Freedom

 
Brick Bungalow
 
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Brick Bungalow
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23 March 2019 00:58
 

Most people I converse with express an explicit or implied appreciation of freedom. Many people seem to view it as an unalloyed good or first principle. I think the founding documents of the USA reflect such an attitude. I love freedom as a concept and as an experience.

What it is it though? Do its various connotations have some important unity? I’d prefer personal reflections here over google searches or dictionary entries. 

At first pass it seems like the lack of constraint. It also seems like the maximization of choice. In practical experience I think these two things are often in competition. Further, both of these attributes are essentially external and for this reason might miss something critical.

I have no conclusions but currently I feel like freedom is mainly, mostly and most often a matter of disposition. It’s about attention and resourcefulness and mindfulness. It’s also about circumstance and resources but to a lesser degree.

Thanks!

 
Jb8989
 
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Jb8989
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23 March 2019 04:02
 
Brick Bungalow - 23 March 2019 12:58 AM

Most people I converse with express an explicit or implied appreciation of freedom. Many people seem to view it as an unalloyed good or first principle. I think the founding documents of the USA reflect such an attitude. I love freedom as a concept and as an experience.

What it is it though? Do its various connotations have some important unity? I’d prefer personal reflections here over google searches or dictionary entries. 

At first pass it seems like the lack of constraint. It also seems like the maximization of choice. In practical experience I think these two things are often in competition. Further, both of these attributes are essentially external and for this reason might miss something critical.

I have no conclusions but currently I feel like freedom is mainly, mostly and most often a matter of disposition. It’s about attention and resourcefulness and mindfulness. It’s also about circumstance and resources but to a lesser degree.

Thanks!

I think you hit the nail on the head. Even if one lived the most boring seditantry life, there’s something about the choice to get up and explore the world that nobody wants gone.

 
 
icehorse
 
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icehorse
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23 March 2019 09:22
 

The first two things that came to mind:

1 - It’s possible to have too many choices, the “tyranny of choice” is a real thing that causes stress.
2 - I think one aspect of freedom is the ability to live in a way that’s consistent with what one values.

 
 
Jefe
 
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Jefe
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24 March 2019 07:23
 
icehorse - 23 March 2019 09:22 AM

2 - I think one aspect of freedom is the ability to live in a way that’s consistent with what one values.

/raised-eyebrow

 
 
Jan_CAN
 
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Jan_CAN
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24 March 2019 08:11
 

In addition to freedom of movement and autonomy in our personal lives, I think that what many people who have been fortunate to have been born in free countries often take for granted is the freedom from fear.  Fear of arrest or censure for criticizing government or exercising freedom of expression, both privately and publicly.  Fear and anxiety that results from the inevitable conflicts and violence that often arise in non-free countries.

Since freedom is contingent on the right to vote in fair elections, it is discouraging that so many citizens do not exercise this right that so many others have fought and died for.

 
 
Twissel
 
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Twissel
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24 March 2019 08:28
 

your freedom is inversely proportional to your potential impact on the world.

 
 
Jb8989
 
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Jb8989
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24 March 2019 14:29
 
icehorse - 23 March 2019 09:22 AM

1 - It’s possible to have too many choices, the “tyranny of choice” is a real thing that causes stress.

You hear some psychologists talking in terms of decision overload and decision fatigue.

 
 
Jb8989
 
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Jb8989
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24 March 2019 14:46
 
Jan_CAN - 24 March 2019 08:11 AM

In addition to freedom of movement and autonomy in our personal lives, I think that what many people who have been fortunate to have been born in free countries often take for granted is the freedom from fear.  Fear of arrest or censure for criticizing government or exercising freedom of expression, both privately and publicly.  Fear and anxiety that results from the inevitable conflicts and violence that often arise in non-free countries.

Since freedom is contingent on the right to vote in fair elections, it is discouraging that so many citizens do not exercise this right that so many others have fought and died for.

Constitutional free speech, assembly and press were built on the idea that challenging governments prevented tyranny. I always thought it was a genius concept.

Fear is a basic emotion. Hesitation amplified is apprehension, apprehension amped up is fear, and fear on steroids is terror.  Politician’s make hay with these guys.The most successful one’s know, even if they’re not aware of it, that the opposite of fear is anger, not love, but getting people to conflate fear with admiration = votes.  Get caught or lose trust and you automatically get anger.

[ Edited: 24 March 2019 14:48 by Jb8989]
 
 
TwoSeven1
 
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TwoSeven1
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27 March 2019 09:35
 

In the U.S., we don’t have complete freedom, but we do have liberty.  To live under a law is to not have freedom.

I believe the word freedom is chosen over liberty often because freedom is the ideal.

 
icehorse
 
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icehorse
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27 March 2019 14:42
 
TwoSeven1 - 27 March 2019 09:35 AM

In the U.S., we don’t have complete freedom, but we do have liberty.  To live under a law is to not have freedom.

I believe the word freedom is chosen over liberty often because freedom is the ideal.

Let me see if I can rephrase this and catch your drift: On the continuum, absolute freedom is at one end, and liberty is a compromise between absolute freedom and living in a society with laws. correct? If so, maybe that’s a useful distinction.

Perhaps relatedly is the idea that freedoms are zero sum. When one freedom is granted, it usually comes at the expense of something else. So my freedom of expression might come at the expense of someone else’s “freedom to not be offended”.

 
 
TwoSeven1
 
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TwoSeven1
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27 March 2019 15:51
 
icehorse - 27 March 2019 02:42 PM
TwoSeven1 - 27 March 2019 09:35 AM

In the U.S., we don’t have complete freedom, but we do have liberty.  To live under a law is to not have freedom.

I believe the word freedom is chosen over liberty often because freedom is the ideal.

Let me see if I can rephrase this and catch your drift: On the continuum, absolute freedom is at one end, and liberty is a compromise between absolute freedom and living in a society with laws. correct? If so, maybe that’s a useful distinction.

Perhaps relatedly is the idea that freedoms are zero sum. When one freedom is granted, it usually comes at the expense of something else. So my freedom of expression might come at the expense of someone else’s “freedom to not be offended”.

Yeah, you could describe it that way.

I think the most important distinction is directly related to laws.  Total freedom requires no constraints, while liberty is a term to describe a state of being within constraints.

 
Brick Bungalow
 
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Brick Bungalow
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28 March 2019 23:17
 

Thanks.

My current thinking is that freedom in its different connotations is actually different things. Or, rather the differences are more significant than the unity. At least for the organization of my priorities.

Freedom from obligation and constraint are more something I imagine I want. Freedom to participate in social activities and consume goods that require a majority to observe certain obligations and constraints are what I really want. At least this the desire that my actions seem to communicate.

 
ImSeriously
 
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ImSeriously
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28 February 2020 13:44
 

True freedom is probably just an ideal, never a reality (free-will blah blah, you know). As per icehorse’s analysis, liberty is probably as close as one can get to the ideal of freedom, and liberty necessarily requires constraints on freedom, aka laws. If I’m free to kill you, your freedom to live might be diminished. Seems the only way to make people truly free, is to isolate them from each other. This way, nothing I could do would pose any constraint on what you could do. If we share an environment, we are bound to share rules. This is all political freedom though. There are a host of much more innate physical and biological constraints at play, that make a much greater impact on our perceived freedom. I can, for instance, conceive of a future where we are far more free than we are now, and almost all of those freedoms supersede our politics. Let’s say genetic engineering is in the bag, and not only changeable and locked in at birth, but mutable throughout one’s lifetime. Imagine being bored enough with yourself now, to utterly become someone/something else. Imagine only having to die when you are just sick of living, or being able to change the circumstances of your existence to the degree that you never see the need to die. I don’t think these are impossible in principle, we simply lack the technology. And that, to me, is the greatest barrier between us, and more freedom.