Certainty In Free Choice

Before I go off on a computer vacation for a week, I want to share with you something I learned with my study partner yesterday.

The meaning of freedom is to have such a high degree of certainty that no power in the world can shake you from your belief and force you to act contrary to what you know to be true. The certainty has to involve a combination of both mind and heart but it first has to be grounded in the mind, in being convinced of something that just makes good sense.

This implies that paradoxically, when you have certainty even though it would seem that certainty would render it impossible for you to choose otherwise, yet you have the greatest degree of free choice because your certainty gives you the strength and the freedom to choose what you know is right, and when you choose what is wrong in such a situation it’s not really a choice at all but a “giving in,” buckling under pressure.

I’m curious to hear your thoughts on this. WordPress might be kind enough to approve your comments without me if it’s clearly not spam, but in principle I’ll be back in a little over a week.

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3 Responses to Certainty In Free Choice

  1. Panny says:

    Yes I agree 100% with what you have written above. I have experienced this… the freedom to choose what I believe was right against all the pressure of losing a very pivotal person in my life. Unable to deny what I believed to be true to take on what they were forcing on me, because they so strongly believed their opinion to be true and wanted to save me from what they perceived to be evil and harmful to me.

    I experienced this in therapy (therapist not connected to logotherapy of course)… where the therapist’s religious values judged and preached that mine were evil. I could not accept what she was doing, because my religious values (and I do not mean a religion with a title, but what was in my heart alone) accepts all people as equal regardless of race, colour, creed or social standing.

    Because of the choice I made not to “give in” to the pressures placed on me during the most vulnerable time in my therapy, I suffered much loss… immense pain and suffering… it still hurts today, but if I were to go back… I’d make the same decision I made then. Following are a few quotes I love from Victor Frankl’s, “Man’s Search for Ultimate Meaning”

    “If you want people to have faith and belief in God, you cannot rely on preaching along the lines of a particular church but must, act credibly yourself. In other words, you have to do the very opposite of what so often is done by the representatives of organised religion when they build up an image of God as someone who is primarily interested in being believed in and who rigorously insists that those who believe in him be affiliated with a particular church. Small wonder that such representatives of religion behave as though they saw the main task of their own denomination as that of overriding other denominations… if religion is to survive, it will have to be profoundly personalised” (Frankl 2000: 18)

    “… man‘s unconscious relation to God is profoundly personal” (Frankl 2000:70)

    “… unconscious religiousness stems from the personal centre of the individual man rather than an impersonal pool of images shared by mankind” (Frankl 2000:72)

    “… the concept of religion in its widest possible sense as it is here propounded goes far beyond the narrow concepts of God as they are promulgated by some representatives of denominational religion. They often depict, not to say denigrate, God as a being who is primarily concerned with being believed in by the greatest possible number of believers and along the lines of a specific creed, at that. “Just believe”, we are told, ”and everything will be ok”.‖ But alas, not only is this order based on a distortion of any sound concept of deity, but even more important, it is doomed to failure: Obviously, there are certain activities that simply cannot be commanded, demanded, or ordered. You cannot order anyone to laugh—if you want him to laugh, you must tell him a joke” (Frankl 2000: 150)

    I feel very strongly about this. Value imposition on the client by the therapist is very harmful to the client on many levels! I had to make a decision based on my true conscience and not on keeping the status quo in our therapeutic relationship which at the time I felt was extremely important to me.

    The resulting suffering proved unbearable… but I still stand by my decision not to give in to the constant and powerful pressure she wrongly placed on me during such a vulnerable time in my therapeutic journey.

  2. logogroup says:

    I love your description of using your conscience to do what you believed was right and refusing to listen to people who tried to convince you otherwise. It’s such a feeling of spiritual triumph to do this, isn’t it?

  3. Panny says:

    Yes, thank you. There is something to be said for that feeling of spiritual triumph. It is a very transcendent feeling that, if expereinced once will lift one to greater heights more often… instead of constantly conforming to the ways of the “world”, one becomes aware of their own power to choose good over evil in all circumstances of life, no matter what the outcome. This results in a greater freedom than one imagines can be found in conforming just for the sake of peace.

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