Freedom and Culture

It is sometimes argued that history’s supreme ethical conflict is between those who value what preserves civilization and those who feel individual freedom comes first. If science finds one’s preference to be largely genetic, how should we respond?

[ 2/9/20 ]

Freedom needs culture.

A human being without culture is an animal – devoid of language or technology or any reasonable probability of acquiring either.

We must have both.

Cultures must give individuals reasonable degrees of freedom, and most do.

Individuals must acknowledge that both ecosystems and cultures have necessary boundaries that must be respected.

The simplistic notion of freedom meaning being able to do anything at all whenever and wherever one “feels” like it, must necessarily lead to death. There is a necessary role for consciousness and morality in complex society, they are necessary boundary conditions, though any specific morality may not be applicable to any specific situation, something approximating it is very likely to be.

Science has not had sufficient time to disentangle to roles of genetics and culture; both are far more complex that anyone yet understands in detail (or can possibly understand in detail – we do in fact seem very probably to be that complex – writing as someone with over 50 years interest in biochemistry and evolution, and being very conscious of how much I know compared to most, how little I know compared to some, and how much greater seems to be that which has not yet been adequately explored by anyone {and it seem entirely possible that could be eternally true, even with exponentially increasing abilities for the rest of eternity}).

I strongly suspect that both biology and culture are of greatest interest in the border regions between order and chaos that seems to be eternally possible in complex systems.

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) - see
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