Destiny & Freedom
“Man has used his freedom to waste his freedom; and it is [therefore] his destiny to lose his destiny.”
-- Paul Tillich
I can’t explain how strong these words resonate with me.
Everywhere we look we see freedom being wasted and misused—and, as Tillich said, humanity’s destiny for greatness is lost because of it. That potential greatness, rooted in the momentum of an initial Golden Age that gave birth to the Modern World, is scarcely even considered today.
Think about it. Free speech, shamefully wasted by lies even in the public arena, when it could be elevating truth and justice for the sake of all our futures. Freedom to bear arms carelessly asserted, feeding the on-going plague of mass murders. Freedom of assembly producing parades of bigotry and violent insurgencies. Democracy being abused to destroy itself with no regard for what monstrosity will follow. Freedom of religion discarding moral discernment for the sake of political contention. Freedom of the press using every medium to promote false narratives and conspiracy theories.
We forget that real freedom is no small thing. It was meant for great purposes, such as fulfilling each person’s potential under protection of law. It provides the rich soil in which progress grows and all the world benefit. It is the mainstay of reason and conscience which authoritarianism would kill by manipulating people’s minds. It makes each person’s individual life a quest responsive to the creative impulse of their own inner aims.
Freedom does not tell us how to live. But there is more to us than freedom. There are moral imperatives given to us by Nature’s Law that freedom must serves in order to be real.
The blossoming of human nature owns a uniquely enlightened, wonderful, and powerful destiny—but only if we choose to be inspired by it, instead of squandering it in a selfish, ignorant mire of self-debasement. Uninspired freedom, lacking the conscience of humanity, leads to freedom of dubious value, distorted by misdirection and lack of higher purpose.
Can we find that inner purpose once again? Of course. All we need do is look inside our hearts for the greater truth. But keep in mind, that requires the kind of thought and personal reflection that our distracted lives make almost impossible.