To show that freedom is inseparable from the pursuit of goodness, it suffices to show that freedom is of actions. Goodness is the only magnet of human action. 

By goodness, I mean actual goodness existing in objects. Apparent goodness cannot attract us as apparent. Apart from objective goodness in things separate from the will, freedom is unknowable and unthinkable- for action simply speaking is unthinkable. We would not know what to do, or even what doing is.

But then how do we do what we know is not good? We stop thinking about how it is evil. The mind has a whole dead-palate of tricks to stop thinking about evils.


  1. Peter said,

    November 24, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    “Goodness is the only magnet of human action.”

    Do you see this primarily as a conclusion from something else or simply as a reflection on our actions?

    As for being a reflection on our actions: the first time I ever read a book on ST, I remember coming across a statement similar to yours above. I was so struck by it that for the rest of the day I stopped to pause and think after almost everything I did to see “why” I did it, to check that it was done under the guise of good. It always was. It always is.
    Even when we try to prove it wrong, by attempting to do something for “no good reason”, it ends up being done for what seems to be yet another “good” reason: trying to prove it wrong, or some similar thing.

  2. a thomist said,

    November 24, 2008 at 11:21 pm

    Experience is the ground. I shrink from saying its true by definition, but it is. The other relevant experience is our experience of willingly doing evil, which always involves some turning off of the mind- like booze, or justification, or cursing the thing (e.g. the vulgar or profane equivalent of “who cares about it?”)

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