Potential does not require action

I recently finished Aquinas by Ed Feser, and was introduced to some levels of metaphysics that I had never considered. As always, I tried to apply the concepts to my current struggles. 

My current fears lie not in my belief but my ability to do things. I have been scared of suicide because it is a logical possibility, not because I want to commit it. I have been scared of murder because I have the ability to commit it. Not in the same same way that I have the ability to eat breakfast, but I know that it is possible. I am aware of this freedom. And it terrifies me.

So how did Aquinas [and Feser] shed any light on my current struggles? They helped me to realize that any thing that I have the ability or freedom to do, I also have the ability to refrain from doing. Potency does not require action. If potency required action, if potential meant act, then we couldn’t refrain. We couldn’t not do anything. And that’s not freedom. If we are truly free, and we can do something, we can also not do that same thing.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s