The Weight of Free Will

We have seen our world destroyed by the conviction that there is no good, that there is no truth, that there is no beauty.

New Q believes that greatness can come from brokenness.
New Q believes that old wisdom can give new life.
Most of all, New Q believes in the mystery of contradiction.

What some people call a simultaneity of opposites New Q calls the weight of free will. We recognize in our own lives our desires to be good, and our nature to hate at the same time.

We want to be generous, but God knows we are selfish.

We understand how difficult it is to make a new commitment to virtue, and yet we are always surprised when vice puts up a fight.

In short, we know that it is possible to be and not to be at the same time. This is the blessing and the curse of free will.

And so we look for guidance — or at least some company as we navigate this counter-intuitive life of meaning.

The characters in the novel “Great Desires for Absent Things” are like us. They strain under the weight of their will to be better, and they strain under the weight of their human nature to stay the same.

The hero of the novel, Bobby Dante, tries to be the new man by avoiding the old man. He covers his tracks by invoking the principle from Hippocrates that says “do no harm.”

The anti-hero of the story, Origen Alexander, as dangerous as he is, does not believe that he needs to transgress every social boundary in order to prove that he is free. His habit of sabotaging his own self-interest is proof every day that he is a free man.

Distinct as the characters are, we don’t find any of them agonizing about whether life has meaning, but rather where meaning can be found.

It is an interesting time for a novel like this. We are turning the corner on the way we see the world. And we are not buying literature the way we used to. This is not because we are not interested in literature. It is because we are waiting for literature that reads the way we live.