Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 73.djvu/357

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353
SOMETHING NEW IN "FREEWILL"

is it not much the same? He who supposes that the philosophers are free from the passions of other men does not know the history of human thought.

As to the "freewill" controversy, it has been penetrated through and through with passion and with prejudice. The real impulse which makes men "freewillists" showed itself more than two thousand years ago, when a man who cared little about meliorism and cared a great deal about doing as he pleased without external interference, invented the "freewill" doctrine, under the mistaken notion that it released him from the decrees of fate. Some men wish to be freed from fate from higher motives, and some from lower; but freed from it we all of us wish to be. And just so long as men confuse "freewillism" with the doctrine that men may be free, will they determine at all hazards to be "freewillists."

In their desperation, men of real ability will urge arguments that are not arguments, will propose remedies that are worse than any disease likely to overtake us in the course of nature. They must hold on to their leaky doctrine; is not anything preferable to a surrender to the decrees of fate? But they fight a losing battle, and the exercise must be a depressing one. Is it not better to go to the common-sense determinist or to the man of science, and learn that there is no such thing as fate, and that men may be free even in an orderly world?