Tag Archives: Knowledge

On Prophets, Priests, and Prodigies

Dearest Father,

I was occupied with a particularly difficult problem a few weeks back. This was not one of the many philosophical and abstract issues that have plagued me for years now, but a mundane, earthly problem, one that concerned my chosen profession. I sat for hours puzzling over the issue, and after consulting with fellows in my trade I came to a hackish but working solution. Of course this was not the first difficult problem I have faced, and the only way it would be the last would be if my death were but a few days away. However, my struggle over this one issue drew my attention to something I appear to have overlooked in letters past.

I mentioned while writing you about free will that one of the many handicaps your children enjoy is our lack of perfect knowledge. At the time I used the point to illustrate how we are slaves to our ignorant, porous minds, minds that render whatever little freedom we possess rather pointless. After all why bother granting us free will when the very tool you’ve given us for making decisions is so easily distracted and cannot retain the things of utmost importance to our survival and salvation?

My recent brush with intellectual difficulty highlighted this in a manner most stark, as the “hackish” solution I came up with was simply a variation of one that a friend had described, hurriedly put together in order to preserve academic integrity. My problem wasn’t the first of its kind I’d seen, but that did not stop it from holding me hostage for hours. And yet this friend of mine, with little thought and even fewer words, managed to describe a solution that seemed so obvious in hindsight I felt a little foolish.

There are many of your children like this, people who can easily see things that millions of us go years if not lifetimes without even suspecting. In the more earthly circles these people are called prodigies, gifted fellows with minds that can see through the logical and mathematical and physical quandaries of our time and give us insights into the tangible nature of our universe. In Fatherly circles, however, we have priests and prophets, people you have chosen to reveal your truth to the huddled, ignorant masses. Of course while prodigies are universally acclaimed in their fields and arts, your prophets and priests are often only loved in select circles, circles that usually grow into compounds and compounds that often transform into Houses.

If one were to assume our earth was a cold uncaring rock that breathed life into our ancestors eons ago, it would not be too difficult to come to terms with the concept of prodigies. A universe that doesn’t care about us would hardly care that only a few of us could parse her secrets. One could even assume that the prophets and priests that act as voices for non-existent Fathers and Mothers were simply prodigies driven mad by whatever realisation had dawned on them, or devious manipulative people preying on the weakness and gullibility of their brethren.

But as all things are when faced with the fact that we have a loving omnipotent Father, the system of prodigies, priests, and prophets seems completely counterproductive. These brilliant people are essentially gatekeepers of knowledge and wisdom, guardians and visionaries without whom our people would still be hiding in caves, scared of their own shadows and worshipping the sun that cast them.  If our Father loved all of us and wanted us to come to him, why would he place this completely unnecessary bottleneck between himself and his children? Why would he limit revelations of his true nature to a very, very tiny segment of our population, tasking all to go through them if they are to truly know his will?

Ironically there are many in the House of the Cross that actually agree with this; they just happen to believe you have already solved the problem. They cite the verses in your Book that mention that your laws are written in our hearts as proof that we all know your will. They point to the very existence of the Book itself as proof that no man need act as gatekeeper to your kingdom; all can read it and see for themselves what you truly want from your people.

The problem with both these statements is readily apparent. If your will was truly written in all our hearts why do we need the Book at all? Why have a Book state what we all know when we could all just feel in our hearts that these things are true? And even more damning, the existence of the Book and the grand theory of liberation championed by its adherents have not led to fewer gatekeepers; they have led to more. These days any one of your children can pick up your Book, read a line of text that has been read by millions before him and claim to have seen something new within it. Such a person would shout from the rooftops that you have spoken to him and made him your prophet, and thousands would flock to him seeking to hear the new truths that they should already know. Of course with such a scenario it is little wonder your House has grown increasingly divided as the centuries have gone by; without authority vested in a chosen few your children have seen fit to disagree on the finer points of every single line in your Book, erecting fresh wings in the House the moment one man’s “truth” counters their own.

Quite evidently your truths are not inscribed in our hearts, or there would be no need for Houses or the prophets that build them. And quite clearly the system of prophets and priests and prodigies is by design, not by mistake. So ingrained is the nature of this system in the world around us that Platocrates and More did not bother to refute it when describing their utopias. Instead they built their cities around it, creating special classes for these priests and granting them stewardship over the perfect worlds they had constructed.

Left with all this one once again has to wonder how it all meshes with your love, Father. What grand plan could you possibly have that can only be served if but a select few know what you want? What great purpose could you have for the child from whom you have withheld both yourself and the capacity to find you? It is becoming increasingly more difficult to even pay lip-service to the concept of your love, dearest Father. When the majority of your children face such terrible odds for salvation, is it little wonder that so many have grown disillusioned with you?


With a deficient mind,

Your Prodigal Son

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On the Worst of All Possible Worlds

Dear Father,

A common point often brought up when faced with the contradiction of your benevolence and our evil is that this world, this cruel and harsh earth we inhabit, is the best of all possible worlds. The reasoning often goes that you, in your boundless and infinite wisdom, considered all the worlds, all the possible outcomes of all the possible actions, and chose to create this world because it was the one in which the most good was found. We are told that this has to be the case because you are good. Any evil we see in a world such as ours exists in spite of your benevolence and not because of any hidden malice, for had you been less than perfectly good our lives would be much, much worse than they are now.

As with nearly all explanations that come from your House and your children this one is quite circular. It doesn’t actually prove your goodness; one must assume your benevolence as incontrovertible truth in order to reach a conclusion such as this. There are, however, more interesting implications to this line of thought than its basic circular nature.

Consider first dear Father the process of imagining all the other worlds. When a being of your stature brings to bear his imagination, one can expect it would not be quite as vague and imprecise as those of your children. When we imagine things our minds gloss over tiny details. We look at the big picture so to speak, only getting into the specifics when we have determined a certain course to be desirable and wish to flesh it out. For you Father one would expect the opposite to be true. When you imagine, everything, from the smallest detail to its largest effect, would at once be laid bare before you. You would know intimately the details of your imagination, because an intellect as all-encompassing as yours would simply be unable to gloss over anything.

I’m sure you would agree that such intricate imagination is fundamentally indistinguishable from actual creation. There would be no new discoveries to make when making your imaginations real. There would be no quirks, no bugs, no tiny little idiosyncrasies born from the “specifics” of your implementation. In fact because even the very concept of “real” is something that would be created by you, simply imagining a world would be tantamount to making it. Many House elders and lovers of Sophia have posited that the universe exists entirely in your mind and it is easy to see why. Even if it didn’t, even if there was a tangible qualitative difference between your mind and reality, the things themselves in both these cases would be indistinguishable. An observer moving from mind to reality would be unable to tell that he has changed environments as all observable entities would be exactly the same.

What this means Father is that your defenders have not escaped the problem of evil by stating that our world is the best. They have in fact made it worse. By considering all possible worlds you have essentially created all possible worlds, including those where life is as bad as it can possibly be. And because we do not know how bad life can be, it is entirely possible that this world is the worst of all possible worlds.

Of course one would be hard pressed to argue that our world is the worst that could ever be. There is, admittedly, quite a bit of happiness attached to our existence and we can certainly imagine things being worse than even the horrors we witness and hear about today. But we can also imagine things being so much better than they are now, making the argument that our world is best specious by the very same standards.

Even if our world isn’t the worst possible world it means that the worst possible world has existed at some point, perhaps exists right now (some in your House believe you to be timeless, meaning that all things happen at once from your perspective). It means that somewhere, in your mind or otherwise, there exist children of yours that are undergoing as much suffering as is conceivably possible simply because you thought it. What justifications for their torture exist in their world I wonder? How do those faithful to you even there come to terms with their suffering? How do they manage to praise your supposed benevolence?

Of course it can easily be countered that you needn’t have imagined all worlds with a level of intricacy that makes them indistinguishable from reality. Ignoring the fact that such a statement places a needless limit on the breadth of your intellect, it still does not absolve you of the suffering in our world; it indicts you even more. How can you be sure there aren’t better worlds if you didn’t uncover every stone, consider every possibility? If your imagination is as limited and as vague as ours, how do you guarantee to yourself that the earth you picked is in fact the best? How do you square it against your standard of being good if you cannot stand before your children and tell them there are truly no better worlds because you checked?

And in the event that this is in fact, by some as yet unknown justification, the best of all possible worlds, does that not fill you with sadness Father? That you, with all your might and power and wisdom, could create no better a world than one where your children still starve to death every day, are tortured mercilessly, and inhabit an existence so bleak some of them choose to end their own lives? I know those within your House felt they had come up with an excellent point when they posited that this world was the best you could do, but as with most explanations from that hallowed institution it just leaves me even sadder. For if this is the best you can do, dearest Father, how can you ask us to believe in your perfection?

With a heavy heart,

Your Prodigal Son

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On Words and their Meanings

Dearest Father,

As you have probably surmised, my discoveries on free will and justice have not exactly set me ablaze with love for you. Where I sought to discover the freedom in your children that absolved you of the harshness of your justice, I found instead puppets and strings, little subjects moving to the whims of their master. I have thought long and hard on what these conclusions mean for my prospects of returning home, and I must say Father that it does not look good. I do not understand the crude nature of your justice, but if your children are not freely choosing to turn their backs on you, how is their punishment fair? How can you condemn them to an eternity of suffering when they are simply fulfilling the very destinies you created for them?

Of course I would be remiss if I did not mention that my once little friend has not been silent as I have thought these thoughts and asked these questions. He has tried all too often to find flaws with the reasoning that brought me to this point, and he has failed at almost every turn. One of his statements, however, has stuck with me these past few days and it is one I wish to share with you. I do not think he has found a way to give me hope though; in fact the implications of his words may have served to drive me even further away from the House I once called home.

His words to me were thus:

“You cannot say that your Father is not just, or that you are not free, because he has said that he is, and that you are. He is the Great Arbiter; his word is truth.”

If you remember Father, in our bid to discover the meaning of truth we realised that a lot of what we took as fact was nothing but simple arbitration, statements that appeared to make sense but lacked the proof that would reveal their real truth value. We concluded then that absent verification all statements must remain arbitration, neither true nor false but open for discovery and deliberation. We also concluded that even under such rules you remain untouchable, for you are the Great Arbiter; your arbitrations become truth from the sheer force of your will.

We referenced this viewpoint when we discussed free will. Unwilling to accept that you were a simple machine, bound to always pick the good option when presented with a choice, we surmised that you must be above good and evil. You made good and evil; whatever you dictate to be good becomes good. Whatever you dictate to be evil becomes evil.

Applying the same concept to justice and free will gives you the crux of Doubt’s statement to me. You are the Great Arbiter. Whatever you define to be free is free; whatever you define to be just is just. I cannot claim that your justice is unjust. It is your justice; it cannot help but be just. I cannot claim that our freedom is bondage. It is your gift; we cannot help but be free.

If one ignores the powerfully circular nature of this argument it would appear that Doubt has floored me completely. But as I mentioned before his statements only served to drive me further from you, as the true implications of this point seem almost too terrible contemplate.

I would like you to consider what his statement really means, Father. It means that we cannot, not now, not ever, know what anything means. Your children, of limited minds and hearts, have (for as long as we can tell) used signs and sounds to communicate. When we say or do certain things there is a tacit agreement amongst us for what those things mean, or what they are supposed to mean. It is this agreement that has enabled to us to form societies. Without it even your noble House would not have been built, as the children that remained after the Brother-Saviour would not have been able to communicate with the world and spread your word. This tacit agreement is what allows us to have general feelings (if not outright definitions) for such words as good, evil, love, freedom, and justice. Now these definitions may vary from culture to culture, from House to House, but within these cultures and these Houses they are generally agreed upon. The very existence and survival of their institutions depends on this.

Now consider yourself, dearest Father. We are told that you love us. That all the other Fathers and Mothers and Uncles and Aunts in all the other Houses are not only false, but that they do not love us the way you do. Only you truly cares. Only you truly wants what’s best for us. These messages, coupled with the sacrifice of the Brother-Saviour, have been among the biggest reasons that many have been brought to the House, and that many have stayed within it. And accompanying these statements is a fundamental understanding of the concept of love, of benefit, of harm. That which brings fulfilment is borne of love, that which brings happiness is beneficial, and that which causes suffering and pain is harmful. You are none of the latter, Father, and all of the former, or so we are told.

Against this one looks at the world born from your lips and sees pain and suffering, fear and hurt, bondage and predetermination. We see a justice apparently motivated by as much negativity and spite as the crude offerings of your flawed children. We see punishment for punishment’s sake, pain for no other reason than pain itself. We see children created solely for salvation, and others only for damnation. And if we are to believe that you are the Great Arbiter, and that you have termed these things good and loving and just, then we must also believe that this pain and suffering, this our lack of freedom, is indeed good and loving and just.

Thus the words that we use to communicate the love and justice and freedom and happiness that we believe come from your House are apparently meaningless, for they can have their meanings changed at will. They can mean one thing and their complete opposite at the same time, for you have spoken it. Does freedom today mean bondage? Does it mean predestination? Does it mean captivity? Does good today mean genocide? Does it mean the condemnation of little children for the sins of their fathers? We cannot, of our own admittedly feeble faculties, say. We must first consult with you, and hope that you deign to bestow upon us your answers.

Perhaps more terrifying is the fact that this means that a good amount of the people called to your House have had the wrong impression about you from the very beginning. It is hard to believe that those that heard about your all-encompassing love believed that within that love lay the capacity to create some children solely for the purpose of burning them. No loving parent on your green earth would do such a thing, yet a quick study of your world and a short perusal of your Book reveals such acts in great detail.

Of course there are some within the House that believe that our lack of understanding comes from the less than perfect nature of our minds, but this, much like the assertions made with regards to the First Brother’s faculties, does not vindicate the state of your world. Ignoring our apparent lack of freedom this would mean that the salvation of a good chunk of your children is purely circumstantial. If our fundamental understanding of love and justice, the intuition with which we analyse the world, is not complete due to our failings, then there is nothing but chance to dictate who comes to you of his own volition. The very tools we have to understand what you do and why you do it are flawed. That anyone comes to you in the first place is a wonderful combination of luck and opportunity, and that people fail to understand your ways should be expected. In fact, if one looks upon the various Houses and tents and institutions the world over, all separate and distinct from the House of the Cross, this is exactly what we see: a vast majority of your children that simply does not get you. And yet true to form you have taken it upon yourself to condemn these people, and to cast them out of your sight. And this is good, Father, because you have said that it is.

And therein lies the problem with the belief in you as the Great Arbiter, dearest Father, for if your justice, an institution barely distinguishable from that of the lowest of your children, is in fact fair and good and loving, then those words have lost their meaning. And if our freedom, a state barely distinguishable from the pre-arranged motions of actors in a scripted play, is in fact freedom, then that word has lost its meaning as well. And if words can lose their meaning at your whim Father then what is the point of even trying to understand you? What has been the point of my journey, my quest for both you and the great Sophia? In a single moment this very page could mean something completely different simply because you willed it to be so!

I suppose in the end my journey truly is nothing but a pointless exercise. After all, Father, wasn’t my fate already decided before I was born?

With sadness,

Your Prodigal Son

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On Knowledge and Freedom

Dear Father,

My foray down the path of free will has hitherto proved fruitless. No matter what I do this issue refuses to be resolved. Time after time I have tried, and time after time I have failed to find a meaning for the term consistent with the manner in which it is used. My last letter tried to reconcile our limited freedoms with their utility, reasoning that while pure freedom eluded us perhaps the necessary tools for our emancipation were hidden within our prisons. Not so Father, not so. Our chains seem to me to be permanent, as we lack not just the knowledge but also the ability to free ourselves from the broken, malignant rut in which we have been placed. Having the potential for greatness is useless if one does not have the knowledge to bring such potential to fruition. And seeing our mental deficiency only served to remind me once again of all that your children hope to be, and sadly all that we are not.

As is always the case whenever I think of how terribly flawed your children are, I cannot help but think of how amazingly perfect my Father is supposed to be. As you know the issue of knowledge is one that is very close to my heart; my once little friend has not left my side since I left yours, and I have already expressed what I feel to be the root cause of his presence in my life. I am certain that the power to know things, truly know them, would rid me of him, and in this regard I envy not just your other children, who must have much smaller versions of the fellow on their shoulders, but you, who must have none. As always Father you stand in stark contrast to your impaired offspring, and while such thoughts usually make me question the tales of our parentage I am afraid I must ask you a different question this time. It is one much like those I have asked in the past weeks, and it involves your nature and the ramifications of your perfect knowledge.

Consider yourself, dearest Father. You know all things. You know their causes, you know their effects; you know the intangible stuff from which they are made, the ethereal places in which they reside. Your knowledge it seems comes from your power, as such an intimate understanding of all things that are and will be is only possible because you made all things, willing them into being from mere nothingness with your wondrous abilities. We made the link between knowledge and power and freedom in my last letter and so it should come as no surprise that the freest being in the universe is he that knows all and can do all.

Of course your children, being things as well, are also known very intimately by you. Our habits, likes, dislikes, wants and needs were known by you at the moment of our creation, as were our choices and the effects that they would birth. Your perfect knowledge means that you see an unbroken chain of consequences, starting from the very first choice and reaching all things that we see around us today.  This means that you must have known as you performed those very first acts of creation that you would make children in your image, and this also means that you must have known as you made these children that they would fall. And herein lies the problem, Father, for it seems that once again we have found yet another way in which this freedom we claim to have is completely non-existent.

This issue, that of your knowledge and our freedom, is an old one, one of the oldest in the history of trials your faithful children have faced. It first fell into my head when I was but a child but, as parents are wont to do when faced with difficult questions from their children, my father asked me to put it from my mind, telling me that it was not my place to think such thoughts, that all would be revealed to me in time. As you can see Father, all has not been revealed in time as once again I stand asking the same questions I did as a child. I haven’t formally written you about this issue, so allow me to do so right now. If there ever was a matter that required your input, it is this.

Your position Father is one of first mover, first cause if you will. Imagine, as only a child can, you sitting before the beginning of time, contemplating what to make of your universe. You knew then how each little detail you conceived would change the structure of your creation. A little shift here, a slight adjustment there, and all that we know would have been different. Such nuanced knowledge applies not just to the formation of the world, but to the formation of your children. As you fashioned the First Brother, placing the clay bits in just the right order you must have known the consequences of their locations, the effects such configurations were bound to have. You knew as you made him what making him in a certain way was going to do, and so you must have known as you made him that when faced with the forbidden fruit and the beckoning of Eve, his will was going to break. Such far-reaching fundamental knowledge seems to me to be indistinguishable from design, for at this point I cannot tell the difference between knowing the effects of your actions and going ahead to do them, and orchestrating things with certain effects in mind.

This means that there was never a chance that the First Brother was not going to fall, not just because he was flawed and limited and foolish and far from perfect, but because he was made to fall. His fate was written in your head and by your hands before you had even finished breathing life into his form. And this brings me to my question dearest Father, for I must ask it: How then can he be said to have ever been free? How then can any of us? Not only are we in not in charge of who we are and where we’re born and the limits of our knowledge, it seems we are no different from our automatons, whose acts, however complex, are known – or at the very least desired – by their designers as they set about assembling them. We know they are not free because we can tell exactly what they would do; we made them in full knowledge of what they would do, much like you made us. In effect we made them do the things that they do.

Your Book does not even bother to refute this. It is littered with tales of people whose actions and decisions were known before they were born, prime amongst which is the Holy Virgin, sacred mother of the Brother-Saviour. The very existence of prophecies confirms this. How else can you reveal to your children what the future holds if you did not make it so that the future would hold such outcomes, if you did not put your children where you wished, made them how you wished, so that your desired outcome will come to pass? This is the height of manipulation, for you have not just limited your children to prisons of imperfection and ignorance, you have wired them with strings that you tug and pull and place as you will, guiding them to whatever fate you have already planned from the birth of time.

Even as I write this Doubt tries to cast his shadow over my conclusions. He tells me that indeed we are free, that you do not bother with pushing each and every one of us to make each and every one of our choices each and every second of each and every day. Such an act would be tedious to the extreme. He is right, of course, but his reasoning is shallow. On one hand, a being of the power you command cannot, should not, find anything tedious, even if it involves manually controlling the billions of souls you have made over the course of our history. On the other, manual control is no different from automatic control; whether you are actually pushing each piece on the chess board, or whether you lined up the pieces like dominoes and then flicked the first, the freedom of said pieces is not in question. In both cases their actions and their consequences are in fact not theirs but yours.

Now there are those in the House, Universals and Rebels alike, that claim that such intimate knowledge and immense power do not obviate our free wills. They say that your knowledge does not change the fact that we freely choose to do what we do. I could not understand the reasoning behind this when I was younger Father, and I certainly cannot now. What kind of freedom is pre-planned? What kind of freedom is orchestrated? What kind of freedom knows outcomes before they even begin? One can only assume that because they feel like they are free, because they feel like they decide to eat their breakfasts, or decide which words they use to convey their emotions without any apparent influence from their surroundings or you,  that because of these feelings, they believe they are free. Of course feeling that you are free is quite different from being free, as our analysis has shown, and this highlights perhaps the ugly truth about this thing we have struggled to define for weeks now.

I fear that this freedom, this free will we cherish so dearly, is nothing but an elaborate illusion, a quirk of the young and weak minds of your children that blinds us to the wires which have been used to work us. And if we are not in fact free in any sense of the word, binary or continuous, then once again on what basis are we judged, Father? Or is our judgement, much like our freedom, nothing more than a gratuitous dance to your pleasures? Is that in essence all that we are to you Father? Puppets and playthings, made to move to the beat of your inscrutable whims? If this is indeed our true nature it is no wonder our world is the way it is, scratched and dinged and broken all over; one need only look to our children to see the eventual fate of toys and amusements.

 With fear and trembling,

Your Prodigal Son

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On Freedom and Knowledge

Dearest Father,

It would appear that free will is an immense and insurmountable quandary. If it is taken from the perspective of good and evil then you do not have it, for you can never choose evil. If we take it from the basis of constraint and power then we do not have it, for our wills are not free at all but are limited by predetermined rules we cannot change. The last point is among the reasons I am writing yet another letter on this issue, for Doubt has not allowed me to rest since I sent you my last missive. Adamant that freedom, however small, is still freedom, he has forced me to think more deeply about the wills of your children, and to consider that perhaps we still possess our wills even if they are constrained, that we still have some agency even if it is not limitless.

In some way I agree. Though tiny and feeble our freedom may be, it still feels, for lack of a better word, like it is there. As I said in my last letter, even my illustrative prisoners possess freedom in certain things. They can choose to behave properly while serving out their sentence; they can choose the friends and foes they make whilst incarcerated. They are not free, but they are not completely bound either.

There is, however, one issue with this line of thought, and as I mentioned in my last letter it is one of judgement.  You see, the biggest reason we are given for our inability to reach the Great Upstairs with you is that we are not good. Against a being as wonderful and perfect as you we are bad, fundamentally stained and unworthy. The elders of the House do not say that we are a different kind of good; they say we are not good at all. When you are the standard anything that is not you is not it. If we are not as good as you we are not good, period. If one can be so harsh, so abrupt, so binary in meting out the judgement that shall serve us for all eternity, why then can one not be equally harsh in viewing the very constructs around which this judgement is made? If you are the model of free will then anything that is not like you in that manner is not free. Your children have a saying about having cakes and eating them that expresses this succinctly. We cannot use binary means to judge our worth, and then turn around and use continuous means to judge our freedom. Where you are the standard, there can be no deviant.

Still, Doubt had a point. True, our wills are not free; they are limited. However, they have not been shown to be completely constrained. We have some leeway. We may not possess the almighty, world-creating freedom of our Father, but we have something. While a stubborn part of me was unwilling to give quarter to these thoughts, my curiosity was piqued and I decided to explore the implications of this. You, for whatever reason, decided at the moment of our creation to constrain our freedom, to (perhaps ironically) limit it to two “things”: good and evil. This compromise would mean that we have solved our problem. We have some freedom, and we have will. What your children have done with these things can now be squarely laid at our feet.

I had barely finished nodding my head at his postulations when Doubt turned around and attacked his own words. We may have some freedom, he offered, but is it freedom that matters? There are certain kinds of freedoms that are ultimately pointless and others that are infinitely more useful. The freedom, for example, that allows our aforementioned prisoners to eventually break free of the bonds keeping them in prison is a very useful freedom. The one that allows them to sleep on whatever side of their cot that tickles their fancy is, on the other hand, quite useless. Admitting that we have some kind of freedom is not enough. We must be able to see if this freedom is useful or constructive, if this freedom serves some purpose. And to that end Father, Doubt revealed one thing that rendered all the freedoms you have given us pointless: knowledge, or perhaps more accurately, ignorance.

Once again Father, I must look to you to make his point. Ignoring the immense freedom that power brings, there is still a certain advantage afforded to beings like yourself that know what their choices mean. Knowing which choices to make, knowing which choices would have certain desired consequences, these are forms of knowledge that are not just invaluable but essential if one is to consider your children truly free to choose. Knowledge is power, and power is freedom; he who knows more can choose better, and the very existence of Doubt tells you all you need to know about the state of your children’s knowledge.

We often say that the road downstairs is paved with good intentions, and this truism illustrates exactly what is wrong with the ignorance you have allowed to fester among your children. You have made a world, Father, where it is not enough for one to want so fervently to do good; one must also know how to do good. This would not be quite the issue it is if you saw fit to bestow upon your children wonderful, perfect intellects that revealed intimately both the good things and the bad, so that intent was coupled closely with knowledge, so that ignorance would be no defence for there would be no ignorant people. Instead you have made beings with minds most weak, beings that learn only through repetition, beings that forget very easily, beings that need continuous experience in order to truly know.  You have made beings with whom there exists such a disparity in beliefs they cannot agree on what good and evil are. If we do not even know what these things are, if we cannot trust our own heads, one what basis can you say we are free to choose the right things?

Now, there are those within the House that state that all these flaws of the human mind came as a result of the Fall, that the sins of the First Brother clouded our heads and hearts. And while this answers the questions surrounding our immense limitations, it also raises a very terrifying corollary. It means, Father, that Adam, of sound mind and heart, knew what he was doing when he consumed the forbidden fruit. This leaves one with the scary conclusion that he either possessed intent most evil, or he was a terribly foolish person.

Think about it Father. For one to believe that before the Fall we were perfect one has to believe that Adam knew exactly what eating that fruit meant. The deceptive words of the serpent become useless in this world, for Adam would know that he was not going to become you; he was instead going to die. And not only was he going to die; he was also going to damn his sister-wife and every last one of his offspring to death as well. This is stupidity and evil to the most extreme, for he effectively traded happiness and paradise for death and destruction. Only a being most evil would do this in full knowledge of the consequences, a being that doesn’t care much for itself or for anything really, a being we have seen personified in the history of the House as You-Know-Who… (I wonder, was he also possessing of perfect intellect before his fall from grace?)

Of course because the fruit itself was from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, this means that Adam could not have known that he was doing evil, even if he perhaps knew the dire and damning consequences of his actions. In one move we appear to have created a terribly evil being that is not even aware of his evilness.  Is it any wonder that he fell? Could he really have been called good along with the rest of your creation when such evil lurked within his soul?

Thus, our First Brother was either ignorant and good when he fell, or knowledgeable and evil. The first option means that we have never been free of ignorance; our minds have always been weak and clouded. The second contradicts the very need for the act that led to the Fall in the first place, making it a useless, if already frightening, conclusion.

And so Father, even with the assumption that we possess some freedom to power our wills we are left realising that this freedom is once again useless as it does not (and never did) contain the most necessary ingredient for free and informed choice: perfect knowledge. It seems Doubt pushed me down this path of limited freedom with the express intent of dashing my hopes, for once again I am left with the unfortunate conclusion that your children in no meaningful way possess free will. We are not as free as you, and even in our limited existence we lack the necessary tools to have prevented our Fall and to save us from ourselves.  This calls to mind once again the question of judgement, Father, for one must wonder on what standard you judge beings that have been handicapped from the very beginning.

As I sit here and ponder that even my once little friend is silent; this, it seems, is a question neither of us can answer.

With much thought,

Your Prodigal Son

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