Saturday, February 18, 2012

Are You A Free Individual? Or Just Deluded?

But what is liberty without wisdom, and without virtue? It is the greatest of all possible evils; for it is folly, vice, and madness, without tuition or restraint.-- Edmund Burke
“If only I didn’t have to work!” is likely said a million times a day.

The reality is that you don’t have to work, if you are willing to accept the consequences of not working. You don’t have to do anything, if the consequences of not doing it are no concern of yours. This is an obvious kind of freedom we all have. This is why some religions preach giving up all connections to other things to achieve Nirvana. But what "sane" person can just stop being concerned about all consequences, all connections?

If you think you can, just try this practice for a day. Deal with your bodily functions the way you did as an infant. See if you can keep that going for very long.

Now, suppose you don’t want to give up connections. Someone might say, “I’m free. I can do what I please. I can just follow my whims and impulses!” This is another kind of freedom, perhaps, but what if other people or things can control what you please? What if things like advertising, or expressions of approval, disapproval, like or dislike, can be used to constrain your whims or impulses? Would you call that “freedom?” Or is your “freedom” a delusion that makes your obedience, your submission to external authority, tolerable?

You have been through years of schooling. You have probably forgotten most math, foreign language and social studies. But you have not forgotten how to raise your hand, to keep your opinions to yourself, to stand in line, to wait until a person in authority is willing to recognize you, and to not contradict what that authority says.

Can you control these responses? Can you extend your internal locus of control over those things that you respond to as authority?

To examine these issues further, see PERSONAL LIBERATION THROUGH EDUCATION

--- EGR