Freedom As We Don't Know It
Throughout recent decades & centuries, whether philosophically or colloquially,
there has never been more focus than recent times, on the, so called, value of the century…
And if you were to ask most people,
they would intuitively think of this value, as it’s generally defined to be:
“doing what the individual person desires without coercion”,
as inherently good for all humans.
But like a lot of things in the world, more nuances to the discussion reveal,
that this “value”, as great & necessary as it is,
has be defined a certain way (which we’ll show) & incorporate broader aspects of the human psyche,
and paradoxically, needs to exist in light of a higher value system that governs it, to be inherently good,
otherwise, in the definition that most people conceptualize of (which we mentioned above),
it actually becomes capable of being a destructive “non-value”,
which we’ll prove & illustrate from first principles in this essay, & also provide new alternative conceptions of it.
Before my libertarian friends get angry with this interrogation,
I’m not trying to undermine this essential concept for humans,
I am just trying to question how people conceptualize it, and give a new, better, and more precise outlook at it.
I also want to clarify that I’m not talking about freedom from a legal/states perspective,
there is a separate discussion for that when it comes to governments and their approach,
& obviously all governments have had a messy and still have a messy approach with this topic,
so this will be set aside,
and the focus will be the moral/individualistic deep introspective aspect of freedom that we humans conceive of for ourselves,
rather than political remote interrogations,
for more fruitful, and practical aspects of it.
As Von Goathe once said: “desires are both faults or virtues.”
In the mainstream brief definition we provided earlier,
freedom was mainly structured as doing what the human desires/wants, without coercion,
now, freedom, In that conception, of desires/whims/self being the overlord,
is open for the possibly faulty/destructive aspect of the human psyche/desire,
because of the open infinite nature of human desires.
So in this definition, you can be “free”, by devolving into the lowest specimen of a human,
and also be free to be in the highest ranks of the human condition,
In other words, it’s neutral against self-destruction.
So if it opens up infinite possibilities for both virtuous and fallacious/destructive behavior, without pushing towards constructive endeavours,
how “inherently good” is it in this conception, really?
let’s Imagine the saying “be free” (with this interpretation in mind),
and how it might be interpreted by 2 different people.
Yes it could be interpreted by a person who wants to derive good actions from it, in mind,
but a person who wants to use drugs can certainly latch on to that as a motto for pushing the pedal on his use.
And the key insight here is that a value has to push forward the person in the right direction, universally, & everytime (or at least has to be surrounded with other more superior values that push it towards that),
it falls short of becoming a value worth pursuing on its own, and has to be rethought.
Now, you could say that some people have that capability of doing the wrong things with that “freedom”, others don’t,
and that’s life,
but that’s not a rebuttal to the point,
because what we’re saying is that, not only is it binary on the scale of a society,
where some people do good with it, and some people do wrong with it,
but even a single individual has both of the capabilities of doing the right thing, or the wrong thing,
So mr.virtuous today, can spiral down to be as bad as it gets,
if there isn’t a repelling force to keep the unlimited destructive desires on track,
which freedom, in the mainstream definition, doesn’t facilitate for.
The world you so carefully & virtuously construct today, might be blown apart in the future by a stressor, or a calamity, if your value structure doesn’t incorporate counteracting that.
And to emphasize on this, a “value” has to push the human to do right everytime (or has to be surrounded by superior values that push it on that track), by definition,
otherwise it stops having that “inherently good” capability of values, and stops being a value, in the first place.
And we can see it practically actualising,
where people cite freedom for the most wise reasons,
but also for the lowest destructive/self-destructive forces possible.
So now that we have the building blocks for a new conception,
since we saw that the mainstream conception is not complete in its incorporation,
we can complete the missing pieces in the mainstream conceptualization,
by governing it within a set of principles that disables that capability for self-destruction, & destruction, more broadly (which seems like something that will decrease/curtail freedom, but we’ll see why it doesn’t),
in order for it to actually become “true” freedom.
And we’ll explore how it implements itself in this next section.
So since we’re all about questioning,
what’s the alternative conception of freedom that ought to be inherently good?
in a few sentences, it’s 1 that includes being “free” from the coercive destructive internal states, as well as the coercive destructive external states.
In 1 way, we can think of our previous interrogation of freedom as pointing out that,
the mainstream conception of freedom doesn’t include being free from the corruptible parts of the self, let’s say, i.e internal states,
and only weighs into the equation the external sides of coercion.
so really, true freedom lies in pointing out both of those corruptible parts of the human condition, or more broadly human interaction, whether internal or external.
And the way we can bind freedom to be inherently good, and incorporate both the internal & external,
actualises by having a set of superior, more fundamental “actual” values,
which have a built-in aspect of being inherently “good” (i.e. a true value),
and the most fundamental or quintessential value that binds all other values to become inherently good,
is what’s known as justice.
People often think of this value as relating to law, or even including only the “other”,
but the value of justice is deeper than that, to a degree you can hardly imagine.
Justice is essentially giving everything its right.
Let’s dissect this integration & governing of freedom with the more fundamental justice,
and see how it actualises in the internal and the external realm, as we illustrated it:
One who binds the identity of freedom to justice will ensure they don’t have destructive forces for themselves or others, which solves the problems we mentioned above,
because you’re bound to this responsibility of giving everything its appropriate rights including your valuable self,
and that way you’re truly “free” from the aspects of the human psyche that might destroy itself & others.
All of this is inherently linked to the concept of value, which we can dive deeper into in another time, but let’s just leave it as an intuitive assumption for now.
This incorporation & consciousness of justice when thinking of freedom,
will also ensure that people don’t impinge on the freedom of others ,which is ironically, not incorporated in the mainstream conception of freedom,
because if you think about it,
if one is free to do whatever they “desire” without coercion (i.e. the mainstream conception of freedom), that desire might be an impingement/force for destruction on the freedoms of others,
which proves to us further that the mainstream conception is self-defeating & contradictory.
However, if we incorporate justice, we ensure the destructive forces of desires, are actually in check, to eventually attain “true freedom”.
You might say that the law serves as a justice apparatus, why mention it then?
If you think that the law “serves complete justice” between individuals,
you might as well take a look into history, and you’ll quickly realise that,
deep thought into our conceptions of justice, despite the law, is absolutely crucial to assess our value systems and the sanity of our societies.
And also, the law can only dictate justice which has crime included in it,
and doesn’t really have a notion of justice that penetrates all aspects of life, which is the one we brought to the table.Punishing crime & the rule of law, are necessary for justice, but they’re not sufficient.
I wanted to put this on the table briefly and say,
the idea of justice is universal between humans, and has the most common areas of agreement on its conception, relative to any other value,
but people still differ on subtle differences on it, based on their worldview,
and there are also many differences, on where that doctrine of justice should come from.
Some people think that it should come from human reason,
others think it’s a specific religion coming from God, that institutes and defines justice,
which is the point of view I subscribe to for many reason we can get into philosophically, epistemologically, and ontologically,
but I am mentioning this here to show that our discussion of linking freedom to justice is only closing 1 small chapter,
and opening another,
but at least it’s progress to define & understand the things we have at hand,
so we can definitely continue the discussion on some other occasion on the meaning and subtle differences of justice,
and that at the first instance is less messy,
when we have the critique of the mainstream freedom, as we showed here, at hand.
Optimizing for Freedom in the mainstream conception of: “the individual doing what they want without coercion”, can possibly lead to a dominoe effect on all other values that elevate the individual to be “good”.
However, once we look the other side, and dictate freedom to be a medium to serve justice (in the way we defined it),
rather than an absolute to be chased for its own sake,
is when one truly becomes “free” from the possible self-destructive & destructive capacities that lie within.