Saturday, September 20, 2008

The reality of freedom

Would you choose to live in an ideal world? Or would you choose to live in a uncontrollable world with true freedom?

We strife so ignorantly towards a perfect world where everyone is equal, not knowing that when we reach this ideal, we could very well give up what makes us unique. In order to attain a perfect world, everyone has to come to a consensus on an ideal. Whether it is helping people whenever you can or killing people whenever you can, it does not really matter. As long as everyone is in agreement, there will be no right and wrongs. If everyone agreed that killing is right, you could walk right up and stab someone and it wouldn't matter to anyone else at all because we are all in agreement that killing is ok. As long as we maintain differences, there will be no ideal world. Conflicts will arise, even if the only difference among us is interest. Take for example, if everyone was in agreement about everything except golf and soccer. There would still be conflicts regarding media relating to golf and soccer. Of course this example is loaded with contradictions, such as the idea of agreeing that there should be no conflicts. The truth about our world is that there is no true equality, we can only try to achieve it and we should only stay trying. Because if we did actually achieve it, we would all lose our individualism, which in turn relates to a totalitarian society that we all so ironically fear.

The price of freedom comes at a high cost. Since true equality is impossible without losing our individuality, conflicts will always be present. The consequences of these conflicts will always increase in a cumulative fashion, resulting in something nobody wants. Even if we all come in agreement to just one thing. Take for example, Everyone agrees that violence should never occur. Party A wants to drink beer. However, the government and majority of the people are in agreement that beer causes more harm than good to the society. As more Party As gather, the idea becomes stronger and they start to create a riot which acts on civil disobedience. Since the government cannot disperse the riot through violence, should the government compromise and allow beer or should they reject which in turn results in Party A causing harm to society by blocking traffic etc. The end result is traffic accidents which causes harm to the victim's family. From there onwards, it is collateral and cumulative damage. All party A wanted was to drink beer and all they did was block traffic.

The irony in our own ideals is that the ideals we so eagerly yield usually comes hand-in-hand with the dire conflicts we so eagerly try to shed. The reality of freedom is indeed a difficult truth.

7 comments:

Miao said...

Just briefly browsed through this, hopefully my comment is relevant. Don't see why an ideal world must necessarily involve uniformity. There can be diversity and differences, the key is whether we can appreciate and respect and embrace them. Attaining uniformity sounds like solving the wrong problem to me and smacks of centrism only around one culture/creed/what-have-you. There are after all different versions of utopia.

Miao said...

Anyway, in short, I don't think an ideal world (or equality) is necessarily mutually exclusive with individuality, which seems to be what you are suggesting with this sentence: "We [strive] so ignorantly towards a perfect world where everyone is equal, not knowing that when we reach this ideal, we could very well give up what makes us unique." If by uniqueness you are talking about the practice of certain barbaric traditions, then yes, I think that such ignominious individuality should be eradicated since it is undesirable. I truly believe that there is an inexorable universal law that transcends all beliefs determined by various cultures.

Coro said...

Like I mentioned in my post, an ideal world is where everyone agrees on everything, such as violence is wrong or whatnot. Since it is impossible to avoid conflicts when people have "diversity and differences", the statement "appreciate, respect and embrace" is in massive contradiction with this fact. "Diversity and differences" would mean some people agree that killing is ok, could you truly embrace and respect such an idea? I listed an example in my post, perhaps it could help you better understand what I mean.

Coro said...

Just read your comment more thoroughly and realized that my example might fall under "barbaric" traditions. I don't think that any form of individualism can be fairly eradicated since to do so would basically violate everyone with interests regarding that matter since I personally don't think anyone is "above" anyone else in terms of judging which individualistic ideal deserves to be eradicated.

Miao said...

An ideal world is where everyone agrees on everything, such as violence is wrong or whatnot. Since it is impossible to avoid conflicts when people have "diversity and differences", the statement "appreciate, respect and embrace" is in massive contradiction with this fact.

Yes, but that is an ideal world as you define it. And it is not a "fact", because why should I stick to your definition? My point is already that there can be many versions of utopia, not just yours. So I am really just talking about alternatives, and not about possibilities in the ideal state as you define it. If I want to stick to your notion, of course diversity and differences would cease to exist. But I can well conceive of other ideal states in which they don't have to be compromised.

I personally don't think anyone is "above" anyone else.

Precisely because no one is superior to anyone else, that is why certain rules will have to be implemented to ultimately preserve the interests of everyone... It may sound ironic to you, but maybe you can explore more literature in moral theories to find out more about it. Discourses explored by philosophers are much more sophisticated and complex than I can articulate here. And they are much more eloquent than me, so you'd be better off reading them than finding out information from me, haha.

Oh, and that day I mentioned to you about Humean theories of morality. I said that Hume was a subjectivist, but I'd like to make a disclaimer here: his ideas are highly complex and classifying it under one broad rubric doesn't do any justice to it. There are very profound merits in his arguments that mitigate the silliness of some of his more subjectivist thoughts. You might want to read him, but don't jump to conclusions about some of his writings - even until today scholars are still debating about some of his more ambiguous points. But he's a good start. I'm still more of a Kantian though.

Miao said...

Actually I spend more time reading your entries about movies lah. Because I already read so many philosophy readings when I'm offline that when I come online I just want to relax. That's why you don't see hardcore philosophy stuff on my blog, my brain is too feeble to do philosophy the whole day. Lol.

Coro said...

Ok ok, I won't further argue with you on this. I am glad you regard my entries about movies worthy to read.