Botnst - 10/16/2004 6:22 AM
Dacia, I semi-agree with your response. .......... 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?
Good questions. Maybe I should start by defining "freedom" according to my understanding of course. [:D] I would say there are two basic types.
Absolute freedom and conditional or relative freedom. Absolute freedom is total independence from enviromental constraints. This is probably unattainable for humans. We are protein based biological entities with very specific needs to survive. We need oxigen, water and a very narrow temperature range to exist, not even mentioning an absolute need for cosmic radiation shield. So unless we can transfer ourselfs into some form of energy we will never achive absolute freedom in my view.
Conditional freedom means that we are free to do whatever we want within certain limits. This limit may be imposed upon us by our environment or our own will. Humans by nature (I guess by evolution) social beeings. We congregate in order to pool our resources, to further our development and to defend ourselfs aginst nature or foe. Living in social groups brought us rules, laws and regulations which by definition limit our feedom of self expression in order to protect the common interest. We are basically free to do what laws allow us to do. There is no escape from these constrains unless an individual is prepared to forgoe all the benefits that living in a well organized society offer and he/she is willing to expunge him/her self from said society completely. I highly doubt that it is even possible anymore even if one is prepared to make that sacrifice. There are basicaly no unchartered territories on Earth and those of us who would even know how to live off the land without modern conveniences are very far and few between. Therefore we are basically slaves to our goverments (which by its nature is the strongest opressor of individualism and freedom, but it is a necessary evil), whatever social system it is favouring. Another brick in the wall if you will.
There is a way to stretch this self imposed prison: money. The more of it one has more escape and more self realization is possible. More money means more freedom.
As to the other point: "For freedom to be 'real' must an organism understand or recognize it as a matter of choice?"
Interesting. Hmmm... If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it did it really fall? Is freedom a matter of choice? For humans it may be, for others? I highly doubt it. If one is quadraplegic, brain intact does he/she have freedom? I don't think so. I beleive to be truly understand and appreciate freedom one must be able to experience it on a conscious level. Unless one understands the concept of freedom one can not completely appreciate it. Why do we need freedom? What is the driving force behind our quest for it? I guess it depends on the nature of freedom we are seeking. Freedom of choice, freedom of speech, freedom of movement, freedom of tought, freedom of expression, freedom of association, etc. How much of these are man made and how much of them exist in nature? I would say that the only freedom that encompasses all is the freedom of movement. And that is hardwired into our genes simply because most of us need to move around in order to gather food. So freedom of movement equates with survival. And that is the most basic instinct in all of us even if humans can sometimes over come it. I think unless an organism is self aware the rest of freedoms would not be of much concern.
I beleive our need for freedom fuels our evolution. Why do we have this drive? Does it come from brain size, brain capacity, number of neuron connections, nature or nurture? I don't know. But it is damn good to have it. It seems that societies that put self imposed constrains (ie. fundamentalist religion) to these freedoms are left behind on the evolutionary ladder. So be it. The question is do these societies seek the freedom we cherish so much or are they complacent with the self imposed limits that they so happily abide to or so it seems from the outside? Or is it that we only hear about the vocal minority while the silent majority suffers quetly?
Do we have the right to forcefully drag these societies to the light that they don't want to see? I think we are selfish enough not care, however they have something we need and so we have a problem. We have progressed to the point where we don't have a choice, either we buy what we want or we take it. Moralization will do nothing but cause us hardship. So I say take it, pay for it and after we used it all leave them be. If they are as evolved as we are they will catch up if not well...... Human history is littered with fallen prophets preaching from castles built on to sand.