How much freedom should people have?
I’m with OM
An exploration of Freedom is a book length subject.
People need as much freedom as they can manage without being a serious risk to themselves, or others, or the environment.
We actually all have the freedom to do pretty much anything, and there are consequences to choices.
We are free to jump off buildings, and if they are tall enough it will likely be the last thing we do.
So we have that freedom in a sense.
And there is another sense, where we tend to get given greater opportunities when we demonstrate competence in new domains.
So I acknowledge the need for boundaries in all things, and also the need for those boundaries to be flexible if the context requires it.
Hard boundaries, fixed rules, are only applicable to very simple situations.
Most situations are far too complex for any set of rules to deliver consistently sensible results. People need to develop judgement and wisdom in any non-trivial situation – and that cannot come from following rules.
A lot of freedom resides in trust, both the giving and receiving of it.
In terms of values, for me freedom is second only to life itself, and both are very important – either without the other really isn’t worth much.
That is part of why I have so many issues with most of the existing social systems, belief systems, caste systems, political systems, economic systems. They all restrict freedom too much. Such systems might have been justifiable and workable in the past, but in a modern digital age, they are not very useful.
How we judge competence is a key issue.
Most of our systems are more about providing barriers to entry, to maintain scarcity, than they are about developing and demonstrating competence and enhancing freedom.
And like OM says – a really complex topic.
I find your poem profound, and somewhat pessimistic and missing the deeper issues.
When one’s survival relies on the labour of others, freedom is conditional in fundamental ways.
Now that we have the option of fully automating all the systems required to ensure individual survival, then we really do have the option of implementing freedom in a way that simply wasn’t possible in history. And creating such systems can only happen if we take cooperation to a new level.
So I do not see:
Walking under the shadow of moonlight
Once I saw a naked man,
Standing with raised hands
Under a banyan tree
Whispering to himself “I am free”.
That was eons ago,
That lonely naked man,
Walking with a staff in hand
What I see is new levels of systems emerging to empower wisdom and freedom and diversity and security in ways that simply could not be generally available at any prior time in history.
I see a very real possibility of that message being generally heard, and the man joining a crowd of peers.