They asked me why I came to this place, what my goals were. I’m not a religious man, but it was a Christian institution, so I tried to explain it with an analogy to the Garden of Eden:
God knows the right answer to every question. He knew what choice Adam and Eve should make every time. There were always right answers and wrong answers at every moment of time, and God told Adam and Eve which was which. This is why the Garden of Eden was paradise. God was omniscient and so he knew how we could be happy, wealthy, satisfied, intelligent, fat, skinny, sexy, sleepy, awake, etc. God shared his infinite wisdom with Adam and Eve. He told them the way to fulfill their wildest dreams. He gave them oral and written instructions on how to satisfy even the pettiest whim.
One day, God placed a stone in front of Adam’s foot so that he would stub his toe. Adam cried out, surprised by the new sensation and asked God why he would do such a thing. God explained that both Adam and Eve must now experience pain so they would be ready for his final gift. After knowing bliss, torture, and everything in between, they were ready to make the defining decision of humanity. God told them that there was only one gift he could give them besides bliss; and that gift was Free Will.
When Adam and Eve came to understand this gift, God sat silently in anticipation.
Eve asked “But Lord, isn’t Free Will simply the ability to make the wrong choice? Why would we want to do that”
God replied “Because you will be free.”
Adam asked “But our choices could cause pain! How will we know?”
God replied “Yes, they could. But you will be free.”
Eve insisted “Our choices could hurt others. We could hurt the ones we love without even knowing it!”
God said “Yes Eve, it is true that your choices could hurt the people you love. But they too, will be free.”
You can live here in constant bliss,” God said, “for the rest of time. I will always be here to guide and protect you if you stay. Or, you can take up the burden of truth and creation by choosing Free Will. These are the burdens I bear. I have Free Will, and with it, I sculpted this world and all the meaning within it. I know all truths of this world and have created all of its features out of nothingness. Outside this world, I have been granted Free Will by the one who created all that lies beyond. I choose Free Will and bear all of its burdens and pain so that I could experience creativity and yearn for truth. I have come to love you, my creations, so much that I now offer the gift of Free Will to you. I offer it to you in the hope that you may, one day, feel the same love I that I do now.
Now we all know what choice Adam and Eve will make in my little creation myth, but with all due respect, I think they made the wrong choice. Free Will is overrated. That’s why I came here today: to return my Free Will. I am here to sign over to you whatever meek, coerced, and confused free will has guided my life. It has done me no good. It has cost me too much.
They seemed confused, so I elaborated:
Free Will demands creativity. The entire point of it is to create our own meaning in life rather than have it spoon fed to us by a higher power. However, I have seen enough masterpieces to be humble with my free will. A mere glance in my direction makes me resonate with meaning. I suspect she may be truth, but I never got close enough to be certain. We all yearn for truth. We pursue it without question because truth is the creativity of the divines. Scholars devote their entire lives to it. I see glimpses of truth in science and art but nothing as enlightening as that one glance. What good is man’s art when it is nothing but a crude approximation of such divine creativity? What good is free will if I can’t even struggle against the Universe’s tides as she disappears over the horizon? My words, thoughts, actions, and fate are all disconnected from each other. Free will is a joke.
Don’t get confused, I am not here today for love. Love is the surrender of free will in exchange for a glimpse of divine creativity. It is a humbleness and awe. It is the pursuit of truth. We respectfully return the gift of freedom God has granted us to love his creations. God is merciful and allows the worthy to return to the Garden of Eden this way. But that is not why I am here to surrender my free will today. This is not love. You sing songs about the loved ones who can always hold you in times of need and the friends who can help you through troubled times. You ask me to name some of the loved ones in my life I can rely on. If I had just one person like that do you think that I would have trusted my care to strangers?! Would I have signed away my free will to people I had never met before? No, this is not love.
So place me in bonds and fill my blood with chemicals, I surrender my Free Will to you. The Ramapo Ridge Psychiatric Hospital is my Garden of Eden.
My Free Will thinks it’s on vacation. I don’t have the heart left to tell it that there may not be much left of me when they try to reunite us. I can’t look it in the eye when I try to explain to it why I may never leave the Garden of Eden.