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My freedom is the realization that I have only one real choice

Posted by ephelotes, 08 February 2011 · 532 views

Yes, bbb. If one thinks these other "choices" are actually legitimate, one cannot really commit oneself to any choice, since how can one choose something if every other choice is just as good? But if one knows one's nature and the action that is most concordant with that nature, then one can really choose one thing over another. Knowledge of one's nature, of oneself, is essential then to making a real choice. And this knowledge consists in knowing what is good for oneself, and what is bad.  And knowledge of what is good and bad for oneself is knowledge of what is within the limits of one's nature and outside the limits of one's nature, respectively.  Freedom then requires knowledge of limits, not the absence of limits.  Perfect freedom requires perfect knowledge.  And having only one real choice according to this perfect knowledge would not make this choice an obligation, since this real choice would be made with the greatest concordance with one's nature compared to all other choices, which, according to perfect knowledge, would clearly not really be choices, but things absurd and harmful.  It seems to me, therefore, that nobody would consider this real choice an obligation, but something welcome and good.  It seems to me that only those who think that a person is something other than his nature, and that choosing according to nature can go against the person, can believe that nature is against freedom.  But if a person is something other than his nature, then what is he?

Please correct any errors, thank you.


"Knowledge of one's nature, of oneself, is essential then to making a real choice"
I suppose, then, that the 'choices' one might have made on the way to discovering one's nature are somehow not "real" choices?Moreover, do I understand correct that one could not make a "real" choice until one has achieved perfect knowledge (of oneself)?Is the journey justified only by the destination?I'm no further forward, I'm afraid.
I would call "choices" that one makes on the way to discovering one's nature guesses, really.  Does a toddler make choices in the same sense that a fully grown man does?  I believe this is an extreme version of the distinction between false choice and real choice that I am trying to put forward.  Only the fully grown man can make a real choice, since only a fully grown man can know himself, even if not all fully grown men actually do know themselves.  Being a grown person, then, seems to be a requirement for real autonomy, and not just the self-appearance of autonomy, but being grown is not sufficient for real autonomy.One can make a real choice before one has perfect knowledge, but to the extent that one's knowledge of oneself is incomplete, I would say there is also an extent to which the choiceness of the choice is false, and hence, there is an extent to which the choice is a false choice.  To the extent to which a choice is made randomly--that is, without an element of knowledge--it cannot be a choice, but it must be the result of something other than knowledge and therefore other than thought inasmuch as it uses knowledge; to the extent that it is not a choice, but appears to be in this way, it is a false choice.  And if one makes a choice by virtue of something other than thought inasmuch as it uses knowledge, then it is a choice in the same sense as any other animal makes a choice, e.g. a bear, a bee, a squid.  And if human freedom is the same as the freedom of any of these animals, then it seems to me to be difficult to defend to any greater extent than we defend the freedom of these animals: in many cases, we do not defend them, or only to a marginal extent.But perhaps we wish to say that animals use thought and knowledge of their natures with respect to making choices in the same way, essentially, that human beings do.  But if that's true, then still we come to the problem that the freedom of humans is the same as that of animals, and whether it should then be privileged in defending it.Your last question I do not believe I can answer, or want to.I thank you for these criticisms, they have been very helpful.

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