Tag Archives: Selfishness

Ep69 Becoming Truly Free



Father Len explains what it takes to become truly free and how the common American understanding of freedom leads to selfishness and narcissism.

Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • Freedom involves being free from something in order to be free to become something.
  • The American Revolution was about becoming free from the tyranny of a king and the injustices and oppression of a political system.
  • 70% of Americans say they are free or mostly free.
  • Two thirds of Americans define freedom as being “free to do whatever I want.”
  • Being “free to do whatever I want” is an immature definition of freedom and the least likely to lead to happiness.
  • Being “free to do whatever I want” is a form of tyranny that allows you to intrude on the life and liberty of others.
  • “The Unbroken Thread: Discovering the Wisdom of Tradition in an Age of Chaos” by Sohrab Ahmari
  • We create laws to set the parameters for a working society.
  • To be free theologically means that we are always working on freedom. Working to become more free from the tyranny of selfishness, oppression, and injustice.
  • When the people of a country define freedom as selfishness, it will always be divided and destroyed.
  • People who report the highest level of happiness tend to be religious and meditate regularly.
  • People who report the most freedom from moral constraints tend to be the least happy.
  • “Suicide, A Study in Sociology” by Emile Durkheim
  • The really hard part of becoming more free is wrestling with our own egos and recognizing when we’re being selfish.
  • Christians who believe giving up liberties for the sake of others makes them less free don’t understand the freedom of the cross of Christ.

Ep39 Commitment and Happiness



Father Len explains the relationship between commitment and happiness.

Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • Father Len shares the story of NFL football player Bo Eason and what he learned about commitment from fellow Pro Jerry Rice.
  • “There’s No Plan B for You’re A-Game” by Bo Eason
  • Commitment breeds commitment. Indifference breeds indifference.
  • There are two types of commitment: “even if” and “as long as.” Even if commitment never wavers even when there is trouble, hardship, sickness, sacrifice, and suffering. As long as commitment is always conditional on finding something easier and more pleasurable to do than keeping the commitment, like watching a favorite television show or going to a party.
  • Father Len shares a favorite “even if” commitment story from the Book of Ruth in the Bible.
  • Commitment leads simultaneously to suffering and happiness. Uncommitted people don’t suffer much pain, but surprisingly, it’s the committed people who are willing to suffer that end up happier.
  • TED Talk: “The Surprising Science of Happiness” by Dan Gilbert
  • Irish explains how commitment saved his marriage.
  • Father Len embarrassingly explains how watching the Oprah Winfrey show helped him understand why couples who live together before marriage have double the divorce rate of those who don’t.
  • “If you chase two rabbits… You will not catch either one.” – Russian proverb
  • People who are low on commitment are also low on control over their egos.
  • Bible symbolism: the number seven shows up frequently and is code for complete commitment.
  • Happiness and suffering go together.