The philosophy of freedom.

2 years, 10 months ago

Dear lord, we are gathered here today to discuss why you made shit so mysterious.

I’ve been reading up on some classical philosophers and politicians, plato, socrates, etc.

I have come to a paradox. The perfect existence (under any rule(r)) would have absolute freedom. This is the absolute ideal, right? This not only propagates the individual’s potential, but in doing so, also creates the populous’ potential exponentially greater.

Yet what is absolute freedom? The instant paradox is this:
I have absolute freedom and so do you.
I kill you.

Discuss.

April 3, 2012 at 5:00 pm

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Profile photo of Bryan Hellard Bryan Hellard M (@xyver) 2 years, 10 months ago ago

Absolute freedom is exactly that. It only works if people aren’t dicks.

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Profile photo of Flynnstone Flynnstone (@flynnstone) 2 years, 10 months ago ago

I think it would only work if people had achieved a certain level of respect and wisdom. And probably enlightenment.
What kind of world would we need to have, how would we have to change, to no longer see each other as potential threats? That is when we can live peacefully I think. It won’t happen until there is no competition for food, water, sex, drugs, etc.

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Profile photo of BirdFlyingHigh BirdFlyingHigh (@birdflyinghigh) 2 years, 10 months ago ago

Absolute freedom only works with those who don’t REQUIRE an outside ruler. What makes you require an outside ruler? A slavish mindset; being ruled yourself by your own base desires.

If you had absolute freedom and could do whatever you wanted, would you surround yourself with indulgence in sex, food, whatever pleasure you could want? Then you deserve to be ruled, because you are already ruled by your lower instincts.

That is what I think a lot of classical philosophers would say, or at least get at. John Stuart Mill writes a lot about freedom (READ “ON LIBERTY”, it’s amazing) and even he has an idea of “proper pleasure” versus “improper pleasure.” Socrates/Plato as well have a highly developed notion of pleasures and their baseness or high-ness.

I agree with Caitlin; as long as we feel the urge to compete for food, water, sex, drugs, or anything else, we need a check in place to keep us from going nuts.

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Profile photo of BirdFlyingHigh BirdFlyingHigh (@birdflyinghigh) 2 years, 10 months ago ago

Socrates held that you can’t appreciate pleasure without intelligence, by the way – but that intelligence by itself was not pleasure.

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Profile photo of Sasho Stoyanov Anonymous (@) 2 years, 10 months ago ago

Freedom is overrated. Ask a prisoner with a peace of mind.

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Profile photo of Daniel Daniel (@qwuakeup) 2 years, 10 months ago ago

I think in order to have perfect existence there needs to be a radical change within ourselves, not the ruler, or anyone outside of you.

Like Caitlin said, there needs a certain level of wisdom in society, and a powerful underlying feeling of peace in everyone. There needs to be a change in consciousness.

We need a ruler in our current state otherwise everything will go to shit. When we achieve a collective level of peace in co-existence, then we can maybe not have a “ruler”, who tells us what to do, but a “figure head” who redirecets the collective opinion.

Right now we are not suitable to make a collective opinion to either help run the country or to make decisions based on a collective whole, as people are still acting like children who need to learn to love, live and respect one another.

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Profile photo of Daniel Daniel (@qwuakeup) 2 years, 10 months ago ago

I mean look at Rick Santorum, he has a chance of becoming president and what he is on about?

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Profile photo of Sean D Stevens Sean D Stevens (@thelaughingfool) 2 years, 10 months ago ago

Freedom is something of a made up concept. I want to be free to fly through the air, or to breathe underwater, or to live from now until the end of the universe. Can I do any of these things? No, I am bound by the laws of nature and science, and nothing I ever do will change that. I can use the laws of science to make certain alterations; I can make a machine that will let me fly, or a device to breathe underwater, and maybe I can build a monument that will carry my name for thousands of years. But they are all cheap substitutes. The laws of nature cannot be broken by any mortal being. This is absolute, and if freedom on this scale is impossible, then freedom on any level is impossible.
So the real question is this: If freedom is just a figment of human imagination, is there any reason to contemplate it? It gives us hope to think about being free, but what will we do when that hope is inevitability crushed? Is it better to hang our heads and trudge through life in a dreary fugue?
The key to me it seems is to rework the human understanding. That we crave freedom is fine, but we must learn to find happiness in our slavery to the universe as well. This seems entirely probable. After all, you’re only as free as your mind is.

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Profile photo of Nikola Atanasovski Nikola Atanasovski (@nikola) 2 years, 10 months ago ago

@thelaughingfool, MIND BLOWN.

” The laws of nature cannot be broken by any mortal being. This is absolute, and if freedom on this scale is impossible, then freedom on any level is impossible.
So the real question is this: If freedom is just a figment of human imagination, is there any reason to contemplate it?”

That actually just made me shit myself.

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Profile photo of Sean D Stevens Sean D Stevens (@thelaughingfool) 2 years, 10 months ago ago

It occurs to me that people may not take me at my word that “If freedom is impossible on the largest scale, it is impossible on any level.” To demonstrate my point, I’ve prepared this example:
Let’s say you’ve been imprisoned in a facility. Why is unimportant. As part of your imprisonment, you have been chained to a wall. Are you free? No, you are not free. Then one day, the warden appears and says “Because of your good behavior, we have decided to let you move about the courtyard.” You are now unchained and free to move about. Are you free? No, you are still confined to within the four walls. Then, the warden appears again and says “Because you are a model prisoner, we are releasing you on parole.” You are now free to leave the facility. Are you free? No, you now have to appear before your parole agent and report on your activity, and any infractions can have you placed back in the facility. I could go on forever with this, but I think you now see the underlying paradox in this assessment. With each level, you gain more freedom, but you are still not free. You can view these increments as coming closer to true freedom, but as long as some chain is wrapped around your neck, you will never be truly free.

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Profile photo of Nikola Atanasovski Nikola Atanasovski (@nikola) 2 years, 10 months ago ago

So basically freedom is never completely achieved, but it is only attained after surpassing a certain level where you can claim yourself as “free”. This would be in blatant disregard to all other aspects that would make you not free above that aspect

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Profile photo of Ray Butler Ray Butler M (@trek79) 2 years, 10 months ago ago

Absolute freedom in its literal meaning would hold no boundaries at all. We could move through walls and such. We could kill people but because they are absolutely free then they are free of death, and life for that matter. If it is absolute it is everything.
The best idea would be optimization of choice, but choice would then become a factor in what directly affects others. But say only issues that directly affect others negatively or potentially directly against a choosable preference that you would need their consent before acting. This is probably the most ideal version of freedom, at least to me.

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Profile photo of Daniel Daniel (@qwuakeup) 2 years, 10 months ago ago

I don’t think you can define freedom as something external that happens to you, like a situation your’e in.

I think it’s more a state of mind, if you feel free, then you are free. What else matters?

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Profile photo of Filip Filip M (@filipek) 2 years, 10 months ago ago

Absolute freedom is when you accept yourself how you are, take life as it is, without any regrets, objections of fears. ‘Without’ in this sentence symbolizes ‘acceptance’. Of course you cannot live without fears, since there would be an imbalance in your life, but when you accept them, it is like you live without them in my opinion. So absolute freedom is losing all your boundaries, and accepting everything. Living in the eternal now.

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Profile photo of Ellie Ellie M (@tangledupinplaid21) 2 years, 10 months ago ago

We never have absolute freedom. For example I don’t have the freedom to live forever(in the literal sense) or to breathe under water. We all have freedom within a set of laws, be those universal or cultural laws.

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Profile photo of Sean D Stevens Sean D Stevens (@thelaughingfool) 2 years, 10 months ago ago

@tangledupinplaid21, I’m curious, did you read my response, because if you didn’t, we think very much alike. However, I stand by my assertion that if absolute freedom is impossible, then all freedom is impossible.

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Profile photo of Ellie Ellie M (@tangledupinplaid21) 2 years, 10 months ago ago

Hahahah, no I didn’t read yours until just now Sean, that’s funny you used the under water breathing example too.

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Profile photo of Ka Ka (@kaciula) 2 years, 10 months ago ago

Only reality itself has absolute freedom and, as proof, it chooses to be what it is right now ;)

On a more human level, I think it’s more productive to think in terms of degrees of freedom. Thinking in dual terms (absolute freedom and slavery) isn’t conducive to growth. And out of all types of freedom, the freedom inside yourself is by far the greatest thing to achieve. You can be chained and tortured for 20 years but, in the meanwhile, you can have the freedom to choose your internal life, such as to be filled with ecstasy and appreciation of life and to fantasize about making love with the torturer. :)

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Profile photo of Erin Erin (@belopo) 2 years, 10 months ago ago

Political freedom had the possibility to stem from the American Constitution… However, instead of getting closer to freedom and a truly productive society we went the opposite direction, our government is becoming better and better friends with that bitch ‘control’. The only control needed is to stop people from murdering someone because they cut in line at the DMV, and other ‘don’t be a fucking douche bag’ guidelines. I love what Machiavelli interprets as a perfect ‘free’ society and I believe he’d think America had the potential to get there. Machiavelli knows that true freedom and a productive society comes from the people in the society working their asses off for it. Hard work=productivity=fulfillment=happy, albeit tired, campers.

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Profile photo of  Anonymous (@) 2 years, 9 months ago ago

@trek79, @filipek, @thelaughingfool, To clear things up, when I say absolute freedom, I was thinking absolute freedom as the freedom to do anything you possibly can with your body.

I was not talking about freedom of universal laws, those will always be there, of course. I was talking about political laws, of infrastructure, or condemnation, etc.

The more I think of this, the more I realize there is no possible way to govern any sizeable number of people (>1000) without completely desecrating freedom.

My “example” of absolute freedom is the person in the woods. He is dropped in the middle of the forest with no one around for thousands of miles. That is absolute freedom as I see it.

So, population ITSELF limits freedom. I suppose we have to start killing everyone. Its not genocide if you just kill everyone, right?

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Profile photo of Sean D Stevens Sean D Stevens (@thelaughingfool) 2 years, 9 months ago ago

@ijesuschrist, To paraphrase Robert Heinlein, a person dropped in the middle of the ocean has the right to live, but it doesn’t mean he’s going to. I stand by my statement: If you don’t have freedom everywhere, you don’t have freedom anywhere.

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Profile photo of  Anonymous (@) 2 years, 9 months ago ago

@thelaughingfool, that’s ridiculous. I have the freedom to respond to you right now.

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Profile photo of Sean D Stevens Sean D Stevens (@thelaughingfool) 2 years, 9 months ago ago

@ijesuschrist, But you don’t have the freedom to change my mind. You can yell at me until you are blue in the face, but it doesn’t mean you’ll accomplish anything. I think I explained this well enough in my prison example above. Please read it and tell me if I missed anything.

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Profile photo of  Anonymous (@) 2 years, 9 months ago ago

@thelaughingfool, I’m not saying I can change your mind. I have the freedom to respond to you, which is directly contesting your view in that we have no freedom “anywhere”.

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Profile photo of Nightowl Nightowl (@nightowl) 2 years, 9 months ago ago

Man.
I see people talk about freedom being something you get, but you’ve got it all wrong.

These points would make perfect sense if freedom were what you think of it.

Freedom is synonymous with will. You may feel as if you are constrained, as in the prison example, but within your environment your options for potential behaviours are never ever limited. From where you sit now or anywhere, you can move, speak, think, whatever however you please within the constraints of reality – but those constraints on reality never invalidate the very nature of the freedoms of your existence.

You’re thinking in terms of freedom being something ATTAINED. What IS ‘freedom’ then if it’s something to be acquired “out there” in the world? Who’s got all the freedom? Who distributes it? Who defined it in the first place? Where are any of the rules set it stone?

@Sean D Stevens, your chains-courtyard-parole example reminds me of Zeno’s Paradox. It states that if you’re always reducing the distance between “here” and “there” that you will never get “there” because there is always an increasingly small fraction of distance that can be reduced. This is a true logical paradox, but like all paradoxes only seems to be true because of the illusory duality of “here” and “there” when there is only “Here” in the universe.
The paradox is at odds with reality because you can easily close the distance between yourself and a destination to nil. Similarly, the premises that the paradox is based on are at odds with reality – there is no “There”, only one infinite “Here”. Similarly, you can never GET “Freedom” if it’s “There”, “Attained”, “Acquired”, etc. It comes from within, it’s part of you.

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