SPIRITUALISM – THE SPIRIT OF FREEDOM :
Pope Benedict XVI in his traditional Christmas Day Message has wished for Peace, Freedom, and Justice to the people of all nations across the World.
WHAT IS FREEDOM????
John Milton(1644) demanded, “Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.” British Bill of Rights(1689), French Declaration of the Rights of Man(1789), and The U.S. Bill of Rights(1791) describe Civil Liberties and Individual Freedoms. John Stuart Mill(1806-73), English Philosopher, and Economist had observed, “Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.” Being sovereign, means that the person, or entity acknowledge no superior. To be a sovereign shows the ability not to accept commands from anyone. In Political Science, when States are called Free and Independent, their autonomy or sovereignty means that they have full power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and do all other acts and things which independent states have the right to do. The terms Freedom and Liberty are often used to describe the opposite of servitude, slavery, or bondage. It describes the act of releasing or setting free of a slave or prisoner from physical servitude or imprisonment. Freedom means the state or quality of being free from the control of some other person or some arbitrary power and it gives the person the ability to act, move, and live without hindrance or restraint. Similarly, Liberty describes Freedom from arbitrary control, confinement, and compulsion imposed by rules, regulations, laws, and traditional practices. However, Freedom does not constitute License which implies the ability to violate the usual rules, laws, or practices either by consent or as an abuse of Liberty. The purpose of Freedom is not that of imposing Anarchy which is the complete absence of government. Anarchy may lead to political disorder, lawlessness, and may contribute to disorder in various spheres of human activities, and human interactions. Freedom, and Liberty cannot be disassociated from Peace, and Justice, and equal protection of Rights of all the members of any social community or national entities. Liberty cannot be allowed to grow without limit at the expense of Justice and Order. The concept of Freedom, Liberty, and Freewill expressed in human thought and literature has very limited application in Natural Sciences. The establishment of Life on planet Earth speaks of the operation of the Laws of Nature. Life has emerged from discord, disorder, and chaos; it reflects the nature of sequential, guided, and purposeful interactions of atoms, and molecules to seek peace, harmony, and tranquility to get over the consequences of random, unguided, and spontaneous interactions which have no purpose.
THE SPIRITUAL BASIS OF HUMAN EXISTENCE:
It must be clearly recognized that Freedom or Liberty is a product of man’s mental imagination and it has no physical correspondence with an external reality. From the viewpoint of a scientific observer, the human subject exists without Freedom, or Independence as the subject cannot be detached from its external source of support. Freedom or Liberty is a subjective, personal experience and it cannot be tested or verified using the protocol of objective Science. In other words, man’s subjective, mental experience called Freedom, or Liberty exists if, and only if his existence is sustained by the rules, laws, and conditions imposed upon the reality called Life. Man’s status in Nature is characterized by the absence of “Independence” as it is conditioned by dependence. Man does not have “Sovereign” powers to rule or govern his own human body which comprises of independent, and functionally autonomous, individual, living cells. The Living System requires constant supply of energy from an external source and the ability to acquire this energy is independent of man’s control over his own body. Man may appear to have the freedom to choose death, and the same is not true about keeping his own existence. To live, and to perform living functions, man needs support, and man has no choice other than that of dependence. Man has the desire to exist as an independent Individual with Individuality while being attached, and while surviving on support from an external source. In Life, or Death, man needs Mercy, Grace, and Compassion of a Supreme Being who may control the source of external energy and constitute the principle called Divine Providence.
What is Soul? What is Spirit?:
Soul/Spirit is stated as the vital, animating, life principle found in all living entities. Spirit is often used to describe the moral nature of man, a specified mental, or emotional attitude that characterizes words, actions, opinions, and etc., Spirit is used to refer to the intelligent or immaterial part of man as distinguished from the human body, and mind. The term Spirit considers the possibility of the existence of an immaterial reality that is imperceptible to the organs of sense perception. The life principle displays both material and immaterial aspects. Hence, I would like to suggest that Spirit and Soul represent the two-sides of the same coin. Spirit and Soul influence human nature in two different ways. Under the influence of Spirit, man seeks his Freedom, or Independence. Spirit gives the ability to man to generate new, original, and creative thoughts that form the contents of his imagination. Man applies imagination and uses inspiration from within or without to create new, and original products. Whereas Soul is the guiding mechanism that establishes the dependent, or conditioned nature of man’s existence. The recognition of the nature of dependent existence generates an emotion or feeling called ‘Devotion’ and man learns to act in obedience of an unknown Supreme Being. The presence of ‘Devotion’ is detected in human behavior and actions that display a sense of humility and modesty. Freedom, and Dependence are the two basic elements of human nature that are perpetually in tension with one another. While the Spirit is dominant, man seeks total Freedom and expresses this Freedom to constantly manipulate the dependent nature of his conditioned existence which may include a desire to seek Freedom from Death through his works, and actions. With the help of his Soul, man totally surrenders his sense of self-pride, ego, or arrogance. His deliverance, or salvation, or liberation is entirely dependent upon the Mercy, Grace, and Compassion of his LORD God Creator.
JESUS CHRIST – THE “SPIRIT” OF FREEDOM:
Apostle Paul’s Letter to the Galatians has been called the “Magna Charta” of Christian Liberty. However, it must be noted that the essence of Christian Freedom is stated as deliverance from bondage of sin and its consequent moral corruption of human nature. Apostle Paul declares, “It is for Freedom that Christ has set us Free.”( Galatians, Chapter 5, verse 1) The Freedom advocated by Apostle Paul refers to freedom from the ceremonial laws of Jewish Old Testament customs and traditions. He demands Galatians to live as released prisoners or freed slaves and at the same time it was not an invitation to lead immoral lives. He specifically instructs that the Freedom described relates to freedom from sinful nature; “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of sinful nature.”( Galatians, Chapter 5, verse 16 ) In the Gospel according to Apostle John, Chapter 6, verse 63, Jesus describes the distinction between the Spirit and human body; “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and they are life.” This Spiritual Liberty involves man becoming the slave of God; “But now that you have been set Free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.”( The Book of ROMANS, Chapter 6, verse 22) Spiritual Liberty never condones the abuse of Liberty and there is no exemption from the exercise of individual judgment. The Book of JAMES, Chapter 2, verse 12 stipulates the Law of Liberty; “Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the Law that gives freedom.” The use of Liberty and Freedom is limited by consideration of obedience of Law and acting in accordance with moral precepts as man exists in the world as a created being and not as a Sovereign or Independent entity.
I wish all of my readers a Merry Christmas and a very happy New Year.
Rudra N. Rebbapragada, Ann Arbor, Michigan, U.S.A.
- Spiritualism and Violence – Grief at Sandy Hook Elementary School (bhavanajagat.com)