800.20 KNOWLEDGE AND FREEDOM (pps.112-114)

hard cover page 112

As mankind and Judaism ascend in knowledge (and possibly in consciousness) on the road to fulfilling a primal drive of there is an implicit demand for fuller freedom. (This is implicit in our paradigm of the Tree of Knowledge.)460

There is no free man except he who is immersed in Torah.
-rabbinic dictum

When man acquires knowledge, he acquires a greater desire for freedom.461 This is true of individual man and of groups of man.462 We contend that this can be applied to civilization as well, and that as a civilization ascends in knowledge, it demands ever increasing levels of freedom on all fronts.463

We will later on formulate that, in turn, this freedom further opens the gates for man to achieve his ultimate goals.464 For ultimate spiritual goals465 can be best quested for from a base of the fullest possible freedom.466

arrow_up.gif knowledge arrow_right.gif arrow_up.gif freedom (privacy, responsibility, selfhood)

arrow_right.gif arrow_up.gif potential:

The only thing of value is the fear of God. But no one can reach this stage of the fear of the Lord until he ascends the ladder of wisdom and has acquired understanding.
-Abraham Ibn Ezra467

——————- NOTES ——————-

459 See Whitehead, Religion in the Making, p. 160. “The universe shows us two aspects: on one side it is physically wasting, on the other side it is spiritually ascending.”

460 See Berkovits, Faith after the Holocaust, p. 63. “Freedom and Law are the two foci of human existence in time and history.”

461 See Greenberg, Perspectives: Voluntary Coverzant, p. 2.

462 In discussing the concepts of contingency and freedom, Spero notes, in his Morality, Halakha and the Jewish Tradition: “The limits on man’s freedom to carry out his desires that are imposed by the physical environment, are constantly being eroded by the expansion of scientific knowledge and tech- nology.” (In our Unified Formulation it is not just physical knowledge and freedom which are expanding, but a knowledge and freedom as broadly defined as possible.)

463 See also Teilhard de Chardin, The Future Man, p. 75. “Evolution, by the very mechanism of its synthesis, charges itself with an ever-growing measure of freedom.”

464 See Agus on Abrabanel in The Evolution of Jewish Thought, pp. 296- 297. “. . . man’s ascent toward the Deity consists in the acquisition of knowledge of physical reality and in the cultivation of a sympathetic under- standing of the entire range of creation. Every increment of knowledge is a step on the infinite road of love.”

465 See Stitskin, Eight Jewish Philosophers, p. 136. “Knowledge and intellectual excellence, according to personalistic doctrine, is more than a mere search for truth. It is a means of ecstatic union of the human spirit with the divine spirit.”

466 See Midrash Rabbah 1:4-8 (on Proverbs 3:19). “The Lord, for the sake of wisdom [i.e., the Torah], founded the earth.”

467 See Abraham Ibn Ezra, “Introduction to Ecclesiasies,” in Stitskin, Eight Jewish Philosophers, p. 128.


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