If you are like most people there will be one person who has done you more harm than anyone else. That person has done more to destroy your hopes and dreams than you ever thought possible. That person is most likely you!
If the person who has harmed you the most is not you then you have mostly likely had a very hard life. But hurting yourself, doubting yourself, setting yourself up to fail is not an easy life either. Yet we keep doing it, we keep making bad decisions and getting ourselves into mischief. The truth is hard to admit but we need to be protected from our worst enemy, from the person who has done more than anyone else to destroy our hopes and dreams. How exactly can you do that?
Traditional society did try to do that, it did try to protect you from your base desires and stupidities, from yourself. It set limits to your behavour, it said that you had to listen to those older and those more senior than you. It said you didn’t know it all and that no matter how intelligent you were or how knowledgeable you were in your trade or craft, none of that was wisdom. That wisdom was of greater value than either intelligence or knowledge.
Today that is not true, instead we live under Liberalism and it proclaims that desire is wisdom. That the freedom to choose is the greatest aim in life, the entire purpose of life. That a bad choice is just as good as a good choice, because what is important is not the outcome. What is important is your freedom to choose.
That freedom comes at quite a price, today most people believe that freedom means ‘being able to do whatever you want or desire’. Traditionally, freedom meant ‘to not be a slave’. Literally, figuratively and metaphysically. To not be in bondage, to another man, to a women’s love and to be free of addictions of all kinds. Lust, drink, drugs, obsession the list goes on. To be physically and mentally free so that you could concentrate on the real tasks that should occupy your time.
It is not that other men are not important, it is not that you should not love, or have lustful thoughts. It was not so that you can become a rock or a machine, unthinking or unfeeling. Freedom meant that you were free to do and think unhindered by those things that seek to make slaves of us all. Desire, that thing that Liberalism says is wisdom, is our slavemaster. We have all heard the crack of his whip and we have all done his bidding. When it is over we say to ourselves that we are free because we choose to fulfill our desires. But the truth is that we do not wish to be free, instead we wish to be slaves to those desires. Freedom is the rejection not of desire, but of allowing ourselves to become slaves to our desires.
Having a place in life, having responsibilities helps us to protect ourselves and others from this slavery. Solid things protect us from superficial things, it helps us to determine the difference between what we want and what we need. Tradition always sought to highlight this, to show that together we can fight against our base desires. We do not always win but that there is honour in the struggle. That that struggle is one of the few things that can really make us free. It is the thing that can protect us from ourselves, from our own worst enemy.
Desire seeks to make our wants more important than our responsibilities. But we all have responsibilities, to our faith, to our beliefs, to our family, to our friends, to our neighbours, to our country and to many others. We also have a responsibility to protect ourselves.