The Broken Signposts of N.T. Wright: Part 4, Freedom

The third broken signpost that points toward our human vocation is freedom. N.T. Wright describing our desire for freedom but our confusions with it as well:
We all know [freedom] matters; we all want it for ourselves and for those about whom we care. But freedom is surprisingly difficult to define or defend, to get or to keep. We all want it, though we're not sure what it is or what to do with it if we had it. One person's freedom often comes at the cost of another person's slavery. Does it have to be a zero-sum game? Is our instinct for freedom merely a delusion?
Beyond the ways the expansion of freedom in the West has ruined the environment and turned developing nations into cheap labor for Western markets, there's also the biological questions about freedom. Wright observes:
Philosophers still debate whether we humans really have free will itself or, if we do, whether that means we are simply random particles whizzing around deluding ourselves that we are making real choices.
And lastly, there's the question of what the purpose of freedom might be. Wright again:
In any case, does 'freedom' mean freedom from or freedom for?
We might have freedom, but we wind up using that freedom to fall into other sorts of moral or psychological bondage. For example, think of pornography. We're all "free" to consume pornography, but does that consumption lead to greater freedom or greater slavery?

So here, again, we face a broken signpost. We all desire freedom, but we don't know how to secure it, what it might be for, or if we even have it. As with justice and beauty, we need something "extra" to help us sort out our confusions about freedom, and what creating a free world might look like.

This entry was posted by Richard Beck. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply