I was recently granted the right to decide as I wish, and exercise my right to free will. Saliently, after that person just exercised their free will to once again play hide-and-seek and disappear without a trace.
What a noble yet rhetorical gesture!
The rather casual inference to freedom makes my skin crawl. Mostly because it is a product of ill-defined constitutional references to freedom, without ever having defined how freedom actually works and how it can benefit societies and relationships. Freedom is what makes dependency, protection, and success work. Teamwork is what makes the team work.
Using the wisdom of the late and great Christopher Hitchens: Being free is like being lady-like. If you have to say you are, you are probably not.
Worse, if you have to prove you are free by walking out of the house unannounced, you have serious mental problems. Or you were in the house for more nefarious reasons, to begin with. Or you lack the empathy to temporarily care for the person who needed and paid for support. Or you lack the love and want to -on occassion- care more about the other than yourself. I was shocked, blew my fuse, and never imagined people like this actually existed. Alas.
Freedom is not an absolutism of infinitism but a proxy of relativity. And if you have to remind people of their absolute right to free will, means they have no clue about the importance of relativity, the interdependence in the world we live in, and how relationships work and thrive.
For me, a reference to free will always comes across like the silly reminder to breathe. The freedom to breathe so beautifully enforced by nature’s paradox.
You see, breathing is an involuntary action—the opposite of freedom. And yet so necessary to survive. We, humans, stop being free and alive when the involuntary action of breathing stops. Our freedom dies with the death of its paradox.
Manage The Paradox
Freedom of any kind cannot exist without paradoxical rules. Those paradoxical rules are needed to protect the interest and trust in collective freedom from being eroded by the vile-maxim (all for me, and nothing for anyone else) of personal freedom.
Therefore, to maximize freedom, you do not define freedom, but you define and manage its paradox. As the theory of its paradox, using the wisdom of Albert Einstein determines what new freedoms can be discovered that do not harm but expand the collective interest.
Kiss Of Death
In a relationship, the reliance on the absolutism of free will, an unapologetic vile maxim, is the kiss of death to a relationship. For, by definition, a relationship is a relativity theory that relies on the hopefully authentic, passionate, overlapping, and evolving interests in freedom unique to the bond of two people.
The freedom of one partner to do what they need or want must be paired with the freedom of the other partner to do what they need or want. The art of maintaining a relationship is the art of managing the paradox, the overcoming of life’s innate struggles, to calibrate and achieve acceptable bipartisan levels of expanding freedom to build a winning team.
Sorry For You
I fear for people held hostage by the reliance on free will. As explained by psychologist Esther Perel in this video, a pretense of stable ambiguity is so dangerously detached from human existence, excellence, and survival. In its worst form, the icing and retreat from responsibility turned into ghosting—the ultimate sign of disrespect to a partner.
Those people end up receiving the same ambiguity that makes them equally irrelevant and disposable to the ambiguous people they attract. They will reap what they sow. The elderly home picked by their children, hopefully not equally affected by ambiguity, someday offering the most stable outlook on life.
Relationships flourish by managing the paradox of freedom in careful consideration of autonomy and interdependence. They can be beautifully simple and sweet if people know how to get together and talk about their inspirations and aspirations.
In the words of James Bond, I am shaken not stirred by my recent experience with Bronze Age free will. An experience that makes me want to set things straight even more.