So... posting some drivel on freedom. Share your thoughts.

linuxboy

Elite Member
Oct 9, 1999
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Sometime, about 8 months ago I think, glenn1 or glen posted a thread here asking what freedom was. I said I would post a reply as soon as I got my thoughts together on what I thought freedom was and now that I think I have some understanding, and having not found the original thread, I resolved to make a new one posting my thoughts and opening up the discussion for new consideration and deliberation with the good people here on ATOT.

And so, freedom (yes, this is long):

Is freedom a fundamental right, a sort of unalienable thing one is born with that cannot be taken away and is guaranteed by the state or some law, inherent or created? Is in rather a sort of existential knowledge that one is and that one chooses to live and by that choice is utterly and completely free from all restrictions, except the ensuing consequences? Is freedom merely an illusion created by society? Perhaps it is some of both or maybe freedom is the state where everything is allowed, where our wildest passions and desires are fulfilled. Yet again, perhaps true freedom is simply doing what one sees fit insofar as these actions do not cause harm to a third party.

Having pondered questions like these, I think my answer is nothing really of the sort. First of all, a sort of arbitrariness stemming from the self, a subjective living in a moment and acting from that motivation is not freedom. Experiencing the now and being free from what we perceive to be restrictions and encumbrances and being outside of time is not really being free. Why? It is not because we cause harm to others because harm is such a relative thing. Notions of objective morality are still touchy, despite attempts by many philosophers to define morality as an absolute. It is not because we harm ourselves or because we choose to live. These are sorts of self-preservation prerequisites. It is not really because we are guarded by a state in which we know we are free to be without fear in pursuing happiness. Freedom, true and genuine freedom, is the freedom that withstands stress and influences. It is a freedom that may harm and may not harm, but never does wrong. True freedom is not an extreme attachment to passions or desires or acting on those desires to obtain happiness. Neither is it nothingness or detachment wherein the agent knows nothing and therefore is in a state of emptiness. This is not free. It may be some sort of profound religious of philosophical state of being but alas, I fear a simple man like myself cannot fathom these esoteric truths that are open to the adept and initiated.

True freedom is obedience. However, it is not obedience to any self. It is not obedience to an ?other?. It is obedience to what is and must be. We humans live in relation to our environments. We use it for food and it also uses us for food. We are interdependent on it and weave complex webs and networks of relationships, some of which we destroy and not rebuilt and some of which we continue building without taking the time to maintain or strengthen. True freedom is maintaining a balance, placing priorities on these webs and keeping some strong, some week, and some in transition, since the world is in flux. True freedom then is obedience to this recognized order and validity. It is also obeying ourselves, but not our regular selves- our true selves.

The true self is an interesting idea. It reeks of the old homunculus residing in he depths of our minds, waiting to be liberated by science. That is not what I mean. The true self is a state of experiencing and perceiving the world. It is a state of being and awareness. The true self is what we get to once we realize that what we?ve been told are lies, and what we think is a lie, and what we will continue to think is yet another lie. The true self is what we get to once we relive the pain and agony and heal the wounds that are present in our hearts and selves. The true self is the one that wants to maintain that web of connections in good order but objectification and dualism still makes us reject that in order to gain some sort of certainty by working in our own defined system, and not the system in which we are born. The true self is what we get to when we realize that nihilism or a sort of desperate existential cry will result in the answer of an indifferent universe. When we experience that, we know what is means to be redeemed and to know what it is to live. It?s really love.

Freedom then is obedience to implicit order, even though it appears as if its chaos. Freedom, real freedom, is knowing what things are and evaluating them properly, seeing through the eye of the heart. That is freedom. Freedom will not result in a wrong; it does not err since it knows everything is meaningless. Freedom will not result in disappointment and frustration at a lack of conquest or because of unattainment. Real freedom is not some sort of misogynistic withdrawal from others and escapes into nature or into some halcyon state of pulchritude. Real freedom is still submission to what is and must be. It is not a rationalization of one?s state or a systematization of outside reality by a system or a dualistic system that works mostly on polarity. Real freedom is not doing something as long as one accepts responsibility for the outcomes or simply doing something based on the merits of the means. It is not a decided course of action but a state, an attitude, and an approach. A worldview. Through living by this sort of freedom, we are free. We are ourselves and not neurotic. We do not with to transcend since we do not yearn for some sort of security in another. We love and maintain ties with the world around us, which make up our efforts and place goals and priorities in our actions.

Real freedom is that. It is knowing this, acting by it, and holding it as a value and belief knowing that those beliefs are really meaningless since to be free is to be outside of meaning and values.

I tried to organize that so it flows. I think it?s a worthwhile read, even with the concentrations of thought-provoking threads appearing here on ATOT lately.

Cheers ! : )
 

wQuay

Senior member
Nov 19, 2000
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Good job. Now give your thoughts some structure :p

As for me, I believe the simplest definition of freedom is the ability to do what you believe is right, but respecting everyone else's right to do the same.
 

b0mbrman

Lifer
Jun 1, 2001
29,471
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<< Good job. Now give your thoughts some structure :p
As for me, I believe the simplest definition of freedom is the ability to do what you believe is right, but respecting everyone else's right to do the same.
>>


I think the best definition I've ever heard of freedom goes something like this: "There's only one inherent right and that's the right to do as you damn well please...but with this right comes the only inherent responsibility--to accept the consequences for what you've done"

It was in someone's sig, anyone know the source?
 

linuxboy

Elite Member
Oct 9, 1999
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Now give your thoughts some structure

I did; I think. It starts off with a defintion of the problem, some possible solutions, then a proposed defintion of a solution, a defense of said solution, followed by a definition of a term, and lastly summarized by a pithy 2-3 sentences for those who do not want to wade and read through my thought.

I mean... Do you want me to make this like those aweful 5-paragraph essay deals? I think those are unnatural. Plus, this closely resembles my speech patters. Ah well, point notes, I'll do a better job in the future.

freedom is the ability to do what you believe is right, but respecting everyone else's right to do the same.

This begs the question of "what is right". If it's a matter os simple subjective belief, then this gets us to a big problem I have not been able to resolve, that of a limits placed on human beings and the origin of those beliefs and what those beliefs entail and what it means to have maguage and all sorts of good stuff. Respecting everyone else is also kinda iffy to me. What does respect entail? Is it concrete action? Is it simply a state of mind or being? What sort of thing is it?

Thanks for the thought, but I think I addressed this idea with my post with my whole notion of subjective valuation.

Cheers ! :)
 

linuxboy

Elite Member
Oct 9, 1999
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There's only one inherent right and that's the right to do as you damn well please...but with this right comes the only inherent responsibility--to accept the consequences for what you've done"

I enjoy quotations since much thought usually gies into making the words have emphasis but I must disagree. If one chooses to do whatever one wants, then the consequences are the limiting factors. Therefore, it is not a true freedom. It is rather reminiscent of the Greek idea of a nomos being a cultural sort of limitation that eventually is part of us and goes into our decision making process. This creates tension and conflict. This is not true freedom but it expresses some notions similar to the idea of accepting responsibility for all of one's actions, no matter what they may be. We are still in polarities and we are still ourselves. We are still then neurotic and want to go beyond and are restricted. We are therefore not really free, even though it may look that way.

Cheers ! :)
 

Kadarin

Lifer
Nov 23, 2001
44,303
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<< It reeks of the old homunculus residing in he depths of our minds, waiting to be liberated by science. That is not what I mean. The true self is a state of experiencing and perceiving the world. It is a state of being and awareness. >>



You, my friend, have been taking too many philosophy classes... By chance your name isn't Curtis, is it? I know a guy named Curtis who thinks the way you do.. :)
 

Amused

Elite Member
Apr 14, 2001
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Freedom is inherent. It always exists in the absence of oppression/repression. It cannot be given, as it always exists as the default. Freedom can only be left alone, or taken away by oneself, or someone else.

Anything else on the subject is superfluous, as it is just varying degrees of what I've covered above.
 

tweakmm

Lifer
May 28, 2001
18,436
4
0
very nice read linuxboy :)




<< The true self is what we get to once we realize that what we?ve been told are lies, and what we think is a lie, and what we will continue to think is yet another lie. The true self is what we get to once we relive the pain and agony and heal the wounds that are present in our hearts and selves. The true self is the one that wants to maintain that web of connections in good order but objectification and dualism still makes us reject that in order to gain some sort of certainty by working in our own defined system, and not the system in which we are born. The true self is what we get to when we realize that nihilism or a sort of desperate existential cry will result in the answer of an indifferent universe. When we experience that, we know what is means to be redeemed and to know what it is to live. It?s really love. >>


I agree completely.

this sounds like it has a basis from budhism
 

linuxboy

Elite Member
Oct 9, 1999
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too many philosophy classes... By chance your name isn't Curtis, is it? I know a guy named Curtis who thinks the way you do..

If love of wisdom is a crime, you might as well charge me with a felony and haul my arse off to prison. No, I am not named Curtis, although I would love to meet this fellow if his thought resembles my own. PM me?

Freedom is inherent. It always exists in the absence of oppression/repression. It cannot be given, as it always exists as the default. Freedom can only be left alone, or taken away by oneself, or someone else.

Ok, then this is not true freedom since it can stop existing, right? Then if it can stop existing is it really inherent? If so, do you mean it just doesn't "surface" or we are not cognizant of it? I'm a little befuddled. And ad absurdum tells me you do "not exist" since you state that something inherent can be taken away by another...

Cheers ! :)
 

wQuay

Senior member
Nov 19, 2000
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<< This begs the question of "what is right". >>



For me? The Bible. But I won't kill someone who disagrees. I might consider killing someone who demanded the changing of my belief.



<< Is it simply a state of mind or being? >>



I think so, but it manifests itself in manners and actions.

Honestly, I don't think it's possible to achieve a completely precise definition. I just look around my life and ask "Am I free?" If the answer is "no", then "Is that good or bad?"
 

Amused

Elite Member
Apr 14, 2001
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<< too many philosophy classes... By chance your name isn't Curtis, is it? I know a guy named Curtis who thinks the way you do..

If love of wisdom is a crime, you might as well charge me with a felony and haul my arse off to prison. No, I am not named Curtis, although I would love to meet this fellow if his thought resembles my own. PM me?

Freedom is inherent. It always exists in the absence of oppression/repression. It cannot be given, as it always exists as the default. Freedom can only be left alone, or taken away by oneself, or someone else.

Ok, then this is not true freedom since it can stop existing, right? Then if it can stop existing is it really inherent? If so, do you mean it just doesn't "surface" or we are not cognizant of it? I'm a little befuddled. And ad absurdum tells me you do "not exist" since you state that something inherent can be taken away by another...

Cheers ! :)
>>



Any inherent thing can be oppressed or repressed. Even life itself. BUT, if it exists as the default in all cases (as freedom does) than it is inherent. Any time the oppression or repression is removed, freedom emerges. If there never is oppression or repression, freedom is always there.

In other words, it takes ACTION to stop freedom. But freedom exists as the default when no action is taken.

Understand?
 

b0mbrman

Lifer
Jun 1, 2001
29,471
1
81


<< There's only one inherent right and that's the right to do as you damn well please...but with this right comes the only inherent responsibility--to accept the consequences for what you've done"
I enjoy quotations since much thought usually gies into making the words have emphasis but I must disagree. If one chooses to do whatever one wants, then the consequences are the limiting factors. Therefore, it is not a true freedom. It is rather reminiscent of the Greek idea of a nomos being a cultural sort of limitation that eventually is part of us and goes into our decision making process. This creates tension and conflict. This is not true freedom but it expresses some notions similar to the idea of accepting responsibility for all of one's actions, no matter what they may be. We are still in polarities and we are still ourselves. We are still then neurotic and want to go beyond and are restricted. We are therefore not really free, even though it may look that way.
Cheers ! :)
>>


No...think about it. Suppose the penalty for shooting a bull is a fine of $100.

Now, that's a pretty hardcore punishment but if you've got a gun and the bull you want shot is in front of you, that fine doesn't put up an impenetrable wall around you...Hell, you can shoot bulls till the cows come home but be ready for the consequences.

But I understand what you're saying about it affecting the decision-making process. I think where it's really at is in the middle of the quote and what you're saying...

People still have freedom whether or not to follow the law but it's better to look at *how much* they'll follow the law.

Not looking at any other factor, say that the satisfaction you get from shooting a bull is worth $110 to you. Then you'll shoot that bull...If the satisfaction of shooting that bull is $90, you won't shoot that bull.

Everyone has their own values. Freedom leaves the decision up to you to follow the law or not...

It can sort of be applied to every law/right but I'm sure it gets weird...

Bleh...furthermore, this reply of mine has gone in circles and has stopped making sense...stupid studying for stupid midterm :|

Cheers
b0mbrman
 

Elledan

Banned
Jul 24, 2000
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There is no 'freedom'. Freedom is the name we have given to a large collection of 'freedoms', all different, many targeting different things in life.

You can not give one definition for 'freedom' because it's so fractured.
 

navyrn

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Jul 13, 2000
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People are mixing up freedom and justice. Seperate them and see what happens.

Freedom is the absence of restraints. What ever that restaint is...jail, depression, boxer shorts.

This is a very individual and relative concept. One person can accept his state of affairs and not feel any loss. Another in the exact same position may feel closed in and without choice.

Now justice is a whole other conversation. Americans spout on and on about their freedoms and then blend that into whats "fair" i.e. justice. Society as a whole determines what is acceptable behavior. Sorry, but majority rules. What was acceptable 10 years ago is not now and vice versa. When someone makes a choice that choice is compared to what is acceptable and what is not by contemporary standards. Justice is the direction that the compass points. That compass could be legal or moral. All in all it is a human concept that is ever changing. You don't see a salmon scream about his freedom being stripped when a big bear snatched his butt out of the water. That fish doesnt continue by pointing out the injutice of being dinner...The bear thinks the whole thing is cool.
 

Amused

Elite Member
Apr 14, 2001
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<< There is no 'freedom'. Freedom is the name we have given to a large collection of 'freedoms', all different, many targeting different things in life.

You can not give one definition for 'freedom' because it's so fractured.
>>



:confused:

Freedom is a lack of restriction; the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action. Period. Anything else is just a variation of this central meaning.

Freedom is NOT that hard to understand, nor is it so dangerous as many would have us believe.
 

Ornery

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
20,022
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The Liberty Manifesto
by P. J. O'Rourke May 6, 1993
  • "...And the Clinton administration launched an attack on people in Texas because those people were religious nuts with guns. Hell, this country was founded by religious nuts with guns. Who does Bill Clinton think stepped ashore on Plymouth Rock? Peace Corps volunteers? Or maybe the people in Texas were attacked because of child abuse. But, if child abuse was the issue, why didn't Janet Reno tear-gas Woody Allen?"
 

Josephus

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Feb 11, 2002
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Freedom is the ability to stop between stimulus and response and choose..

Freedom is not allowing your circumstances to control your state of mind...
 

Moonbeam

Elite Member
Nov 24, 1999
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I am bound by blood to take my Mom to dinner today, so the prison of time removes my freedom to respond more fully.
 

Elledan

Banned
Jul 24, 2000
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<<

<< There is no 'freedom'. Freedom is the name we have given to a large collection of 'freedoms', all different, many targeting different things in life.

You can not give one definition for 'freedom' because it's so fractured.
>>



:confused:

Freedom is a lack of restriction; the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action. Period. Anything else is just a variation of this central meaning.

Freedom is NOT that hard to understand, nor is it so dangerous as many would have us believe.
>>


But what kind of restriction or constraint?

Just look at individual freedom vs. the freedom of a group of people. They're two different things, which often interfere.

Some things benefit a whole group of people, yet interfere with personal freedom, e.g., wearing an ID-card.
 

Amused

Elite Member
Apr 14, 2001
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<<

<< There is no 'freedom'. Freedom is the name we have given to a large collection of 'freedoms', all different, many targeting different things in life.

You can not give one definition for 'freedom' because it's so fractured.
>>



:confused:

Freedom is a lack of restriction; the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action. Period. Anything else is just a variation of this central meaning.

Freedom is NOT that hard to understand, nor is it so dangerous as many would have us believe.
>>




<< But what kind of restriction or constraint? >>


Any kind. Do you have a reason to make this more complicated than it need be?


<< Just look at individual freedom vs. the freedom of a group of people. They're two different things, which often interfere. >>


No, there is no such thing as "group freedom." Freedom is an individual thing. The freedom of the group is defined by the freedom of each individual in the group.


<< Some things benefit a whole group of people, yet interfere with personal freedom, e.g., wearing an ID-card. >>


Freedom is not "benefit." Freedom has nothing to do with benefits or consequences, as freedom can produce both. If you nanny a group, and restrict individual freedom (the only freedom there is) freedom is then restricted. Period.

"Group freedom" is socialist nonsense. There is no such thing. A group cannot be more, or less free than the individuals in it.
 

Moonbeam

Elite Member
Nov 24, 1999
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The relationship I would explore, had I the time, would be that which Amused calls default and linuxboy proposes as related to the true self. Both imply some sort of 'background radiation'.
 

"I am bound by blood to take my Mom to dinner today, so the prison of time removes my freedom to respond more fully."

That's nice of you, Moonbeam. Wanna take me to dinner today, Moonbeam? You know, I want to be able to respond to Linuxboy at a convenient time. So, tell me your plans! ;) Hehehe! :D

Well, on a serious note: I will make efforts to respond later. I have read the first paragraph and the immediate sentence only. So far, my mind is just wondering where this going. Personally, I do not believe in natural rights. I am not a realist on this aspect for partly the reasons pointed out by Linuxboy. My view kinda of mimicks John Mill's utilitarianism on this aspect of liberty. I know there are flaws in the "harm principles", but that makes more sense to me for justiying the rights we decree/assert. Talk to you all later.
 

Elledan

Banned
Jul 24, 2000
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<< "Group freedom" is socialist nonsense. There is no such thing. A group cannot be more, or less free than the individuals in it. >>


If someone is part of a group, s/he is constrained by the (unwritten) rules in that group. A group constrains the freedom of an individual.

Yet this 'sacrifice' of personal freedom is compensated by the newly gained freedom: the ability to do things which were previously impossible.
 

Amused

Elite Member
Apr 14, 2001
55,851
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<<

<< "Group freedom" is socialist nonsense. There is no such thing. A group cannot be more, or less free than the individuals in it. >>


If someone is part of a group, s/he is contrained by the (unwritten) rules in that group. A group constrains the freedom of an individual.

Yet this 'sacrifice' of personal freedom is compensated by the newly gained freedom: the ability to do things which were previously impossible.
>>



Ability is not freedom, just as benefits aren't freedom. If freedom is restricted to gain an ability. Than freedom is restricted. Period.

Again, you're over complicating this.