Friday, May 27, 2016

Knowledge, Commitment and Freedom

"Only true knowledge of a person makes it possible to commit one's freedom to the other."
--Karol Wojtyla

"Love," says Christian theologian, Wojtyla, 'consists of a commitment which limits one's freedom-- it is a "giving" of the self... to limit one's freedom on behalf of another. Limitation might seem to be something negative or unpleasant, but love makes it a positive, joyful and creative thing."

If this freedom is not engaged by the will, it becomes negative, and gives to human feeling, a sense of emptiness and unfulfilment. Yet love commits to freedom and " imbues it with that to which the will is naturally attracted-- the element of goodness. Thus the will then aspires to the good; freedom is the providence of the will, existing for and because of love; it is the way of love in which human beings share most fully in the good. "Human freedom then is one of the highest in the moral order of things," says Wojtyla. This order encompasses the spectrum of man's longings and desires; his growing pathways of awareness of the life in the spirit. But man longs for love more than he longs for freedom. In choosing, there is an affirmation of value in response to natural, sense perceptions, to sentiment. "Sexual values [as an expression of the appetite] tend to impose themselves," regardless of the choosing of the possible values of a whole person.

For this reason, a man, especially, one who has not succumbed to mere passion, but preserves his interior innocence, usually finds himself in the arena of struggle between the sexual instinct and a need for freedom, or liberty to do as he otherwise wishes. This natural instinct, this drive of Eros cannot be underestimated; it is a powerful, yet limited drive. Eros can, and often lays siege to the will itself, clouding the other values with sensual intensity. Through a perception of sentiment, however, the will may be freed of the vice-like hold of a conscious, lusting desire, of a consumer view; rather it is transformed by sentiment, and the action of the will to a longing for a person of the other sex, for a possibility of wholeness.

It is love, finally, when the will enters into the equation, providing a conscious commitment of one's freedom in respect to another person, in recognition and affirmation, providing a creative contribution of the love that develops between the persons. Thus love is between persons, existing in a space that is neither one or the other, is created, and not possessed. So then in love, in freedom, there is a conscious will for another person's good, an unqualified good, a good unlimited, that is a person's happiness.
"Life has taught us that love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking outward in the same direction. " -Antoine de St. Exupery

We desire moreover to make the beloved happy, to please them and see to their good. It is this precisely that makes possible for a person to be re-born in love, to become alive, aware of the riches within himself, of his creativity, his spirituality, of his fertility. The person, in love, compels belief in his own spiritual powers; it awakens the creativity and the sense of worth within the individual. And yet for all its lofty abundance, human lovers must learn to translate their highest impulses into the everyday world.

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