Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Because I choose to

(Reposted from December)

The words of Neo in the final Matrix movie are somewhat immortal to me. They go with other timeless quotes such as "To thine own self be true". And they get at something that I think is at the heart of our very existence. The backdrop is Agent Smith fighting him, with mind as well as body. He has throughout the whole triology been telling Neo that "It is inevitable". And it culminates in this moment:

Agent Smith: Why, Mr. Anderson, why, why do you persist?
Neo: Because I choose to.

Because I choose to. These are the words that ring out and stand as a banner for everything we are and everything we can be. It is the admission that in everything we do there is, or at least at one time, there was a choice. We cannot control the world around us. We cannot stop the winds and the storms, we cannot stop the sun from rising, or force it to rise, but in ourselves, we are our masters. We choose what we do. This is the powerful gift, the divine gift of agency.

The whole point of the atonement is to give us the ability to raise from the ashes from our own bad decisions. It is to give us greater freedom to choose, and that one bad decision will not ruin our lives and destroy our ability to choose forever, but as we cling to that, that we may gain greater and greater freedom. If you look at any command the Lord has given, what appears to be a restriction upon closer inspection is a protection of that divine right to choose, a guide to help people stay away from those things that destroy agency, that impair choice.

It is not inevitable. Nothing is inevitable. We can choose, and we can repair our impairment to choose through the atonement. The consequences of our decisions are natural. Certain choices lead to certain consequences. The choice is the decision in the first place. We can choose anger and bitterness. We can choose strife. We can choose to love. We can choose to hate. Every moment of every day, we have a choice. Nothing is inevitable. We are who we are, we do what we do, because we choose to.

(Sometimes I need my own pep talk. Today, I found one for myself from myself)

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