Monday, May 14, 2007

Perspectives on Ideas. May 14, 2007. Free Will. Freedom.

Note: A bold-face statement at the conclusion of a quote is my attempt to express a wordy or convoluted quote in plain English. RayS.

Free Will
Free will 179 Spinoza compares the feeling of free will to a stone's thinking, as it travels through space, that it determines its own trajectory and selects the place and time of its fall. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Spinoza. [Feeling that one has free will is like a stone’s thinking it controls its flight and its place of landing.]

Free will 322 Schopenhauer : Everyone believes himself…to be perfectly free, even in his individual actions, and he thinks that at every moment he can commence another manner of life…but…through experience, he finds to his astonishment that he is not free, but subjected to necessity; that in spite of all his resolutions and reflections he does not change his conduct, and that from the very beginning of his life to the end of it, he must carry out the very character which he himself condemns. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Schopenhauer. [People think they are free to change, but they soon realize they cannot change their character.]

Free will 452 Bergson: Free will is a corollary of consciousness; to say that we are free is merely to mean that we know what we are doing. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Bergson. [A sense of free will means that we are conscious of what we are doing.]

Free will 525 Dewey: Freedom of the the illumination of conduct by knowledge. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, John Dewey. [Free will means that we know what we are doing.]

Free will 376 Boswell on predestination and free will: …but if a thing be certainly foreseen [by God], it must be fixed, and cannot happen otherwise; and if we apply this consideration to the human mind, there is no free will, nor do I see how prayer can be of any avail. Boswell, Life of Johnson, Vol. 1. [Predestination means that God sees all and therefore everything is fixed.]

Freedom 177 Freedom strictly limited by self-control--that was the idea of Athens at her greatest. E. Hamilton. The Greek Way. [Freedom requires self-control.]

Freedom 495 The German experience has shown that the idea of internal freedom can be throttled by the striving for national unity and a nationalistic foreign policy. Bracher, The German Dictatorship. [Freedom can be destroyed by striving for national unity.]

Freedom 149 ...the freedom the masses crave is not freedom of self-expression and self-realization, but freedom from the intolerable burden of an autonomous existence. Hoffer, The True Believer [People crave freedom from an autonomous, independent existence.]

Freedom 149 They [the masses] want freedom from “the fearful burden of free choice....” Dostoevsky. Hoffer, The True Believer [People want freedom from the burden of free choice.]

Freedom 710 JFK: “We possess weapons of tremendous power…but they are least effective in combating the weapons most often used by freedom’s foes: subversion, infiltration, guerrilla warfare, civil disorder.” Sorenson, Kennedy [We can’t use our weapons of mass destruction against freedom’s foes who use subversion, infiltration, guerrilla warfare and civil disorder.]

Freedom 581 Isn’t that the broadest road to freedom, the release from the fears and tyrannies imposed upon us before we were capable of judgment? Irving Stone, The Passions of the Mind (Life of Freud). [We need to be free from the fears and tyrannies imposed on us when we are young.]

Freedom 29 When you choose an elder, you renounce your own will and yield it to him in complete submission, complete self-abnegation…this terrible school of abnegation is undertaken voluntarily, in the hope of self-conquest, of self-mastery, in order after a life of obedience, to attain perfect freedom, that is, from self; to escape the lot of those who have lived their whole life without finding their true selves in themselves. Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov. [You renounce free will, give complete submission to others in order to escape from self, from having to find your true self.]

Freedom 232 And men rejoiced that they were again led like sheep, and that the terrible gift [freedom] that had brought them such suffering, was, at last, lifted from their hearts. Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov. [Men rejoiced that they were again led like sheep, free from the suffering that freedom had brought them.]

Freedom 234 Oh, we shall persuade them that they will only become free when they renounce their freedom to us and submit to us. Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov. [We will persuade them that they can only be free when they renounce their freedom and submit.]

Freedom 234 Freedom, free thought and science will lead them into such straits and will bring them face to face with such marvels and insoluble mysteries, that some of them, the fierce and rebellious, will destroy themselves, others, rebellious but weak will destroy one another, while the rest, weak and unhappy, will crawl fawning to our feet and whine to us: ‘Yes, you were right, you alone possess His Mystery, and we come back to you, save us from ourselves.’ Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov. [Freedom leads people to destroy themselves, to destroy others and eventually crawl to submit in order to save them from themselves. ]

Freedom 284 Interpreting freedom as the multiplication and rapid satisfaction of desires. Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov. [Freedom is interpreted as multiplying and satisfying desires.]

Freedom 245 Voltaire: To be free is to be subject to nothing but the laws. . Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Voltaire. [Freedom is to be subject to nothing but laws.]

Freedom 277 Kant: In a way which we feel but cannot prove, each of us is free. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Kant. [We feel that we are free, but can’t prove it.]

Freedom 933 …by this sacredness of individuals, they [the English] have in seven hundred years evolved the principles of freedom. Emerson, English Traits. [By making the individual sacred, the English have evolved the principles of freedom.]

Freedom 522 Never let it be forgotten that Hitler exploited the freedom granted him by the Weimar constitution to destroy the republic. Conot, Justice at Nuremberg. [Hitler exploited the freedoms granted by the constitution in order to destroy the republic.]

Freedom 41 Deny them [the Colonies] this participation of freedom, and you break that sole bond which originally made, and must still preserve, the unity of the empire. Edmund Burke, Speech on Conciliation with America, 1775. Hofstadter, ed. Great Issues in American History. Vol. 1. Independence. [Deny the [American] Colonies freedom and you will destroy the bond that unites the Empire.]

Freedom of speech 8 The amazing thing is that plays attacking the war policy when the state was at war could be given under state auspices and that Cleon could be most virulently attacked for bad morals and manners when he was himself in the audience. Hadas, ed., The Complete Works of Aristophanes. [The Ancient Greeks had the freedom to criticize public policy in plays that were sponsored by the state and leaders even when the latter were in the audience.]

Freedom of Speech 13 If we are astonished at the temerity of a poet who could say a word for the enemy and many words for pacifism amid the passions of war, we must be amazed at a democracy which permitted and sponsored such a play in time of war, and gave it first prize. Hadas, ed., The Complete Works of Aristophanes. The Acharnians. [The playwrights of Ancient Greece could say a good word about the enemy and pacifism in a time of war in a play sponsored by the government and given first prize by the government.]

Freedom responsibility 180 Man is free and therefore responsible. Pope John Paul II, Threshold [Freedom requires responsibility.]

Freedom, liberty 298 Hegel: …order is the first requisite of liberty. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Hegel. [Freedom requires order.]

Freedom, personality 483 Russell: Freedom is the supreme good; for without it personality is impossible. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Bertrand Russell. [Without freedom, personality is impossible.]

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