Freedom is not the absence of restraint, a free-for-all. Freedom is when we realise our true meaning and purpose and its boundless possibilities.
“Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed in him, If you continue in my Word , then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8: 31-32).
The context of the narrative in John Chapter 8 is that Jesus was one morning sitting at the temple explaining to a gathered crowd that he is the embodiment of truth and that they were still slaves of the sinful falsehoods they indulged in. Some intuitively understood what he was saying and some did not. To those who understood he said “ye shall know the truth, the truth shall make you free”.
The term ‘word’ in the Bible, as used in relation to the speech of God or Christ, means Logos, or knowledge. So on the one hand we have truth, knowledge and freedom and on the other hand we have lies, ignorance and slavery. It is clear that we should do all we can to seek, and to live within truth, knowledge and freedom. We do this by transcending lies, ignorance and slavery. The main counter-positions are truth and falsehoods, as truth leads to knowledge and freedom whereas falsehoods lead to ignorance and slavery.
The closest term and meaning that I can equate to ‘truth’ is ‘reality’ or how things actually are as opposed to how they are not. There are a number of emotional and mental states that take us down on the side of convenient falsehoods that appeal to our dark side. The dark side states are anger, envy, gluttony, greed, laziness, lust and pride. These dark states can lead to a chronic lack of empathy and anti-social behaviour that are the hallmarks of psychopathy, narcissism and ruthless deceit. The latter conditions are responsible for the atrocities that humans perpetrate, such as child trafficking, wars, ecocide and genocide. People everywhere are increasingly exhibiting dark side behaviour.
Over historical time people have progressively surrendered their choices and discretion to national political and military elites. Nations have surrendered substantial parts of their sovereignty to supranational institutions such as NATO, the European Union and the United Nations. Important decisions that have widespread impact are taken in fora that are very distant from any democratic process.
Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, say 250 years ago, industry has become more and more global rather than local. This trend has led to the establishment of global military, energy, food and agriculture, technology and telecommunications, chemical and pharmaceutical corporate industrial complexes and their exceedingly influential international political lobbies. The purpose of these lobbies is to enable the political support for favourable legislative reform resulting in a dark and unholy alliance between corporate and political powers.
The objectives of the global corporate industrial complexes are profit and power. In order to maximise these objectives they appeal to people’s dark side propensities when presenting any product in the market. By so doing, they corrupt people into acceptance irrespective of whether the product is safe, desirable, ethical or moral and without any thought given to the impact on the wellbeing of communities, families or the ecosystems that sustain life on Earth. All this in total disregard of the truth, that is ignored or denied – John 8:45 “and because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.”
This situation is so widespread that we can now positively state that large chunks of the world’s population are enslaved by their addiction to the convenient falsehoods on which their dark side propensities thrive. Not much has changed in two thousand years – John 8:34 “Jesus answered them, Verily, verily I say unto you, whosoever committeth sin is the servant (slave) of sin.” Cognitive dissonance abounds.
Human society has been wilfully enslaved by its own dark side. In these godless times we should rekindle our commitment to the clear light of truth and remember that as we deepen our knowledge of reality, we will walk in the steps of the Christ and we shall know the truth, and the truth shall make us free, Amen.
This article was published in The Senior Times of the Times of Malta in September 2023.
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