Freedom: Fragile Fiction I am shackled hand and foot spread eagle on the floor of my cell. I ask my jailer everyday to set me free. Finally he compassionately sets me free. For days I am exhilarated with the ability to freely pace about my cell. After a few weeks I begin to beg my jailer to set me free. After weeks he, being a compassionate man, sets me free from my cell. For days I am exhilarated at the freedom to wonder about and speak with other inmates. After several weeks I begin to beg my jailer to free me and finally he relents and releases me from jail. I am overwhelmed with the sense of freedom until I, overcome with hunger and basic needs, seek some work so as to feed myself. I find a job working on an assembly line and am exhilarated at the new found freedom. After a year I begin to seek other less strenuous and repetitive assembly line work. I wish to free myself from this robotic work I do everyday. What is the ‘telos’ (ultimate end) of this series of ever persistent desire for freedom? Is hunger for freedom similar to hunger for food, never satiated? I don’t think so. I think the search for freedom can culminate in an ultimate and satisfying end. Freedom, I suspect, is a search for self-determination. When we feel that we are master of our domain, when we are free to determine who we are and what we need to be our self we will have reached that ‘telos’ of freedom. I suspect this end is as unique as a finger print, it is an act of creation and can be made conscious to me only by me. I think each of us must learn for our self what we need to secure freedom’s ‘telos’. Probably most of us find only a degree of freedom, but if we never stop looking we may continue finding more of it. “Man’s freedom is a fabricated freedom, and he pays a price for it. He must at all times defend the utter fragility of his constituted fiction, deny its artificiality.” There are four levels of reactivity of an organism to its environment: 1) Simplest response wherein the organism responds directly to stimuli, 2) Conditioned response is best represented by the “Pavalovian Response” wherein there is a response by association, 3) Indirect association takes place when a tool is used to acquire desired object (an ape knocking a banana from a tree with a stick), and 4) Symbolic response wherein a symbol becomes the object causing response, which entails the creation of a symbol representative of an object. These four different responses are evolutionary but are different in kind. Only humans are capable of all four levels of reactivity. Only humans have the capacity for creating a relationship such as “home” with an object made of sticks of lumber. We might appropriately state that the evolutionary development of mind is a “progressive freedom of reactivity”. “Mind culminates in the organism’s ability to choose what it will react to.” Delayed reactivity is the birth of freedom; this ability, plus the mammalian evolution of long prolonged development of new born growing up into a society that demanded ever increasing norms of behavior, led to the further development of mind.