News and AnalysisPodcast

Freedom and Environments

 

This episode looks at better and more effective ways to improve ourselves and to help others. Ways that encourage and support, rather than force and demand.

Read transcript below 

TRANSCRIPT

Good morning, I’m doing a small piece today, which I’ve titled, Environments and Human Freedom. 

I point out, or offer thoughts related to the fact that human beings are radically free. Human beings cannot be controlled. The only thing that can happen with human beings is that they voluntarily forfeit their freedom, and they consent to be controlled by another. But even that is a decision. Even those are free acts. It’s a preference for a certain type of life, over the challenges of bearing the responsibility that comes with exercising the radical freedom with which we’re born. 

So given that, in essence, or by definition, or by nature, human beings are radically free, they can’t be controlled. And yet, many people, including people who desire goodness, want to do things to help human beings make the right decisions, help their lives improve, help their lives be better, help them suffer less. What I want to posit here is that the only thing we can do in response to our innate or inner impulses to be good and be helpful, is to create environments in which good decisions are made. 

I’m encouraging a shift in orientation, not only toward others, but towards myself as well. In a certain way, I myself can’t be controlled, even by my own intentions around desires. I’m just another radically free entity just like anybody else. It is no more possible for me to control another person, no matter what I do, literally, no matter what I do, then it is for me to control myself, in a certain manner of speaking, in the face of my preferences and my determinations and my desires it can be said that I myself am just another person confronted with someone’s interest or desire to control or manipulate or try to make people (in this case me) do things. This includes myself, trying to make myself do things, it’s not possible. 

What is possible, in all instances, both with others and with myself, is to work to whatever degree of sacrifice possible to create environments in which reasonable and better decisions are natural to the people we’re trying to influence. This also would go for highly personal relationships, a spouse or a child. We cannot control such people, all we can do is create environments in which the way of life, the ideas or thoughts we hope to communicate, or hope will be adopted, seem reasonable, persuasive, and attractive. That’s all. We can’t force people to think in certain ways, to behave in certain ways. If we are quite sure, and feel quite strongly that we have ideas, that would be better for people we love to follow. If we feel it would do them well to hold our ideas, or ways of behavior, that things would go better for them, their life would be better, happier, their fortune would be greater. their wealth would amass more quickly, whatever it might be. If we have interest in trying to bring people to think and behave in certain ways, what I’m putting forward here is that the only thing we can do is work on environments, create environments, in which both the ideas and the ways of life we hope to see are attractive, persuasive, convincing, and evident. That’s all. 

We should not be trying to influence their thoughts and decisions. That is an imposition. Plus it simply is not possible, because humans are radically free. Whatever thoughts they choose to adopt, and whatever actions they choose to take in the belief that these actions are constructive grows out of their free choice. Even if their purpose is just radical greed, they still will make their decisions based on their own radical freedom of choice. The only  things that can guide, push, nudge, or help shine a light on vis a vis preferred ways of thinking and behaving come out of environments. For example, if I’m in an environment in which people are constantly giving, rather than lying, stealing, thieving, and taking, and if in that environment, I discover peace, freedom, happiness, intimacy, joy, fulfillment, if I’m in an environment where a certain types of thinking, or behavior is being practiced, and I see what that produces then there is the possibility I might choose those ideas or behaviors. If I’m in an environment which makes the idea of giving more and taking less attractive, I will choose, out of my radical free will, to experiment with that, to try it. And once tried, I will then have the blessing of direct knowledge and direct experience. Through my freely chosen experiment, I discover that caring, giving, and loving, creates a much more delightful life than being obsessed with acquisition and imagining that happiness can grow from there. 

So the other thing that characterizes all human beings, is that there are three invisible forces that exist in every human being. These are life, love, and the capacity to create lineage. 

The first two, life and love can be self contained inside a single individual. The capacity to create lineage requires the cooperation of another individual. But all three exist in every human being. These are completely invisible. They can’t be seen. Scientists try to study life, because it has an intimate interface with biological activity. But they can’t get there. They can study the external material dimensions in which the force of life swims. 

Some scientists try to study love. Again, love also has a touch point with the physical. Science does have the capacity to legitimately inquire into the physical, but it cannot study love itself. Life and Love are two self generating forces that have origins outside of material reality. Yes, they have an intimate bond with material reality, but their origins can’t be explained. by imagining that they originate in the random collisions of material reality. 

The third one, lineage also is entirely invisible. Again, like the other two, it does, of course, have a touch point with material reality. Conception is highly physical, but the spawning of lineage comes from a source independent of material reality. These three invisible sources need a home. They need a body, for life to coalesce and manifest. A home is needed for love to exist. There needs to be a home and for lineage to arise. For this third one the home is a relationship. This is very interesting, the relationship of parents and children, the relationship of husband and wife. These are the generative forces of the invisible element of lineage. Lineage also has its own drive. These three things have their own drive. Why do 99 percent of people not want to die? People persist in staying alive under the most impossible circumstances? How do highly premature born babies manage to live? Yes with the help of doctors, but still. It is life itself that seeks to persist. It is its own nature and law. 

Love also has its own force. It drives the people it inhabits to all kinds of behavior, most of it beautiful. I’ve worked for 20 years just to buy my wife something I heard her casually mention 20 years ago. This is the force of love, it’s a self generating force. Now these three things, life, love and lineage, all require an environment. In the case of myself, the environment for these things is me myself is my embodied physical self. My embodied self is the environment in which life takes root, lives, acts and does what it does. Love too makes a home in me. It too lives in me, and acts and does what it does. Lineage lies dormant until activated in the relationships, where the magic of lineage comes to exist. Watch a child after school running to see his or her Mummy. This is lineage. She did not run to some other lady who maybe is prettier and maybe nicer, but instead runs to his mum. That’s lineage. 

The final thing I want to say, and the main reason why I made this podcast this morning, is that these three invisible forces all have a radical origin point, outside of myself. They existed prior to me, and they will exist after me. These three things that live in me all have independent origination from myself. I can intensify, serve, aid and strengthen them. I can make them more f. But to do that I should recognize myself as an environment. Just as if I were trying to convince a loved one to think or behave a certain way, in this case I am trying to make myself prefer to behave a certain way. I wish I didn’t do those selfish things. I wish I were more constantly sensitive to the needs of others. There are all types of things I’d like to improve. But what I am recommending or positing is not to think there’s some me in there, some self in there whom I’m trying to force to do something, to do better, to do more, to make this fellow love more. 

It’s the exact same thing as what I said at the beginning of the podcast, create an environment in which the good has a peaceful home,and lives in a good environment. For life? Well, that’s taking care of your health, your exercise and  your diet. The love inside you should feel at home. If we think of ourselves as an environment, then we can create the space in which these independently originating forces, joy, life, goodness, love, these all have a familiar home. My efforts to influence myself, my thoughts, my actions? I should try to create an environment that is persuasive to my own being, rather than trying to control and force my”self.” But to create an environment? That is manageable. That is doable. I can work on my physical, day to day self, my acting self and guide us to create environments in which the wiser and better ways of being are freely chosen. 

Alright, thanks a lot. We’ll talk together again soon.