The constitution of free will, today, when the level of freedom has never been so great, we find it besieged and under minimums. And that seems like a contradiction.
The constitution of free will, today, when the level of freedom has never been so great, we find it besieged and under minimums. And that seems like a contradiction.
The word free will
In English it comes to say “made or done freely or of one’s own accord; voluntary” A necessary condition for exercising free will is to discern.
This word comes from the latin discernere (discrepancy, separation and closing, distinguish) is understood to differentiate one thing from another especially applied to good and evil. Particularly important is the dis particle because it tells us about a separation between two different things.
Mormon begs us to separate the light from the darkness in our life, discerning it with the light of Christ.
On a daily basis, it is what we do when we buy a melon, we try to get it right by discerning its color, hardness and sound by hitting it, because we look for the good and discard the bad.
La palabra libertad
It comes from the latin libertas (quality of free), free from the Latin liber, someone who acts according to his pleasure and will. As you can see, a meaning exempt from a meditated will, without a commitment other than that of the very fact of being free.
Today liberty is invoked as the author of happiness. However, happiness is nothing more than a field of possibilities without cultivation. Freedom itself is wild, uncivilized, inedible and illegible. It says nothing if we have nothing in us. Liberty without a plan of good decisions or a cultivated will is like a a dark and dreary wilderness, where we hit our shins with all the stones.
However, without liberty, there is no public exercise of free will, no stage. Free will is an intelligent and educated choice made in the field of liberty.
The Lord did not make it a necessary condition that we enjoy a high level of freedom to exercise our free will. It has a low consumption of resources, it is sustainable in any environment. Let us say that liberty is provided by history and free will is a gift with which we have already come.
The constitution of free will
Free will was causus belli in the preexistence, “that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him,” (Moses 4:3).
(Moses 4:3) Let’s look at that motive for war, what it is, what its constitution is.
DyC 93:30-31 “All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence.
Behold, here is the agency of man, and here is the condemnation of man; because that which was from the beginning is plainly manifest unto them, and they receive not the light.”
These two verses, true jewels, must be treated with delicacy, they make up a very rich tapestry. Therefore we have to see the configuration of the yarn in its details. If we pass the touch of our attention with carelessness, we will lose the softness and volume of its teachings.
I don’t know if the Spanish-language reader has been through the same thing as me. I always read verse 31 as “[in] this is constituted” instead of reading: “this constitutes”. The preposition “in” which does not exist in the text, I add to the reading involuntarily. Why? Well, because I believe that rights constitute “IN” laws or custom. And therefore I understand free will as a right given to man, such as the right of expression or residence, and which is constituted IN or ABOUT [independence to act].
Over time, I began to wear glasses, to read more slowly, to observe not only the prints but their weaving.
If I were to say “in this is constituted,” it would indicate that on this is created agency and that way agency is something else. But the Lord clearly says that this constitutes man’s agency. In other words, it shows us clearly what the object is and not on what the object rests.
In English we read “here is the agency of man” does not use the word equivalent to constitutes “establishes”. It simply says: this is agency.
The verb constitute comes from the Latin constituere, this word is formed with the prefix con (convergence or meeting) and the verb statuere (to establish), it means that if there is something that constitutes, we can assure that in that place elements are gathered to establish something greater.
Then we can take as certain that there are three elements that establish man’s free will and a place.
- Independence to act
- Doing it for yourself
- The place, a sphere in which to do it.
But there is something strange. Why does the Lord use the term sphere in verse 30? Or simply why does it say something about the place? That verse could be understandable without mentioning the place where the intelligence has been placed.
In order to deal with this matter we are going to make a variation. Altering the words and finding their contrast is a good option for calculating the scope of the rest that accompanies them.
I propose to change verse 30 in this way: “All truth is independent to work for itself on that plane in which God has placed it, as well as all intelligence…”. I just changed the word sphere to the word plane.
- First question
What do we imagine when we read the above altered verse?
I see a scene that I embrace without looking up. Before me large rectangles separated and piled one on top of the other and above them truths and intelligences. Organized into substrates, as well as layers on the ground.
- Second question
What do we imagine when we read verse 30, the original?
In my mind, I don’t embrace the scene at one glance, because it is distributed in everything I can see around me. The spheres are everywhere without apparent order. I notice a sensation of infinity and difficulty in encompassing everything. Let’s say it’s an open scene of great proportions.
- Third question (it’s going to be five)
Where is there more freedom in a plane or in a sphere?
I hope to coincide with the reader in a sphere
- Fourth question.
Why are the intelligences (us) and the truth in spheres?
To work on the latter, I clarify that the sphere does not refer to that of a planet, it is talking about something different. The answer is very close. You just have to keep reading. They must be in spheres because “otherwise there is no existence”.
Searching the scriptures, however, is above all an exercise in finding out what we do not know. That is why the doubt arises that will lead us to the complete nature of agency.
- Fifth and lastWhy is there no existence if agency is not exercised in spheres?That’s what we’re going to do
The end of verse 30 “otherwise there is no existence.” uses the word existence which comes from the Latin. existentia. It is formed by a prefix ex (outwards), sistere (to take position), ente (agent) ia (quality). That is, the quality of the beings (agents) that take position (presence) outward. In other words, intelligences go out into the world to manifest themselves.
In different analyses of this word, the idea of movement and extension of existence stands out in all of them. The etymology of this word suggests to me a three-dimensional space, spherical rather than flat.
We can rightly think that truth and intelligences need to be in spheres to project themselves in all directions, to manifest their qualities. Otherwise, they cannot do it on planes. They could not exist.
Apostasy is linked to the conception of a flat world. Free will was surrounded by superstition and the iron yoke (1 Nephi 13:5), therefore the geometry in which the soul manifested itself was compressed.
The tensor of the sphere
Describing the nature and geometry of that sphere responds to why it is impossible to exist without them. Before, it would be good to fix our pegs on this steep wall where we climb to the top.
There are three ideas that establish man’s free will.
- Independence to act, doing it for oneself, and a sphere in which to do it.
- Without the meeting of these conditions, man’s agency is not constituted.
- Without free will there is no existence.
Let us be clear about these concepts, because it is a mystery unveiled in this dispensation.
I want to transcribe some words of Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) in his Critique of Practical Reason (I tried to read it when I was young and gave it up, I promise to try again).
“Two things fill my soul with growing admiration and respect as I think and deepen them: the starry sky above me and the moral law within me.”
This philosopher, who began a new era of thought, taught that human life unfolds in three questions: What can I know? What should I do? and What can I expect? Between these coordinates occur the avatars of our existence. Although I would say in that sphere, because those three dimensions form a sphere and not a plane.
The coordinates of existence
The prophet Lehi, 570 years before Christ, speaks to Jacob, his first son born in the desert. Lehi shows him that sphere to which Kant alluded centuries later.
“Wherefore, the ends of the law which the Holy One hath given, unto the inflicting of the punishment which is affixed, which punishment that is affixed is in opposition to that of the happiness which is affixed, to answer the ends of the atonement” (2 Nephi 2:10).
Here we find two coordinates of existence. What we can do according to the law and what we can expect by its fulfillment or by disobedience. Lehi goes on to clarify… “it must needs be that there was an opposition; even the forbidden fruit in opposition to the tree of life; the one being sweet and the other bitter..” (15).
This is a two-dimensional plane or what could be the Universe of bacteria, determined by stimulus and gratification or punishment. But there is something else.
Let’s make a parenthesis.
As a student since I was fifteen years old, linear drawing was part of my electronic subjects. One of the practices was the representation of objects on a plane. In order to do this, it was necessary to create a three-dimensional space in one of two dimensions, such as the sheet of paper. The gentleman’s perspective was achieved with three axes.
It was the X and Y axes that represented the lower plane. However, to represent objects for someone who lives in a three-dimensional world, that perspective used another axis, it was the Z axis, and it was raised vertically where the previous ones coincided.
In that kind of virtual corner constituted in the paper, I made an effort together with my classmates to draw geometric bodies and mechanical elements. A demanding teacher like Don José Luis was, made us suffer quite a lot. He was strict and I didn’t stand out in this area. Although I tried hard, I couldn’t get past a six out of 10. Sometimes this exasperated me.
As I said before, there’s something else. Verse 10 of 2 Nephi, could not be understood if the person who knows what he can do and what he can expect, or as Lehi says, the punishment set in opposition to happiness, as I say if that person did not have the ability to decide for himself what he should do, the Z-axis. That’s why, after Lehi poses to Jacob this plane of existence that is related in verse 10, he teaches him what was missing:
“Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself. Wherefore, man could not act for himself save it should be that he was enticed by the one or the other.” (2 Nephi 2:16).
Without that gathering of favorable elements we would not be able to enjoy that gift, because we would not be able to conceive from a flat world something that belongs to the spheres.
The Z axis, the will, created the necessary space for the tasks proposed by Don José Luis.
When we read, “Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him,…” (Moses 4:3) We tend to think of this destruction of agency as declaring the annulment of a right. A simple administrative act that is decided in a council. For a long time I believed that there would be an alternative Universe if Lucifer had won his proposal. I thought that life would be like a society forced to do the right thing. Guarded and led. Observed by the great eye of a state that leads without deviation toward good.
But that council was neither a referendum nor a consultation. There were no optional plans, it was the presentation of the plan of salvation. And there were no options because that plan belonged to the exact sciences and Lucifer argued from the eternal demagogy.
His attempt was to break down the fabric of reality, a carefully constructed equation, with a constant, agency, present in all terms and affecting all participants in creation. He wanted to change the print without touching the canvas!
Without agency, it would be impossible to carry out anything, including Lucifer’s proposal. Because an intelligence without agency is deprived of memory (it happens to me sometimes) its world is determined and then “Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility.” (2 Nephi 2:11)
You wouldn’t need the light that shines to illuminate. Everything should be in the DNA, it would regulate their behavior, and in the celestial economy this is not viable. We would have the human being flat, moving like an automaton from what he can do to what he can expect.
The greatest act of creation was in the constitution of free will. Without the competition of free will, creation and its sustainable economy would not be possible.
A day of camping
When my son David was in young men (it means that you are getting older…you) we often went out on Friday afternoon to spend the night in Sierra Alhamilla or in the Sierra de Los Filabres. The sausages with eggs, which did not arouse interest at home, were enthusiastic there. They seemed to be of superior quality and taste.
One of the moments of greatest emotion was the preparation of place to sleep. It was necessary to choose a suitable place, clean it and make a broom mattress where to put the tent. It was always exciting to pull the mast and watch the tent rise from the ground and become a place to protect ourselves from the wind and cold. It made us feel a special sensation. To create a place to be in the middle of the field. Sometimes it rained and then it was even better.
On one occasion we spent most of the night building a stone wall to protect us from a strong wind that threatened to knock down the tent. As we finished a wall, the wind changed direction and we had to continue looking for and fitting stones. The wind seemed to play with us. There are few better sensations than telling a group of boys a mystery story in such an environment.
The problem is that telling a good story, forces you to excel in the next one, if you don’t get it, they detect it and tell you clearly. It’s not easy.
Deployment of the axis
But there’s a special moment in all this. When the tent is on the ground without form. By pulling the rope attached to its mast, we tighten the fabric and it reveals its shape. We see how a two-dimensional square becomes a three-dimensional square before our eyes and when this happens, everything inside of us changes.
It changes our interior awakening a sensation of power, of changing our possibilities, of dominion, of overcoming the hostility of an environment alien to our needs.
From inside the tent my son called home and told his mother how skilful we were and how good the dinner was; of course he only told what went well.
The tension of agency
Free will is the tensor of existence. It is the force that gives volume to the sphere in which we live. Not the earthly sphere, but what fills Kant with encouragement, admiration and respect when he realizes the great and amazing space in his own soul. Courage, admiration and respect for ourselves when we finished the stone wall or when we listened to the cold and thunderous wind inside our sleeping bag after creating a space to dwell in.
Without free will there is no tension in that great tent that is the Universe to shelter any sphere, not just ours. But that of any creature.
Without free will we could not exist, because no sphere could be raised where they could be placed. It is free will that expands the world where we can dwell. That powerful gift that we receive by inheritance from the Heavenly Father, of which we cannot be stripped neither by war nor by violence, is the great expansion in which Kant admired himself.
There is a particularly interesting section on this subject. We can read in D&C 77 a section received when Joseph Smith translated St. John’s Revelation:
Q. – Q. Are the four beasts limited to individual beasts, or do they represent classes or orders?
R. – They are limited to four individual beasts, which were shown to John, to represent the glory of the classes of beings in their destined order or sphere of creation, in the enjoyment of their eternal felicity. (D&C 77:3)
Now we understand better when we read that the sphere corresponds to everything possible, what is desirable and what is expected in each order of intelligence. Classes of beings in their sphere of creation. Nothing can attain a degree of glory, which includes their eternal joy and happiness without a degree of agency.
The rights and freedoms that we now have, are conjunctural, are achievements through learning in history. The right to vote of women did not exist until it was achieved and thus we can mention many achievements fruit of the possibilities offered by an era.
These freedoms are not gifts, they are not born with our nature they are inspired by it but it is not a natural domain and we acquire them by struggle or compulsion.
Therefore we can lose them in the same way.
I have seen people imprisoned in freedom. Overflowing with the vision of “a large and spacious field.” (1 Nephi 8:9). Not being able to distinguish “a tree, whose fruit was desirable to make one happy.”(10) For they were taught not to discern then “…it was no crime for a man to do any thing¨. We have arrived at this field of freedom after walking for many hours in dark deserts. But it is necessary to exercise free will to discern the tree and understand that there are things that man should not do.
Living in a fallen telestial world, there is a permanent eagerness to convince its inhabitants that life is what can I do, and what should I expect for what I do? But the question of “what should I do” is taught us to regard it as arbitrary. Normally in this Z-axis the “What should I do” is transformed into a provisional “What is good for me”. The meaning of man’s agency is perverted by confusing it with freedom.
We live in a time where all the paths of that field of freedoms, seem desirable and of equal value, deceive us by saying that all ideas are respectable, that all gestures and words from the building are noble. Therefore, ignoring reality, we renounce to discern, our agency is weakened and lacking elements for the choice between good and evil, the circle of their action narrows.
We renounce Moroni’s plea “I beseech of you, brethren, that ye should search diligently in the light of Christ that ye may know good from evil; and if ye will lay hold upon every good thing, and condemn” (Moroni 7:19) and we get lost in an axis of freedom without the discernment of which Moroni asks us to exercise.
The first day of creation
On the first day, the Earth has to decide between accepting the light of Christ shining out there or continuing with the light it has, which only allows it to have a spherical shape… and little else.
Then he responds with a what difference does it make?
The Earth still has freedom, it has a space without limits. But it does not exercise free will to seek a new world from that dark place. You don’t think it’s possible, just because there’s a light shining outside. It’s hard to say “I believe” in that hostile, rugged environment.
For us too, it is difficult to use our agency, to nail the mast of our faith and to raise a tent, in a world that hits like a gale the positions of those who seek the rock to build.
What do you care?
One day the adversary told us