dacia - 10/16/2004 12:57 AM
Botnst - 10/14/2004 3:06 AM
I believe that the natural state of life is freedom.
Dacia, I semi-agree with your response. It is probably fruitless to argue whether humanity's natural state is or is not, freedom, based on other species. We'd end-up slogging our way through giant tomes of ethological studies of various species and probably never reach a conclusion satisfactory to both of us. But one thing you said concerning freedom in nature intrigues me.
"...individual freedom means nothing, they survive by conforming to the greater good."
For freedom to be 'real' must an organism understand or recognize it as a matter of choice? I think that is probably true for humans, but I am not sure about other animals. For example, an animal that appears instinctually driven. If instinct governs its behavior is it less free? Assume that humans have behavior patterns which we cannot even recognize as being a matter of will. Are we less free for our failure to recognize it?
I'm not entirely sure. There are some constraints on my freedom of will that appear to me to be totally a matter of biology. I cannot extract O2 from water in sufficient volume and rate to sustain life under water, for example. That infringes on my freedom something terrible. Am I less free because of my biological constraints or my unrealistic dream of living underwater?
Concerning human interactions, I stand by my thesis that humans are born free and are raised to accept boundaries on that freedom. A person who makes it to adulthood with no social skills and the will of a 1 year-old but the intelligence of an adult is a danger to society. I am not free to torture and murder a person for my own pleasure. That is a path of freedom from which my mind recoils. A psychopath is a lot more free than normal people. So freedom itself is no virtue. Perfect freedom would be dangerously chaotic.
Do you suggest that individuality and freedom are synonymous? I don't think so. Cloistered nuns or non-religious commune-dwellers would probably claim they are more, not less free due to their willing acceptance of the society in which they live. And that is the key, isn't it? "Willful acceptance". If somebody were forced to live in an abbey or an ashram, that would not be freedom, would it? Nor would it be freedom for a Japanese to be forced to live in Japan or a cowboy from Abeline to be forced to live in Paris, even if that is just East Texas.
Any society forces its people to act in conformity with that society. Does that make all societies equal? Of course not!
Then by what right does anybody decide whether a particular society is better or worse than another? My common metric is the degree that liberty is legally and morally expressed within that society.