Reply To Velco.Dinov

Freedom?

I highly value your comments, for the intensity of feeling and conviction, and the points you make. Your viewpoints differ from mine, that is the nature of being human, and being individuals. We, now, gratefully so, have the freedom to express our thoughts on the Internet, and the freedom to think what ever we wish, and reach our own conclusions. This to me, as I am sure it is to you, is very important. I very much value this type of discourse, and hope to continue it. To be able to do so, even across oceans is a remarkable, unexpected development in forming world community, beyond our families and various clans and tribes. In a very real sense, our families and neighborhoods are growing, though day to day contact with flesh and spirit is for certain crucial and fulfilling in ways electronic communication is not.  In some sense, I agree with most of what you say, with the reservations and emphasis I state below.  

I think confusions arise when we try to make either/or statements about realities that are paradoxical in nature, or at least appear to be, using our categorical methods of thinking and speaking. We are both simultaneously individuals and social beings. We are creatures with important freedoms, at the same time we are limited in our interactions with others. Concepts such as Freedom, Equality, and Brotherhood may have more meaning in one area of life, but not in others.  According to what part of life we are attending to, and the the stance we view it from, a word such as freedom or equality can have altogether different importance and significance. Equality can indeed seem an illusion when applied to individuality, just as the concept of Freedom seems to disappear while we consider relationships with others. Part of the problem is the confusing, often over-simplifying nature of our conceptualizations and terms, the poles that we try to place on realities that have infinite variety of aspect and color, not just black and white.

I have come to highly prize individuality and individual freedoms, which are indeed very real to me.  Different societies provide different degrees of expression of these freedoms. There are areas of my being no other person or groups of persons can touch.  I have, as an entity had a wide range of experiences and have related to them in my own peculiar way. As a result I am different in many ways from anyone else. I consider myself free to think whatever I wish, to say what ever I choose, and, as much as I am able, to do what ever I wish. That is my personal freedom, my choice, not anyone else's, though it is true that there are many other "outside" influences, from physiological chemistry to social conditioning and upbringing through my parents, peers, and education. Different persons undergo different degrees of individuation. The majority of  persons, in some cultures, never move beyond the sheltering and restrictive dictums and choices and decisions of their tribe.  There usually is the black sheep, the oddball,  who ventures out from the accepted ways of thought and action, and yes, he or she has to pay with the approbation of the tribe, and the anxieties and uncertainties resulting from thinking for oneself.  I know you see this as well, and I find it hard to believe that you are taking the position that everyone should blindly follow the masses or the clan.  Perhaps it is more of a cultural matter than I think.  Is this a more common viewpoint in Czechoslovakia or wherever you live, than it is here in the US?  Of course, we have our own brands of slavery and mind control, but I do personally appreciate many of our freedoms that some other countries do not provide.  I , in fact,  love to be able to move where I wish, work where I want, with whom I want to work, to say what I think, to do any manner of thing that might not be allowed in another country, or even within sect's in my own country.

I have come to the point where I do see I have great freedom of choice each moment I am alive. I am actually free to think what ever I wish, no matter the circumstances. Victor Frankel, bound in a concentration camp wrote about this fact. Actually I feel free to do anything I wish within the realm of my capabilities and circumstances. I can chose to kill, to maim, to do any unspeakable thing I am capable of.  I can chose to be loving, I can chose to treat others as I would be treated. The freedom is there.  Sure, everything has it's repercussions, its effects.  Avoiding the effects of what I do is pretty much impossible.  In a social situation, my choice has its effects on others. When we begin to consider the social effects of our actions,  I think we move into another realm, beyond the world of the individual and personal; into the realm of relationships between individuals, into the rights area of thinking and social order.  I think these distinctions are very important, not just abstract and scholarly deliberations, but are nitty-gritty considerations which have great implications for how we structure our lives and society.

The concept "equal" is of little meaning in the realm of individuality … the areas which you point out where we are not equal, nor would we want to be.  If every snow flake is different, most certainly every individual.  I place great, great value on difference, as you do.  But can't be denied we all suffer pain and loss when we are struck on the head with a hammer? That we all have the instinct to live?  That we all get hungry and cold, that we all need clean air and water, which the earth provides but which can be denied others when the earth is fouled or abused. These ways we are similar provide a basis for making rights decisions which involve relationships between persons. It seems just and fair to me that this is a valid and important part of our lives, topics and issues pertinent to group deliberations and decisions. 

I readily accept that when I choose to hit someone on the head with a hammer, such a public act places me in a position to be judged by another, or by the public, and they have a right to respond to my behavior.  Anarchism might suggest that this is not so, but I personally give my sanction to such public concern.  I would want others to rise to my defense, even pass regulations and controls over my behavior, if someone were to do the same to me. Group life is important to me, and I appreciate such things as a police department, an army, things being such as they are at the moment. As a human being myself, I understand this, and give my permission and say concerning such laws and regulations. 

As much as we each are very different, there are some things, simply from the fact of being human, in which we are very similar, the same, and EQUAL.  It is precisely and only in these areas of equality that public decision and proclamations have any say in my life, the only rightful domain of government. This of course is not what we normally think of when we think of government. Government today takes on a multi-faceted role, entering and influencing every aspect of our lives. That I do not like.  The dynamics of a group or a tribe, or any social system can take upon itself this same role, to control and shape individuals within its reach. The New Liberty is to understand that, true, there is a need and a place for public concern and decisions, but that these needs and concerns must be clearly defined in a democratic manner, each man and each woman having equal voice and power in helping to define human rights, rights that apply to all equally. Here we appear to disagree, but I think it may be more a matter of defining our terms.  Am I making any sense to you?

Equality is, in fact a condition most required, and to be esteemed ... in this particular, unique realm of social life, the human rights life.  EQUAL RIGHTS is indeed a fine concept and a reality to be worked towards, I believe. The problem comes when government or groups of persons do not differentiate between other orders of life where the by-word Equality no long pertains to the matters at hand. Equal rights, yes.  Equal individuals, no. Equal economics, no. In the realm of individuality, the realm of ideas and volition, aspirations, in individual and cultural expression,  and especially in education, equality can take on a very pernicious undertone, or meaning.  FREEDOM, in these areas of life I call "Spiritual", for lack of a less encumbered word; EQUALITY  in public life, in government; and then Brotherhood, and Sisterhood (drastically need an asexual word here) in the other order of social life which has it's own distinct requirements and qualities,  Economic life.  Applied to other orders than their own, each of these words take on far less significance. See what I mean?

The endeavors we take as social beings to provide for our survival needs and desires: the production, the distribution, and the eventual consumption of goods and services, are full of distinctions, and differences. We might all think about being a Rockefeller but it is the degree of our expertise, our knowledge, and accrued skill that determines our position, economically speaking, in the social order. At least in the world I want to help make.  It wouldn’t surprise me that we all could be Rockefellers if we chose to, rather than ¾’s of us starving because of the admixture of personal ambition and greed into our public decision making processes.   I am not advocating any socialism or planned economy, quite the contrary, as I hope to make clear in my web-site pages.

Not by any type of politics and government fiat, can we solve economic woes,  but by learning to work together in free and voluntary association. Rubbing shoulders together in the social sphere called economics.   In economics, in this strict sense, there is no place for politics, as there is likewise, no place for economic decisions in government. That’s presently our major source of confusion now, the lack of distinction between these three different areas of life.  In none of these areas will the very different requirements for each be met, until they are differentiated and separated. No area of life will reach its full and optimal development under one-state efforts such as are now attempted. The inter-relationships between the three areas will have to be considered elsewhere, another time.

“The way it is” is a matter of interpretation of the “facts”, and the way I see “it is” is obviously different than the way you see it is.  That’s great and fine, we are individuals, as far as I am concerned, and I am grateful we have the Freedom to express our differences, and express them on the Internet.  To me, this is a prime example of a "spiritual" activity, as much as we need a new word. I don't want some society or social force telling me what to think, what to decide, what to say. .. perhaps it would be easier, but having once had these freedoms, danged if it would not be a drag to lose them.  I very much appreciate your comments and opinions, and hope you chose to speak up, often.  Jerry B

 

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