The Foundation Stone Haggadah: Maggid: Guidance, Not License
If we want to be free we first have to create the environment that will guide us to be so. ‘Freedom of speech’ and ‘freedom of action’ don’t always create guidance,
they may and probably do lead to license. Letting people say or do whatever they want is not freedom — it’s personal and possibly social anarchy.
Society has to guide, through it’s respective institutions such as schools. But if society has chosen not to guide consciously, then it will guide subtly. The media will guide, rock groups will guide, the one with the loudest voice will guide. Society cannot prevent guidance, it’s only choice is who shall be the mouthpiece.
Guidance however, is different than instruction, which is the tool of the totalitarian. Guidance is showing and suggesting, not brainwashing. Guidance is about helping society find fulfillment.
If free speech and free action had led society to a meaningful path of purposeful living, it would have created the ‘free’ society, in the true sense of the idea. In other words, we like to think of our society as free because people have the ‘freedom’ to find their own fulfillment. In practice however, the fact that few ever find that fulfillment means that slavery, in one form or another, is prevalent. American society has tried, as best it could, to eliminate any type of guidance. It’s for that reason there is such a lack of real fulfillment, and therefore real freedom.
Whether justifiable or not, America has a real fear of teaching and possibly forcing wrong values. Instead, America chose a path of keeping everyone ignorant about life’s choices. Values are excluded from the schools. Instead of learning from the values of the past, children, and later adults, have had to find them for themselves — a sort of re-inventing the wheel of purposeful living!
You just can’t create a ‘free’ environment by eliminating values. Values are not restrictions on a persons nature, they are it’s building blocks. By consciously not telling a growing child what are good values, you are not letting him grow in a free environment so that he can choose. Instead, you are raising him in bland environment that will leave him morally inept to eventually choose.
Good values are a lot like good paintings. You don’t teach people art by hiding them from the great works, but rather by exposing them to the best, so that maybe they will learn to do better. Show children the best values human beings have developed over thousands of years and the child might improve on them, just as Einstein was taught the best science of his day and added to it. Could we at all imagine where science would be today if each new student had to re-discover everything?!
Therefore, the first step in freedom is creating a free environment. We have to create an Israel, with all that Israel is supposed to stand for. We do that, not by removing all values, but only by removing the bad values. With that kind of environment we can perfect ourselves to be truly free.