Expansive Freedom: Inside Out

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Expansive Freedom: Inside Out

Postby BadgerJelly on October 2nd, 2020, 1:03 am 

Civilisation has freed humanity to pursue many ventures unobtainable outside the realm of civil society. But is this realm simply a prison within which freedom can flourish? Does our self-imprisonment within sedentary society, walled in, tied to social norms, allow freedom to grow harder, stronger and faster than it would in an unwalled, unbound life where the norm is merely what you choose it to be? I believe this to be the general case.

If you don’t then the rest is going to be hard to swallow, but I’ll try and fortify this point a little. From a logical perspective it is legitimate to say that any outward expansion of humanity (be this in terms of personal worth, flourishing, success and/or advancement) requires a position from which to ‘expand beyond’. This is clearly one primary aspect of civilisation. The social norms of a collective group anchors humanity in order to allow it to expand from a universally accepted position ... this is our ‘judgement’ brought into the world: in terms of our ‘advances’/‘flourishing’.

None of the above is an attempt to ‘remake’ civil society or pretend that humans are non-social creatures. It is a means to reimagine how we think about our position within society, the ‘freedom’ we’ve lost, and the ‘freedom’ we’ve gained by sacrificing personal freedoms (be this willingly or otherwise; as we’re born into our situations not asked to sign up for any social contract). It may well be worth considering that ‘freedom’ itself, in this respect, is a creation born within civil society by adding stronger identities to the skilled and knowledgeable people within any given group.

This is something that is related to Rawls ideas on ‘Justice’. Rawls argued that idealised versions of equality in society are unrealistic and detrimental to humanity as a whole. He asks people to think about the least of the fruits of life we’d be happy with. As no human is ‘equal’ we’re led to the often uneasy conclusion that some people are better off with more resources than others are. A trained carpenter paying less for wood to do their work than a metalworker is ‘better’ for everyone in the long run. Such inequalities are beneficial for societies at large (and I hope it doesn’t take too much imagination to see how far this concept can spread to all areas of human activity and thought).

With all the above said what use is this to us today where such inequalities look to have got out of control? What political movements could possibly work with such a view of the human experience?

This is the difficult task I make no claims to have solved or even explored the implications of fully.

My first approach is to tackle the question of ‘resources’. This is framed in the modern concept of ‘economics,’ yet that term is almost completely suffused with the abstraction of ‘money’ and ‘material wealth’ as the moving force of what matters. The actual ‘resources’ have been imprisoned within the same walls we built to expand our individual freedoms at the cost of others freedoms within the realm of domesticated humans - if you find this hard to believe as a realistic view of the state of humanity just look out of your window and pick out ONE part of the view that isn’t dominated by the will of humans (the window itself would be the starting point as would the farce of ‘forest’ captured in the idealistic frame of the humble park). We have, as a species, locked ourselves into a dialogue with our constructions and even communicate via our constructions. What gave us our ‘expansive freedom’ initially has led to a deadening of our sense of place within the greater world that exists. What is more, for the stunted and rejected that fall into the category of the ‘less free’ within our walled societies, the idea of locking out the world in order to break out with a greater expanse of understanding has perpetuated again and again. We’ve effectively distanced ourselves from the lived world in order to gain a farce of ‘freedom’.

To explain in more depth ... our initial sacrifices that led to greater expanses of ‘freedom’ inevitably left groups within the walled confines of this ‘freedom realm’ to be stuck and at least partly destitute. The solution for these destitute groups is the very same solution initially taken ... more ‘freedom’ is parcelled up and sacrificed again, and then groups within groups are left destitute again, and so on and so on. The scary point of this is that the further along we travel through human history the more distanced we become from the world we come from (meaning the recognition of the initial sacrifices and measuring that point to every given citizen know breathing). It could be argued that the very people meant to gain the freedom for the betterment of humanity at large have become buried under, and dulled, by sacrifices upon sacrifices to the degree that they’re just as bound as those that were ‘sacrificed’ in the initial phases of this machination.
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Re: Expansive Freedom: Inside Out

Postby charon on October 2nd, 2020, 7:15 am 

You can't have freedom and society both. Either one belongs or one does not.
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Re: Expansive Freedom: Inside Out

Postby BadgerJelly on October 3rd, 2020, 3:02 am 

charon » October 2nd, 2020, 7:15 pm wrote:You can't have freedom and society both. Either one belongs or one does not.


Meaning what? Forgive me but your comment sounds rather blithe and/or dismissive. Care to expand?
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Re: Expansive Freedom: Inside Out

Postby charon on October 3rd, 2020, 6:44 am 

We have to be clear about the meanings and significance of both freedom and society.

Society isn't an abstract, it's an actual living fact. Society is a group of people living in relation to each other. Either that group is different from others culturally, linguistically, and so on, or we're talking about the world as a whole. One could talk about the global society although it doesn't really exist.

Unfortunately, there are so many divisions, and divisions within those divisions, that there's probably no cohesive society. And, if one looks at any particular society, one sees the dysfunction and disorganisation that prevails. There may be water in the taps but that's purely functional. In human terms there's the whole mess that confronts us daily. It would take a very long time to describe everything so I can't, but one can see the basic structure - politics, religions, the establishment, the law, and so on down.

The chief thing is that whatever society one looks at, or lives in, is in a state of chaos. It is disintegrating, just about being held together. There's no wonderful, ordered society, that's putting it simply. And it's like that, essentially, because we can't think straight. There's self-centredness in every sphere, violence, confusion, and so on. Everybody in it is fundamentally only concerned with themselves.

In opposition to this there's all the hand-wringing, talk of improvement and reform, hope for a better world, and so on, but really it's just words, however sincere. They may change this and that but the whole parade just sort of lumbers on year after year.

And the young are told, and expected, to fit into all this. You know, there are women who refuse to bring children into this word because of what it is.

So what is freedom? There's more freedom in the democratic world than anywhere else, which is good, but that's quite a superficial view of freedom. Can one live in freedom as a human being in a particular society? Freedom in that sense isn't being able to come and go, it's far more serious than that.

Now, most of us are mirrors of the society we're in. We espouse the prevailing values, beliefs, traditions, and so on, of our society so we ARE that society. Others have created it and we fit into it and become its slaves. As we think, so society is. If we are violent, greedy, and so on, so will society be. Therefore, if there's to be any radical change in the world, it is we who must change. But, of course, we think that it's up to others, the politicians and authorities to change everything, so nothing happens.

Perhaps some people realise this so there's rebellion. Unfortunately, rebellion doesn't change anything, it's like banging on the prison walls. We can fight for a different government but that changes nothing. We can escape off into strange beliefs, ideologies, but that changes nothing either.

So the problem is to understand freedom. It isn't rebellion, it isn't escapism. It's to have a mind and heart that isn't touched by the chaos that sorrounds it. It's to be innocent in a corrupt world. It's to live without fear. So a free person doesn't belong to anything, no group, no nation, no belief structure, and so on. And, more deeply, not to be self-centered and self-immersed, as most of us are.

Such a person has an entirely different relationship with others. Two inculcated minds in relationship is not actually any relationship at all and it's this fundamental lack of relationship that's at the root of our troubles. From this comes a deep, gnawing loneliness and the rest of it follows.

So freedom is really the only problem we have. Unless and until we are deeply free the confusion will continue, with all the attempts to put it right, which barely touch the surface of it all.

But most of us just carry on. It seems too overwhelming so we don't bother. We're just swept along in the great mass and our children likewise. But there is such a thing as freedom if one cares to work for it. And it's only the free person who really lives, and it's only such a person who can possibly create a new world, a different society.
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Re: Expansive Freedom: Inside Out

Postby BadgerJelly on October 3rd, 2020, 8:45 pm 

Charon -

But ... what do you have to say about the opening post? Was something I said unclear? Do you agree there is a problem with how sedentary life has shut off humanity (domesticated itself) over the millennia?

I thought it was an interesting topic especially in terms of how technology has advanced and the possibility of shifting further away from our historical world life.

The different flavours of society isn’t particularly important. Practically all human life is now surrounded by a human edifice of our own making (remote tribes are obviously rare exceptions).

Thanks
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Re: Expansive Freedom: Inside Out

Postby charon on October 4th, 2020, 3:36 am 

...

But... you asked me to expand and explain what I said in my post, not comment on yours.

But actually I did comment because you said:

... the realm of civil society. But is this realm simply a prison within which freedom can flourish?


Obviously not. Freedom can't flourish in prison. Either one is free or one is not. The question is whether the 'realm of civil society' is a prison. What do you say?

Again you say:

Does our self-imprisonment within sedentary society, walled in, tied to social norms, allow freedom to grow


Obviously not. There's no freedom in prison.

But why do you say self-imprisonment? That's very interesting. If you're saying being a prisoner to society is voluntary - which it might be - then why remain a prisoner?

The answer is interesting too because there are certain benefits to being a prisoner. You have the comforting knowledge you are supported by the structure. But that structure may be corrupt, unhealthy. It may supply your physical needs (or it may not) but what does it do to you inwardly?

The social norms of a collective group anchors humanity in order to allow it to expand


What do you mean by expand? If you expand, and I'm not sure what that means precisely, while anchored, your expansion is still tied and limited by the anchor. Like a man on a desert island. He can build a nice boat but he can only go out so far and then come back again because he's anchored - therefore he never escapes the island.

None of the above is an attempt to ‘remake’ civil society


That's a shame!

It is a means to reimagine how we think about our position within society,


Don't have 'a position in society'! Unless you like being in prison, that is. I promise no one is going to help you leave. On the contrary, they want you to stay there. They need you, it makes them feel good, they can use you, as you use them.

It may well be worth considering that ‘freedom’ itself, in this respect, is a creation born within civil society


But you know very well that freedom is not doing what one likes. It's like having freedom on the desert island, you can go wherever you want, do whatever you like... but you're a prisoner to the island. If you like it, stay there.

Rawls


This is what prisoners do, they philosophise, dream, imagine, invent, go off in their minds somewhere... but they're prisoners.

What political movements could possibly work


All of them, up to a point. But they'll never give freedom, just better or worse conditions.

the idea of locking out the world


You can't lock out the world, it's impossible. What you call 'the world' is you.

We’ve effectively distanced ourselves from the lived world in order to gain a farce of ‘freedom’.


At last! Correct! That's right. Like distancing yourself from the island and imagining you're free. It's lovely, and maybe we need to do it occasionally, but we're not free.

So what's the real problem? Come on, Badger! You're thinking a lot and explaining your ideas but are you really thinking?

The world is you, the island is you, the prison is you, the consciousness is you. Either that consciousness is bound, limited, identified, or it's not. Freedom is when it's not.

Do you see this? Have you read this far? I doubt it.
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Re: Expansive Freedom: Inside Out

Postby BadgerJelly on October 4th, 2020, 9:08 am 

By ‘expand’ and ‘anchor’ I’m referring to expansion as being more efficient when there is a loci of common agreement to work from.

Sedentary life seems to have given us greater freedom to partake in larger and more socially cohesive projects than we’d be able to in scattered nomadic groups. This is the ‘Expansive Freedom’ I meant to highlight.

The term ‘prison’ is used to emphasise the issue - regardless, some people in actual prisons have a greater degee of freedom than others in the same prison (the same can be said of civilisation too).

What interested me most about this thought was that we’ve - to varying degrees - continued to perpetuate this grasping for freedom within prisons, creating new prisons, and then creating other levels of freedom (prisons within prisons, freedoms within freedoms). It just struck me as something that may spark a decent discussion.

A man on an island is free. A man on an island with other humans will not be as free - the social contract insists that we interact (assuming the island isn’t so big no one ever meets!). The irony within all this is to compromise (give up certain degrees of freedom) can actually benefit us greatly in some areas. It is this continued over generations/millennia that intrigues me.
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Re: Expansive Freedom: Inside Out

Postby TheVat on October 4th, 2020, 1:01 pm 

This seems to be flowering into a good Social Contract chat. "My freedom to swing my arms stops at your nose. "

There are degrees of freedom, across multiple definitions.

Heirarchies tend to diminish freedom for many, while the apex residents have more power and choices.

Capitalism tends to produce lots of wage slaves -- it's hard to walk away and build your own cabin in the woods, craft your own stuff. And status often requires getting lots of stuff, in modern consumerist systems. (Minimalism seems to be,
in some aspects, a struggle for freedom in a consumerist society)

Theocracies provide tight mental corsets around all but the most rebellious (and sneaky) personalities. Creativity and sexuality are tightly restricted.

Hunter-gatherers find themselves trapped with a small band of people and few options if they are misfits. The freedom to starve, in a bad year, is always there.

Technophilic industrial societies often trap people in dependence on technology, by means of the sedentary life Badger speaks of -- many Americans really can no longer get themselves around without a car and have to hire people to do yardwork or make even simple home repairs. For them, more freedom might lie in some physical conditioning, and more intellectual empowerment to question all the machinery.

Looking at all those examples, it seems that each has serious constraints on freedom. Greater freedom usually can only be achieved through some unorthodox path to self-sufficiency, and questioning of social rules, examining dogmas, embracing free thinking that cracks apart taboos, and so on. As Sartre said, "Hell is other people."
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Re: Expansive Freedom: Inside Out

Postby charon on October 4th, 2020, 5:57 pm 

questioning of social rules, examining dogmas, embracing free thinking that cracks apart taboos


Precisely.
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Re: Expansive Freedom: Inside Out

Postby BadgerJelly on October 5th, 2020, 12:54 am 

Biv -

Yeah, I hope so.

Allow me tick off some points I’m trying to take a closer, possibly alternative, look at.

There are degrees of freedom, across multiple definitions.


Yes, but not looking to spend too much time explicating some idealisation of the term ‘freedom’ nor muddy the whole affair into an indistinct grey mush. The thrust of what I’ve outlined is suggesting that loss of certain ‘freedoms’ for some people can result in a net profit for people’s at large - the ordination around a given structure allows for stability and a more efficient expansion beyond this (resulting in what I’ve decided to coin as ‘Expansive Freedom,’ which is necessarily brought about by confining some peoples ‘freedoms’ more than others).

I’ve always been very much taken by Orwell’s ‘Freedom is Slavery’ as being a hyperbolic example of what I’m sure we all understand - that is, Freedom doesn’t come freely! There is a cost somewhere along the path.

Heirarchies tend to diminish freedom for many, while the apex residents have more power and choices.


This is looking more towards the current climate perhaps, and focusing in on particular developments within certain confined realms of broader human interest ... ie. your own personal position within your own personal realm that appears as ‘world’ to you. I’m not trying to focus in on any particular instances (unless they are used to clarify a broader point applicable in a more universal sense of ‘Human Politics’).

I’m not going to to argue that some hierarchical systems produce more ‘freedom’ from some than others. I don’t view ‘freedom’ as being something defined by social standing at all - if that is what is being implied - nor by monetary wealth. That is not to say they don’t affect ‘freedom’ just that they are more or less the materials we choose to view the idea of ‘freedom’ through - because we’ve become accustomed to do so doesn’t make it so.

A brief example of this would be to say that an individual possessed by the need to attain monetary status is a prisoner. The fact that more opportunities are practically available to them does not translate into them being willing to take such opportunities or even recognise them.

I am particularly interested in the development of social status though. As mentioned in the opening post a carpenter with greater access to wood is better for everyone in the social setting. The issue that arises here it the title of Carpenter, and how such titles become how we view the world (rather than as a world of multiple resources available we see multiple titles that rule over others - which maybe more true as time passes, but isn’t the initial item that gave rise to such institutional thought).

Maybe that isn’t a very clear explanation of my thoughts? If not press where needed :)

Capitalism tends to produce lots of wage slaves -- it's hard to walk away and build your own cabin in the woods, craft your own stuff. And status often requires getting lots of stuff, in modern consumerist systems. (Minimalism seems to be,
in some aspects, a struggle for freedom in a consumerist society)

Theocracies provide tight mental corsets around all but the most rebellious (and sneaky) personalities. Creativity and sexuality are tightly restricted.

Hunter-gatherers find themselves trapped with a small band of people and few options if they are misfits. The freedom to starve, in a bad year, is always there.


I’m not particularly comfortable talking about instances of social structures i such sweeping terms - I find them to be for more atomised than people realise. That said I do generally agree with the above statements, but would also look to the positive aspects of each - ie. Theocratic societies create the impression of a firm position to build from, Capitalism has certainly led to the spread of education, in the form of literacy, and Consumerism has developed a certain pull towards the how and why of human needs and necessities ranked alongside human desire and social status.

One thing above that you mention does resonate with my thoughts. In hunter-gatherer societies the unusual folk (the ‘misfits’) are unable to flourish - and potentially a great deal is lost because of this. In large social structures such ‘misfits’ are able to meet like-minded people and produce something beneficial to humanity at large. On the flip side we could also view this as a loss for some personality types. For example, someone unable to ‘fit’ into the social norms may actually flourish more readily and that such ‘strain’ may be the biggest benefit for all - a certain sense of ‘isolation,’ or solitude, is certainly something that is becoming harder and harder to find.

Technophilic industrial societies often trap people in dependence on technology, by means of the sedentary life Badger speaks of -- many Americans really can no longer get themselves around without a car and have to hire people to do yardwork or make even simple home repairs. For them, more freedom might lie in some physical conditioning, and more intellectual empowerment to question all the machinery.


I was also thinking further back, so I’d say a simple ‘wall’ is in fact a ‘technology’ in the schemata you’ve lain out above. I’m not pining for nature here btw, just trying to bring into focus purposeful attention to the fact that we’re now surrounded by inorganic shapes, an angled landscape where any edifice of organic patterning is generally a rarity in modern human life.

— (* As a random aside ... I’m wearing a floral patterned t-shirt and I’m wondering if we look back through time at fashions as to whether or not geometric patterns on clothing were more ‘fashionable’ as they were mostly absent in the lived world, whereas now geometric patterns in fashion have perhaps began to morph into an inclination towards more organic patterning - a result of the production of our human fashioned world with its straight lines and sharp angles? *)

Looking at all those examples, it seems that each has serious constraints on freedom. Greater freedom usually can only be achieved through some unorthodox path to self-sufficiency, and questioning of social rules, examining dogmas, embracing free thinking that cracks apart taboos, and so on. As Sartre said, "Hell is other people."


What I see is the idea of a ‘Social Contract’ begins with the realisation of what ‘freedom’ means to us. To echo the ‘Freedom is Slavery’ quote, I’d say the same is true when I say ‘Freedom is Confinement’ (to steer away from framing this as ‘prison’). A limited world view allows applied control upon the selected items we hold as of greatest import. Obviously, being human, we initially didn’t take everything at once into account and so ‘cut away’ part of the world in order to better get to grips with the world ... did we cut away parts of world we cannot recover/recognise again, or can we reestablish what is sometimes called the prescientific, or pre-theoretical, mindset of our human origins beyond the confines of complex civil society? If we can what is there to uncover that may be of value? How do we begin to look back and revive a lost perspective - not just for me or you, but for the greater expanse of humanity.

If someone was to say, “Am I now the ‘misfit’ and where is there for misfits like me to go, who is there to converse with when the very art of discussion is held within the strict confines of a life world I don’t partake in?” Do ‘misfits’ live among us as they did millennia ago? Lost and unable to find a common place for discourse, but in such an unusual way - as would have to be the case - that we cannot even recognise them without purposefully looking for them. For example, a ‘misfit’ millennia ago may have been an Artist or a Explorer, a Philosopher who had no terminological lexicon for ‘metaphysics,’ ‘epistemology’ or even ‘philosophy’ or ‘politics’. But they were thinkers or actors that partook of such activities in an isolated bubble. Who are these people today? Where would we look for them? In asylums or universities, or somewhere else entirely?

Anyway, to come full circle back to the title of the thread ... Expansive Freedom: Inside Out. I guess I’m looking towards the ‘outward’ looking here. I think what we view as ‘outside’ is now merely a peek from our cell into another cell that we mistaken for ‘outside’. We’ve become so domesticated and self-confined that we’re looking at VR worlds as some huge precipice for future generations to step into, whilst simultaneously, and perhaps fearfully, averting our eyes from the light above (not wishing to look at what we’ve given ourselves over to and so focusing on those that come after us - a quite typical modern mindset instilled that makes us blame the ‘other’ for faults we’ve succumbed to).

Note: this may sound like I’m thinking of this in a ‘doom and gloom’ manner, but I’m not :)

Of course a simple reply here could be, “Why should we bother trying to unearth the past if we have no idea what there is to gain or lose by doing so?” If you ask that and cannot see a quite obvious reason for doing so I guess you’re, what I’d call, ‘too comfortable’ - someone has to be, so don’t take that as a slight ;)
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Re: Expansive Freedom: Inside Out

Postby doogles on October 5th, 2020, 6:20 am 

TheVat, I thought you post was an excellent and succinct contribution to the discussion.

I liked all of your comments, but one of them --"Capitalism tends to produce lots of wage slaves ... etc." -- filled a missing gap in my own thinking when I was discussing my upbringing in a working class suburb in another thread. You've probably en-capsulated the subconscious mentality behind disrespect for the government and all forms of authority by working class people on subsistence wages.
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Re: Expansive Freedom: Inside Out

Postby charon on October 5th, 2020, 8:28 am 

Oh, my lord, I wonder if this is worth it?

not looking to spend too much time explicating some idealisation of the term ‘freedom’


Why not? Don't you want to be free? Would you rather be a slave, a prisoner?

It's absolutely vital we should understand freedom. It has nothing whatsoever to do with idealisation, it's a matter of fact.

Freedom is not, and never has been, doing what we like. There's no such thing. That has to be completely realised right from the word go. No one anywhere can just do whatever they like, there'd be chaos if we did.

And you'll notice that the world IS in chaos because everyone secretly wants to do what they like, or is doing what they like. The populace seeks pleasure ad infinitum, the politicians override the law, the criminals take what they want... almost everyone just wants their own way all the time.

But it doesn't work. The price of that sort of freedom is chaos and disorder. There's no sense of responsibility. Because of our irresponsibility we're not only destrying each other and ourselves but the planet.

Does anyone seriously disagree with this? I don't see how you can, it's there right in front of us.

So freedom is not license, freedom is not irresponsibility, nor disorder and chaos. Freedom means order and responsibility so that we do not destroy. Therefore freedom means care, love, attention, consideration, thoughtfulness, maturity, and so on.

But, of course, we don't do that. That's the problem, that's always been the problem. There's probably no other problem.

Now look at your posts, examine what you're talking about. What are you concerned with? You're describing things as they are, which is good enough, but you don't go beyond that.

You're discussing conditions inside the prison, aren't you? You're describing conditions inside Plato's cave. You're not concerned with the life outside. But you have to be.

No one ever listens to me :-)
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Re: Expansive Freedom: Inside Out

Postby charon on October 5th, 2020, 10:11 am 

...
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Re: Expansive Freedom: Inside Out

Postby TheVat on October 5th, 2020, 10:33 am 

Badger, so much to chew on in your post that it may take me a day or two. I may have to specify types of freedom more thoroughly.

Charon, you define freedom in what seems an idealistic and spiritual way. I need to chew on that, too.

I haven't had breakfast this morning, so "chew" seems to be the metaphor that keeps popping up.

Doogles, yes, I've enjoyed your remembrances of working class youth, and I hope you will dovetail those thoughts about rejection of government and economic stratification into the chat. I think relative poverty can connect with the freedom of having less to lose, just as wealth becomes a sweet trap, a "gilded cage" if you will.
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Re: Expansive Freedom: Inside Out

Postby charon on October 5th, 2020, 1:29 pm 

TheVat » October 5th, 2020, 3:33 pm wrote:
Charon, you define freedom in what seems an idealistic and spiritual way. I need to chew on that, too.

I haven't had breakfast this morning, so "chew" seems to be the metaphor that keeps popping up.



Oh, definitely have breakfast, that'll help no end :-)

I wouldn't say it's 'spiritual' as such but it's certainly psychological rather than about physical activity. The point is that most minds aren't free because they're the product of the environment, of the society they're in. They're centred round themselves and conflicted by problems, fears, and all that. In that sense they're bound, constrained, limited, and therefore not free, like being trapped in a net or a cage. Consequently they suffer because the human spirit wants freedom.

Such freedom is absolutely possible so we're not talking about some ideal state. Ideals, by their very nature, have no reality and are unattainable. Freedom from fear isn't an ideal, it's a complete possibility although it might be rare.
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Re: Expansive Freedom: Inside Out

Postby BadgerJelly on October 6th, 2020, 5:46 am 

Biv -

Pick anything. No need to go into everything :)

I may have to specify types of freedom more thoroughly.


I don’t know why? I’m sure I get what you mean. By all means go further if you think it’d help.

I did say ‘freedom,’ not freedom, to allow for a gist. I guess what I’m talking about here is our view of ‘the world’ rather than taking things purely at face value in a ‘conditioned’ sense. How institutions have given us greater freedoms - in terms of interactions and advancements - yet they’ve come at some cost. Following this line further back through time I’m just curious as to whether we really take into serious consideration (in the day-to-day world) the extent of our self-distancing/illusion from items of ‘the world’ hidden beneath obvious comforts of our daily existence.

Note: There is a strong anthropological tilt in my thinking here, but the political edifice we’ve created (as an institutional body) is a key point.
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Re: Expansive Freedom: Inside Out

Postby doogles on October 6th, 2020, 6:18 am 

TheVat -- "Doogles, yes, I've enjoyed your remembrances of working class youth, and I hope you will dovetail those thoughts about rejection of government and economic stratification into the chat. I think relative poverty can connect with the freedom of having less to lose, just as wealth becomes a sweet trap, a "gilded cage" if you will."

I think I can see where you are heading in this thread. The following perceptions are off the top of my head and not backed by any research.

I can't talk about 'wealth as a sweet trap', because I've never been wealthy; making money has never been my aim in life so much as it has been to understand life and what makes us and other animals tick. A collateral recollection that entered my head, was not so much associated with 'wealth' as with pride of possession.

I would imagine that most people have had an acquaintance who has owned their own home and every item in it, and who has kept everything spotless and in shape. You have to take your shoes off at the front door when you enter, and you become self-conscious about even sitting in a pristine-clean chair to drink a cup of tea in case you spill anything or drop biscuit or bread crumbs anywhere. I always feel uncomfortable in such circumstances and wonder whether you could say that such people have become slaves to cleanliness and order, having lost the 'freedom' to be relaxed and a bit untidy.

Of course wealthy people are targets for theft and ransom, and therefore have to either employ minders and/or elaborate security on their properties and possessions. They lose the freedom to move around at will.

On the other hand nobody is going to kidnap a lower socio-economic working class person for ransom or steal from them; they can move around with freedom, unless they become involved in gang warfare. Robin Hood only stole from the rich because the poor had no money; he was nobody's fool. A person on welfare with no tangible assets also has no fear of being sued for property damage or personal injury to others; he has nothing to lose. Gaol time is not a deterant when it supplies basic comforts, because that's all such a person gets outside of gaol. So in that sense he has the freedom to ignore criminal codes and every other set of rules as well.

In that same sense, a person with literally nothing to lose, (ie no assets to pay for damages of any kind), has the freedom to do anything he desires. If a person abides by the rules at every level of life, we regard him/her as a law-abiding citizen. Law-abiding citizens are the ones who give up the freedom to do what they feel like doing at any given time. If you ever wonder why our gaols are full, it's because so many keep doing just what they want to do in life. They are not deviants; they do what they feel like doing.

The way I see it, law-abiding citizens are the deviants in life, not the criminals.
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Re: Expansive Freedom: Inside Out

Postby BadgerJelly on October 6th, 2020, 6:37 am 

Doogles -

Wealth, fame, or any other status symbol, don’t dictate ‘freedom’. In this respect I’m not inclined to view the haves and the have nots as anything to do with the degree of ‘freedom’ each person possesses.

It doesn’t matter if you have nothing to lose either. If your eyes are closed then your eyes are closed. Everyone has everything to lose all the time - their life. Many, from my perspective, actually seem to have lost a great part of what ‘living’ is (including myself to a degree I’m hoping isn’t too much!).
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Re: Expansive Freedom: Inside Out

Postby charon on October 6th, 2020, 8:37 am 

BadgerJelly » October 6th, 2020, 11:37 am wrote:
Wealth, fame, or any other status symbol, don’t dictate ‘freedom’.


Then you'd have to define freedom because obviously wealth gives one a far greater degree of freedom to travel, buy things, and so on.

Fame, on the other hand, may limit your freedom tremendously. Some famous people can't walk down the street for fear of being mobbed and Royals, for instance, have been known to go out in disguise.

I’m not inclined to view the haves and the have nots as anything to do with the degree of ‘freedom’ each person possesses.


So what do you mean by freedom?
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Re: Expansive Freedom: Inside Out

Postby TheVat on October 6th, 2020, 1:18 pm 

Some thoughts, based on what you all have posted:

There are certainly tradeoffs, as Badger said, living in a civilization. We don't roam around at will, spearing fish and snaring rabbits and yanking tasty rhizomes out of the ground, but we have more time to explore esoteric realms of thought, unusual lifestyles, and even make mistakes that would have been the death of our H-G ancestors. We can indulge many impulses. If we started on the daunting task of a Taxonomy of Freedom, we might encounter freedoms-from, and freedoms-to. Freedom from hunger, freedom from the tyrannies of weather, freedom from squalor -- the freedoms that predominate in "developed" nations. The freedoms-to are so dazzling, and we take them for granted: we can sit on a comfortable chair UP IN THE SKY, while the chair takes us from Boston to Los Angeles, or Perth to Sydney, in a few hours. We can spend our days perusing the accumulated wisdom of thousands of years of human history, sitting in a chair and pushing buttons. Public cams all over the world allow me to instantly look at a street in a city thousands of miles away. Satellites allow me to look down with a God's Eye view of almost any spot on the planet. In my country, even the poorest person can go to a public library and access all these wonders.

Maybe we need to ask about the aspects of life where we don't FEEL free, in spite of all the choices and amazing powers we seem to have available to us. In the USA, the price of housing is such that many people do not experience being free to live wherever they want to. Because of the price of a college education, some feel unfree insofar as choosing an occupation they desire. Because of systemic racism, some do not feel free to walk in any neighborhood they want to. Prejudice and economic inequality cause some people to feel less free. Freedom-to is really the freedom of having options.

If some people are more free than others, in these ways, then there is a perceived inequality that ends up decreasing the freedom of everyone. Social inequality breeds crime, and then the affluent feel less safe and will often pen themselves up in protective enclaves. The poor feel cheated, underpaid, and deprived of some of the freedom-tos I mentioned - they must take a Greyhound Bus instead of that chair in the sky. They can only live in undesirable neighborhoods. If they get in trouble, they can't afford a good lawyer. Etc. OTOH, as Doogles points out, they don't have assets to lose or be sued over. They aren't bound by intricate rules of etiquette and social protocol that some white collar jobs might require.

I don't know. I don't seem to be heading towards any conclusion here, so I'll take a break.
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Re: Expansive Freedom: Inside Out

Postby BadgerJelly on October 7th, 2020, 12:08 am 

Biv -

Anyway, just finished writing this post and it could be that what I’m saying is either too obvious or too subtle - I’ve no idea which it is! That is my problem and one I hope what I’ve written below give more clarity rather than less! Thanks for the input :)

There are certainly tradeoffs, as Badger said, living in a civilization. We don't roam around at will, spearing fish and snaring rabbits and yanking tasty rhizomes out of the ground, but we have more time to explore esoteric realms of thought, unusual lifestyles, and even make mistakes that would have been the death of our H-G ancestors.


The opposite is closer to the truth. Hunter gatherers generally have been observed to have more leisure time.

I do want to emphasise that I’m talking about ‘freedom’ not specific freedoms. For that reason I believe any taxonomy of freedom pretty much goes against what I’m getting at ... maybe I’m missing something (probably), and if not I’ve certainly not articulated myself precisely enough (this isn’t by any means a fully formed idea yet).

Maybe we need to ask about the aspects of life where we don't FEEL free, in spite of all the choices and amazing powers we seem to have available to us. In the USA, the price of housing is such that many people do not experience being free to live wherever they want to. Because of the price of a college education, some feel unfree insofar as choosing an occupation they desire. Because of systemic racism, some do not feel free to walk in any neighborhood they want to. Prejudice and economic inequality cause some people to feel less free. Freedom-to is really the freedom of having options.


And the above feeling of freedom is actually restricted by the self-imposed impression that freedom is a matter of available choices, material wealth and/or some social prejudice. See what I mean? Maybe I’ve taken too light a view of how other people itemise freedom ... so I guess more ‘refinement’ (I don’t wish to say ‘definition’) of the term is required - my use of ‘freedom’ was meant in a broad sense without any intent of honing in on particular colloquial uses and/or used in reference to ‘laws’/‘rules’ as humans weren’t born with a moral rulebook to reference (the social contract is also a repercussion of the prism of ‘society’ and what that means to us now and before - note: I don’t agree that the ‘social contract’ has changed like some people say, because I view it as an expansion of humanity NOT something that morphs over time, only as something that is presented in various ways over human history: when it does appear).

If some people are more free than others, in these ways, then there is a perceived inequality that ends up decreasing the freedom of everyone.


I don’t agree with this - but it is dependent upon what you mean by ‘inequality’. It is part of the point as to why I find this interesting though. Inequality is an inevitable fact of human life. Hardships exist, and in some situations such hardships may allow someone to become something extraordinary they would never had become in a more ‘comfortable’ world. Of course, it makes a big difference if you’e slaving away all day every day and you come home to see our neighbour lounging around in their garden all day without a worry in the world. The recognition of such a disparity can cause criminal actively and/or act as something to aim for. Both, to my mind, are actually
blind if the focus is on possessing - the materialist/consumerist lens of the world and valuation.

Freedom-to is really the freedom of having options.


In a limited sense only (but it is interesting to cut up ‘freedom’ like this, it’s just not apparent to me how it is useful in the discussion I’m trying to feel out). Options are pointless if the persons they are available to are hidden out of sight by a narrow interest. A multi-millionaire will likely have gotten into the habit of working long hours, networking, and/or spend copious amounts of time preoccupied with monetary gain and such. The thought of ‘bettering themselves’ for their own benefit may not get much of a look in even though they are in a position which appears to us as one of unlimited options. Of course I could be wrong, and I’m certainly not suggesting this is the case for ALL individuals - it could well be argued that people in such positions have got their due to being well-rounded human beings rather than as being consumed by vicious need to accumulate wealth for the sake of it.

Still, you’re focusing on wealth/money here. Hopefully my point of interest is becoming clearer?

The hypothetical example below may help:

Charon -

So what do you mean by freedom?


Imagine this hypothetical ...

If we all live in our individual cells, we’re fed and watered every day, allowed a set amount of exercise time and a set amount of social interaction in a communal area a set times during the day. We also have a ‘luxury’ allowance and can spend this credit on TVM material goods, sex and/or any other item that tickles our fancy.

If you the above as being ‘freedom’ I’d had to disagree. I’m pretty sure Biv gets this point as he’s reiterated it well enough (although I did a poor job of showing exactly what intrigues me about certain perspectives and consequences of this).

If we’re looking at today’s world - as we must in our speech at least - it particularly bothered me reading Marx’s work and how he seemed to completely set aside the human aspect of economics (economics as in resource management) by framing ‘resources’ as purely material items and even to buy into the concept of ‘time’ as a institution developed by humans (an institution I believe we all ignore - mostly when we’re consumed by it!). That is just a part of ‘freedom’ though.

In the above scenario ‘wealth’ is irrelevant. I would not say that such equality is equivalent to ‘freedom’ though. What is more (and the reference to Plato’s Cave by someone above - whoever that was - is closely related to this), if we’ve all lived in this existence all our lives, and maybe even our parents and parents parents, then we don’t not even recognise how inhibited we are or understand that we may actually be able to ‘break out’ of this ‘norm’ because it is a ‘norm’.

My interest in this thread is about how ‘freedom’ functions as we move from one ‘norm’ to another. I’m interested in the shapers and shifters of social change - I was going to go on to ask about how population effects individual impact too and how global communication impacts upon this too.


Anyways, as always maybe I’m in danger of letting my ideas wander too far from the original thought. I think analogies can be misleading - sadly they are very often necessary in explicating ideas when they are in their infancy.
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Re: Expansive Freedom: Inside Out

Postby charon on October 7th, 2020, 1:36 am 

None of you understand freedom. The word just means free from restraint, not bound. That's all. You're not free when you're chained to a wall and you're not free when you're chained to society.

That's all, the rest is words.
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Re: Expansive Freedom: Inside Out

Postby BadgerJelly on October 7th, 2020, 2:33 am 

charon » October 7th, 2020, 1:36 pm wrote:None of you understand freedom. The word just means free from restraint, not bound. That's all. You're not free when you're chained to a wall and you're not free when you're chained to society.

That's all, the rest is words.


My point is that the idea of being free isn’t exactly static. ‘Freedom,’ not as a measure between this person or that person’s idea of what it is to be free, but as a perspective that shifts through the chronological journey of humanity at large.

Again, this is something that I’m most likely expecting people to grasp or it could just be nonsense and/or unimportant to others. No problem there either. It’s something I find very intriguing - if you’ve parcelled it up and you’re done I’m not going to argue against that.
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Re: Expansive Freedom: Inside Out

Postby charon on October 7th, 2020, 3:31 am 

but as a perspective that shifts through the chronological journey of humanity at large.


It depends if you want to deal with facts or concepts. People can play with concepts endlessly but not with facts. The fact is one either free or one is not.

if you’ve parcelled it up and you’re done I’m not going to argue against that.


It's not a question of sticking to some conclusion or other, it's a question of what the truth of it is.

A person in a wheelchair isn't free to move around physically but they might be free in their mind, depending on their understanding. Similarly, a person who is fit and able may be swamped with wrong ideas, lack comprehension, and be thoroughly messed up due to ignorance.

If you merely regard freedom as a physical, outward concept and overlook the inward state then one's missing the whole crux of the matter.
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Re: Expansive Freedom: Inside Out

Postby BadgerJelly on October 7th, 2020, 4:12 am 

Charon -

If you merely regard freedom as a physical, outward concept and overlook the inward state


Clearly I don’t. Maybe that wasn’t clear above ... either way it’s not exactly the point of interest as far as I’m concerned.

then one's missing the whole crux of the matter.


It’s not important to the topic at hand - which is terms like social contract and the effects of institutions and how society is shaped. The difference in regard for ‘freedom’ is about how humanity at large both gains and loses something of its relation to the world along the way. The interest for me here is how we can attempt to take a step back and reevaluate our position in the world (at large, not in some secluded span - non-specific to some idea of ‘mental,’ ‘physical,’ or whatever else ... but I admit I find it hard to ignore the chronology of this as I’m purposefully looking at the anthropological side of this relating to how the political world has expanded).

What you believe the crux of the point is you can share if you wish. It’s your point though not mine.

As for ‘truth’ and ‘fact,’ it might be interesting to discuss the correspondence theory of truth in the epistemology forum. I’d rather not get into that here though if you don’t mind.
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Re: Expansive Freedom: Inside Out

Postby charon on October 7th, 2020, 5:09 am 

...

I've no idea what you're talking about. To me it's just a wash of words and ideas, maybe not even ideas.

I don't know what society is. There's the world outside with all its nonsense and craziness and one observes it. One has to comply with the paperwork and all that, and one does, but I've no interest in it at all. A lot of silly people doing silly things. Bent governments, wacky jobs, stupid religion, and all the rest.

We've made this, we as a species have produced this circus and either one supports it and joins in or one doesn't.

You bang on about freedom but there's no freedom as far as I can see, just a lot of doing-what-you-like, which seems to be terribly important, and a lack of being able to do what we like.

It's all silly and not for serious people. One only takes it seriously if one belongs to it, holds a position in it, becomes respectable, which is probably an evil, and all the rest of it.

I've no doubt you talk about freedom because it doesn't exist. But that's your fault, you and a million others.

So freedom is not in this area. You can dress it up in as many ways as you like, but it's a horrendous thing and no intelligent person would want anything to do with it. But as one's on the planet we have to put up with it, abide by its laws, and generally get by day to day.

I've no interest in society whatsoever. I don't care if they think they're free or not free. They're not in any case.

I just take things as I find them, deal with one person at a time, and get on with it. That's about the extent of it. The real things aren't anything to do with all this waffle, they're somewhere entirely different, thank god, and sensible people know this.

I don't know what your interest is, Badger, it all just washes over me, words upon words, with no substance, just a sort of dream.

Time to get real, probably. Have some fun, laugh at the world a bit, you'll be much more stable and happier. It's a question of values. If you give value to all this mess then they're the wrong values in my view.

We need to organise things for people but it's the frame of mind we do it in. Currently, as far as I can see, it's built on self-interest, which is what's wrong with it. So there we are, back to the inward state again.

And you say it's not the point... god, have you got a lot to learn!
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Re: Expansive Freedom: Inside Out

Postby charon on October 7th, 2020, 5:20 am 


So what do you mean by freedom?


Imagine this hypothetical ...


Look, you can't even answer a straight question!
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Re: Expansive Freedom: Inside Out

Postby doogles on October 7th, 2020, 6:43 am 

Charon could be right with his definition here after the first sentence -- "None of you understand freedom. The word just means free from restraint, not bound. That's all. You're not free when you're chained to a wall and you're not free when you're chained to society. That's all, the rest is words." But unfortunately we have to be 'chained to society's' rules in order to co-exist in harmony. Our 'freedoms' are limited by these rules. We DO understand that.

In group living we're not free to drive on the incorrect side of the rode or to beat up our annoying neighbour or to take anything we want from our local stores without paying. We have to have rules.

Apropos of this, over the years, I've been doing much reading on about our Australian stone age culture, and maybe there is a message for us in their culture.

Our Australian indigenous culture has been recognised as the longest, and as such, the most successful in the history of our planet. The general consensus is that it has been around for more than 48,000 years.

Reports of their culture indicate that they had probably more taboos and rituals than almost any other culture on the planet. They weren't a single nation; they had aproximately 250 separate groups, each with a different language. The languages appear to differ markedly between even neighbouring groups. They practiced a form of male contraception and managed over the millennia to keep the numbers of each group down to about 200, consisting of about 10 or 15 small family-related clans within each group. The area occupied by each group was roughly in the range of 10,000 square miles (say 100 miles by 100 miles).

My impression is that they were covered by two of the sub-headings used by TheVat -- Theocracies and Hunter-Gatherers. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a single succinct list of all of their taboos and rituals, but, as I said, my impression is that they were stricter and more tightly controlled than in than any other culture on the planet. The reports indicate that such taboos and rituals were similar across most language groups even though the languages differed.

Whenever an indigenous baby was born, it was assigned a 'totem' in accord with those of its family (and maybe in association with other factors beyond my knowledge). These totems -- emu, crow, snake, kangaroo etc -- dictated a widespread range of unacceptable or permissible liaisons with other people within and between groups in relation to social contacts, marriages and even what food could be eaten by differing people at certain times of the year.

Many of these taboos were reported in a 300+ page book called The Native Tribes of East Australia (1904) and written by Dr AW Howitt DSc, who was a Fellow of the Anthropological Institute of Breat Britain and Ireland. It is available on this site -- https://archive.org/stream/nativetribes ... t_djvu.txt.

I got as far as the complicated rules and regulations on marriages in my reading today, and it would take a short book to repeat those rules alone. It would take a modern specialist lawyer to keep up with all the acceptable computations of allowable liaisons.

Apart from this particular reference, others suggest taboos against speaking the name of recently deceased persons. There was a fear, bordering on dread, that doing so would invoke the spirit of such a person to appear and kill you. One reference suggested that even speaking your own given name could also result in death.

There were all sorts of fears against the spilling human blood on the ground to the point where at initiation ceremonies for boys, which included urethrotomies, that the boys had to lie supine on top of the bodies of men, so that the blood would drip onto the men underneath and not on the ground. Of course there were all sorts of taboos against menstruating females.

After marriage, it was taboo to interact directly with your mother (and maybe, father-) in-law. Speaking had to be conducted via a third person. Food was never offered directly from people of some totems to people of some other specified totems.

They did not have a law-enforcement as such, but transgressions were treated summarily by other members of the tribe by clubbing or somewhat token spearing.

I don't think I have used the word 'freedom' once in this post, but from what I have read of the cultures, there appeared to be a prescribed way of conducting yourself in everything that you did.

It all sounded very restrictive to me, but the fact is that such a restrictive culture, which you may note, included population control, may have gone on forever without the intrusion of western civilisation.

Could there be a long-term culture-survival value where population growth is controlled and freedom of personal choices are restricted?
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Re: Expansive Freedom: Inside Out

Postby charon on October 7th, 2020, 9:47 am 

Charon could be right with his definition


It's unquestionably right, it's what the word means in English. It's in every conceivable dictionary.

unfortunately we have to be 'chained to society's' rules in order to co-exist in harmony.


It depends on the society. Most rules in democratic countries are common sense. In other societies it may not be so.

And obedience to these rules does absolutely not imply living in harmony! Every society is in turmoil regardless of the rules.

Our 'freedoms' are limited by these rules.


Again, only if freedom is defined as doing whatever we like. That's not freedom, that's license, a completely different thing.

I wish just one person here would realise that. Freedom is inward. A person who is clear, not in turmoil, is beyond all societies and their nonsense no matter where they live.
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Re: Expansive Freedom: Inside Out

Postby TheVat on October 7th, 2020, 10:42 am 

If you live in a ratty tenement with dysfunctional neighbor family on the other side of the wall constantly screaming at each other and slamming things....will your prospects of inward clarity and freedom from turmoil be good? How about if there's lead in your water supply, due to ancient plumbing? Or eating poor-quality processed food that ends up playing havoc with your blood sugar and cognitive abilities?

Social contract, and social equality, matter. If we cannot maximize our well-being, that is a constraint. On freedom. If we live in a culture where half the population must live their lives in a cloth bag and can be beaten or even killed if they refuse the cloth bag, what are their prospects for "inward freedom"? I've just described life for millions of women in conservative Islamic societies. (borrowing this example from Sam Harris)

Badger, I will get to your comments as time (haha) permits.
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