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Section 2

2. A cardinal question is where we are to place the freedom of action ascribed to us.

It must be founded in impulse or in some appetite, as when we act or omit in lust or rage or upon some calculation of advantage accompanied by desire.

But if rage or desire implied freedom we must allow freedom to animals, infants, maniacs, the distraught, the victims of malpractice producing incontrollable delusions. And if freedom turns on calculation with desire, does this include faulty calculation? Sound calculation, no doubt, and sound desire; but then comes the question whether the appetite stirs the calculation or the calculation the appetite.

Where the appetites are dictated by the very nature they are the desires of the conjoint of soul and body and then soul lies under physical compulsions: if they spring in the soul as an independent, then much that we take to be voluntary is in reality outside of our free act. Further, every emotion is preceded by some meagre reasoning; how then can a compelling imagination, an appetite drawing us where it will, be supposed to leave us masters in the ensuing act? Need, inexorably craving satisfaction, is not free in face of that to which it is forced: and how at all can a thing have efficiency of its own when it rises from an extern, has an extern for very principle, thence taking its Being as it stands? It lives by that extern, lives as it has been moulded: if this be freedom, there is freedom in even the soulless; fire acts in accordance with its characteristic being.

We may be reminded that the Living Form and the soul know what they do. But, if this is knowledge by perception, it does not help towards the freedom of the act; perception gives awareness, not mastery: if true knowing is meant, either this is the knowing of something happening- once more awareness- with the motive- force still to seek, or the reasoning and knowledge have acted to quell the appetite; then we have to ask to what this repression is to be referred and where it has taken place. If it is that the mental process sets up an opposing desire we must assure ourselves how; if it merely stills the appetite with no further efficiency and this is our freedom, then freedom does not depend upon act but is a thing of the mind- and in truth all that has to do with act, the very most reasonable, is still of mixed value and cannot carry freedom.

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