Lipton’s Journal/February 14, 1955/604
“Freedom is the recognition of necessity.” Marx? Engels? I come to believe more and more that this is true, and that the freedom involved is far greater than is understood. For our necessity is always a gamble, an either/or. The decider, the arbiter, the gambler within us poised on the irreconcilables ofvs. makes the decision to let one predominate, thrive, and die in order to allow the other rest, recuperation, and new strength.
So the decision to express one’s hatred allows love to generate. The decision to repress one’s hatred creates depression, neither hatred nor love can thrive, neither can die. (This is as true for a minute as for a lifetime.) The very heart of “function” rests on the ability to decide the conflict, to allow the alternation, the rhythm to grow. It is the attempt to suppress rhythm (also a decision) which allows temporary security in return for subsequent damage.
The future in its details is not foreseeable, although the contour of one’s personality makes it partially locatable—the totally rigid man is depressed because he knows well that no matter who he meets nor what “happens” to him, he will react to it only by the narrow lens of his “entering” faculties.
The decision of how to reconcile the irreconcilable H vs. S is always made in terms of time. We “Choose” for a near benefit or a lone one. In cowardice we make the easy decision to take the immediate benefit and deal with its inherent disadvantage at leisure, or we elect to choose the immediate disadvantage (like an artist changing his style) for the hope, theconfidence-despair that more will emerge.
In this sense I believe in freedom of will. Given the fact that the body is not a simple machine, is not Other-Life, but is Life, All is not knowable—even if we know ourselves to the All of infinity, we still cannot know others to the All of infinity (a most difficult mystic notion on which mystics would divide into mystical mystics and rational mystics) and so the future which is “Open” must be estimated by the deep knowledge of the Self. There is free will. It is the courage or cowardice with which we estimate the future and so decide.