Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Perfect Post (Part II: The Serendipity of Serenity)

Okay, so, now that we got all that stuff about perfections down and taken care of (see Part I if you missed it), it's time to start applying it. We'll begin with something quite fascinating that I just stumbled upon in class. Well, really, it was just a random recollection of a little ditty that I know at least some of y'all are familiar with...

Take my life, take my land,
Take me where I cannot stand.
I don't care, I'm still free;
You can't take the sky from me.

Take me out, into the black,
Tell 'em I ain't coming back.
Burn the land, boil the sea;
You can't take the sky from me.

There's no place I can be
Since I found Serenity;
But you can't take the sky from me.

What made me think of this, you might ask? Well, it just so happened that we had gotten to the topic of Freedom in Metaphysics. We were discussing the fact that Freedom itself was a pure perfection, a perfection closely linked to being itself. It was at that point that I made a link back to something I had learned in Christian Moral Principles (henceforth to be called CMP).

It was regarding the connection between morality and freedom. What we had been taught in CMP was that we become more free by choosing the good, by making moral choices. Therefore, because God is the most good being, He is also the most free being. And it kinda made sense to me, but kinda still felt a Almost as if there was something missing. I mean, yes, it made sense, but there were a few logical questions remaining there. If you can't choose evil, does it really mean anything to choose the good?

Enter Metaphysics class. It began with the discussion that Good and Being are intrinsically connected. Why? Because Good and Being are both pure perfections. As pure perfections, they demand and call upon one another. If something is, then it immediately becomes good, and the more real it is, the more Good it is. Furthermore, Professor Seifert drew a connection between Freedom and Being, that we have forgotten that Freedom itself is intrinsic to us. Even a slave, a prisoner, has freedom from within, which manifests itself in the ability to pray, to think, to love. Interestingly, those are all ways by which humans access pure perfections! Freedom as a pure perfection is intrinsically intertwined with them. And so we come to the last conclusion drawn.

There is a specific connection between the pure perfection of Freedom and the pure perfection of Good. Something gives us Freedom only if it enables us to become more Good. That is why freedom itself is a good. Because the more free we are, the more good we are. The more true we are. The more wise we are. And it's all connected! So the real answer, then, to the question of "if God cannot be evil, how can he truly be free?" is that evil degrades Freedom, and if an infinitely Free being were to commit evil, that would make them less than infinitely Free. And that's why God can be both infinitely Free and infinitely Good. Because Freedom and Good actually are substantial, if you think about it. Freedom is not merely ability to choose, it is the enabling of the person to be more Good.

And now is where we get into my connection with the above song. For those of you who don't know, it's called "The Ballad of Serenity", and was written as a theme song for the sci-fi TV show Firefly. The central theme of the song is that it's about the main characters, who fly a space transport around, in the sky, where they can truly be free. And it got me thinking. I arrived at the conclusion that it can be seen as a metaphor of sorts. If you look at the song, it talks about the removal of all sorts of material, tangible things, the imposition of all sorts of restrictions. "Life", "land", "sea", all very concrete things. So what's left? The immaterial things. Now, space itself is kinda empty, but it's also big, and in a way, it's full, because in space, there's things that can't be seen. In all that empty space, the central characters experience hope, fear, love, courage, cowardice, and all manner of things.

So what if we look at "sky" as a metaphor for the human soul itself? Look at the song in this light, and it becomes a very profound philosophical insight. You can take away someone's life, their possessions, the ground from under their feet. Nowhere for them to go, but yet they have something. They have a home. They have their soul. And it's within the soul that Freedom truly resides. It doesn't matter what you can do with your body, the achievements you have, the recognition you've received. That can't give you freedom. All of those are good and well, but they're only mixed perfections. The true Freedom, the pure perfection of freedom, is found within.

So, a somewhat disjointed post, and I may be reading a bit more into that song than was intended, but I think it went rather shiny. Next up, I'll probably be tackling the existence of God, more specifically, the ontological argument.

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