Happy Passover to all who celebrate this beautiful holiday, where we learn how to shift from bondage to freedom.
My PhD research centered on a normative theory that brings peace globally. To create a normative theory that can be adopted by every nation (and easily), I needed to find a common, uniting element - something special that binds this theory in a way that speaks to everyone.
That something is the dignity that is woven into the core nature of each and every human being (Kant, Groundwork, 1785). Dignity is part of every person's DNA.
Within this dignity, there is freedom to be autonomous, to voice oneself, to be part of a greater community, to contribute, and evolve. That is how special every human being is - and we need to remember and enact laws, and behave toward the Other in ways that reflect this wondrous element. Every human being has the right to freedom, and within freedom, peace.
The Passover story reminds me of the cumbersome journey into freedom, and how often we imprison ourselves in old habits, beliefs, and behaviors (Exodus, 11-19).
Although the Israelites were Free, they still behaved as though someone else should be responsible for their daily food, to fulfill their needs, solve their challenges, and so on. And they cried and complained that maybe they should be going back to the old ways, to their captivity.
Sounds crazy? The familiar feels safer than the unknown, and yes, it is difficult to imagine freedom when captivity has been the central theme in one's life. Even more so when it is a community or a nation - captivity becomes normative.
No wonder Moses was one heck of a frustrated leader!
And it explains why they continued on to wander on for 40 years until the older generations passed away and the new ones could pass into freedom.
As we celebrate the right of freedom, I wish you the best holiday, and new ways of expressing your beautiful self - with freedom and peace.
Yours as always,
Kant, I. (1948; 1964). Groundwork of the metaphysic of morals. (H. J. Paton, Trans.). New York, NY: Harper & Row. (Original work published 1785)