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WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 22, 2014
 
Define 'freedom' and you get a number of different answers all suitable for a college philosophy course. So with a term so tough to define - how do we know if we are experiencing it? The simple answer, of course, is making an analogue to love - but then, we are truly free to love?

A simple and straightforward definition as I see freedom is this: freedom is the ability to choose B instead of A. Let me rephrase that as - that is the freedom we have though it may be so much more. Choosing B over A, without fear, and condemnation - though curiously, our selection of A or B is - at least in political elections, done anonymously, behind a closed curtain. Its as if to say that while we are free to choose B, its best we do it anonymously. So are we free?

Democracy is precisely the choice between A and B, and many will criticize this with saying that - particularly when concerning elections - that two options are hardly options. Democracy without freedom is the choice of A or B, where a choice in B has dire consequences. Freedom without democracy is not conceivable - at least by me.

Full freedom is A, B or whatever else you want - in which the whatever will largely and often be ignored as it encompasses a category too large and varied for it to ever form a possible chance at majority - a C. So unless you want to waste your choice - its A or B. But you are free to pick - behind a curtain though where others won't see.

The more interesting thought is the C that rallies together to form a larger C. That C, though, must still operate under the rules and guidelines set forth by A and B, or risk being undemocratic. Paradoxically this excludes a C whose sole definition is to undermine and overturn the democratic process. Those Cs cannot participate. that form of C is largely suppressed - and perhaps rightly so because if they acquired any power they would remove A and B, and there would only be C. So we cannot allow the freedom to be C - its a dangerous freedom. Even if its behind a curtain.

Which leads me to conclude that while we are free, we are only free to the point where we cannot destroy our own freedom.

And if you don't want to call that freedom, you can at least call it organized.
Comments

Salbandino

Salbandino

2008-12-08 02:13:30

Next time you are given a choice between A or B. Make the decision random, say by flipping a coin. As you know, at the precise moment that the decision is made for you by the result of the coin toss, you will instantly feel happy that the coin "picked" what you wanted or sad that it didn't. If you feel happy with the decision, ignore that feeling and flip the coin again. Once you flip the coin and feel that instantaneous regret that the coin did not chose what you wanted, go with the coin toss. Keep doing this with nearly all your decisions. You will be free once you are fed up with this process and never want to flip a coin again - not because you always chose the toss that leads to regret, but because you let randomness even become a part of the process in the first place.
REPLIES: alishahnovin

alishahnovin

alishahnovin

2008-12-08 02:23:17

Replying to Salbandino:
It's curious that you wrote about a coin toss... everything that spawned my stream of thought was from a book that I'm reading. And it argues the point that originally, we had Kings. And the biggest problem with when the King would die is that we didn't know who would be the successor to power, and became prone to civil warfare. So then the King would choose a successor - his first born son. But then the problem arose that there's really no way to know that the son will be a good ruler. And so people were given choice of someone amongst themselves - to choose who will lead them. And even though they were choosing, they still had no real way of knowing whether the one they chose would be a good ruler. And while you may have more information about the person before you make the decision, it's all still one big coin toss.

richard

richard

2008-12-11 22:10:26

I feel like I almost understand what you're getting at here, but you've left it deliberately ambiguous and it's bugging me. You're obviously talking about governments on some level, but I'm having trouble following this whole A vs. B + C thing. I can't tell if its some kind of dig at the Hegemony of the two-and-a-half party system, or a dig at the Bloc Quebecois, or if it's about something totally different and I'm just projecting Canadian issues onto it.
REPLIES: alishahnovin

alishahnovin

alishahnovin

2008-12-11 22:21:59

Replying to richard:
Hmmm... that's actually a pretty interesting take on who A and B are. To be perfectly honest, I did my best to leave the labels as generic as possible, and my argument the same. At best, A represents the current majority in power, B represents the slightly smaller, but ever growing minority that is gaining recognition, and C represents the more extreme. So I guess the fact that you saw it as a dig at a particular political party, as opposed to say a racial majority/minority, or social majority/minority, makes me feel like I succeeded in my leaving it ambiguous.



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