer “possibilities” we can no longer bring about change by choosing a possibility. Since time is change, and change comes about by freedom, time stops. The distinction between present and future ends. No choice can exist in such an environment.
Sartre describes this in Being and Nothingness (pg 431):
“In fact if the ends which I pursue could be attained by a purely arbitrary wish, if it were sufficient to hope in order to obtain, and if definite rules did not determine the use of instruments, I could never distinguish within me desire from will, nor dream from act, nor the possible from the real. No project of myself would be possible since it would be enough to conceive of it in order to realize it. Consequently my being-for-myself would be annihiliated in the indistinction of present and future. A phenomenology of action would in fact show that the act supposes a break in continuity between the simple conception and the realization — that is, between a universal and abstract thought such as “A carburetor must not be clogged” and a technical and concrete thought directed upon this particular carburetor as it appears to me with its absolute dimension and its absolute position.”
Oftentimes people are afraid of making a decision because they’re worried they’ll make a mistake. As Sartre points out (and I’ve talked about this on my comments on ‘noticing’), the world is revealed to us according to our freely chosen ends. Paris, France will not be revealed to you if you don’t choose to get off your butt and go there (or at least study about it). The significant other you’ve been wanting won’t come to you unless you get out there and make things happen.
If you don’t get “out there”, the potential significant others that exist out there won’t even exist in your mind. You’ll never meet them, you’ll never get to know them, and nothing will happen. Your knowledge database of women in the world will be: 1) Mother… 2)…Uh… I don’t know any other women. Knowledge is revealed to you by making a choice. That choice throws you out there into the wild, and the world that is there is then revealed to you.
You may find out you don’t like where you end up, but nothing at all will happen if you don’t choose to do something with yourself. Your mindset will determine whether the world you end up in is thought of as “good” or “bad”. Great, or terrible.
So we have a neat note on mindsets. A mindset is the total of all ends chosen by a person. The world is revealed to us by our mindset, and the world is also viewed as “good” or “bad” by your own mindset. Your emotions are dictated by your mindset. Time and possibilities are created by your chosen mindset. Mindsets really are something.
Very very interesting.
In conclusion, the world God created is what it is. How you look upon it will determine whether it is good or bad. Whether it is hard or easy. How we look upon the world is our free choice. If you think the world is hard, that’s because you’ve chosen to view things that way. It’s all in your mind. Everything comes down your mindset, or stated another way, your chosen ends you’re pursuing.Tags: free will, perfection, resistance