It’s a word that we are all too familiar with now.
Libertarians & Conservatives talk endlessly about defending it, despite Liberals generally being more committed to the cause overall. It is a word, but it really is a whole lot more. I can’t even really call it a philosophy. It certainly applies but in many different ways.
Every country has different interpretations when it comes to the context of the word in terms of the law. But no 2 people are alike when it comes to their PERSONAL interpretation of the word. Of course, these personal interpretations generally are irrelevant if in conflict with local laws.
A fact that makes me glad the world (at least at the moment) is not all that anarchist (or anarcho-capitalist). I’ve seen the workers sleeping on job sites in Nations and Emirates that operate in a more laissez-faire manner. It’s not pretty.
Either way, freedom may be the ultimate oxymoron. It simultaneously means the world, whilst also meaning nothing at all. All depending on how you look at it.
Take economic freedom. Otherwise known as the system revered and enjoyed by most of the world at the moment. It is true that a small percentage within this paradigm do enjoy what one could call true economic freedom. The mansion, the cars and everything else that comes with access to limitless amounts of fiat currency.
The same can not be said the lower you get on the economic ladder, however. While it is more apparent (and focused on) in the lower rungs, one can also argue bondage in the mid to upper mid class sections. While disposable income often opens up access to bigger homes, cars and more toys, you often spend the majority of your existence on the clock. The majority of your existence is spent in performing mindless tasks endlessly, with personal time coming in short bursts (with even THAT line blurring in this age). Everyone punches the clock day in day out, looking forward to old age and retirement at 50 or 60. The so-called golden years.
At a time period when natural entropy and decades of wear and tear imposed by a career have rendered many people in various states of discontent and discomfort, is when our system decides it a good time to give its sentient cogs free time.
Not when they are younger to middle-aged, full of energy, ability, and desire. No. Wait till they have been used up and squeezed for every fiat penny that can be earned out of them. Then let them have their fun times.
If they happen to come to some unfortunate demise (be it natural or otherwise) beforehand, whatever. They may have been shortchanged of their hard earned capitalist payout by fate, but their efforts were not in vain. The entity that they enriched in life keeps chugging along. Be they show this appreciation to the next of kin or not.
There it is, my take on capitalism. It would seem that I don’t put much stock in my societies way of life. No wonder I often find myself aimlessly flipping past want ad’s and feeling irritated by resumes, cover letters and interviews.
I don’t give a fuck about rules, policies, or often irrational procedures (to be followed TO THE LETTER!). I am here to survive, and my only vessel to this end in this paradigm is through my labor. A fact that most are quick to exploit.
Insanity at best. Inhumane at worst.
If you REALLY want a glimpse into the latter, look into the plight of long-term recipients of workplace injury benefits as covered by Workmans Compensation Board’s pretty much everywhere. In a nutshell, calling it long-term injury benefits is another oxymoron because almost, as a rule, they DO NOT cover long-term claims. They are paid by and work for the employer, and function like almost any health insurance company . . . the bottom line comes first and foremost. Avoid covering as many pricy claims as possible. And if you want to fight them in court . . . good luck. Public legal council doesn’t have the resources to help you, and the real thing will be WAY out of your range even if it does make it to court.
I saw my dad go through it, starting in around 2000. And he has never recovered from it. And likely never will.
Yet another aspect of freedom that has been long ago debunked for me.
Fortunately, there is a 3ed that is worth exploring. One that, unlike the other 2, is actually somewhat within our control. That is, mental and/or physical limitations as imposed by ourselves.
Sometimes these things are seemingly innate parts of our personalities or being. Sometimes these are things picked up along the way. The throughline of all of them being that changing them often seems impossible.
Addictions. Bad Habits. Phobias. Bad relationships. There many quirks or situations that could fit in here. Sometimes more than one at a time.
Sometimes the feeling of impossibility is just a representation of reality. Not everything can be corrected, and not everyone will be successful (even if they try). But what if the seemingly impossible is actually attainable?
It would seem that to be the ultimate form of freedom. Shaking off the shackles of mental and/or physical limitation (as they are at times connected).
This came to mind in the oddest way (as many things do with me). One night when diving into some youtube algorithmic vortex, I ended up on a video called Climbing A 360M Spire In Dubai (Nearly Caught). Naturally, I clicked (you can’t tell me that wouldn’t make you curious).
I certainly wasn’t disappointed. Though I nearly had a panic attack.
Heights have never been my cup of tea, so while I SHOULD have known what I was getting into, going right to this video was likely the equivalent of going straight from drug virginity to heroin. When the hatch opens and suddenly the 20 or so storey buildings nearby look like toys, it hits you. Then the crazy bastard stands up, and I have to pause the video. Had to remind myself that I am safe on my couch, not on top of a 360-meter high spire in the UAE. Note, NOT the Burj Khalifa (though you can get a view from that 828-meter spire HERE. If you dare).
For another hair-raising experience, go to time stamp 2:56 on this one.
Either way, after watching some more videos like this from this guy (James Kingston, from Southhampton, UK), I learned somewhere that he was once afraid of heights.
Apparently, it all started with Parkour (Freerunning? Apparently there are 2 distinct communities, and one sees itself as incompatible with the other). Though little else could help him escape a shell, this activity did. To the point that all that was left was a strong fear of heights.
And that fear was eventually demolished by way of increasingly higher climbs.
Interestingly, it made me view these types of videos in a different way. The common views (both of which I have been guilty of holding in the past) are
1.) “What is he NUTS?! He could die!”
2.) “Darwinism at work. Let the simple wipe themselves out”
The last one may make the intellectuals shudder, but you get the point.
Of course, one can not condone this. Taking defiance of gravity right to the edge is not without risk to self and others, particularly when in urban areas. Even a falling smartphone is a dangerous proposition in a populated city or construction site. And of course, you are putting a lot of faith in a weld. While it presumably should be good, it only takes one.
None the less, I guess you could say that I understand this.
There is danger involved, and it is crazy, no doubt about it. But there is also the aspect of a freedom that is not shared by many people. Freedom from a quite common form of mental bondage that keeps many people (me included) from potentially many experiences. Even if not scaling tower cranes or climbing spires, then things like high altitude downhill skiing, bungee jumping, skydiving, rock climbing.
To shift this away from hights altogether, imagine something like weight loss. Quitting smoking or casting aside the shackles of some other nemesis. Conquering some habit, trait or phobia that previously made straightening out the Isreal/Palestine conflict look like a breeze in comparison.
Yeah, apples and oranges. But it plays into the often irrational nature of these things, as interpreted by us.
To conclude, freedom is an ILLUSION!
Like many things in life . . . sort of. When it comes to typical contexts of the word (law and economy), it is indeed what you make of it. In terms of the law, it will always be some balance between the obvious and the ridiculous. It’s the ultimate culmination of a system of order that is enforced by mere humans prone to outside influence (greed and herd ideology, among others).
Economic freedom is generally also what one makes of it, though the illusion (if you choose to call it that) becomes less visible the higher one is on the economic ladder.
Of the 3, personal freedom is where it’s at. It’s not everything (the other 2 are still the macro’s for most of us). None the less, there is nothing more rewarding than breaking down a barrier of the self. Whatever form that may take.