The philosophy of freedom.
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.
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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.
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.
Only when we realize our potential to be a unique individual, we are free. That’s why, we must lift ourselves out of our group-existence, for instance, out of the prejudices we receive from our family, nation, ethnic group and religion, and all that we inherit from the past that limits our creative and imaginative capacity to meet the world directly.
@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.
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?
I think it all comes back to how you’re definining freedom: positive freedom or negative freedom.
Positive freedom: the freedom “to do” something; @IJesusChrist ‘s example, “I have the freedom to reply to you right now”
negative freedom: the freedom FROM an overbearing force; ex: “Police can’t stop me and demand to see an ID card” or even, going back to the OP, “I am free from being murdered randomly”
Once you begin thinking about freedom in these terms, other important factors present themselves. Which type of freedom do you associate with being “free”, which do you associate with being “enlightened”? I’m still asking myself these questions.
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.
@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.
@axel, That concept of parallel realities doesn’t really get over the fact that I destroyed your freedom in this reality.
@birdflyinghigh, Nicely analyzed! There is, perhaps, not true absolute ‘positive’ freedom as you state it.
Perhaps even you’re negative freedom is not possible in absolute terms either because all actions directly or indirectly will affect others. Absolute stagnation is freedom, in that nobody can do anything, and nobody’s freedom can be infringed upon.
I think we have concluded that freedom doesn’t exist.
Except in the metaphysical form, which is pretty blatantly above and beyond what’s being discussed. Really you can fly around if you wanted to, but… thats been discussed elsewhere.
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
I think loss of ALL fear and attachments would result in absolute freedom. Our actions are only limited by various fears and attachments(fear of losing). More the fears, more the limitation. If we can embrace all experiences NO MATTER WHAT then we are totally free.
IMO the physical world just exists as a part of mental perception. It is just a part of the waking state among the 3 states of consciousness – waking, dreaming, sleep. For attaining total freedom, I might need to discover an all inclusive transcendent unchanging essence/understanding/perception and should be able to unwaveringly stay in it.
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.
@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.
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.
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.
Nice forum! Even nicer conversation! :) I believe we need to see freedom from a different spectrum because that one’ s too depressing! :P
@birdflyinghigh, @ijesuschrist, Freedom exists! In fact I believe freedom is confused with superability, which means ABILITY to do everything, whereas freedom, I think, means the ability to choose of what’s is within your abilities. So we are TOTALLY FREE to think or do whatever lies within the boundaries of our abilities. And I think these boundaries belong to two categories!
1st. The physical laws
Example: I wanna fly but I can’ t
2nd. Our needs
Example: I am hungry so I can’ t concentrate to study
So in fact we experience total freedom! Theoretically a blind man has the “same amount” of freedom with a healthy one. Basically I think that freedom is not an entity (meaning someone could say the expression more or less freedom) but a quality!
What we lack is the ability, but our freedom awaits us!
What do you think?
-Excuse my elven, it’s not my native.
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.
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.