Freedom and Destiny

Freedom and Destiny (pdf) by Rollo May

This morning a friend and I canoed out on a perfectly still and silent New Hampshire lake. The only ripple on the water’s surface came from a great blue heron as it languidly took off from a patch of water lilies and headed for some secret spot farther into the swamp, undisturbed even by canoes. Amid this serenity, which seemed to cloak the lake and forests and mountains with a preternatural harmony and peace, my friend surprised me with the remark that today was Independence Day.

Whatever noisy celebrations were going on seemed far, far away from this quiet world. But being in New England, one could not keep from one’s mind the images of lanterns being hung in the belfry of Old North Church, Bunker Hill, and the shots, fired by New England farmers, destined to be heard round the world.

Political freedom is to be cherished indeed. But there is no political freedom that is not indissolubly bound to the inner personal freedom of the individuals who make up that nation, no liberty of a nation of conformists, no free nation made up of robots. This book seeks to illuminate this inner personal freedom underlying political liberty. When I mention political liberty in the following pages, it will be generally as illustration.

This personal freedom to think and feel and speak authentically and to be conscious of so doing is the quality that distinguishes us as human. Always in paradox with one’s destiny, this freedom is the foundation of human values such as love, courage, honesty. Freedom is how we relate to our destiny, and destiny is significant only because we have freedom. In the struggle of our freedom against and with destiny, our creativity and our civilizations themselves are born.

July 1981                                                                                                            Rollo May



One: The Crisis of Freedom

I. The Present Crisis of Freedom 
1. The Uniqueness of Freedom
2. The Hypocrisies of Freedom
3. Therapy: To Set People Free

II. One Man’s Passage
1. The Fear of Abandonment
2. The Acknowledging of Destiny
3. The Confronting of Mother
4. Little Philip
5. Anger as a Path to Freedom
6. The Green-Blue Lad
7- Loneliness and Rebirth

III. The Dynamics of Freedom
1. Freedom of Doing, or Existential Freedom
2. Freedom of Being, or Essential Freedom
3. Is There a Conflict between Freedom of Doing and Freedom of Being?
4. Growing in Freedom

IV. The Paradoxes of Freedom
1. The Grand Inquisitor
2. Freedom and Rebellion
3. Freedom as Participation

V. On Fluman Destiny
1. From Determinism to Destiny
2. MTiat Is Destiny?
3. Destiny and Responsibility

VI. Destiny and Death
1. The Poignance of the Transient
2. Witchcraft and the Projection of Destiny
3. Destiny and the Poets
4. The Uses of Destiny

Two: Mistaken Paths to Freedom

VII. The New Narcissism
1. The Threat of Loss of Self
2. “If I Am Me, Will I Be Free?”
3. The Myth of Narcissus and Revenge

VIII. Is Sex without Intimacy Freedom?
1. Freedom from Barriers
2. Sensation without Emotion
3. The Lost Power of Eros

Three: Characteristics of Freedom

IX. The Significance of the Pause
1. The Language of Silence
2. Time and the Pause
3. Creativity and the Symbol
4. Leisure and the Pause
5. The Psyche and the Ego
6. Meditation and the Holy Void

X. The Dizziness of Freedom
1. Anxiety and the Pause
2. Anxiety and Discovery
3. The Anxious Prophet
4. Dogmatism Is Fear of Freedom

XI. Freedom and Destiny in Illness and Health
1. Western Medicine and the Great Revolution
2. Acupuncture and the Oriental Influence in Western Medicine
3. The Balance between Illness and Health

Four: The Fruits of Freedom

XII. The Renewal of Life
1. Freedom and the Human Spirit
2. The Authentic Mystics
3. Compassion and the Meaning of Evil
4. Forgiveness and Mercy

XIII. Despair and Joy
1. The Values of Despair
2. Despair in Therapy
3. The Link between Despair and Joy
4. The Nature of Joy

Language: English
Format: epub
Size: 368 Kb
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