Freedom Of Course
By Wendolynn L. Allen
It is etched in stone at the top of one of U.T.’s historic buildings, but it originated long before the idea of university intellect was ever conceived. “ . . . and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” These words flowed from the lips of one who is the master of all intellect and quite literally the living truth. As I learn, and as I grow, I more impressively see the reality of this statement that Jesus Christ used to counsel his disciples (John 8:32). As of recently, I am understanding the impact of this statement to not simply mean that the truth we are informed of will set us free, but it is the truth we know and believe in and use that will set us free.
Every moment of our lives, we have the opportunity either to succeed or fail. As you read this article, many students (young and old) are once again preparing for such an opportunity. The chance to receive a quality education is a privilege that has been so graciously bestowed upon Americans, yet so many of us seem to take it for granted. We all too often fail to realize that without this gift we would, in a sense, cease to exist. Our very being relies upon the knowledge we attain with each passing day and our success is a result of us shaping that knowledge into usable vials of wisdom from which we draw moment by moment as we progress toward our goals.
The freedom of our course is determined by the truth of the knowledge we possess. We cannot possess something that we have not consciously and purposefully tried to obtain. Sitting still and waiting for something to fall into our laps is not possession. Just as easily as that thing fell into our lap, it can fall away because we have placed no value in attaining it. We determine an object’s worth (or value) to us by the amount of effort we exert in pursuit of it, education and knowledge is no different. We are as educated and knowledgeable, as we want to be, on any given subject, based on that subject’s value to us. However, mere intellect has no value, but intelligence properly applied is wisdom allowing us to thrive. Our ability to obtain truth and grow in wisdom has been given to us so that we might see that we are not bond to the status quo of mediocrity, but, instead, we can seek to use our knowledge to “think outside of the box” and soar to unclaimed heights. Educating ourselves in the truth will always prove to be beneficial as it determines the freedom of our course.
And, as we seek the truth, we must remember to not be led astray by “waves of the wind’. There is only one whole truth, even though it may have many parts. Each person has a purpose in life to understand the piece of the truth they have as it relates to the whole in order that the whole truth may be illuminated to all. We must be cautious of the fact that there are a few who possess only a piece of the truth but would prefer to see it as the fullness of all truths. When we enclose ourselves in this reasoning, we eliminate our freedom to glean knowledge from all pieces and contribute to the whole. “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1).