Tuesday, December 14, 2004

The Yoke of Slavery

Dear -----,

I just had the chance to read the highlighted scriptures you copied for me and saw your note: “This is a rather Emersonian argument that exalts freedom and says the rules were a temporary expedient until maturity is reached.” I would agree that's very Emersonian.

The passage indicated was Galations 4, 5: “Our mother is the free woman. It is for freedom that Christ set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and refuse to submit again to the yoke of slavery.”

This reminds me of the question in regards troublesome or secular thoughts, which I don’t believe we ever resolved. The question was: “What thoughts are dangerous and should be banned from the adult mind or resolved ‘properly’ through science, philosophy or scripture?” I am not talking about actions, but thoughts. And the adult mind I am thinking of is not the mind of a madman or criminal.

I am reminded of a passage I read recently by Marilynne Robinson:

“Evidence is always construed, and it is always liable to being misconstrued no matter how much care is exercised in collecting and evaluating it. At best, our understanding of any historical moment is significantly wrong, and this should come as no surprise, since we have little grasp of any present moment. The present is elusive for the same reason as the past. There are no true boundaries around it, no limit to the number of factors at work in it.”

So, I am left to wonder: How can we praise the idea that we’ve been set free and then set up absolute ideas to which we must adhere? Or does the passage suggest that it’s wrong when “the yoke of slavery” is placed on us by others but OK when placed on us by ourselves?


PS. I like this passage, too, because it gets at what I was saying when I said, “The adult mind I am thinking of is not the mind of a madman or criminal.”

Galatians 4, 13 reads: “You, my friends, were called to be free; only beware of turning your freedom into license for your unspiritual nature.” This indicates you’re doing OK if you’re using your freedom in service of your spiritual nature … and this opens up myriad areas that don’t depend on accepting Jesus as the son of God.


I must include this delightful passage, which I just came across in Joseph Campbell’s book, “Pathways to Bliss: Mythology and Personal Transformation.” He’s talking about Jung’s view of social roles and writes:

“The whole personal complex includes your moral principles. Ethics and social mores are internalized as part of the persona order, and Jung tells us that you must take that lightly. Just remember, Adam and Eve fell when they learned the difference between good and evil. So the way to get back is not to know the difference. That’s an obvious lesson, but it’s not one that’s very clearly preached from pulpits. Yet Christ told his disciples, ‘Judge not, that ye may not be judged.’ You judge according to your persona context, and you will be judged in terms of it. Unless you can learn to look beyond the local dictates of what is right and what is wrong, you’re not a complete human being. You’re just a part of that particular social order.”


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