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Eun A Jo

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Are we truly free?

"To see what is in front of one's own nose needs a constant struggle." - George Orwell.

A project called "Creating Freedom" collects various essays, films, and other work of art to discuss the subjects of power, control and freedom. (http://www.creatingfreedom.info/)
From Howard Zinn to Steven Pinker, "Creating Freedom" has consolidated interviews from investigative journalists, historians, psychologists, and more.

The trailer of the film The Lottery of Birth raises the question as to whether we are really free.

Is freedom an absolute, or a relative, condition?
Does freedom truly exist, or is it simply an ideological concept humans created to consolidate the restricted nature of our lives?

Are we truly free?

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    Apr 12 2012: I believe freedom is more complicated and encompasses many levels so that the answer to you question would be yes and no for everyone.

    I think of freedom as web or a tree branching out.
    We all have a certain level of freedoms to breath, to sleep, to react to our environment, to go up stream or down stream, these would be the trunk of our "freedom tree".

    Farther up the tree we would have freedoms that are presented to most of us but not all of us by opportunity. They could be anything from eating and drinking when or what we want to giving a life or taking a life. They may be regulated by availability, government, or maybe even just how we were physically born.

    Farther up the tree freedom branches out into so many different aspects of life governed by so many other factors its impossible to define. These branches will contain freedoms that not everyone can or will have.

    This could be freedom caused by having a lot of money. Yes on some branches money is freedom. Freedom to travel, to help someone, to eat to have a pet, to marry, to buy a book.

    Another branch might be freedom caused by power. This could be the freedom to take another's freedom or to impact those around you positively or negatively.

    One branch might be freedom caused by having charisma or good looks.
    All of these things would open or close doors and the more doors we have open the more free we are. Of course the problem is that at times when we open doors for ourselves we end open closing doors on others.
    • Apr 12 2012: I like your metaphor of freedom being a tree or a web branching out. I think it's very accurate and thought provoking. I hope that people will look at the problem you outline at the bottom of your post. The problem is that at times we open doors for ourselves and end up closing doors for others. Well put, thanks for your interesting metaphor and meme :D

      At the risk of stating the blindingly obvious, having personally examined the branch of freedom of; having lots of money. For me it was more restricting than liberating, long hours, high stress etc. I worked hard but then partied more, having little to show at the end of it. I much prefer the freedom of having lower money, more time for recreation, lower stress etc. Plus paradoxically it helped me to save more and become more responsible.

      So I think that freedom also encompasses the freedom to choose which branches to explore and which to value.
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      Apr 14 2012: Hi James,

      Well, Terry already mentions the metaphor which I found to be truly incredible. So I'll spare you with a repetitive remark.

      Thank you for sharing.
      And thanks to Terry too!
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    Apr 18 2012: I AM FREE.
    AND IT FEELS GREAT.
  • Apr 17 2012: I will make this short, life shows us doors, and we have the keys to open those doors, as long as you are able to choose wich door to open. You are free.
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    Apr 16 2012: All human beings, are now, and have always been, free... Every country is a democracy. All power, is an illusion. A person, government, or corporation, can only do to you, what you let them.

    Always remember, that the police do not stop crime... They punish criminals. No choice can be taken from you, only punished. I don't suggest a life of crime, seems like a big hassle to me. Probably difficult to have a meaningful loving relationship as a criminal as well... but we are all free to be criminals. We are all free to dissent, and free to revolt. Nothing has ever been able to stop anyone from doing anything. People stop doing whatever they want, when they die. Till then, it's anarchy. Surprisingly, most of us don't really want to do anything that horrible : )

    For every action, there is, of course, an equal, and opposite reaction... but, yes, we are all now, and have always been, free to suffer the consequences, and reap the rewards of our actions... Whether we like it or not.
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      Apr 16 2012: David,

      I gave my comment.....clear and concise....four days ago, here it is:

      Yes, we are truly free to do as we

      please............but then...........

      then...........

      we must face the consequences of our actions.

      But you, have elaborated............thank you.
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    Apr 14 2012: Freedom is a mindset. Beyond that there is no possibility of "becoming" or "remaining" free.
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    Apr 14 2012: I believe freedom to be an absolutely relative condition, and an artistic notion. The artistic or philosophical nature of the idea makes it very difficult to grasp, and very difficult to create. It is more difficult still to structure a society around the concept of freedom.
    Reading through the posts here, there are many different views of the concept of freedom. I believe this to be a virtue of the idea. Freedom is an individual notion, so to an extent we create our own freedom. However, since it is so independent, how can it ever be defined while submitting it to the dependency of consensus?

    We can be truly free alone, but together we are as free as the consensus. Speaking as an American, the consensus that was attempted a few centuries ago was that the only way to uphold freedom is to uphold freedom.
    Life, Liberty, Self-determination. These were found, at the time, to be essential to freedom. This was the consensus the founding father's wanted to create.

    If the consensus of freedom changes, it is the ability to realize or live by that change that constitutes how 'free' a society may be. Or the opposite, if changes are made contrary to the consensus of freedom, that could be seen as an affront to the people's freedom.

    Before I confuse myself too much, I'll just say that for the individual...thinking of freedom is an act of freedom...but perception and reality do not translate well.

    Only through independent autonomy may we maintain unified harmony; only through unified harmony may we maintain independent autonomy.
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      Apr 14 2012: Hi Leland,

      Eloquently put! I especially like the two-way interface of independent autonomy and unified harmony.
      Thank you.
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      Apr 14 2012: "Only through independent autonomy may we maintain unified harmony; only through unified harmony may we maintain independent autonomy"

      Beautiful quote.

      Too bad the conversation on "your favorite quotes" closed......with over 700 comments.......or I would have submitted yours.

      I will nevertheless write it in my notebook of quotes.

      Thank you
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    Apr 14 2012: A TEDster by the name of Leland wrote a beautiful free verse in another conversation....here is how he ends it........I thought it was appropriate for this conversation.

    What do you think???

    How we are so deceived
    by this title of anonymity
    for what we truly wish to believe
    is in the right to Autonomy.

    It is for the will to be Free
    that men of past strove to conceive
    a society for man to be
    Self-Governing.

    Through no show of force,
    through no act of war,
    can all of Man be free.

    Over no such ideals
    is there power to wield;
    thus is the cause of Liberty.
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      Apr 14 2012: Thanks for sharing, the notion that you found my work valuable is invaluable to me. These are actually two separate poems that I wrote for the beginning and end of a larger paper. It's too long for the character limit here, but here's the link. http://cesittia.tumblr.com/post/19025060210/vive-la-liberte
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        Apr 14 2012: Thank you for the link......I will definitely look it up.

        The fact I read alot about many many topics, sometimes allows me to bring people and ideas together.

        I feel much happiness at having given you and Eun an opportunity to interchange ideas.

        Be Well.
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      Apr 14 2012: Incredible. Thank you for sharing, and another thanks to Leland :)
  • Apr 20 2012: Beautiful word: FREE ( I like it :-) )

    Have you ever read FEAR OF FREEDOM - Erich Fromm ?

    can I ask you to tell us we are truly free from what exactly?
    If it is just a general idea, then I can say FREEDOM is also just a beautiful concept.
    I am free from certain things, but not free from other things, how can this make me to be truly free?
    we don't have slaves, but we ARE slaves.

    After industrial revolution we had no choice but enslaved us to material things.
    collecting things that we don't need. As Nigel Marsh (from TEDxSidney) put it this way:

    "There are thousands and thousands of people out there living lives of quiet, screaming desperation, who work long, hard hours, at jobs they hate, to enable them to buy things they don’t need to impress people they don’t like"

    how can these people be truly free? there are also included in that WE, you used.

    here is another book to read: TO HAVE or TO BE - Erich Fromm

    Yes, I am " free "
  • Apr 17 2012: Freedom,

    I sit and think with myself... shall I write a comment here or shall I not.....?

    To choose not to write:

    ... might stem from an inner fear of not being smart enough to say anything meaningful. an "internal" personal reason
    .... or it might stem from ..the fact that ... I don't really have time for this.. "external" reasons

    .. both being a limit on my freedom to choose ..... one coming from the inside of me.... and one coming from the outside of me....

    I am not free under these conditions.

    Should I choose to write:

    Yes, I write ... because I love to get "thumbs up" ... a reward for what I do...
    Yes, I write ... because I love to fluff up the feathers of my own ego... show others how smart I am

    The "inner" motivation from my selfish lower ego ..
    as well as the "outer" motivation from the "thumbs up" symbol

    ... Both are impulses that determine my actions and limit my freedom.

    Nor am I free under these conditions.

    ..... but .......

    If I write out of the true love to write... to share ideas... to engage in conversation with other human beings I then.... "stretch and expand".... my concept of freedom, (and yes it is a concept, an "idea" or "IDEAL" that grows within us, just as the concept of morality grows within us) stretch and expand it to encompass an element of love for the world and of course myself... which says of course that "I" am also a part of the world....

    Without the "love for the deed", ...without the pure enjoyment it gives "me and hopefully others" I am not free.

    If I write due to dictates from the church, the bible, the family, culture, wife, etc. ... I am not free
    If I write due to dictates from instincts, egoism, self indulgence, etc. ... I am not free

    Freedom has to stem from the pure love for the deed itself.
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    Apr 17 2012: I suggest in a practical sense we have at least the illusion of choice.

    If decisions can be reduced to some molecular process, then potentially you could predict these.
    If it comes down to the quantum then perhaps there is a degree of randomness or uncertainty.

    The system is so complex for practical purposes, for our super monkey brains we seem to have choice, a degree of freedom. Lets use it wisely and be aware of our instinctual drives, our programmed paradigms etc even if it is an illusion.
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    Apr 16 2012: Free from what?, I am cold-free right now and its great. If I was to be free from everything though I wouldn't be much to speak of.
  • Apr 14 2012: James Howells, It would be a whole lotta fun. The students would enjoy learning and they would learn a lot. They would get to use their creativity and be treated with the respect they deserve. .......Stuff like that. Happy Today. Power to the positive.
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    Apr 14 2012: You know Eun, I just looked up at your picture and read where you are from.

    I was once in Seoul. I was alone, just a few days, to sightsee and do some shopping.

    I think, of all the times in my life where I have felt with less freedom was when I was in Seoul. Why?

    Well, as I walked in and out of temples and shrines, I realized that I was being followed.....it ended up being two agents.....complete with ear pieces and all...........I have never been more scared, and more excited in my entire life. After I struck up a conversation with them....limited of course because their english was very poor....I ended up having someone take a picture of me with the two of them.

    There I was......feeling FREE......until, someone took the feeling away.

    To this day, I am not certain if they were following me to protect me, or because they were suspicious of little old me.

    I just remembered this..........it was such a long time ago....thought I'd contribute it to your conversation.
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      Apr 14 2012: Hi Mary M.

      Wow. I'm sure it must have been rather bothersome.
      I can't say I empathize with you, because well, that never happens to me in Korea! :D
      It's strange though, because I feel more of a foreigner there, having lived in India for most of my life.

      This feeling of freedom that you describe brings about another definition on its own. The type of volatile emotion coming from an uninhibited sense of independence..

      Thanks for sharing!
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    Apr 12 2012: From a purely naturalistic and empirical perspective:

    absolutely not and there is no evidence within the natural world that would suggest any amount of free-will. This is ranging from political systems to neurophysiology and there is nothing about the brain that would suggest any amount of free-will. (for example some people assert that the nervous system makes decisions for us prior to us even being aware of our own intentions and choices. Others have suggest how the physiology of our brain is contingent upon our experiences, which are in fact very conditioned and deterministic)

    But we all know that humans beings do not operate their lives at a purely physical level and we realized that our own subjective, mental experiences are just as profound as the physical. Many assert that the true value of consciousness is what gives rise to this notion of free-will because it is through our introspective and subjective experiences that we feel as though we are the free authors of our thoughts and actions.

    For me, it seems all paradoxical but if I had to apply this to our everyday experiences I would say that no one is making "Free" choices.
  • Apr 12 2012: But for the sky there are no fences facin'

    Bob Dylan said that
  • Apr 12 2012: I take the position that it is a relative condition. I have this leaning due to my conversations among libertarians.

    Take the conversation back to rights. We have inalienable humans rights, which are probably a matter of respect for free will. One should not have their freely made choices subverted unless it infringes upon the choosing ability of other humans. Many libertarians would claim that social security, for instance, takes away an individuals freedom. It follows that it is a violation of human rights, and in the case of the US, unconstitutional by extension. It is an economic contract (pay it forward) that we are entered into without our consent.

    That's nice rhetoric, until we're born into a world where we can't make choices easily without affecting others because we've run out of elbow room. The people who drafted our constitution were also strongly protective of intellectual property rights, but yet, patent law is one of the clearest examples of the arbitrariness of ownership. You can't be free without ownership, but you can't own something without (at minimum) the possibility of preventing someone else from owning something they choose to pursue in the future. One example is a patented programming algorithm that is difficult to develop but can be analogously written by different programmers. Other examples include land, energy resources, materials, and space itself. Full autonomy of the individual can only exist in the context of a frontier, and provided that we don't have full autonomy, the concept of freedom is subjective to some degree.
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    Apr 12 2012: Freedom is relative... What is freedom relative to?

    that's a much better question..
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      Apr 13 2012: Hi Nicholas.
      I think there are people who would disagree, with the definition of freedom as an absolute, unchanging element of life.
      But as it is relative in your perspective, would you like to share what you think freedom may be relative to?
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        Apr 13 2012: Buddha said: "I consider the positions of kings and rulers as that of dust motes. I observe treasures of gold and gems as so many bricks and pebbles. I look upon the finest silken robes as tattered rags. I see myriad worlds of the universe as small seeds of fruit, and the greatest lake in India as a drop of oil on my foot. I perceive the teachings of the world to be the illusion of magicians. I discern the highest conception of emancipation as a golden brocade in a dream, and view the holy path of the illuminated ones as flowers appearing in one's eyes. I see meditation as a pillar of a mountain, Nirvana as a nightmare of daytime. I look upon the judgment of right and wrong as the serpentine dance of a dragon, and the rise and fall of beliefs as but traces left by the four seasons."
        - Zen Koan

        Freedom is relative to a lot of factors... state of mind, education, belief systems, society (societal norms), culture (cultural ambitions), introspection, meditation, intellection.... If the mind-brain is not free, how can one say the body truly is?

        Today we have more chances than ever to be "free" with nearly unlimited access to information at our finger tips we can be very relatively free compared to those in history and to those without basic technology (computers, internet).

        I would say a child born in America is more free than a child born in West Africa... Not because one is better or because one is anything different. It was just random chance vs. determined factors... Freedom is such a broad idea, it has to be relative.

        Making true freedom a falsehood without every person being able to know where to look for any piece of data, any time, any place, for any reason.... Which collectively we do not want unless everyone is pursuing singularity... A world designed for everyone to live equally - then freedom will be more likely.

        Til then - our separated factors of freedom create biases in thinking which push us further from freedom.

        All my opinion of course.
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          Apr 14 2012: Thought-provoking quote.
          I share your opinion in that there is definitely a lottery of birth according to which your degree of freedom may be chosen. And pursuing the pluralistic idea of a broad notion such as freedom is certainly a more healthier of looking at things.

          Thank you for elaborating on your points.
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    Apr 12 2012: Being free can mean many things.
    You can be free from oppression or oppressors. You can be free from religious dictates and cultural rules. You can be free by knowledge that breaks the limits of your understanding. In all cases however will freedom come with responsibility for no one is free without the well being of his/her fellow beings.
  • Apr 12 2012: We are as free as the universe!!! :>)
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    Apr 12 2012: Our freedom stops when the freedom of the other begiins ! That implies that we should respect some limits made by the other , that we have to pay attention not to hurt him ..not to touch his own freedom !



    Conclusion : we'll never be truly free !
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    Apr 12 2012: Hi Eun A Jo, I think that freedom is relative. We can all relate to someone who is less free as us and those who are more free. We have this amazing ability to adjust to our plight in life. The most cruel imprisonment is to confine the human mind. When the freedom of thought is restricted then we are truely imprisoned and no longer free to any degree.

    As a matter of interest what is NESIANE foreign workers union? All the best. Bob
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      Apr 14 2012: Hi Bob,

      You point out a very important factor that helps humans retain a degree of freedom: our ability to adjust. Also, it is indeed true that freedom of thought is an unalienable element of human liberty.

      NESIANE foreign workers union is a small convention in the city of JinJu, South Korea. I no longer work there, because I moved to the Netherlands to study, but I used to represent the workers from the Philippines and Indonesia. :)

      Thanks for your input!
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    Apr 12 2012: Yes and no. [smile] Surely We are free to think about things within the parameters set by Our experiences and understandings. But...

    1. Our understandings are controlled by Those few who own the media and set school curricula
    2. Our Human energy is drained from Us as We slave to the profit of those few, limiting Our opportunity for experience

    Given this, We are not truly free. None are so enslaved as those who think They're free.

    Should We cast off the need for money, allowing Us to pursue Our own chosen experiences at will, educate Ourselves from wide vistas of information as interests Us with no requirement that We have a "career" - We will be far freer than anything the We can achieve in a world where some few have control over what We experience and can understand.

    One more point about freedom: today there is technology that can place thoughts in Our heads, owned by those few, there are programs such as the Monarch Mind Control, and other insidious elements that enslave Our minds, controlled by those few. As long as They have power to use these elements, along with having control of Our experience and understanding, We can never be free. And these all use money to maintain Their control.

    So... In a very limited sense We are free. In the overall picture... Not really.
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    Apr 12 2012: A very common yet stimulating question indeed Eun. Freedom is very subjective to an extent, some enjoy and don't mind when their spouse or parents check or intervene in their personal matters while others will simply revolt the moment someone in their family checks your cell phone, letters, diary, the way you dress, eating etc. If we consider freedom as simply able to breath and live than yes we are free... even a prisoner is free...
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      Apr 12 2012: Hi Leena.
      A striking definition of freedom.
      But I wonder, is there an absolute aspect of freedom that does not depend on our subjective reasoning?
      Or is it simply relative - a manmade condition created to fit a certain temporary state of mind?
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    Apr 12 2012: I believe we are absolutely free. We choose our destiny. The choice may be life or death, but we choose. If the realms of our life are restrictive, we decide whether to change them or to tolerate them. If we are confronted that the whole village will be slaughtered unless we give up our spouse, we decide. If the gov't says we must give half of our earnings to it in taxes, we decide whether we will or not. If we order a latte for someone with whip or without, we are free to do so. We may FEEL like we have no choice, but that is only the fear of deciding. What if we're wrong? If there is war, hunger, depravity it is because we choose to accept it, choose to tolerate it, choose to decide that it's not our concern or warrants only limited attention. I feel the sooner we face that we are totally free and do choose our destiny, the greater the corrective action will be. But the choice will ultimately be life or death, because that's usually what's at stake when you talk about freedom, in my opinion.
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      Apr 12 2012: Hi R
      I understand what you're saying. But isn't being required to make the choice (in your example of giving up the spouse to save the village or not) inherently a limitation on our freedom?
      If we were truly free, we would have had the freedom NOT to choose.
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        Apr 13 2012: Thank you very much for responding with such kindness. These questions are so interesting to me. What are the answers? I believe our ancestors were asking the same questions. So let me clarify my vision further: For me, to be presented with 'a choice', has no bearing on whether or not we are free. To eliminate 'choices' would not determine our status of freedom. I understand what you're saying to mean that if we're forced to make such a choice as the one cited then we are no longer free - a compelling point. But for me, our freedom has not been taken away, it's merely that another human being has forced their despicable will on us and put us in this terrible position to respond.
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          Apr 14 2012: Hi R
          That is fascinating.
          I had never thought of it in such a sense, and it's definitely an eye-opening notion of "choice." I am especially astonished by your saying "to be presented with a choice has no bearing on whether or not we are free." To me, the two are inherently linked, and I had never imagined them apart.
          Thank you for sharing.
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    Apr 11 2012: Yes, we are truly free to do as we

    please............but then...........

    then...........

    we must face the consequences of our actions.
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    Apr 11 2012: If We can free Ourselves of the need for money, We will be free. Presently, money allows the control of Others by a power elite. The way to free Ourselves from the need for money is to replace what money represents with an abundant source. Money represents meaningful energy expended in an energy-scarce society. Add abundant free energy and the need for money dissipates. Add robots for any necessary work no One WANTS to do, and the need for money vanishes.

    Though there are many suppressed and hidden means to extract free energy, the best one in My view is electrogravitics, which was pulled into the black projects in the late 1950's. It is clean, offered gravity control (flying cars, baby!), and is negentropic (negative entropy). And it can provide overunity (free energy).

    I started a petition to call for the release of electrogravitics technology, and it can be found through My blog piece, The End of Entropy (which deals mainly with social entropy), which can be accessed through My profile here.

    Until We free Ourselves of the control of the few, We will NOT be free.
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      Apr 12 2012: Hi Amaterasu.
      Sounds like you're up to some meaningful work!

      I got the impression from your remark that you believe freedom is something to be acquired through our constant struggle of control.

      Do you believe there is any sort of natural freedom that we have regardless of the presence of such constricting elements such as law or money, etc?
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    Apr 11 2012: Yes we are born free

    If the moderator system kicks in to all things then we stop being free,online i don't mind,offline? then what's that telling you.
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    Apr 11 2012: Freedom is a choice, it is within us. even a prisoner can be free. it is a state of mind.

    Free yourself if you didn't yet.
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      Apr 11 2012: A quote for you:

      "Two men looked through prison bars,
      One saw mud, the other stars"
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      Apr 12 2012: Should we have the freedom not to choose?
  • Apr 11 2012: Yes, we are. Right now.
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      Apr 12 2012: Hi Rhona,
      Is freedom a momentary condition? Can somebody be free at one point and not at another?
      • Apr 12 2012: I wonder if you possess the answers to your own questions. Rebbe Nachman of Breslov and I share a similar position about questions. You may wanna check out what he had to say about questions. Since I live in the USA, I feel free to create my own religion, which, of course I have done. One of the things in my religion is: It is a sin to ask or answer questions. Perhaps you understand why I reached that position. I acknowledge that I sin occasionally. But I believe we have better communication by expressing ourselves in ways that are not answering or asking questions. I try to use all of my freedoms to the max. I feel deeply appreciative of all of my freedoms.
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          Apr 13 2012: I wonder what your school would be like if your religion ever started its own private school as some do. :)
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    Apr 11 2012: No we are not....
    But even then
    We are killing millions at our will....
    We are keeping billions hungry...
    We are continuously creating war....
    and so on.....
    Do you think these all we are doing as we are not "Truly Free"?

    What you expect from "True Freedom"?
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      Apr 11 2012: Hi Salim.
      I don't expect anything from true freedom, because I have never experienced it.
      I can barely imagine what it might be like.

      I believe our individual liberty is always compromised by the "greater good" of the society, and more often than you might think, the interests of those more powerful.

      But then again, perhaps I'm limiting the definition of freedom to individual liberty, and others might argue that true freedom lies elsewhere.
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        Apr 12 2012: Would deep old cultural values and traditions also apply?
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          Apr 12 2012: Hi Ken.
          Thanks for the thought-provoking input.
          Yes I believe so.
          If you take the Chinese tradition for example. their societal norms are largely shaped by Confucianism where the collective peace and stability is the core value at hand, not the individual liberty much accentuated in western liberal democracies.
          In their case, I think they may as well see that the preservation of public order brings them peace, or perhaps even creates them.
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      Apr 11 2012: Salim we ARE free without exception...we born all free. But sometimes we invent cages, jails, wars, prejudices, opinions...all that noise around liberty reveals that we dont FELL free.
      The only ones who demands freedom are slaves.
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        Apr 12 2012: Hi Jaime
        After long time , good to come across you......

        Yes at birth we are free.....but then onwards we get ensalved & so start fighting for some relative freedom until death. This fight for freedom varies person to person.

        "Man is born free and everywhere he is in chains".......Rousseau

        Lot of discussion and differences are there with "FREE WILL"
        Using logic, philosophy, rational thinking, scientific proof, evidence we take different stand based on idividual understanding and purpose (is not that mean again individual get chained)......I am more curious ....whatever it is doesn't matter.
        What we will do with that freedom if it really exists at all?

        Have a good day.
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          Apr 12 2012: Hi Salim,

          I interpret Rousseau's quote "Man is born free and everywhere he is in chains", as we are all born free, but we get chained to the world by ideas, but these chains aren't all bad because it gives us knowledge. Knowledge is power. Our collective experiences gives us our individuality. With individuality we can attain our "freedom".

          Though Rousseau also talks about the Social Contract, which implies we all consent to give up certain agencies and we abide to a mutual agreement to be civil, so that we may all have saftey and ability to innovate our own realities through living through life.

          Thanks for reading my thoughts. Feel free to share your's.
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          Apr 12 2012: When Rousseau presents his theory on the basis of freedom, and ultimately advocates the notion of General Will, he suggests the idea that the freedom lies in the General Will.
          This leads to the controversial idea that the minority can be forced into the true freedom.

          Can freedom be enforced upon people?
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        Apr 12 2012: Hi Derek

        Thanks for your thoughts and good to meet you.

        I agree partially with you regarding knowledge power. I told partially because it again depends on individual knowledgeable person. Once a person become dogamtic with knowledge s/he earned , and be closed for further enlightment s/he becomes chained......as knowledge is infintite & ever changing also.....

        I am not a knowledgable person , neither did I read Rousseau extensively with full understanding. What I am sharing is from just a bit of understanding through small reading but mostly on the basis of learning through observation, asking questions and trying to use common sense to resolve puzzles I face time to time....

        My feeling is that after birth we start getting enslaved by societal norms (Rousseau's context), culture, religion (biggest one), nationalism, poltics, racism and so on & on.......I agree with you what you said about "innovating our own realities" .......

        Yes despite all the chains we have , if one takes PERSONAL responsibilities to breakdown those chains s/he can attain much more freedom than average myself....

        Have a good day :)

        P.S. : Couldn't find REPLY (inherent issue of this site since long) button in your post so took the FREEDOm of using REPLY button of my friend JAIME to answer you.....sorry for the inconvienience happened to both of you.
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          Apr 12 2012: Derek, Eun and Salim, (Salim, I had to hijack your reply button)

          How interesting the quote by Rousseau.....I think knowledge can set one free....but also enslave us. Would it be proper to say it is a dichotomy of sorts?

          Scriptures say that the "truth" will set you free. Did you know these words by Jesus? So when one learns scriptural truth, one is free from all kinds of false teachings about God. By this I mean, for example, churches have taught traditions of men, rather than scriptural truths. So studying the scriptures for yourself, will free you from men's teachings that are erroneous.

          Now, knowledge can create chains........look what happens whenever the knowledge of a new piece of clothing is out...........haven't you heard the term "slave to fashion".

          I think that to be truly free in one's thinking, one has to be opened minded and like Salim says, understand that knowledge is infinite..........and to be willing to grow, question, observe, and use some common sense.............which by the way, is not so common anymore.

          This is a wonderful conversation, it can take many roads.........thank you for reading my humble opinion.......I still have much to learn and think about. All your comments have made me think alot.
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        Apr 12 2012: Hi Eun A Jo
        Logically the matter of "ENFORCEMENT" by itself denounce FREEDOM.....but what would we say about the tyrants as for example of Middle East now a days.....should they be allowed to continue their Tyrrany ?

        May be thats why the proposition of General Will came forward...
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          Apr 12 2012: Hi Salim.
          Yes, indeed.
          It seems to be the prevalent idea underlying a vast majority of international campaigns on human rights, democracy, etc.
          It's ironic to see the two sides of freedom in such cases..
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        Apr 13 2012: Hi Mary
        That's well said "slave of fashion"......
        Likewise lot more slaverry (or cages as my friend Jaime mentioned) around, for long MEDIA became biggest cage for us......As you told here many days back heard from one of my teacher "common sense is a sense which is very uncommon". We get influenced at such extent with MEDIA propganda we forget , we ourselves have brain , we ourselves have some common sense.....

        Same is used by religious leaders......wonder how come people don't consider they themselves can read and understand what is written scriptures instead swallowing what some sections of religious leaders making them to swallow......

        I don't denounce completely"scriptural truth" just because many of those are outdated or can't be proven rationally /logically /scientifically or by evidence. Only issue is if one's faith of scirptural truth become threat to others freedom at any harmful way....

        Shidhartha , many years back told every human being can and have the power of seeking enlightment......and urged everyone to seek that path of enlightment.....but in the hand of monks followers of Bhuddism become worshipper of Shidhartha (Budhdha)...

        Socretes suggested to "Know thyself".... we are busy to prove others to be wrong before knowing even self....!!!

        Thanks for reading my posts. Your compliments made me honored and obliged.....
        Happy to experience your HIJACK incidence .....:)
        Have a good day