• Nemo2124
    29
    "Man is condemned to be free."
    - JP Sartre (1905-1980)

    What is freedom? Some would say that freedom comes with responsibility. Once you have discovered the limits of a freedom, once that freedom is then taken away from you, then you seek to find a greater freedom, one that is somewhat 'higher-dimensional'. Taking Herbert Marcuse's 'One-Dimensional Man' as an example of a critique of freedom, it could be argued that in today's society we are inculcated by mass media, advertising and consumerism to the point where our freedom become limited by them:

    “One-dimensional thought is systematically promoted by the makers of politics and their purveyors of mass information. Their universe of discourse is populated by self-validating hypotheses which, incessantly and monopolistically repeated, become hypnotic definitions of dictations.”
    ― Herbert Marcuse, One-Dimensional Man: Studies in the Ideology of Advanced Industrial Society
  • tim wood
    8.9k
    You would do well to consider exactly (what you think) freedom is and is not. Is it? What is it? What kind of a thing is it? What are its special features? Is there a genus-species of it? Do Aristotle's four causes, material, efficient, final, formal have anything to do with freedom?

    Elsewhere it's been argued, following Kant, that freedom is the ability, unconstrained, to do what reason tells you you ought to do. Before you reply, try to think it through.

    You can browse here:
    https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/9910/freedom-and-duty/p1
  • Vera Mont
    3.6k
    Free from, free of, or free to?
  • Frog
    11
    I feel the need to add, since you quoted Sartre:

    Let me raise in response to your Sartre quote, yet another Sartre quote:
    For a right is nothing more than the other aspect of duty. — Jean Paul Sartre

    "Freedom comes with responsibility," you say. Here, it is implied that responsibility is an addon to freedom. The very author that you quote from, however, argues something different: that the right of freedom is equal to ("the other aspect of") duty (responsibility). Sartre not only implies that if you fulfil your duty, you gain the right of freedom, but also that the right to be free is yet another duty one must fulfill. I believe this is what Sartre meant by "Man is condemned to be free "

    What is freedom? — Nemo2124

    It is my opinion that there is no such thing: If we know every starting variable if a situation, we are able to calculate the end result perfectly. And thus, if we know the state and position of every atom and electron and so on in your brain, along with every piece of stimuli being input, we would be able to perfectly predict your next thought. There is, however, the illusion of freedom, and in my opinion, that is enough for day to day life.

    For the sake of argument, I will put this view aside (as I believe it isn't what you meant).

    I would like to ask, however, what do you mean by a "higher-dimensional" freedom?
  • 180 Proof
    14.5k
    What is freedom?Nemo2124
    'Being free from fear enough to work for freeing descendants and others from fear enough to work for ...' is how I understand freedom. On this basis, I also think one is responsible (i.e. blameworthy à la mauvaise foi) to the degree one neglects or denies this emancipatory work.
  • Janus
    15.8k
    :up: I would add that I think freedom comes with the self-examination necessary to identify where we are under the thrall of bodily appetites or introjected norms, and not (yet) being guided by free-thinking reason.

    Unfreedom is to be compelled by yet to be examined and yet to be rationally assessed aspects of our instinctive or culturally acquired natures. It is awareness and critical rationality that can potentially unify our beings and make us free.

    "The unexamined life is not worth living" may be a bit extreme, but the examined life is certainly better, ceteris paribus, than the unexamined.
  • 180 Proof
    14.5k
    "The unexamined life is not worth living" may be a bit extreme, but the examined life is certainly better, ceteris paribus, than the unexaminedJanus
    :up: No doubt – (to paraphrase I don't recall whom) Better to be a sad Socrates than a smug swine.
  • Janus
    15.8k
    Better to be a sad Socrates than a smug swine.180 Proof

    :cool:
  • BC
    13.3k
    "Freedom", like Truth, Goodness, Evil, Beauty, etc. is one of those grand concepts that are often deployed but damned hard to pin down.

    In a world where there are many constraints imposed by physics, biology, culture, politics, law, other people, etc., "freedom" is clearly constrained from the getgo. Perhaps it is more productive to identify small spheres of activity in which we are "free" to / from / and of per @Vera Mont. I am, presumably, free to respond to your post, or not. I am not free of a lifetime of hearing freedom defined in various ways. I am not sure whether or not I am free from a compulsion to talk about freedom.



    Better to be a sad Socrates than a smug swine180 Proof

    John Stuart Mill said in an essay titled A PIG, A FOOL, AND SOCRATES: It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied. And if the fool, or the pig, are a different opinion, it is because they only know their own side of the question.

    That's not quite as pithy as your version.
  • 180 Proof
    14.5k
    Better to be a sad Socrates than a smug swine
    — 180 Proof

    John Stuart Mill said in an essay titled A PIG, A FOOL, AND SOCRATES: It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied. And if the fool, or the pig, are a different opinion, it is because they only know their own side of the question.

    That's not quite as pithy as your version
    BC
    :smirk: :up:
  • T Clark
    13.1k
    This is freedom to me. From Emerson's "Self-Reliance."

    No law can be sacred to me but that of my nature. Good and bad are but names very readily transferable to that or this; the only right is what is after my constitution, the only wrong what is against it. A man is to carry himself in the presence of all opposition, as if every thing were titular and ephemeral but he.Emerson - Self-Reliance

    Or this from Ziporyn's translation of Chapter 17 of the Chuang Tzu, one of the founding documents of Taoism.

    So the conduct of a Great Man harms no one, but he places no special value on humankindness and beneficence. His actions are not motivated by profit, but he does not despise those who slavishly subordinate themselves to it. He does not fight over wealth, but he places no special value on yielding and refusing it. He doesn’t depend on others, but he places no special value on self-sufficiency, nor does he despise the greedy and corrupt. If his own conduct is unconventional, he places no special value on eccentricity and uniqueness, and if his own action follows the crowds, he does not despise it as obsequious flattery. All the honors and stipends in the world are not enough to goad him to action, and all its punishments and condemnations are not enough to cause him shame, for he knows that right and wrong cannot be definitively divided, and that no border can be fixed between great and small. — Chuang Tzu (Zhuangzi)
  • Tom Storm
    8.6k
    This is freedom to me. From Emerson's "Self-Reliance."

    No law can be sacred to me but that of my nature. Good and bad are but names very readily transferable to that or this; the only right is what is after my constitution, the only wrong what is against it. A man is to carry himself in the presence of all opposition, as if every thing were titular and ephemeral but he.
    — Emerson - Self-Reliance
    T Clark

    I can’t tell what any of that means. I’m immune to poetry… Nietzsche thought Emerson was a genius and they shared many themes. I'm immune to Nietzsche too. :wink:

    I've never thought much about freedom and consider it a dubious and elusive phenomenon. I enjoy having few demands and obligations and a high level of personal autonomy. But I suspect the greatest bonds and restrictions are those we are not even aware of - our habits and patterns of thought, the way our culture and environment works through us, etc. Mostly I think of freedom as liberation from fear and suffering.
  • NOS4A2
    8.5k


    If you can put someone in bondage with discourse you can liberate him with discourse. But that’s action at a distance. It’s just not true that people can be pushed to this or that action according to the combination of letters and words they read or hear, slavery or otherwise. The impetus for action invariably begins in the actor, and on the simple grounds that no one else has access to his motor cortex. At every moment he is under his own control.

    Ironically, it is the belief that symbols can manipulate human beings that fosters the tendency to act according to what symbols one reads and hears, and not according to one’s own understanding, will, and conscience. Until he understands that it is he who manipulates symbols, and not the other way about, he comes to believe he is weaker than symbols, and so submits himself to them.

    Observing any reader will show that there is no force or agent limiting his freedom. So this brand of freedom is metaphorical. I would worry that in seeking it out one would limit his own and another’s true freedom in order to attain it.
  • T Clark
    13.1k
    I’m immune to poetryTom Storm

    I admit that Emerson likes fancy-schmancy store-bought words, but I wouldn't consider that poetry. Chuang Tzu, on the other hand, does tend to be poetic, although I think the sentiments he expresses in the quote I provided are pretty prosaic. I think they both ultimately say the same thing - we should act sincerely and authentically from our true human and personal natures. Action comes from inside, not outside. Not to get too personal, but from what I can see from posts here on the forum, you seem to be motivated in that direction more than most of us here. I think living one's life in accordance with what Emerson and Chuang Tzu wrote is a reasonable definition of freedom.

    I suspect the greatest bonds and restrictions are those we are not even aware of - our habits and patterns of thought, the way our culture and environment works through us, etc.Tom Storm

    Yes, and I think those are exactly what Emerson and Chuang Tzu are talking about.
  • BC
    13.3k


    For the love of Janice, is no one going to say, "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose"?
  • Tom Storm
    8.6k
    I rate Kristofferson over Plato.

    I admit that Emerson likes fancy-schmancy store-bought words, but I wouldn't consider that poetry.T Clark

    When it comes to complex ideas, I struggle with anything that isn't in plain English.

    Yes, and I think those are exactly what Emerson and Chuang Tzu are talking about.T Clark

    :up:
  • 180 Proof
    14.5k
    Mostly I think of freedom as liberation from fear and suffering.Tom Storm
    :up:
  • T Clark
    13.1k
    Freedom's just another word for nothing left to loseBC

    That's always struck me as a pretty good definition.
  • T Clark
    13.1k
    When it comes to complex ideas, I struggle with anything that isn't in plain English.Tom Storm

    Aw, shucks. Down here in Oz we're just country folks. We don't cotton to no pencil-necked, highfalutin, namby-pamby, fast-talkin ijits who like to spout out big words like "indubitably," "pusillanimous," and "utilization." On the other hand, we do know to put quotes around words when referring to the word itself rather than what the word signifies. "Signify," that's another one of them words you all like to spout.
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