Thursday, June 2, 2016

True Freedom

People have always sought one form of freedom or another, it seems: freedom from oppression of various kinds, from injustice, from abuse and danger and so much more. But Rowan Williams singles out something more fundamental: freedom from self-orientation.

The former Archbishop of Canterbury is quoted by Richard Rohr, whom I quote:  "You can have political or economic freedom, but if you are not free from your own ego, from your own centrality inside your own thinking, I don't think you're very free at all.  In fact, your actions and behavior will be totally predictable.  Everything will revolve around your security, survival, self-protection, self-validation, self, self, self."

That this is the great age of self-centeredness and narcissism is seen in the  rise of Donald Trump, who thinks that, as long as the world revolves around him, everything will be fine.  Truth, facts, knowledge, taste--none of these matter.

As Michael Sean Winters writes today in NCR, toddlers can get away with combining viciousness and feigned innocence when they are caught in lies. Apparently, many American voters see their own self-interests mirrored in the narcissistic Mr. Trump.  The consequences are alarming.

The mature person knows that if we think only and exclusively of ourselves at the expense of others, we diminish our own humanity.

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