Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Unfree Will

(Continued from A Life Not Worth Living)

- The three montheisms make use of three stages of ritual: (1) Following the rules (2) The world seen placed back in order (3) Both the rules followed and the world seen ordered. There is here a progressive adjustment to the end of history: (1) The end is expected, as long as we follow the rules (2) The end is about to arrive, so forget what we do, it only matters that we love each other (3) The end is here now, it will go on with rules of action and relations between people decided for all time. But history is not really ended.
- Of course not.
- History is out there in the real world, but monotheists are focused only on their rituals. How is it they don't realize this?
- They do. What else are they doing when they ask whether or not there is a life worth living? Wouldn't a good god make sure their lives were worth living since life is his gift to them?
- He gave them free will. And they use it to make lives not worth living.
- That is the usual argument. The counter is: What about suffering children who never got a chance to exercise free will before they were made to suffer.
- We are told there are things we can't understand.
- But we do understand that certain political conditions, which are under the control of human beings, can make a life not worth living. We know that political conditions are sensitive to geography. When people are threatened with slavery, if they can they flee across the frontier or up to the hills where a life worth living is possible. Since god made both human beings and the world, is there any explanation for why he put certain human beings in geographical conditions (no frontier, no hills) that were likely to lead to politics in which life is not worth living? How does giving human beings free will entail putting them in conditions where they are certain to fail to exercise this gift rightly, when they can be put in conditions where with the same gift of free will they are likely to choose well?
- The latter wouldn't be a hard enough test.
- Ritualists expect to be reborn out of their trying circumstances. The god who appears in ritual is good because he delivers the gift of rebirth. God puts human beings in conditions in which they are certain to fail, but in ritual they're reborn, so in a way it doesn't matter.
- We feel in our revived power from ritual that our failure in the test of free will out in the world does not matter, is merely an event in history which is coming to an end, even when that failure entails the suffering of children.
- Ritualists don't take into account that their very sense of renewed power and freedom of will is the product of only one aspect or capacity of human nature: that which allows the effectiveness of ritual. Ritual hides from practitioners the other possible worlds in which human freedom can be exercised, those outside the closed, human-constructed, unfree conditions of ritual.
- Hides the outside world in which god's gift of free will is likely to produce good or bad results. The monotheistic god, like us concerned only with ritual that is the product of lacking freedom, is unfree in setting up the conditions of our freedom. His faulty free will of creation is hidden from us in our own unfree practice of ritual.
- The monotheistic god is like us a practitioner of ritual. He makes children suffer along with the rest of us in history coming to an end in order that they can be reborn out of history with us.
- He's not a god who knows things like the relation between geography and politics of a life worth living. He's a god of power, not knowledge.