Front Page Titles (by Subject) Freedom & Destiny - Literature of Liberty, Spring 1982, vol. 5, No. 1
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Freedom & Destiny - Leonard P. Liggio, Literature of Liberty, Spring 1982, vol. 5, No. 1 
Literature of Liberty: A Review of Contemporary Liberal Thought was published first by the Cato Institute (1978-1979) and later by the Institute for Humane Studies (1980-1982) under the editorial direction of Leonard P. Liggio.
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Freedom & Destiny
Freedom and Destiny. New York: W.W. Norton, 1981
Freedom, for May, means the possibility of development—either enhancing one's life or withdrawing from life and stultifying one's growth. Personal freedom entails our ability to be aware of the different possibilities for action, even when it is as yet unclear how one must act. Through personal choice and individual initiative freedom affords us the opportunity for self-realization. Freedom is seen as essential to human dignity and as the foundation of values, including honesty, love, and courage.
May distinguishes between the freedom of doing and the freedom of being. Freedom of doing is the capacity to make choices: to pause in the face of alternatives and throw one's weight toward one of the rival possibilities. Everyone experiences such freedom many times a day. Freedom of being, on the other hand, occurs at a deeper level. It means the ability to reflect, to ponder, to choose one's attitude toward the context in which one acts. Freedom of being precedes freedom of doing.
May places freedom and destiny in paradoxical opposition. As with good and evil, freedom comes alive only when we view it in the context of destiny. Likewise, destiny is significant only when in opposition to freedom. May defines destiny as “the pattern of limits and talents that constitute the ‘given’ in life.” Destiny includes (a) cosmic level events, such as birth and death, (b) events on the genetic level, such as our innate capabilities and limitations, (c) events on the cultural level, such as values of the society into which we are born and raised, and (d) events on the circumstantial or historical level, such as wars or the swings of economic cycles.
When we confront our destiny we may respond in a wide variety of ways. We may try to ignore it. We may be aware of and acknowledge it. We may rebel against it. We may cooperate with it. How we respond to our destiny is a manifestation of our freedom.
May describes many of the mistaken paths to freedom. These include narcissism, hedonism, materialism, and casual sexuality devoid of intimacy. Each of these is an attempt to escape from the anxiety caused by freedom. However, anxiety is an essential aspect of freedom and, therefore, a necessary part of worthwhile living.