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  • Sharon Tenuta

Freedom to Think

Updated: Aug 30, 2023

by S. Tenuta 3-17-23

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Once upon a time, there were people who lived in a commune. Each person had a job and did it without being told. The commune ran like a well-oiled wheel. One day, a teen decided he had a different idea about what should be done first. The whole community freaked out and wondered how to deal with the disruption. They were flustered. Then someone said, we need to make rules. Rules will make the person not question what to do.

Was this freedom? Really, the monotony of perfection was not freedom. It was cooperation, but in this case without people thinking and without heart.

And what is thinking? Isn’t it developing questions, researching, finding original sources, evaluating, with a caring attitude and then making educated decisions for the betterment of self and others?

Another community was functioning with order. The people cared for each other. Their heart was directing the process of them wanting to do their best in whatever job was performed. They knew how to do more than one job. One day, someone got hurt. That meant another person needed to fill in for the injured person’s job. Because people knew each other, and knew more than one job, they easily found a volunteer.

Which group was thinking? Which had freedom? Is freedom about doing whatever we want? Is it about doing what someone else directs? Or is it about choosing a job that needs to be done, learning how to do it and then doing it well? How do we know if something is done well? Is it by rules and laws? Is it by learning, studying, doing and then doing our best? How do we know we are doing our best? Can we really know? By thinking, grounding, centering, being in touch with the universe and creator and then listening to our hearts with a caring attitude, it seems we would be thinking.

Socrates quote, “The wise person is one who knows what he doesn’t know.” Can one know what he doesn’t know if he doesn’t try to do anything?

Lack of knowledge is ignorance – but with internet, books, people and experience, how can we be ignorant? Wouldn’t that be by choice?

Is the mind solely the brain? Or is it also a subconscious part that we can-not see? How does the brain help us to think? Or are we merely inspired to think things?

Aquinas has the theory that self-knowledge is dependent on our experience of the world around us. (Therese Scarpelli Cory, author of Aquinas on Human self-knowledge) That seems to me to mean that we must do something to gain knowledge. To gain knowledge we must think about what we do and do it well.

How do we know our thoughts are good thoughts? We turn to virtues. They are not just rules, but getting in touch with our personal dignity that already knows natural law. The main 4 virtues are: Prudence, Justice, Fortitude and Temperance. We can train ourselves by practicing good actions with the intention of acting in virtuous ways. When we walk in right actions, (those thought out according to natural law or the Ten Commandments in relation to others and our ethos) we experience freedom to live without domination of hurting ourselves or others. These actions of freedom are expressed within our relationships with others. Actions of freedom embrace the virtues in love. (USCCB, 2023). Thus freedom comes with right thinking. And right thinking comes with freedom to contemplate natural law in relationships.

These thoughts guide me and my practice. If you are curious about the author, check out

In the work I do, I depend upon clients to be embracing their freedom to think, problem solve, know options and make informed decisions.

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