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Freedom

spun (1352) writes | about 4 years ago

User Journal 5

I just had an interesting revelation regarding freedom. My mom came down with pancreatic cancer about a year ago, and I felt my personal sense of freedom curtailed. Sure, it was only curtailed by my own sense morality and obligation. but it was limited nonetheless. And I noticed, there is only so much freedom I am willing to give up. I was suddenly much more aware of, and resistant to, all the other limitations on my freedom like my marriage and my job and living in a society where I have to

I just had an interesting revelation regarding freedom. My mom came down with pancreatic cancer about a year ago, and I felt my personal sense of freedom curtailed. Sure, it was only curtailed by my own sense morality and obligation. but it was limited nonetheless. And I noticed, there is only so much freedom I am willing to give up. I was suddenly much more aware of, and resistant to, all the other limitations on my freedom like my marriage and my job and living in a society where I have to wear pants. Then my mom died, and I inherited a house and quite a bit of money. Now that my freedom is far less constrained by finances, or by dying single mother, only child dynamics, the minor impositions of job and marriage and pants obsessed society don't even register.

I've read that the sense of certainty is simply an emotion, a specific analog circuit that engages and drives our logical mind to come up with explanations. Now, through experience, I believe our sense of freedom is another emotional circuit. While in a strictly deterministic world individual freedom does not exist as such, the sense of personal freedom is a very real part of the chain of cause and effect.

(And thus, a personal conundrum is resolved, cognitive dissonance is decreased, and pants are worn.)

5 comments

Physiological Freedom (1)

Roxton (73137) | about 4 years ago | (#31565340)

I've read that the sense of certainty is simply an emotion, a specific analog circuit that engages and drives our logical mind to come up with explanations.

I believe this to be accurate. I have a different physiological take on freedom, though.

My hypothesis is that there are actually two axes at work here.

Axis 1: Predictability
The rationalizing center(s) of the brain predict the behavior of the external environment in much the same way as it predicts your own volitional behavior. Seeing, say, a table move on its own creates the same unsettling sensation as seeing/feeling your arm fail to rise when you attempt to raise it. It's the fundamental basis for the emotional circuitry of control.

Getting sick or having your car break down may be unexpected, but if you know exactly how to handle it and there's little uncertainty about the consequences, you still get that sense of predictability. If you're low-income, have minimal health benefits, and/or have a work environment that doesn't tolerate absence, not so much.

Axis 2: Positive feedback of volition.
There's a tremendous sense of well-being that comes from creatively selecting actions, taking those actions, and having them work out. If people are in an environment where they have no clear opportunities or are set up to fail, that whole mechanism atrophies.

Being a minority, lacking wealth, lacking education, having nonnormative speech or behavior, lacking cognitive strategies people expect you to have (e.g. because your parents didn't have them and your school didn't teach them) all limit your opportunities and hence your ability to engage in satisfying, creative volition.

It seems reasonable to suppose that this forms a partial basis of some forms of depression.

I would lump the desire to not wear pants under the category of failed creative volitions. =)

The short of it? Safety nets and creative opportunity. BAMF. That's freedom. Libertarianism seems to be the uninspired belief that making creative opportunism legal is an adequate precondition for its cultivation... and that safety nets don't matter.

Re:Physiological Freedom (1)

spun (1352) | about 4 years ago | (#31568356)

Very insightful additions. I've also heard that depression can come from having things too easy, that true satisfaction comes from meaningful, real effort.

Safety nets (and universal health care) are key components for creating more freedom.

Heh (1)

Captain Splendid (673276) | about 4 years ago | (#31569598)

and pants are worn

And there was much rejoicing throughout the land. Great JE. About to go through a similar arc...

Re:Heh (1)

spun (1352) | about 4 years ago | (#31576618)

Be sure to take some time for yourself, you can't help anyone if you let yourself become a nervous wreck, as I learned the hard way...

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