Lately we've been talking about Freedom vs. Determination in my ethics class.
I've been thinking about the things that we are predetermined towards. If you grow up poor, you're likely to stay poor. If you taste the sweet nectar of junk food--you're likely to want to eat junk food for the rest of your life. If you are taught to value education, then you will continue to value education as an adult.
Certain choices are determined by virtue of how we are raised.
But, education can help to free us from the determining factors in our lives. If someone told you, "Determining factors have conspired to make you choose to go and see Avatar at the movies tonight. You don't have a choice." --would you make a different choice? Maybe. Maybe not. The point is--by becoming aware of the determining factors in our lives, we can overcome them. We can face them head on.
The scriptures say that Eternal Life is to Know God and His Son. Through that knowledge, we are introduced to other options that free us from the limited determining factors. The second commandment is to Love our Neighbor, as Ourselves. I believe in order to obey both of these commandments--you have to come to know yourself. You have to come face to face with the determining factors in your life.
After facing them, you have the freedom to then decide to overcome these factors.
Choosing to overcome them is the first step. Finding the power to follow through on these choices is another matter. Because these are determining factors--it is much easier to fall into old patterns. We need the Savior in order to find the strength and the love to choose a better life.
If we bury our heads and refuse to really get to know ourselves, or to ask the hard questions--we will never really have the power to face our determining factors and change.