Junior Ganymede
We endeavor to give satisfaction

Notes towards a definition of freedom, part 4

May 24th, 2017 by Vader

In the previous posts of this series, I developed a definition of freedom as the ability to make meaningful and consequential decisions; briefly discussed the three key concepts in this definition (ability, meaningfulness, and consequence); and described liberty as the set of social constructs we erect to sustain freedom.


Comments (2)
Filed under: Birkenhead Drill,Deseret Review | Tags: , , , ,
May 24th, 2017 14:44:16

The Price of Greatness

May 16th, 2017 by G.


The price of greatness is responsibility.

-thus Winston Churchill.

Image result for churchill smiling

I would say that the reward of greatness is responsibility. Responsibility means you have more room for meaningful choices. There are more lives you can touch. There are more ripples in eternity. Your imagination runs deeper and wider. There is more joy.

Comments (1)
Filed under: Deseret Review | Tags:
May 16th, 2017 07:46:09

Notes towards a definition of freedom, part 3

May 15th, 2017 by Vader

In the first part of this series of posts, I proposed a definition of freedom as the ability to make meaningful and consequential choices. I offered some explanation of the three elements of this definition, namely: ability, meaningfulness, and consequence. In the second part of this series of posts, I reflected on the significance of freedom as a gift from God, pointed out that there is strong opposition to freedom, and described liberty as the set of social and legal constructs we are duty-bound to erect and sustain to protect and enhance freedom.

In this post, I will discuss some of the aspects of liberty that support the second element of freedom, namely, meaningfulness.


Comments (11)
Filed under: Birkenhead Drill,Deseret Review | Tags: , , , ,
May 15th, 2017 05:19:17

Notes towards a definition of freedom, part 2

May 08th, 2017 by Vader

The first part of this series of posts proposed a definition of freedom: Freedom is the ability to make meaningful and consequential choices. There I suggested that ability implied a free will, understood as a first cause capable of initiating new causal chains. Meaningful choices are ones which can be made rationally between distinguishable alternatives. Consequential choices are ones that have lasting significance. I further proposed that, in the divine scheme of things, lasting significance implies an eternal Judgment of those choices. Reconciling these attributes of freedom with the omniscience, omnipotence, and benevolence of God requires that the causal chains generated by choices exist in a sphere significant to God, but in which He chooses not to exercise His full omnipotence, and which is bounded by His taking the causal chains arising from evil choices into Himself, in the person of the Son, via the Atonement.

In this post, I summarize my understanding of why freedom is a gift from an benevolent God, why it is precious, and  how this understanding informs our approach to liberty, here defined as the social and legal constructs that arise from our understanding of freedom and its worth.


Comments (1)
Filed under: Birkenhead Drill,Deseret Review | Tags: , , , , , ,
May 08th, 2017 05:15:20

Notes towards a definition of freedom

May 02nd, 2017 by Vader

A summary of my understanding of freedom and its problems, based in part on things I have long understood and in part on recent insights gained at this blog.


Comments (4)
Filed under: Birkenhead Drill,Deseret Review | Tags: , , , , , ,
May 02nd, 2017 13:19:13

Repentance is the Hero’s Sword, Repentance is the Throne

October 07th, 2016 by G.

Image result for lady of the lake sword

Sister Reeves was so excited about repentance at General Conference.  It was easy to catch her enthusiasm.

She’s right.  Repentance is heady, kick-up-your-heels stuff.  Repentance is awesome.  Repentance is glorious. (more…)

Comments (1)
Filed under: Deseret Review | Tags: , ,
October 07th, 2016 09:04:44

Pointing the Finger of Blame

March 10th, 2016 by G.


I was out with the missionaries last night.  The woman they were teaching had read 1 Nephi 8.  The missionaries asked her what she thought about it.  She said she had really noticed all the fingerpointing. (more…)

Comments (4)
Filed under: Deseret Review | Tags: , ,
March 10th, 2016 10:44:30

No Repentance without Punishment

March 04th, 2016 by G.


Now, repentance could not come unto men except there were a punishment, which also was eternal.


Comments (5)
Filed under: Deseret Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
March 04th, 2016 07:44:36

Life has Meaning. Therefore . . .

February 11th, 2016 by G.

For mortal human life to have meaning it seems that there must be both permanence and personal relevance for some things in that life.

If everything is washed away at death, then there can be no meaning – everything is just a momentary spark of sensation – a brief sensation, which might well be a delusion.

If all that is left is located in biological memory, then this depends on brains which are fragile and temporary, and memories are fallible and may be false.

So (for mortal life to have meaning) there must be some realm or place or time in which at least some thing are ‘stored’ permanently (some kind of ‘Platonic’ realm of true reality, beyond the changes and decays of mortal life).

And this must have memories which are true, real, accurate and valid – which means that there must be a possibility of direct, unmediated transmission of information or knowledge.

(Because any ‘normal’ material processes – working by means of the usual perceptions and senses and the usual modalities such as light, sound and touch – must be incomplete and distorted, and indeed may be wholly illusory.)

But an accurate and true reality ‘somewhere’ is not enough – that reality must also be linked to us as individuals, and to our specific mortal lives – or else mortal life is meaningless.

-thus Bruce Charlton


Absolutely right. We know from experience that our actions are meaningful. We experience the meaningfulness directly. But from that fact, eternal life or the existence of a God who cares, or both, inevitably follow.

If death is the end, over the long run, people’s acts can cease to be meaningful. Hundreds of years ago, many, many, many faceless masses of people lived who no one now remembers, not even vaguely. They do not live on in anyone’s hearts. Any effects their actions may have had have been swamped by time and change. If one more or less of them had never been born, it would make no difference. It is as if they never were. That they once may have existed has become meaningless. And what is meaningless in the end is meaningless all along. The apparent meaningfulness in the short term is only apparent. What is true of Groundhog Day is also true of Groundhog Week and Groundhog Month and Groundhog Life. Decisions that converge on nothing mean nothing: the rate of convergence is irrelevant.

But if the soul lives on . . .

-from How Can Anything Be Meaningful?

Comments (4)
Filed under: Deseret Review | Tags: , ,
February 11th, 2016 07:18:03

The Lion and the Robin

September 08th, 2015 by G.

In the grove in the evening, the lion heard a great racket from a father Robin and his brood and went to investigate.

“Friend Robin,” the lion said, “why do you make a fuss?”

“Look at this nest, O Lion. All my work on it is ruined.” The nest was a ring of thorns the robin had woven to keep the young away from the edge. But in the middle of the ring at the bottom of the nest there was little. The pine needles and other such stuff the robin put here had mostly fallen away.

“Do not fret, friend Robin,” the lion said. “As I walked here, I saw several empty nests. I will lead you to one. Then it will be as if your mistake never happened.”

“O Lion,” the robin replied, “what a piteous state would be mine if all my work for my brood were meaningless. I cannot bear that they go to another nest as if all my day’s work had never happened.”

“Then you will have your brood sleep in this nest?” the lion asked.

“No,” said the robin, “they would fall. It is not fair to them to suffer for my mistakes.”

“And you see no way for the nest to be repaired?” the lion asked.

“Oh no,” said the robin, “it was a bad idea from the start.”

Then the king of beasts took the ring of thorns and placed it on his own head. “Let your brood nest in my mane, walled in by you’ve the ring you made.”

Someone must bear the consequences.

Comments (7)
Filed under: Deseret Review | Tags: , , , , , ,
September 08th, 2015 11:30:01

Let Him Who is Filthy, Be Filthy Still

June 22nd, 2015 by G.

The tragic vision of Mormon Christianity has four dimensions.

The first tragedy is that growth can only come through suffering and death.

The second tragedy is that free will means people can choose with finality to reject God and damn themselves.

The third tragedy is the tragedy that those we love can only grow through suffering and death and sometimes choose not to grow. Love holds us hostage to them, and it has to, or else it wouldn’t be love.

The fourth tragedy is that people miss out on growth that they are capable of, because they refuse to take the steps that would get them there. And perhaps nothing can be done about this.


That fourth tragedy deserves a little explanation. (more…)

Comments (3)
Filed under: Deseret Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
June 22nd, 2015 12:00:50

Freedom is Responsibility

February 23rd, 2015 by G.

Freedom is responsibility. (more…)

Comments (1)
Filed under: Deseret Review | Tags: , , , , , ,
February 23rd, 2015 08:29:15

Three-Word Theodicy

January 19th, 2015 by G.

(Meaningful) Choice + Love = Suffering

(The words in parentheses don’t count)

Comments Off on Three-Word Theodicy
Filed under: Deseret Review | Tags: , ,
January 19th, 2015 08:06:22

Death? Hey, Look, Squirrel!

January 13th, 2015 by G.

Death doesn’t go away when you pretend not to care about it. (more…)

Comments (2)
Filed under: Deseret Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
January 13th, 2015 11:18:44

The Final Purpose of the Nativity

January 06th, 2015 by G.

“I don’t know. No reason.”   You have just been asked why you wore that shirt today. You don’t recall.   Impulse maybe. It doesn’t matter and it’s not worth talking about.

But if your choice did matter, there should be a reason. When you knock at the gates of heaven (who has ears to hear, let him hear), when you are asked “why have you come?” you should have something better to say than “I don’t know. No reason.” (more…)

Comments (2)
Filed under: Birkenhead Drill,Deseret Review | Tags: , , ,
January 06th, 2015 11:31:05