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Submitted on
March 16, 2011


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Freedom is overrated

Journal Entry: Wed Mar 16, 2011, 6:44 AM

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You know, how the word "freedom" gets thrown around a lot. Everyone's fighting for this apex concept of human existence, pursue it in all forms. Freedom is always connotated as something unquestionably and undoubtly good, the goal of all goals.

I don't believe freedom actually exists. At least not in the sense most people think of freedom.

What is freedom? Can you touch it, feel it, evaluate it? What kind of freedom do we think about when we say we want to be free - physical, emotional, mental, societal, juridical, political, spiritual or all those combined? Is it really attainable, ever?

Problem with the whole concept here is, that freedom is but an illusion. We are all bound up in the tight wrapping of many factors ruling our lives, starting from laws of physics and continuing with the specifics of the functioning of the human psyche.
The latter is very important to realize the basical fault of all "fights for freedom". Every person is inevitably constrained by his own mind - and the choices he makes. Every person is influenced by outside circumstances and other people. The whole idea of freedom is actualy anti-free: it prohibits the person from not accepting it. The field where a human can operate with more or lesser degree of freedom is abysmally small. You're allowed to chose the brand of coffee to drink in the morning. You're allowed to vote for a select few candidates to represent the government that directs your life - or not vote at all and be all "anarchistic". You're allowed to change your position in space - with several restrictions, though.
However, in the real practice of real life, your freedom is actually continuosly assaulted and violated, thanks to the social contract of the society you live in. There is a price to pay for certain acts of free will - and there are rewards for stifling it.
Your own mind is repressing you. Tons of ideas that go through are heads are mostly described as weighing risks of following our natural desires, and once the risk is assesed by the mind to be bigger than the reward, we reluctantly brush it away and never do, never achieve, never stand up.

For our own benefit, to be fair.

In a political sense, it's all the same. There is no "free" world. There is no totalitarism or opression. There are only sated people and starving people. High levels of living, the multitudes of choices creates a delusion about the idea of a free will. We like to think that we are free because we can choose between 4894 colors of bedsheets, and that we can not fear retribution for calling the leader of our regime a moron. In this simplistic, twisted view we think that this is the epitome of human freedom, of spiritual openess... In contrary to those who's choices are more limited. But the underlying structure is still present - we function along a social contract, that limits "freedom" in return for stability and survival.

On a personal level, it's even worse. People are obsessed with themselves, perpetually battling their insecurities, setbacks, differences, trying to reach compromise and consensus within their own minds. Where is freedom in that, freedom from oneself? There is none. Even the last person on earth, with all his physical and societal freedom, wouldn't be free - forever trapped within the workings of his psyche, his ideas and hopes, and fears.

I know I'm not free, and it doesn't bother me. Doesn't upset me, for it's the natural order of things. Wild animals, which we love to portray as spirits of wilderness and freedom, in reality function along the strictest of codes written down in the proteins of their bodies. We're not free from our bodies either, from the bones and flesh that demand care, watch and guard, day after day.
But taking this all into account, people think that freedom is a vehicle to take responsibility from them, an anarchistic "order" where you can do everything and not be held accountable for it. Where you can splash your personality everywhere and unto anyone, a childish mentality of a spoiled brat. Look at those who yell "Give us freedom to /insert verb/!" They demand something from others. They can't create it themselves, they need to stomp on one thing in order to achieve their own. That's not what freedom is. That's being gripped by delusion. In the end, every "freedom" impedes on some other "freedom".

Law impedes on the freedom of a killer to kill. Religion impedes on another religion. Demands for equality impede on those who don't desire it. Etc.

Ergo, there is no freedom.

Only varying degrees of slackness in the vice-like jaws of reality.

  • Listening to: Daft Punk - "End of Line"
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I like the way you think and I see your point. But I don't believe the concept of freedom is overrated, I think it's misunderstood.

As you mentioned, freedom is not achievable and it never wil be. It is a paradoxal concept. On the other hand, freedom would be the ultimate style of living if it existed.

Freedom is ungraspable because of the very nature of the human race. We all want to be the strongest, the winner and we want the best for ourselves. There is no way we could create the perfect society for everybody if everybody wants to win every time. I'm not saying we should give up that attitude, because we can't.

I believe that freedom is for many a aubconcious substitute for a god to believe in. It is the idol of western society.
I love how systematically and efficiently you think sir. surely the closest to any tangible sense of 'freedom' though would be the first millisecond after the kill of a man, where you've broken the final taboo of your society, before you forfeit it all into your most restricted for the remainder of your (potentially) short life.
In the end the fight "for freedom", be it freedom to or freedom of, it a fight for or against power. The power to do what one likes to do, and the mightier ones being in no position that allows them to abuse their power against those below them. Abuse here being defined as conuterproductive to the intended purpose of their position of power.

This leads to the ironic observation that one has the most freedom when everyone plays by the same basic rules and abides the law, given the laws are just. Problem is just that most people are too immature to accept that this also means they have to do honest work, have to meet requirents and most of all, have to take a justified no for an answer. Too many then instead proceed to attack or ignore the justification and the no.

Freedom from oneself is something that can theoretically be reached, since it is possible to gain some control over one's brain functions and switch some of them off, it would even be possible to permanently remove them.
And I am speaking from a position of personal experience here, I can switch off my brain's ability to feel angst for example, delete entire trains of thought by consciously ordering the neurons to disconnect and to delete the related stored information, both of which provides me with quite a bit of personal freedom.
I have also experimented with freedom from emotions alltogether but it did not fulfill my soul's desire for beauty since I was no longer able to percieve it in it's depths. I guess I could also alter my soul's desire but then it would contradict my destiny and I would get bad karma, unless I manage to get reassigned to another destiny but I like the one I currently have. (my beliefs in a nutshell).
Yes, I can teach you if you want and No, I am not in a sect.
I thought that this was common knowledge.

But, the difference here is that people 'usually' define freedom as not a literal freedom, but as a constrained one- a connotation of the term, if you would.

There are popular freedoms- the freedom to voice your opinion, to criticize, to express oneself nonviolently, and then the unpopular freedoms of murder, rape, theft, and so on, which are repressed. Note that, of course, these actions are considered destructive and detrimental to a modern functioning society; we do not value the ability to pass along genes as much as we do the ability to provide for those genes. You can see that in a lot of animals, really.

In other words, no one really minds being a slave to their biology, to the laws of physics, and mathematical concepts. What people do mind is having their freedoms taken away with nothing given in return.

But that's just another view.

"There is no totalitarism [sic] or opression [sic]."

On a biological, cosmic level? Hell if I know. If it does exist, then I've learned to cope with it, and so have you, and every other human being on this planet.

However, you're using "freedom" as a blanket term. I am not free to simply discard my body, float around as a bizarre spirit, and possess rocks or trees or whatever and make them move. But that's a limit of my biology. If I walk to a store, and told I cannot purchase goods or services due to some arbitration- "you're 24, over 6'0" and male"- that is a social construct, which, if not present, I could be free to surpass.

But ultimately, freedom is so nuanced, you might want to take it in pieces- political freedom, economic freedom, social freedom, and so on.
You just got Neon Genesis Evangelion as fuck on us right here. FUCKING THIS IS ABSOLUTE FREEDOM SHINJI.

Also, I'm free to freely allow my mind to oppress me. BAM, THEREFORE I'M FREE. JUST GOT FUCKING DESCARTES ON YO ASS, NIGGA. By accepting this shit as law, don't you become somewhat free or least free-er in a sense? Something chew down on, I dunno. It's a subjective term. Really.

Ok I'm sorry, it's late and I'm listening to the Panty Stocking OST at full blast, don't get mad at me bro.
Doctiloquent Mar 18, 2011
Been reading much epiphenomenalism lately? Let the masses to their illusion of freedom, there is seemingly nothing on earth that can convince a moron of determinism. I wasted a good deal of today just trying to get them to understand the concept.
Nosvertu Mar 17, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Pft, who wants freedom? What I and most other societal member with a mind for the self wants, of course, is power. Why have your freedom oppress a few other freedoms, when you can overrule them all?
Dosvidania Mar 17, 2011   General Artist
"What we want is not freedom but its appearances. It is for these simulacra that man has always striven. And since freedom, as has been said, is no more than a sensation, what difference is there between being free and believing ourselves free?"
E. M. Cioran
Twista-Lolita Mar 17, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
God, I love your journals. Your discussions on philosophical matter like you have such described above is refreshing. I'm so glad that there's people online with some actual intelligence.
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