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Flinn

The Dude's thoughts - Freedom and Anarchy

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When I started to write this series of the Dude's thoughts, it was more for my own comfort than for anything else (the first chapter "To fall in love vs to love" was mostly me talking to myself and trying to clarify my thoughts around my own personal struggles.. the same is probably true as well for the second chapter, "Memento Mori!"), while subsequent chapters are more about me sharing my believes about life.. why am I telling you this? Because I don't want to look like I'm trying to teach anyone a lesson, that is never my intent, though I'm not afraid at all when it comes to share what my experience is and tell what my position is.

However, yesterday I was chatting with my daughter and even if she's only 5 and a half, she is capable of deep thinking already, and while watching a cartoon, she asked me what "freedom" means.. the first answer that came to my mind was, simply put, "responsibility". Needless to say that my daughter mocked me when I tried to convince her of my acumen, but well such is the fate of a dad with a smart girl as daughter, you know?

In any case, I remember having tailored around this idea of freedom=responsibility for long; I mean, I'm not really the first one who put the two words together, and I even remember reading a novel ages ago which mentioned that duo (though it never really went into details), so what? Let me ask before, what is freedom, precisely? How can one tell that they are free?

I guess this question has bothered philosophers and thinkers for long, and it's easy, too easy actually, to mix freedom with anarchy, the latter being the lack of any consequences.. this' where the word "responsibility" kicks in:

Freedom does not mean "doing whatever you want", but rather choosing to do something, in the full understanding of what will be the consequences of your choices.

For extension, refusing to consider the consequences, or simply being unable to, is, so to say, childish or in any case a sign of immaturity.. I'd venture as far as telling that, considering that one actually needs to understand the possible consequences of their actions in order to "choose in freedom", one cannot do so if they can't or don't know the consequences.. in other words freedom needs a certain degree of maturity, and, experience of life. Just like anything else in life, it's something you need to gain for yourself, and becoming a free person is one of the steps towards maturity and adult life.

And one thing more: being a free person is in no way limited by the degree of personal freedom granted to one by the society they live in.. yes I know that sounds illogical, but bear with me.. to a slave driver, any slaves that want to free themselves are anarchists, because they want to break the "order of things".. but a slave can still be a freeman if they decide to go against the slave drivers and break the order of things.. as long as they decide to do so in the full understanding of the consequences, they acted as freemen! Would that choice cost them their lives? Quite certainly yes, but this in no way changes the fact that they acted as freemen, because they exercised their right to decide to sacrifice their lives in exchange of having the possibility to overthrow their slavers. Sometimes, the consequences of a free choice are very demanding, but still.. one has to cope with what they have, and make the most out of it:

Do not indulge in dreams of having what you have not, but reckon up the chief of the blessings you do possess, and then thankfully remember how you would crave for them if they were not yours.

- Marcus Aurelius

Updated May 18, 2020 at 09:56 AM by Flinn

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  1. King Athelstan's Avatar
    Aye, good thoughts here, if only the dude was as clever as the daughter

    When it comes to freedom and choice, it's a tricky thing. While everyone as you say in principle has a freedom of choice, now matter how dire the consequences may be and may result in death, the choice will be theirs, and thus free. Though of course, most people won't make that choice because of peoples innate will to not die, which I and most people do feel. So is it really a choice if it goes against the fundamental nature of your existence?
  2. Flinn's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by King Athelstan
    Aye, good thoughts here, if only the dude was as clever as the daughter

    When it comes to freedom and choice, it's a tricky thing. While everyone as you say in principle has a freedom of choice, now matter how dire the consequences may be and may result in death, the choice will be theirs, and thus free. Though of course, most people won't make that choice because of peoples innate will to not die, which I and most people do feel. So is it really a choice if it goes against the fundamental nature of your existence?
    oh well I suppose that even the "fundamental nature of existence" is a questionable point.. think of those crazy kamikazes, or of people that sacrifice themselves to save others.. while there's never something in life which is valid for all the possible different situations, I'm still convinced that choosing or not is a matter of .. choosing or not.. Too often I've seen people that renounces to live for te fear of having to choose, to change their status.. immobility is death by definition, while evolution needs movement and change, and what are we doing here if not working towards make our race better?
  3. King Athelstan's Avatar
    and what are we doing here if not working towards make our race better?
    I hope you're not talking about TWC here (Kidding, it's good stuff)