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Old 10-28-2013, 01:18 PM   #1
jonathan7
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What is Freedom?

In honour of a conversation JIGOS and I were having...

What is freedom?



"Love is the only reality and it is not a mere sentiment. It is the ultimate truth that lies at the heart of creation." - Rabindranath Tagore

"Many a doctrine is like a window pane. We see truth through it but it divides us from truth." - Kahlil Gibran
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Old 10-28-2013, 01:55 PM   #2
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Freedom can be only defined through the restraints put on it by society in the form of social norms and laws.


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Old 10-28-2013, 05:30 PM   #3
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Here in the US, freedom can only be found in the history books.


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Fix their home team score on the board to the debt clock, they can win every game 17,000,000,000,000 to 24. Losing team gets taxed by the IRS 100%, then droned."
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Old 10-28-2013, 08:04 PM   #4
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Just as good cannot exist without evil, freedom cannot exist without oppression.

Freedom, in my mind, is as defined in the United States Declaration of Independence. Freedom is the ability to live a life in the pursuit of happiness regardless of whatever religion, political stance, or opinion someone may be.



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Old 10-28-2013, 09:57 PM   #5
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You will probably need to define the context of the question; freedom does not exist in a vacuum apart from human beings. What things are relevant? Physical law? Coercion?

A determinist would say that physical laws deny freedom, while most people would say that being told "their family will be killed if they don't do X" would make a person less free (implying that there's a gradient in there somewhere), but someone who believes in libertarian free will would deny that any outside force can limit agency.

It's not too clear what is being asked if it's left so wide open. Kind of like asking "what is a game?" when the things people say are games are of such variety - chess, solitaire, hide and seek, "the game", "playing chicken", etc that there is no necessary common denominator to identify them.


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Old 10-29-2013, 03:01 AM   #6
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It's the absence of oppression; that is, it is not a thing, per se, rather, it is the absence of any artificial restrictions we may place upon society or any of its members.
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Old 10-29-2013, 04:15 AM   #7
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The radical notion that:
1) People are not property
2) anyone may have property
3) your liberties (and thusly pursuit thereof w/ happiness and freedom) end where infringement of one anothers' liberties begin.
4) choices for better or worse

Context matters but I aim to be concise here.


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Old 10-29-2013, 05:36 AM   #8
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Just as good cannot exist without evil, freedom cannot exist without oppression.

Freedom, in my mind, is as defined in the United States Declaration of Independence. Freedom is the ability to live a life in the pursuit of happiness regardless of whatever religion, political stance, or opinion someone may be.
This is how I feel about freedom. Obviously there are certain aspects of our government that take away from our freedom in one way or another, but that can be found in every single country on this planet, nobody is perfect. No one is truly free, but the U.S. and many other countries try and give its citizens the closest damn thing. Amurca!


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Old 10-29-2013, 06:36 AM   #9
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'Freedom', is an umbrella term used by politicians and the state to give people a false sense of... choice? maybe even hope.

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Old 10-29-2013, 11:39 AM   #10
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Freedom, in my mind, is as defined in the United States Declaration of Independence. Freedom is the ability to live a life in the pursuit of happiness regardless of whatever religion, political stance, or opinion someone may be.
But under the US definition, can't one person's freedom infringe on another person's freedom? I mean if we are neighbors and my happiness is depended on listening to loud music 24/7, should I be allowed to do it if it infringes on your happiness? Or if everyone is only happy with loud music 24/7, but me, should the majority be allowed to override my happiness?


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Old 10-29-2013, 06:02 PM   #11
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But under the US definition, can't one person's freedom infringe on another person's freedom? I mean if we are neighbors and my happiness is depended on listening to loud music 24/7, should I be allowed to do it if it infringes on your happiness? Or if everyone is only happy with loud music 24/7, but me, should the majority be allowed to override my happiness?
There can't be any exceptions when it comes to freedom. For example there are people that protest against the war at soldiers funerals. There are also people that burn the flag. As much as I absolutely despise those actions, I believe in their right to do them. If they can't be allowed to do that, then other people can't be allowed to protest abortion, hurting the environment, etc. There are so many different things we are free to do that aren't just limited to protesting, but just because certain people might not approve of one thing doesn't mean it can be outlawed. There is a fine line when it comes to each individual situation though such as the one with you listening to music loudly. You're in a neighborhood and there are certain rules. People can make a noise complaint, but if you aren't being loud they don't have the right to tell you what music to listen to (if it's appropriate).


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Old 10-29-2013, 06:48 PM   #12
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There can't be any exceptions when it comes to freedom.
But there are....Go yell fire in a movie theater and find out how free your speech really is.

If I am truly free, then I should be allowed to murder, poison the environment, steal and whatever else I want to do. Problem is those things could possible violate someone else's right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, so there has to be some infringement into individual freedoms in a civilized society, otherwise you don't have freedom, you have anarchy.

US was also founded on protecting individual rights, so just saying the majority rules, does not work. We have to protect individual rights and freedoms from the majority rules mentality.


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Old 10-29-2013, 06:55 PM   #13
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so there has to be some infringement into individual freedoms in a civilized society, otherwise you don't have freedom, you have anarchy.
Yes of course there does, but with everything else besides the extremes there can't be exceptions. I don't know about you, but I feel free here. Certain things people do upset me such as the things I listed in my previous post, but I can do the same thing so it's fair.


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Old 10-29-2013, 07:53 PM   #14
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True freedom cannot exist without a significant separation between people. Even then it's still a constrained freedom. The closest I ever saw to that was when I was on the farm. It was a wheat farm, and all of our food we got from our animals. Chickens laid enough eggs for us to eat breakfast every day, We had several milk cows. Had a large Freezer with plenty of meat for supper(farm language for what you would call Lunch, but it was the big meal of the day). It was more work than my city life. Vacation was kinda not happening. But I was free to live my life on that farm without anyone coming by to tell me what I needed to do. I was free to ride the horse all day.

True freedom requires a lot of work. It requires independence, and self reliance. In some ways, the homeless are more free than those of us who work every day.


"I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it." Thomas Jefferson
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Old 10-29-2013, 08:07 PM   #15
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@Sam D, I deliberately left it very open as the discussion came about in a Skype conversation, I suppose we could settle on a definition from a dictionary perhaps - but I think answers, also come with cultural backgrounds, for example I'm going to outrage some of the Americans here by saying;

I have to confess, I'm glad that in the UK if Westboro Baptist tried to picket a soldiers funeral they would be arrested - I think a families freedom to grieve for a dead family member superceeds an individuals right to be an obnoxious insensitive moron.

My question would be is true "freedom" the right to speak, behave and act as you want, so long as that doesn't interfere with another individuals freedom?



"Love is the only reality and it is not a mere sentiment. It is the ultimate truth that lies at the heart of creation." - Rabindranath Tagore

"Many a doctrine is like a window pane. We see truth through it but it divides us from truth." - Kahlil Gibran
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Old 10-29-2013, 11:34 PM   #16
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I have to confess, I'm glad that in the UK if Westboro Baptist tried to picket a soldiers funeral they would be arrested - I think a families freedom to grieve for a dead family member superceeds an individuals right to be an obnoxious insensitive moron.
Not offended and agree, would like to beat the hell out of all of them or worse, but I will defend their right to be insensitive morons.


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Old 10-30-2013, 12:36 AM   #17
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My question would be is true "freedom" the right to speak, behave and act as you want, so long as that doesn't interfere with another individuals freedom?
That is an aspect of it. Of speech. That is more or less what I said above. Though it should be noted there's gag orders of sorts against such intrusive/disruptive/etc. things as in your example. They must stay a certain distance away from it.

Agreed it's distasteful and stupid. Period. Yet as much as it annoys me, I will stand for their right to do it. I'm not offended*, though perhaps a bit more lenient than that of your country in that I would at least allow it but rule it has to not be disruptive.

*Though personally would not blame you for taking weapons or something to beat the bejeepers out of them.

I'd rule as a governing philosophy:
It shall be rendered ineffective if their aim is to disrupt the event. At distance it would not, could not cause disturbances for the event and for anyone coming to or leaving from the event, including the motorcade (or whatever equivalent). Any violation hereof is subjected to legal infraction. You almost have to go out of your way to be subject to it, as they cannot accost anyone within that designated distance.

If it's any consolation, as-is I think the police tend to look the other way if it escalates to a level within reason with offended people.

The point of allowing it? Well, in a way it's an example to the rest of society of what or whom not to be. I think it's important for perspective sake.

As you more or less asked me about my wanting to shut up a holocaust denier in some thread long ago:
Is it not important to let others speak their piece, no matter how much of a "nut" they are? Essentially it was the "let them have enough rope to hang themselves" analogy, allowing open discussion.


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Old 10-30-2013, 12:59 PM   #18
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Been thinking about the topic.

I think:

Freedom is a description of the number of possibilities, in the context of action, available to an agent.

Possibilities are created by power, which is the ability to execute an action.
Number of possibilities is determined by the presence of restrictions to actions. Restrictions can be anything - physical laws or objects, or abstract concepts or perceptions. The action, and agent, can both be anything.


Some unordered notes:

The greater the freedom (number of possibilities) available to an agent, the greater the potential for chaos (with chaos being negative relations/interactions of consequences of actions).

When people refer to "freedom", they are usually incognizantly referring to freedom in specific contexts, as unspecified freedom (i.e. absolute freedom), is so exclusive from the human experience.

Absolute freedom exists only as a concept, as many possibilities are mutually exclusive of each other. Absolute freedom also requires absolute power.

Laws and moralities are artificial restrictions on possibilities, created by people to prevent chaos and preserve order, because, while the positivity of orders are subject to specific attributes of specific orders, chaos generally causes destruction and death regardless of context.


Example: In the context of flying, if you are a human being on planet Earth, your freedom (possibilities) to fly is limited by the planet's gravity, and your lack of naturally occurring biological flying systems. Presence of accessible airplanes increase your ability (and thus, possibilities) to fly.

Absolute freedom in the context of flying likely is impossible, as even birds have limited energy (type of power) to expend on flying, and there is limited money (determiner of ability) and/or fuel (source of energy) in the world to facilitate airplane operation.

In the subcontext of human use of airplanes, laws exist in human societies concerning the operation of airplanes (artificial restrictions), as if planes were usable without air traffic rules and standards, the likelihood for air crashes is greatly increased (chaos is prevented).



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Old 10-31-2013, 12:13 AM   #19
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@Sam D, I deliberately left it very open as the discussion came about in a Skype conversation, I suppose we could settle on a definition from a dictionary perhaps - but I think answers, also come with cultural backgrounds, for example I'm going to outrage some of the Americans here by saying;

I have to confess, I'm glad that in the UK if Westboro Baptist tried to picket a soldiers funeral they would be arrested - I think a families freedom to grieve for a dead family member superceeds an individuals right to be an obnoxious insensitive moron.

My question would be is true "freedom" the right to speak, behave and act as you want, so long as that doesn't interfere with another individuals freedom?
Surely that would be giving it a context just as I asked for? And in this specific case, as long as they were on "public" property at the time, I don't really have a problem with them protesting whatever they like. I really don't trust anyone in charge to determine what is and what is not should be classified as free speech in a public space.

And it is not that: I don't trust certain individuals. I simply don't trust the institution itself to always promote freedom in that space-- hence I would deny them the ability to regulate it.


"Words are deeds." - Wittgenstein
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Old 11-04-2013, 12:30 PM   #20
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Not offended and agree, would like to beat the hell out of all of them or worse, but I will defend their right to be insensitive morons.
Angel Wings is a group that uses massive angel wings to cover the Westboro morons. WBC is an interesting thing. The majority of their "congregation" are lawyers. They make large chunks of cash off of people who get so angry that they physically attack WBC members. Real life trolls hoping to get socked in the mouth. I bet they would go away pretty quick if there was a "grieving family" exemption from lawsuits.


"I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it." Thomas Jefferson
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Old 02-27-2014, 02:39 AM   #21
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Loaded question, that is. That's like asking "what is time?" to a group of beginner physics students. It kind of lends itself to a lot of options, and none of them are necessarily right or wrong.

From a political standpoint, I would say that a good definition of freedom is that perfect balance between individual human rights, and respect for those rights in the instance others. To put it in more pragmatic terms, freedom would be having as many rights as possible without infringing on another person's rights in the process. You can read whatever book you like, but you can't physically harm another person, for instance. This becomes difficult, just because there are a lot of grey areas where these two elements conflict, like drinking and smoking. You can drink around pretty much anyone, but most places now force smokers to go outside. This is because of the indirect harm of second-hand smoking. However, someone could make the same argument that there is a similarly indirect harm inherent in the risk of an inebriated person driving a car and hitting someone. Maybe it's a little far-fetched, but it's an argument people make. That's what can make this kind of freedom a difficult thing to grapple.

(now, this is where I may get a little far-flung, bear with me, I'm an asian philosophy major and I promise I know, like, 85% of what I'm talking about)

Culturally, freedom is a very fluid thing. In western conventions, freedom centers primarily around individuality, and the freedom to do as you please. But in many eastern cultures, that individuality is of diminished importance in comparison to the whole. In those circles, freedom is more about a family's rights and restitution in the grand scheme of things. To give a few examples, a person from America might feel guilt over committing a crime against another person, worrying about the consequences to himself and how they effect him. Meanwhile, a person from China is far more likely to feel shame for betraying the respect and honor of his family, friends, and even ancestors. In the framework of freedom, then, a man concerned with his freedom in America might be thinking about his right to own a gun or to marry his same-sex partner, while a man in China or Japan might view the rights to family rituals being respected by the state as a more important freedom.

Philosophically, it entirely depends on what freedom you are speaking about, and from what perspective. In Buddhist traditions, total freedom is a lack of self stemming from spiritual enlightenment. In the Greek schools, true freedom was meeting death in the knowledge that betterment lies ahead beyond what we can achieve in this life. In African religions, freedom is the achievement of survival above all others that would wish your life theirs. To respect the world around you in as much capacity as is necessary to outsmart it. To Confucius, freedom was simply a byproduct of living a life in humility and pursuit of pure goals. To Nietzsche, freedom was mostly a cruel joke to all but those who already possessed it.

One thing is for sure, I find it highly unlikely that there could ever be one true concept of freedom. That would hardly be a very free way of thinking, would it?

(Also it's good to be back guys)



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