Friday, 16 November 2007

Freedom = Responsibility

I named this blog about freedom because that is one of the big things that I have become aware of over the past few years - how little freedom we really have. We have choices, but not freedom. We cannot do what we want when we want - we can only choose from those options allowed us by society. We have degrees of freedom - which flavour ice cream do you want? - but not total freedom.

I'm starting to get sick of society telling us we are 'free', when we are really anything but. Civilisation is a big bunch of rules about we cannot do, rather than about what we can do. More and more laws about what is not allowed, to stop the 'bad people', while actually removing more and more freedom from everyone.

I want to emphasis the point that to me freedom brings responsibility. Which I believe is the opposite of what many people will think. The simple view of freedom is that it means less responsibility - less work and less effort. Taking it easy. But true freedom actually requires more responsibility.

I am on about the freedom to do other things I want to do, and not freedom from obligations so that I can ignore them. Freedom from means less responsibility and less accountability. But someone who holds themselves accountable for their own life and wants to be free to live it how they want to will have to be more responsible, not less.

Civilisation today presents us with a set of ways we can conform - education, jobs, owning a house, paying taxes - and in return there are a great many things we do not have to deal with directly. As long as I keep going to work, I can use the money I earn to pay off any responsibility for other things.
  • I don't have to grow food - a farmer does that for me.
  • I don't have to raise cattle and kill them - someone else does.
  • I don't have to find food - the supermarket brings it all to one place.
  • I don't have to find water - the water company pumps it to my house.
  • I don't have to produce cloth and make clothes - someone else does.
  • I don't have to educate my children - the school does.
  • I don't have to find wood and coal - the energy company does.
And the result - almost no real freedom, and a binding pact to go out and work for someone else everyday in return for money.

The truly free person, who wants to do more than just doing the same work for someone else every day, will have to be responsible for all the things just listed, and many more. They have not shirked their obligations, and replaced them all with a steady flow of money; but instead face these obligations each and every day.

I also find it interesting that the people I now recognise as living this free lifestyle are what we call tribal people. These tribes share all the responsibilities of life amongst themselves, and between them do everything necessary to live. All obligations are met directly by the people of the tribe themselves.

And as we also know, this tribal way of living has existed for millions of years. Literally millions of years. And the current way of living in modern civilisation has been around for only about ten thousand years. We have only lost this freedom in recent history, but already almost no one today is aware of this loss. No one seems aware that once we were truly free. Another example of a Great Forgetting. In fact we have gone past that point, to where our freedom is now taken away from us by society by its laws, and we are never aware that there is any other way of living.

I'd like to me more free, and not to have to work every day to earn money to pay someone else for everything else I need. I'd like to interact with all facets of life, not just the one limited aspect of it we call work. But I know that doing that also means a lot more responsibility for me. And unfortunately civilisation has seen to it that I have not learnt all the skills and knowledge I need to take care of myself and my family. And even if I did have those skills and knowledge, the laws of society would stop me from leading a natural life and would probably lock me up in jail. There is no open land to live on, as all land is owned by someone, including the government. On what open, public, shared land there is, you cannot erect a shelter (building is not allowed without written permission). And you cannot hunt wild animals, because such hunting is forbidden or tightly licensed. And even if you could, there are no wild animals left because we have killed them all off to make way for farms and agriculture.

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