Degrees of Freedom

“The belief that freedom is an all-or-nothing phenomenon – that we have it either all the time or none of the time – blinds us to the fact that there are degrees of freedom. It can be won or lost, and its loss is gradual. Unless the will is constantly exercised, it atrophies and dies. We then become objects, not subjects, swept along by tides of fashion, or the caprice of desire, or the passion that becomes an obsession. Only narrative can portray the subtlety of Pharoh’s slow descent into a self-destructive madness. That, I believe, is what makes Torah truer to the human condition than its philosophical or scientific counterparts.”

Covenant and Conversation: Exodus, p. 50