Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Thoughts on Freedom

This post needs editing.

I started reading Rousseau's "Emile"(pretend it's underlined) recently for my English class. I now find him even more of an amusing spectacle than a philosopher. His points are not derived through logic nor do they build on one another. He merely rambles about various topics incessantly. He contradicts himself often and really only has a few decent ideas total. One thing that I find interesting is that when he describes education from a broader standpoint, it reminds me of the education of Arthur by Merlin in T.H. White's "The Once And Future King" (I realize that that should be underlined, but fuck html).

He wants a natural education so that when the boy grows into a man he will be free. This freedom, Rousseau describes is when a man only wants what he is capable of having and does what he pleases. Another thing that Rousseau stated was that children cannot learn about property and its value until he has invested himself into it through his labor. This point reminded me of Little Prince, which was cool. Everything else I have read has been a contradictory mess.

What is more interesting is the concept of freedom itself. My entire Political Theory class is centered upon this topic. Positive versus negative freedom and collective versus individual freedom. Positive freedom pertaining to the ability to act and negative pertaining to the lack of restriction. Collective freedom refers to political rights and individual freedom more refers to capitalist freedom of exercising ones own freedom.

When reading Dostoevsky's "The Grand Inquisitor" (actually in quotes this time, yes!), the question of freedom being good or bad was proposed. The answer of the Inquisitor is that it was bad, because people would not be able to handle the "great weight" of it. Upon further examination of the three trials which Jesus went through in the desert, the burdens become apparent. The temptation of bread, the temptation of miracle, and the temptation of authority. God could enslave people through giving them bread and ensuring them life, through performing miracle and ensuring them of their purpose, or through an authority ensuring them unity.

Though there was more to it, essentially it came down to: People give up their freedom because they fear death or lack of purpose.

But can people even give up their freedom? Because to choose to give up their freedom to a higher authority, they are essentially choosing. And in this choice, they bear no greater consequence than that of any other choice: the loss of the options which they have forsaken to make their choice.

Then why is it considered slavery when we worship these things? Because the beauty in freedom is that we are free to determine our own morality and see the beauty inherent to life itself. Freedom enables to experience good through determining what is good. It also determines what is bad- but what is bad but a negation of good? To exist with good and bad is indeed perfection. Once we understand the beauty of both, we understand the necessity and sublime grace of freedom.

Plus, this one time- I saw a cab with a ramming cage (like the kind on the front of police cars) and it had "Adventure Cab" painted on the side. So yeah, berkeley is pretty neat.

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