Monday, November 19, 2007

On Choice and Empowerment

A person can only take so much of the existential angst that one encounters from reading blogs relating to Mormonism. If anything ever showed that Kierkegaard’s concept of anxiety was a valid theory, it surely must have been demonstrated by the anxiety that Mormonism brings and its accompanying dizziness. This anxiety is a direct result of the freedom to choose that Mormons believe that they have been given from God. It is a power so great that even God himself cannot interfere with it. Even those who leave the Mormon church itself are forever influenced (tainted?) by this idea of choice and freedom. Dr. Viktor E. Frankl called choice of attitude the last of the human freedoms. Regardless of what others try to do to take away our freedoms and our dignity, we always have the power to choose how to respond to the taking away. Short of killing us, no one can completely take away our freedom to choose. But for all of our power to choose, how are we to know that we made the right choice? That we made the best choice? And this is the desire to know and the uncertainty that leads to angst. Despite the advances of science and technology, we don’t know what the future holds. If there has been any failure of the scientific method, it is that it only allows for predictions of the future and not knowledge of the future.

I have to admit that I am confused at the use of the word ‘empowerment’ that I encounter in my readings, as though someone is withholding the power to choose. If we have the freedom to choose, what does the word ‘empowerment’ mean? What does it signify? I submit that it is a meaningless buzzword. It is a subterfuge, an artifice and a ruse. People use it to give the illusion of benefice. If I say that I am empowered, what I am saying? Someone has to grant the power or authority to me so that I am empowered. If I accept the empowerment, does it not mean that the person or group who granted it to me had the power in the first place? But how does another person or group give me the power to choose if I already have that power?


Anonymous said...

If you get a chance, read _The Promise of Mediation_ -- that is the area where the term actually has meaning (recognition and empowerment are two words that tell you that your mediator should be mediating for the Post Office).

Stephen M (Ethesis)

Sister Mary Lisa said...

You know, I always thought I had the freedom to choose for myself too, as an LDS woman. I chose to go to the temple and take out my endowments. I was so excited. I was prepared, worthy, happy. When the time came for my temple recommend interview, my bishop asked my never-mo husband along, for what I figured would be a missionary moment.

Instead, I was blindsided by the rule that my husband needed to give me his written permission to attend the temple and take out my endowments.

I discovered in that instance when he refused that there was no freedom to choose for me. I chose to take out my endowments and complete the vital ordinance that was necessary for my eternal salvation (I believed at the time), and the choice was never mine to make at all.

That was a harsh lesson to learn, and so now when I hear you say that we all have freedom to choose at all times, I beg to differ.

One Southern Belle said...

I find it quite curious that SML asserts, "I was prepared, worthy, happy" and then, in the very next paragraph, demonstrates how very UNprepared she actually was by admitting she was utterly unfamiliar with the underlying principles and practices governing the receiving of endowments.

Clearly, "freedom to choose" also extends to the degree to which choose to be informed. Choosing to remain ignorant gives rise to the choice to be blindsided.

Anonymous said...

What a ridiculously ignorant tale this is and please explain how a 'philosophing non Mormon' cannot know the meaning of empowerment?? I will explain: it means compassion, empathy, promoting all people equally in whatever area of talent they may have -- not engaging in jealousy (as this blogger continues to do) like a beggar looking into a posh restaurant. Your blog is so utterly ridiculous I am not surprised by it's namesake and the bitches you attract like Southern Bell with lenthy dialogue on a ridiculous religion that has no purpose/backward and confusing so the sheep have no idea what is going on -- I will you would just get off the internet all together -- everything you write seems to be from the viewpoint of a 5 year old.