Free and Moral Agent

I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever, in religion, in philosophy, in politics, or in anything else, where I was capable of thinking for myself. Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent. If I could not go to heaven but with a party, I would not go there at all.” – Thomas Jefferson

Of all the foolish things men do, I can think of none more harmful or limiting than when a man abandons his free thinking in favor of adopting the creed of a party of men.

Every man is born into a complex web of secular and religious praxis which offer ready solutions to the questions of purpose, meaning and value. This web is designed to promote a sense of continuity, belonging and security, but it tends to value loyalty to its tenets over true (ergo potentially heretical) thinking.

What a man does to discover and safeguard his free and moral agency – in accordance with truth – largely defines his value in living.


10 thoughts on “Free and Moral Agent

  1. Steve V

    Your words lend themselves to the reasons behind the collapse of formal organizations and open the door to the forward movement of people for the fulfillment of humanity.


  2. Beth C

    I have noticed that most systems of thought will contain some shining truth in the midst of an array of inconsistencies, coalitions, and expediencies. It takes a measure of honesty to see the value that might reside there without buying the package plan.


  3. Ernest

    This is one of those areas of free choice that we so passionately fight and live for, yet so many do give up without even thinking about it. An example of that is the corporate workplace where it is safer to belong and not stick out. Yet no company, let alone any other group, will become what and who it can become without the individuals caring enough to trust their own thoughts. Your encouragement today Gregg should encompass all aspects of our living, and I appreciate you sharing it with us.


  4. Joy

    I am always aware that we each come before the throne of God alone, not as a party, and we must answer to our King for the content of our hearts and actions. I am sure that Thomas Jefferson was met with a “well done my good and faithful servant”. I pray that I and many, many others in this day, overcome the world and meet their King in a like manner. Thank you Gregg for your words.


  5. DAvid R

    There is always some level of discomfort or pain when one’s thinking presses beyond the boundaries of any collective of which one may be a part – for oneself and for others of course as well. Generally there is a lag in the acceptance of extraordinary vision, even when it is fairly obvious. Wisdom and patience, then, become a vital part of the picture as to what one does with one’s vision. Lots to consider here!


  6. Coco

    It seems that freedom to think for yourself is abandoned or traded for the acceptance that most people ardently seek. Every generation has had the same emptiness and the way to assuage it was to belong to something. At this point, it seems to me, that institutionalized blackmail often becomes the method of insuring the entirety of their loyalty. Families, religions, academia, social and political clubs, national, cultural, gender, all manner, an endless variety of segments to belong to; but usually requiring you refrain from rising above, and yes below, their status quo of belief. The courage to stand alone if necessary, can not be under estimated. The courage to live with righteousness as the one tenet never to be forsaken, will at times, put you at odds with any wholesale doctrine I’ve encountered.


  7. Isabelle

    Unfortunately, most who think, think they are thinking freely. If you get to the point where you are open to the thought that perhaps you are not thinking, a few qualities of character would be quite helpful, such as: honestly, constant introspection, a passion for understanding the truth, empathy and the perspective that comes from selflessness. Only by specifically developing the ability to think on a consistent basis can we overcome the malaise of group thought.


  8. Colin

    When you are a child, you start with the education you are given. Yet there is a time in your life when you must decide if that path you were started down is the one on which you want to continue. Every person must decide for themselves. The choice is made by the amalgamation of the small choices that are made every day, and are continually made until the day you are no longer on this Earth.


  9. Mark Miller

    I never could understand people blindly giving up their capacity for critical thinking. Even under extreme duress it is our gift from our Creator to safeguard. I appreciate the post today!. It’s good to take inventory of any blind spots – am I letting a real creative flow work through every vein of thought? It is surprising how many arteries harden without proper use of that capacity.


  10. Troy

    There is so much wisdom in the words you have paralleled with Thomas Jefferson. I have spent most of my life asking questions that often got me in “trouble” with the powers that be. I was always being chided, especially regarding religion for “thinking too much”, but it was natural for me to question things around me that didn’t make sense. In the world as it is, those who ” walk to the beat of a different drummer” are often outed in a social context. I have found however, that the search for truth has allowed me access to a grander sense of belonging and a much deeper sense of value and purpose. It is the road less traveled, and certainly more scenic. It is well worth the price that is paid when we choose to participate in the grander processes rather than joining the “party” . The future of our world relies on more human beings being willing to “think” freely and align themselves with a larger context. Thanks Gregg for your words !


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