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Article Title: Understanding Freedom”¦ man’s conceptual paradox
Author: A.O. Kime
Category: Information and theories
Word Count: 2,536
Format: 65 characters per line
Website Source: http://www.matrixbookstore.biz
Article URL: http://www.matrixbookstore.biz/freedom.htm
Author’s Email Address: [email protected]
This article takes a different look at freedom and it has nothing
to do with advocating human rights. It is more about the
historical reasons our concept of freedom evolved and how we
perceive it today. Further, while acknowledging worthwhile
strides have been made by civilization in the last 50 years, in
many areas spectacular, while at the same time realizing much
more effort is still required, even so, this article may seem
outdated, as if of a bygone mentality. There is a reason; since
positive trends are often short-lived, a certain mentality must
be maintained”¦ one from an earlier time. Also, in our
hustle-bustle haste, we tend to forget the basis of our thinking.
Sometimes we need to be reminded how our logical disposition was
influenced, in effect, put together.
There are many ways to describe freedom but only in relative
terms. Further, one must have a baseline for comparative purposes
and it should only be absolute freedom. This is not the case
however and inappropriate to use another baseline as exclusively
done today”¦ and the paradox. The baseline in common use today is
not absolute freedom but rather the opposite, absolute tyranny.
Before I expand on this, a little background first”¦ when
politicians speak of freedom today they make it sound like
absolute freedom. None of them will say what a ”˜free people’
really means in their speeches. Today, it really only means their
country might be freer than others… but not necessarily all
others. At any rate, politicians think it sounds better to say a
country is “better than hell” than “worse than heaven”.
Politicians should be specific, citing just how their country is
free as they always claim. Even if they did, they’d be basing it
on having no freedoms and that’s the point of this article. When
people speak of freedoms today, since they aren’t thinking in
terms of subtracting but adding… they are unwittingly
acknowledging that freedom was once defeated. Yes, due to its
passiveness, freedom was defeated. The surrender official, the
ink dry, it is hardly a matter of ceding liberties anymore; it’s
more a matter of reclaiming them. Conversely, the ancients
thought in terms of liberties they must surrender, not acquire.
Their basis was from the top, or absolute freedom, whereas today
we think from the bottom up. It would ordinarily be a relative
matter I suppose, if freedom wasn’t so close to zero everywhere.
For the American colonists, while they wanted to be free from
British rule, they weren’t seeking real freedom, not really, not
absolute freedom. Nobody seeks absolute freedom anymore, nor
expects it”¦ besides, civilized society forbids it. I suppose
pointing out the basis we use today must seem obvious and
therefore needless, after all, that’s the reality. Well, it is
our reality but in light of true reality, it is the paradox which
Insensitive as to why freedoms were relinquished?
Now, the following couple of paragraphs will seem insensitive to
many people, if not downright mean-spirited. Normally I avoid
ruffling feathers but sometimes it is necessary to call a spade a
spade. Whether we like it or not, nature established a system
whereby only the strong survive, nature is all about the survival
of the fittest. It may seem unfair but that’s the way it is. To
his credit, man often tries to insert justice into nature’s
system and I’m glad he tries”¦ it is a noble undertaking.
Nonetheless, for the purpose of this article, there are some
realities which shouldn’t be hidden as to how they once affected,
and still affect, freedom. Yet to address the truth is often
politically incorrect… although political correctness is a
matter of political cozenage I think. With freedom having been
soundly defeated, and now ignominiously imprisoned, but as if
body constraints weren’t enough, political correctness serves as
the gag. At any rate…
In ancient times, absolute freedom had its perils as can easily
be imagined, especially for the smaller, weaker tribesmen. Yet
there are countless reasons why one man or one group may have
advantages over another. Generally speaking, for the over-sized
barbarian absolute freedom was great”¦ the bigger he was the
better he liked it. Then one day, when an emissary proposed to a
barbarian clan they should civilize themselves and give up their
freedom for an ordered society, it surely provoked roars of
laughter at first. The Huns were probably rolling on the ground
in tears when the emissary departed. Thinking the dude was a
comedian; those that could probably patted him on the head. Some
may have died from laughing so hard.
Returning to his village of other disadvantaged tribesmen, they
soon began trying to find a way to improve their situation and
decided their only hope was to out-smart the advantaged
barbarians. They knew barbarians had one soft spot and that was
their deeply spiritual ways. By virtue of the awesome power of
nature, barbarians had an especial reverence for it and a fear of
the gods. So the weaker, meeker and prosaic innkeepers sat down
and began inventing religions, knowing they had to incorporate
some type of retribution. They settled on hell. It took awhile
but it eventually worked, most barbarians decided they better be
nice to those folks. The idea of religions as a way to protect
the weaker, the disadvantaged, spread across the lands and soon
even more religions popped up.
Next, for added protection, they decided to really push the idea
of civilization since not all barbarians believed in hell.
Norsemen only believed in Valhalla for example. The disadvantaged
needed the framework for a system of laws whereby if a barbarian
wasn’t good, they would be commissioned to throw him in jail.
Making laws seemed an endless process however because the
barbarians kept finding loopholes to do what they wanted. Today,
not even God knows how many laws there are in the world.
In that short historical depiction, however crass, I surely
insulted religion and civilization attempts but nonetheless it is
still the reality”¦ it was the underlying reasons which undermined
freedom. Religious intervention into personal affairs and the
resulting moral laws diluted freedoms as did efforts to become
civilized. There is a difference however; civilized laws are
intended, or at least originally intended, to mete out justice
whereas religious inspired laws have nothing to do with justice”¦
in fact quite the opposite. While obviously ‘protection’ wasn’t
the only reason for religions, it is their subjugating nature and
their influence with lawmakers which has hamstrung liberties even
to this day.
Cobblestones and cornerstones
Many laws are necessary however to construct the road to justice.
After all, justice is the cornerstone of civilization, or should
be. For justice, almost every barbarian eventually saw the light
and capitulated; ceding their long-held positions. Whatever the
barbarians originally agreed to, it was to be at the expense of
some freedoms, but not all. This was nonetheless troubling for
the understandably suspicious barbarians, those pagans of ill
repute; who, in contrast to civilized society, never tried to
promote their beliefs through laws and war. While apparently
barbarians had no aversion to fighting, it wasn’t to impose their
beliefs on others. That oblique domain, that of laws and real
wars, belonged exclusively to religions and civilization. It
seems the barbarians were given a bad rap. Anyway, confirming the
barbarian’s suspicions, the whole matter became corrupt.
Religious precepts began to be imposed and from institutional
mission creep, the barbarians were forced to cede most of the
rest of their liberties and to conform.
In all the civilized lands now, politicians are still careful how
they talk about freedom”¦ they know the barbarian mentality still
exists. Yet it will exist forever, it cannot be legislated away.
Nonetheless, legislators try to make people feel satisfied their
country is better than hell or cite other countries for citizens
to look down upon and pity. Even tyrants do this, based on the
religious depictions of hell, their realm is a country club.
According to Hitler, the Third Reich was practically utopia”¦ he
said so, but people didn’t know he was comparing Germany to
Since freedom was emasculated, we’re left to ponder a few things.
We need to consider whether other universal existents are denied
their natural place and whether that methodology is sound for
society in the long run. Before we search for other such
instances, let’s be sure how this curiosity applies to freedom.
For one thing, we know absolute freedom did in fact once exist.
In fact, since the beginning of time there was nothing else, it
was always absolute freedom. Obviously then, it was natural…
yet, we’ve discovered, easily subject to manipulation. As far as
we know, it was only during the last 7,000 years when liberties
began to be restricted. It was when the essence of freedom began
to diminish and like an orange, soon most of the juice was
Yet that historical account isn’t breaking news, or a revelation,
so it should have been obvious to everyone for centuries. We
should therefore wonder why mankind can still feel justified
explaining freedom by comparing it to having none. Further,
freedom is now called an ”˜ideal’ as if it never existed before.
Well, it seems obvious at some point freedom was effectively
dead”¦ perhaps the ”˜deadest’ in medieval times. It would seem,
therefore, that since freedom effectively became nonexistent is
the reason we now compare having some freedoms with having none
at all. It is also the justification for governments to now
define a freedom as a ‘privilege’. We should recognize ‘mission
creep’ was responsible, the villain within all social
The paradox of freedom and freedoms
It is hard to compare this paradox however, it is unique…
first, absolute freedom became unacknowledged as a natural
existent, and secondly, any freedoms at all are now being deemed
a privilege. We are made to feel lucky to have any at all of
which was once pervasive. I’m still speaking about absolute
freedom”¦ of pleasures and horrors, that which animals know.
Right now, I can’t think of another natural existent which
mankind was able to render inert or completely alter. We know for
sure he’d manipulate the weather if he could. At any rate, it is
curious that while he extinguished freedom, he then tries to
revive it”¦ but not completely. On life-support, with a nurse in
charge of the switches and valves, it is controllable. At least
that’s an official admission that freedom, at least some, cannot
be dispensed with.
So, folks, those are the reasons why people talk about freedom as
if it never existed before. Further, those freedoms which do
exist are now due to man’s benevolence. We can apply a new credo
for freedom”¦ ‘man giveth and man taketh away’, it’s not God’s
baby anymore. So for modern times, it is to wrestle with
questions of justice and injustices ourselves. Of pleasures and
horrors, it is man’s blend instead.
In lieu of another similar instance, we could use oxygen as an
analogy. Imagine, for this purpose, if governments stripped all
oxygen from the atmosphere and it was meted out in oxygen tanks
instead and your quota regulated. As is the case with freedom,
politicians would soon act like oxygen never freely existed. To
have oxygen then, just like having freedom, would be a privilege.
Bragging rights would be based on how much daily oxygen a country
gave their citizens. This scenario would then be a horror of man
but… not a natural horror. A natural horror is being attacked
by a grizzly bear or leopard, perhaps being hacked to pieces by
an axe-wielding savage. It is not, however, to be shot down in a
B-52, blown to bits by a mortar round or car-jacked. Everyone
should learn these differences.
Let’s take this a little further and do some projecting but first
we need to put things in perspective. We need to know where we
are in the evolutionary process of civilization”¦ which is, not
but a few centuries removed from medieval times. And the medieval
mentality still lingers, after all, our societies are still
structured around medieval customs, American blue laws (moral
laws) for example. Our calendars which still honor Julius Caesar
(July) and Augustus (August) might be additional proof. We
shouldn’t be fooled into thinking mankind is civilized yet just
because of technological advances.
The case in the Middle East is much different however, still
totally immersed in the middle ages. This article therefore
doesn’t apply to Arab countries; I don’t think freedom is in
their vocabulary yet… hence they wouldn’t understand this
article or would interpret it incorrectly. They wouldn’t
understand, for example, that bashing one’s own system is a loyal
expression, often with great pride and admiration because of the
very fact it is permitted. It’s a little freedom I didn’t
mention. While Arabs might feel free bashing America, they should
try bashing their own governments to see what happens.
Freedom issues out of step
Actually mankind’s technological stage is about 2-3 centuries
ahead of society as a whole. The reason for this is due to wars.
Most of our electronic gadgetry is a direct result. For example,
we still wouldn’t have radar if it wasn’t for war, or rockets,
maybe not even computers or a microwave oven. The first computer
was developed in England during World War II to decrypt German
messages. At a feverish pace these things were developed to keep
one step ahead of the enemy. If it wasn’t for wars we’d still be
hunting with bows and arrows”¦ guns probably wouldn’t have been
envisioned yet. Meanwhile society only stumbles along, without
direction”¦ not thinking in terms of cultural progress.
Unbeknownst to most powers-that-be, cultural progress means the
good life, not corporate profits and plastic attitudes. It is not
stamping out rural life and citifying everyone either, as the
case within some societies. Only war, it seems, prompts society
to put its nose to the grindstone”¦ but at least it demonstrates
that the talent exists for nobler purposes. And nobler purposes
To project the future course of freedom, to disentangle human
rights seems impossible but I’m still trying. At any rate, this
trail would lead into the land of predictions. It is hard to
relate to predictions however, iffy and sometimes difficult to
imagine. Another avenue is to imagine oneself already in the
future and looking back… it seems to make the picture more
vivid. In other words, it is to imagine yourself already being
there versus a distant and disconnected ”˜not there yet’.
As for determining the fate of freedom for the year 2100 and
beyond, it doesn’t take any imagination however. We could have
taken any imaginative route and it wouldn’t have made any
difference”¦ in societal structures based on domination, all roads
lead to Rome. Ah yes, absolute freedom”¦ of pleasures and horrors,
that which animals know. The question is, collectively speaking,
are the pleasures and horrors of today’s reality better, or
worse, than nature intended? It would depend on who you ask but
maybe something we should ask ourselves always. If we are to
meddle in the affairs of nature, then”¦
Resource Box: Â© A.O. Kime (2003) A.O. Kime is an author of two
books plus some 70 articles on ancient history, spiritual
phenomena, political issues, social issues and agriculture which
can be seen at http://www.matrixbookstore.biz