Author Topic: No strings attached freedom  (Read 21762 times)

Bebek Sincap Ratatosk

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Re: No strings attached freedom
« Reply #15 on: December 04, 2008, 08:53:41 pm »
Brilliant. A damn fine argument that comes close to arguing for Rational Anarchism.... or something like it ;-)

Not really.  While it may seem superificially similar to various kinds of Anarchism, that particular political philosophy has a very clear view of human identity...and thus the deployment of power against dissidents slips in via the back door.  Heinlein is assuming rationality in his subjects, a naturalized system of law and morals which, in practice, could end up being just as repressive as the theocracy in Iran, or anywhere else mob rule and those who claim to speak on behalf of The People, or Natural Laws, or the Market, or God, can be found.

At least, as far as my understanding of the philosophy extends.

I was thinking of Rational Anarchism in the view that Prof. La Paz lays out which claims that every individual is entirely responsible for their actions (there is no such thing as a State only "acts of self-responsible individuals"). Thus, in Rational Anarchy, the individual decides for themselves what they will and won't do, irrespective of the government in place. So if the US says "YOU SHALL NOT SMOKE POT" the Rational Anarchist says "I have the freedom to smoke pot... but this freedom comes with the risk that some asshat will try to arrest me for it." He can then choose to act or not, based on his free choice.

The other side of that coin, is that all responsibility for our actions still fall to the individual... so for Prof La Paz, the man who said "We will drop a nuclear bomb on Nagasaki" is personally responsible for those deaths... as is anyone else who knowingly assisted in the act. They had personal freedom and could have said "That is morally wrong. I refuse." Prof. La Paz would also have considered all the Nazi guards who claimed they were 'following orders' in a similar fashion, because he held they freely made the choice to behave in an inhumane way.

Rational Anarchism, at least in the way I read it, was more about personal freedom while living in a nation controlled by government than as a potential basis for a government. In fact the 'Rational' bit was that he was rational enough to realize that most people didn't want complete freedom and would, no matter what, come up with some kind of collective government. He considered it as trying to live 'perfectly in an imperfect world'... or being Free in a world that isn't.

Which to me, sounded a lot like the point you were making. But, I might have misread it.
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Re: No strings attached freedom
« Reply #16 on: December 04, 2008, 10:59:11 pm »
     Thanks CAIN. Some nice thoughts. In my opinion, social groups may begin, to a fair degree, with 'freedom' being experienced by all involved, but it lessens over time due to change itself. On a micro societal level, the family is a great feature to examine for relationships which eventually expand from the individual(s) to the mega-version, society. Fuck ups create the 'need' for laws, mostly I think. A 'free' person just isn't inhibited like the next person, simply by their perspective. To me, this is an important part of Nietzsche's 'over man', the individual who exists outside of their society, because of it's restraints. I like very much your observation of contemporary social/political views being 'against' freedom, whilst not realizing it. It's so fucking true. One fave example occurred in a conversation between a brother-in-law and myself. He's a professor heading the "cultural diversity" department at his school. He feels America ought to have two year forced integration camps for people ages 18-20!

     Then there's prop 8, ha! i.e., a comfortable freedom for one is someone else not having freedom. 
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Cain

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Re: No strings attached freedom
« Reply #17 on: December 05, 2008, 04:17:16 pm »
Sorry to get semantic on this, but I gotta be me.

It sounds a bit like there are two things being described by "freedom" here.

1) The ability to act as one sees fit.
2) A relative marker of "positive degree of autonomy": That is, one is more-or-less "free" depending on the degree of autonomy.

That is to say, while one can be Free1 by attempting to do as they see fit, that may not mean they are allowed to carry it out, due to Freedom2.

Does that make any sense?

It does.  In fact, I think that comes very close to how it is viewed, in that label one is used to describe the process of label 2.  if you see what I mean.

Argh, language.

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Re: No strings attached freedom
« Reply #18 on: December 06, 2008, 01:46:05 am »
rewrite to see if i understood.

1. Freedom is the ability to do what is unexpected.
1.0.1. Everybody has this freedom.
1.1. All political systems give freedom to those who stay within certain lines and take it from those who cross the lines.
1.1.1. It makes no difference if the lines are enforced by policing or by peer pressure.
1.2. Its being free that is desireable, but using your freedom to do the unexpected/unrespected/unlawfull.
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hashishi

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Re: No strings attached freedom
« Reply #19 on: December 08, 2008, 02:18:30 am »
Political systems are opposed to freedom, because those certain lines are contraints. I.E. They are against freedom.
Take Rat's Thou Shall Not Smoke Weed example. That is a control. By smoking weed, you run the risk of punishment. The freedom to smoke weed exists, but only through disobedience. The way I look at it, regulated freedom is no freedom at all, but a list of constraints. However, laws are only a theoretical limitation because the choice is always yours whether to obey or not.

I think it fits in with some Anarcho-Individualist philosophy, particularly that of Max Stirner in The Ego and Its Own. He spoke of 'spooks' (Geists, he was German). External forces, like the Law or the Church exist because people believe in their governing 'spooks' (You could replace the word spook with meme or meme-plex). A Church has all of the religious artefacts because people acted as though their god was real and provided them with offerings. The Law gets enforced because cops, lawyers magistrates, judges etc all believe in the spook of the Law. If you behaive as though there is a god or a law then you are acting to external ideas and not owning yourself.

According to Stirner the ego can own itself only through the rejection (or perhaps a concious examination) of the spooks which seek to control it.

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Re: No strings attached freedom
« Reply #20 on: December 08, 2008, 03:30:17 am »
The way I look at it, regulated freedom is no freedom at all, but a list of constraints.

I like your stuff. 

*thud*

How free are you now?
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hashishi

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Re: No strings attached freedom
« Reply #21 on: December 08, 2008, 12:55:26 pm »
The way I look at it, regulated freedom is no freedom at all, but a list of constraints.

I like your stuff. 

*thud*

How free are you now?
*oww*
From the time I sparked up my joint to the time you hit me I was freer than you could be by hitting me.
You were either hitting me because you were told to (in which case you are obeying orders), or because you want to control me. If you want to control me you are either gonna have to hit alot of people, spend a lot of time worrying about being hit and make plans to avoid being hit. In that case you are going to have to become a slave to your own power.
Well thats my own personal trip on power. :wink:

Cramulus

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Re: No strings attached freedom
« Reply #22 on: December 08, 2008, 06:50:35 pm »
 :lulz:

Manta Obscura

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Re: No strings attached freedom
« Reply #23 on: December 08, 2008, 07:03:02 pm »
The way I look at it, regulated freedom is no freedom at all, but a list of constraints.

I like your stuff. 

*thud*

How free are you now?
*oww*
From the time I sparked up my joint to the time you hit me I was freer than you could be by hitting me.
You were either hitting me because you were told to (in which case you are obeying orders), or because you want to control me. If you want to control me you are either gonna have to hit alot of people, spend a lot of time worrying about being hit and make plans to avoid being hit. In that case you are going to have to become a slave to your own power.
Well thats my own personal trip on power. :wink:

Personally, I always thought the "slave to your own power" idea didn't hold up. If upholding one's power or right to hold power over others is what one wishes to do, then to say that one is constrained by doing so seems a bit off. That seems like saying that someone who loves someone else unconditionally and wants to do nice things for that person is a slave to their own love, or that eating when you feel hungry makes you a slave to your stomach. Sure, those things affect what choices you do make, but not necessarily what choices you're forced to make.
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Elder Iptuous

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Re: No strings attached freedom
« Reply #24 on: December 08, 2008, 08:02:51 pm »
The way I look at it, regulated freedom is no freedom at all, but a list of constraints.
I like your stuff. 
*thud*
How free are you now?
*oww*
From the time I sparked up my joint to the time you hit me I was freer than you could be by hitting me.
You were either hitting me because you were told to (in which case you are obeying orders), or because you want to control me. If you want to control me you are either gonna have to hit alot of people, spend a lot of time worrying about being hit and make plans to avoid being hit. In that case you are going to have to become a slave to your own power.
Well thats my own personal trip on power. :wink:
Personally, I always thought the "slave to your own power" idea didn't hold up. If upholding one's power or right to hold power over others is what one wishes to do, then to say that one is constrained by doing so seems a bit off. That seems like saying that someone who loves someone else unconditionally and wants to do nice things for that person is a slave to their own love, or that eating when you feel hungry makes you a slave to your stomach. Sure, those things affect what choices you do make, but not necessarily what choices you're forced to make.
You're a slave to your reason.  :D

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Re: No strings attached freedom
« Reply #25 on: December 08, 2008, 08:12:10 pm »
LMNO:  not all people in a society give up the same set of 'rights'.

Cain: that seems to jive with my belief that the only 'natural right' or 'freedom' is the right/freedom to struggle strife.

fixt for this irreligion ;-)

also Cain, NICE piece there! it reads--especially near the end--like one of those spoken intros for tracks by Atari Teenage Riot or possibly Trent Reznor, someone should record this.

(ugh i hate saying "someone should" but my dutch accent wouldnt do it)

your remark about "to demonstrate it to others" sounds like "i am Chaos, and I'm here to tell you that you are absolutely free".
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hashishi

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Re: No strings attached freedom
« Reply #26 on: December 08, 2008, 11:32:24 pm »
Personally, I always thought the "slave to your own power" idea didn't hold up. If upholding one's power or right to hold power over others is what one wishes to do, then to say that one is constrained by doing so seems a bit off. That seems like saying that someone who loves someone else unconditionally and wants to do nice things for that person is a slave to their own love, or that eating when you feel hungry makes you a slave to your stomach. Sure, those things affect what choices you do make, but not necessarily what choices you're forced to make.
I can be a slave to my hunger or love at times.

What do you mean by 'what choices you are forced to make'?

Maybe those who sit on top of the pyramids are happy being there, I don't know. Anecdotally, people in positions of power tend to be workaholics, Stalin worked about 20 hours a day to keep his reign of terror from biting him back. Rupert Murdoch works tirelessly to maintain News Limited. Politicians tend to work very long hours and have to spend a lot of time and energy maintaining 'respectability' in the eyes of the media.

From my own perspective as someone who likes being in control of his own time as much as possible, to take on a position of domination over others would be enslaving myself to a role, where my freedom of action is restrained by having to always play the role of Boss. To use the  :fnord: Eye in the Pyramid analogy, everyone below me would be telling me what I wanted to hear, in order to try and curry favour. From that position of being fed misinformation I would then have to make decisions affecting all of those below me, causing negative chaos. Personally I think I would lose out on a cost/benefit analysis. (Such logic applies to me, Im not sure if it can apply to anyone else).

Cramulus

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Re: No strings attached freedom
« Reply #27 on: December 08, 2008, 11:48:08 pm »
Personally, I always thought the "slave to your own power" idea didn't hold up. If upholding one's power or right to hold power over others is what one wishes to do, then to say that one is constrained by doing so seems a bit off. That seems like saying that someone who loves someone else unconditionally and wants to do nice things for that person is a slave to their own love, or that eating when you feel hungry makes you a slave to your stomach. Sure, those things affect what choices you do make, but not necessarily what choices you're forced to make.

I'd argue that the choices you make are every bit a prison, even if you're choosing what you seem to want.

I can't properly articulate the discussion at the moment, but there's a lot about this in the Art of Memetics, specifically in dealing with this issue of Agency. The argument put forth in the book is that a Memeplex (we could be talking about a human being, a corporation, a religion, any network of linked memetic "nodes") is an organization of memes, and those memes are all (in some ways) fighting for themselves.

So when you look at a person's behavior, you have to wonder if it's really them acting? Or they are merely being an agent of the memeplex called Christianity (for example).

The angle argued in AoM, which I happen to agree with, is that there is no real self at the core, there's just this meme called "I am", and a bunch of stuff stuck to it. Some of it's been stuck to it for a long time, and has a very strong tenacity (like the values you were instilled with at birth, which are themselves complexes of memes). You might think of this as your "true self" and your "true will", but over time these things will shift and change strength and relationship to one another. They're no more identity than the clothes you're wearing right now.

So when you act, you have to wonder - what part of me is acting, and whose part is that?

I seem to be infected with this Discordia meme, and it motivates me to waste numerous hours scribbling into the night... but is that ME? Or is it that I've internalized part of the Discordian memeplex and it's acting through me?

That's the Black Iron Prison if you ask me. You're a slave to your preferences and tastes. I watch Stephen Colbert every fucking night, and I love the hell out of that man, but it's also a bar in my prison. I am a Discordian (it's one of the few things I'll say declaratively about myself) but to be really free I've gotta be willing to (a) recognize that it's not me, it's just some stuff I'm carrying and (b) drop that shit at a moment's notice if that meme becomes a parasite.


The other thing this riffs off of is a concept in behavioral psychology called the Melioration Principle. Basically it states that an organism will engage in a behavior until a competing behavior offers a better reward. Walk around for a day examining all your actions under that particular lens and you'll start to feel pretty robotic. Your choices do begin to feel like a trap, that all-consuming quest for slack.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2008, 11:52:59 pm by Cramulus »

Verbal Mike

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Re: No strings attached freedom
« Reply #28 on: December 09, 2008, 12:38:49 am »
I think another simple factor is that we have a natural (and healthy) tendency to pursue our choices in a way that is automatic - I chose to go to university, so now I no longer have to choose whether to go to university. I may have made the decision in perfect freedom, and I do indeed believe I made it for all the right reasons, but it's not something I actively decide on anymore. Like Cram said, I will only actually make a decision about it again if and when a competing behavior offers a better reward (like if staying in school becomes financially inviable, quitting school may become something I actually consider.)

Our choices, decisions and wants can become prisons, but this has to be seen, in this context, as a relative thing. If we assume - and I have long assumed - that we are all tautologically free, what is a prison? An actual brick-and-mortar prison is not a limitation on our freedom. Perhaps in an indirect, vague way, but it doesn't make us less capable of freedom. So if I decide I want power, I will go on auto-pilot as far as deciding whether I want power. My actions will be determined by the decision already made. And I will tie myself up in choices, decisions and commitments which limit my freedom superficially - like a real prison would (but in a different way, if not to a lesser degree.) I would still be capable of being free at any moment, changing the course I am on - but there would be more factors in my decision-making, more constraints on me.

I really think there may be two very different kinds of freedom in play here. Not sure if I'm paraphrasing LMNO here, but let's say freedom and liberty are two different things for a moment. Liberty is the deeper, basic, tautological property of human beings that means we can choose in an independent way. "Liberty" in this sense is what this thread has mostly been trying to get at. And then freedom is what I have alluded to as "superficial" freedom. It is the sum of the constraints that indirectly affect your liberty. All people are 100% equal as far as their capacity for liberty - but the only way to actual have liberty is to commit acts of liberty. There is no prerequisite to it, but still it is relatively rare. Freedom, however, is very differential. The government affects it, certainly, as do the other circumstances of one's life. People in prison have just as much liberty as those outside of prison, but far, far less freedom.

The semantics here are sticky because the English language (and many others) has only one word for these two concepts, and they are semantically very close, and philosophically often fused into one. But I think one can safely separate the two, in one's mind, to make sense of this discussion, to a degree.

EDIT: Obviously English has more than one word for freedom/liberty but they are not semantically different in normal use. You can almost always replace "freedom" with "liberty" and vice versa in a normal English sentence. The two (and possibly others that fail to come to mind) form a single semantic unit in the English language.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2008, 12:41:18 am by VERB` »
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Re: No strings attached freedom
« Reply #29 on: December 09, 2008, 12:39:53 am »
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