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Lv 5
Koshka asked in Arts & HumanitiesPhilosophy · 1 decade ago

What is freedom, really?


Megan, entitlements and human rights is not freedom, it is privilege.

Update 2:

Nathan, I agree. But within the context social duties and social bounds, can one still experience freedom?

Update 3:

My dear Scythian,

Some democracies are also excellent at establishing lawful societies, and it seems only few of their subjects notice freedom restrictions.

There is a French proverb: “La liberté des uns s’arrête là où commence celle des autres“ Which means that: “freedom ends where that of others begins”. Apply that to the context of local “Happy Meal” bans and you get the opposite, which is something like “Your individual freedom ends when others decide that you are unfit to chose what to feed your kids!”

I agree with you that human rights have to be won and agreed to, still the notion that it is a privilege, which is a fundamental right that exists and extends to all persons, seems to be misunderstood in the western world. Iran would be good example of how underrated that notion is.

Update 4:

Rita I am very tempted to give you BA =)

Supastemph, TY for your perspective

Catch 22, I do not think that it is possible to give an objective answer to the concept of freedom, it is subjective by definition.

TY all for answering and to those who starred.

Update 5:

I am still trying to post BA for the second time!

Mr Quill, I agree that freedom is the power to act on your desires and that it involves the constrains of fairness and morality.

That also implies certain responsabilities, which seems contradictory to freedom, in the technical sence, however if one acknowledges the implications that comes with freedom, one understands that responsability is freedom’s best friend.

10 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Freedom is probably the only word more misunderstood than Love.

    "Is freedom a lack of constraints or the power to ignore them?"

    Technically Freedom is a lack of constraint.

    Hence Law or Morality is by definition the opposite of Freedom.

    So why did the ancient Greeks say:

    "Without Law there is no Freedom"?

    You see what humans REALLY mean by Freedom is the Power to act on their desires.

    The lack of constraint means little if you do not have the power to act

    & the presence of constraint means little if you have the power to overcome it.

    You may be free to vacation in France, but this means little if you don't have the money/power to do so. Conversly a Law against French vacations would mean little if you had the money/power to get around it.

    Iron dust in the wind is as free as it gets. But collect that dust, constrain it to the form of a sword & you get Power.

    And that is what the Greeks meant. That the constraint of Law, creates the Power of Society, which allows individuals to act on & achieve MORE of their desires than they would have without those constraints.

    Now they could have said - "Lawless Freedom sucks because you're just going to get your @ss kicked by those moral enough to form a Gang."

    This however lacks poetic style & many folks have trouble seeing Gangs as moral.

    But a Nation is just a really big Gang, and the Power of a Gang (or a Nation) is precisely derived from the agreement of members to treat each other fairly, or at least fair enough to maintain group loyalty.

    So Freedom is the Power to act on your desires,

    and that, my friends, involves a lot of Constraint.

  • 1 decade ago

    freedom isn't actually a merit. Most 'free' people aren't bound by family, social institutions, friends, and bank loans. Most free people are nomads and wanderers without anything to their name, they thrive on solitude and live for themselves. When you have documents to your name, and workers duties, you are state property and are bound in the social contract. The free person doesn't know this. But despite it's appeal, most free people aren't really free at all, but are just struggling to survive. I don't think there's such a thing as a completely free man, yet..

  • 1 decade ago

    Freedom is something that one notices is missing when he doesn't have it. And the usual cause for this lack of freedom is other people. I rarely hear of people complaining about lack of freedom if they're living alone somewhere far from civilization--which is often why these types are driven to live in lonely, remote places.

    "Social duties and social bounds"---that sure sounds like something that "other people" would impose, doesn't it? It is not only human nature, but animal nature as well, to impose on others. People love freedom, but they secretly loathe granting freedoms to others if that means others doing things they dislike seeing. Everybody wants perfect freedom of speech, but want others to shut up if they don't agree with them. Everybody wants to be free to do whatever they want to their own homes on their own private properties, but don't want neighbors to be doing things that could bring down property values. Everybody wants free access to emergency medical care, but don't want immigrants and street people freeloading on the same services. And, traditionally, kings and royals have always insisted on personal freedoms that they refuse to grant to the masses---which is why "freedoms" tend to be historically hard-fought rights.

    Just because reality dictates a necessary balance between unrestricted personal freedom and the need for a lawful society doesn't mean that the concept of freedom is moot. Kings and royals are excellent for establishing lawful societies, but their subjects sure notice that freedoms are missing. Freedoms are those things that people have to agree, by consensus, that everyone should have---such as freedom from involuntary servitude by birth or class. But it takes the understanding and the will of people at large to understand those things and to reach an agreement that will be honored by law. "Human rights" are closely associated with freedoms--neither are inherently granted, both have to be won and agreed to. And too terribly easily lost, either through power consolidated in the hands of too few, or through fear, convincing the masses to voluntarily surrender them.

  • 1 decade ago

    This depends on what you are 'really' asking.

    In a western context, freedom most often refers to the ability to pursue what we desire e.g. social justice.

    We may also ask, given the freedom to pursue what we desire, do we have control over our desires? This applies to freedom in a more eastern context, e.g. liberation, nibbana. In the latter sense, freedom refers to the cutting of the causal stream between external phenomena and internal noumena, a.k.a. enlightenment, e.g. not becoming angry (internal) when your toast lands on the floor (external). This is what the act of zazen medition is 'practice' for.

    Although I cannot answer your question, you may find the following lectures of interest.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Theoretically it's where you can do what ever you like without holding any consequenses but in this political world it just means you're entitled to the basic human rights and you're just a general, regular part of society

  • 1 decade ago

    the age of 21 it is the space that one occupies and respects by rules of protecting the rights of all by fairness of the laws that are written for the people interest in equality and is responsible and liable by title and age by conduct

  • 1 decade ago

    Freedom is being able to walk at will without a leash.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    freedom from the ego

    thats the ultimate freedom

    our ego is the only thing

    that sets boundaries,limits and conditions on us

    without them we can do anything and everything is possible

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Wanting to be here and accepting for what it is.

  • 1 decade ago

    Do you think it is tangible, in the sense of allowing objective definition? Just asking, I dunno...

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