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Freedom

Harper
Posts: 374
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1/17/2015 2:42:29 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
What is freedom?
According to dictionary.com, freedom is the state of being free or at liberty rather than in confinement or under physical restraint.
However, I think that this definition disregards two very important components of freedom (possibly the most important): freedom of thought and cognitive liberty. Freedom of thought is "the freedom of an individual to hold or consider a fact, viewpoint, or thought, independent of others' viewpoints" (Wikipedia) or "the right to hold unpopular ideas" (thefreedictionary.com). Cognitive liberty, on the other hand, is the "freedom of an individual to control his or her own mental processes, cognition and consciousness" (Wikipedia) or "the right of each individual to think independently and autonomously, to use the full spectrum of his or her mind, and to engage in multiple modes of thought" (cognitiveliberty.org). Essentially, freedom of thought is the freedom to think whatever you want, while cognitive liberty is the freedom to think however you want. Unfortunately, and perhaps unsurprisingly, none of these freedoms are widely protected or recognized.
Throughout this post, I will refer to these two freedoms together as mental freedom, as opposed to physical freedom. Physical freedom is any freedom that primarily deals with an action that requires external expression, such as the freedom to go out of your house, the freedom to dress in whatever way you want, the freedom to speak your mind, the freedom to broadcast your opinion in the media, the freedom to own a weapon, freedom to assemble, etc.

Why are the mental freedoms important?
I mentioned above that mental freedom is possibly the most important type of freedom, more important than physical freedoms, including freedom of speech. Freedom of speech is widely considered to be one the most important freedoms-- but what is freedom of speech but an external expression of thought? Without the mental freedoms, freedom of speech is useless and nothing more than a charade. The freedoms to act, dress, express oneself, and assemble are also all useless without the freedom to decide on those actions in a rational and conscious manner, free from external restraints on thought.

Current violations of mental freedom
The mental freedoms, from absence of social and legal protection and attention, are violated in many different ways, including:
1)Intentional use of propaganda, both in politics and in business: every day, whether we are conscious of it or not, those in politics and business are trying to manipulate and mold the public opinion to vote for this candidate, to buy that product, or to accept said ideology.
2)Childhood indoctrination into certain ideologies by society and the family unit: children are incredibly impressionable beings, and the things imprinted onto a person's mind during their youth might stay with them for the remainder of their lives, especially if said ideologies were repeated over and over to be right and that betraying said ideology would result in extreme consequences. Many times parents will even make the ideology part of the child's identity. This childhood indoctrination keeps children from being able to consider opposing views, as their entire identity was based on the ideology they were raised with and analyzing the situation rationally and with a free mind threatens that identity. Children don't develop critical thinking skills until adolescence, making it impossible for a child to analyze and question such beliefs that their parents are teaching them to accept.
3)The infamous "one size fits all" educational system: the traditional educational system, with a teacher or at the front of the class dictating the content to be learned is another way society violates a person's mental freedom. This is because 1. Children are taught to accept the teacher's authority on the subject they teach, 2. Because of that, children are not likely to question the information given, 3. The child will end up accepting whatever the teacher says, allowing the school to mold the child's mind in whatever way they want, and violating the child's right to develop free thought.

How are we to prevent such violations?
1)Intentional use of propaganda, both in politics and in business: such propaganda mainly targets and works on the emotions of the public. It's impossible to prevent businesses and politicians from trying to propagate their candidate/product/ideology, but you can prevent the emotionalism that it feeds off of. One can learn to detach from or "turn off" their emotional responses at will. This doesn't mean that we must learn to become emotionless, but instead to control and analyze such emotions and to have control over them, not the other way around. This skill can be taught to children to prepare them and defend them against such emotional manipulation.
2)Childhood indoctrination into certain ideologies by society and the family unit: by reforming the family unit and limiting the rights of the parent to indoctrinate their children, as detailed here: http://www.debate.org...
3)The infamous "one size fits all" educational system: by making a school system which makes independent learning the basis of its program. Teachers would only have a leading role in teaching the students in physical skills such as woodworking and mechanics. Intellectual and academic subjects would have teachers fill only supplemental or guiding roles. For example, a science teacher would be there only to prevent bad or unsafe scientific practices, and give advice when specifically asked. History teachers would be close to non-existent, only there to advise the student on things like the proper way to cite primary sources. Using the classroom setting to teach history is by far the most potentially threatening to a person's mental freedom, as history class is almost universally used by countries to propagate national myths and ideologies. In detail explanation: http://www.debate.org...

Is mental freedom even really possible?
Cognitive liberty, as defined above, was the freedom to control one's own mental processes and consciousness, but is it really possible to have full control over your own mental processes? After all, much of our actions and beliefs come unconsciously and without our own recognition. As Edward Bernays put it in his book Propaganda:
"Because man is by nature gregarious he feels himself to be member of a herd, even when he is alone in his room with the curtains drawn. His mind retains the patterns which have been stamped on it by the group influences. A man sits in his office deciding what stocks to buy. He imagines, no doubt, that he is planning his purchases according to his own judgment. In actual fact his judgment is a melange of impressions stamped on his mind by outside influences which unconsciously control his thought. He buys a certain railroad stock because it was in the headlines yesterday and hence is the one which comes most prominently to his mind; because he has a pleasant recollection of a good dinner on one of its fast trains; because it has a liberal labor policy, a reputation for honesty; because he has been told that J. P. Morgan owns some of its shares."
It is very much possible, that even after the three proposals I've made in the previous section are implemented, that we would still be far from truly mentally free. But this does not negate the value of pursuing mental freedom to its limit, just as the laws of physics do not discourage us from pursuing the physical freedoms to their limits. I guess the goal here is to become as free as possible, understanding that there are some limitations to freedom that we must simply accept.
Fido
Posts: 357
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1/17/2015 6:24:23 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
I may read your post. I just want you to know that use of a dictionary is an appeal to authority. Which is normally fine; but Freedom is a moral form, what is called by some a transcendent concept. This is like saying Freedom is a spiritual sense rather that a physical form that can be measured and defined. In fact, all moral forms are infinite, and as in-fin-ites, cannot be de-fin-ed.

Still it is not the job of philosophy to rest on definitions, but to question definitions and to find our own as much as that is possible. If we look at these moral forms like Justice compared to physical forms it is easy to see the difference. Physical forms have a being with a meaning. Moral forms are a meaning without a being. The being of social forms is what we give them by way of social forms. Justice is a moral form; and law is a social form. Love is a moral form, and marriage is social form.

It is important to address why we have such moral forms as freedom, or justice, or love, or god. Some of these words have a tremendous long history and usually the sense of them is little changed over time. Why would humanity trouble itself with such moral forms? Think about it.. Before people had wheels or horses to drag their business they had moral concepts. Granted, that if moral forms have little weight they still must take time for people to talk about and judge by.

I would suggest that people found these concepts essential, and that deprived of enough of rights, or freedom, or justice, or love, that people died. Look at the way people in the past were prepared to die for honor, and there are places yet where people will do just that. All the people in the Trojan war were there for their honor. Read the Nibelungenlied, and see how Kremheild threw her own son into the maw of vengeance.

You see that people found life without honor impossible, and freedom and all the virtues in fact was a part of honor. To look a freedom specifically; look at the Franks who were once bound to Rome, but styled themselves The Free, from where we get the adjective and adverb: Frank, and Frankly. That free agency was the difference between being a slave and being free, and no person could be made a slave except by their own consent, so there was even a little honor and democracy in that.
Skepsikyma
Posts: 8,280
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1/18/2015 10:24:28 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
The propaganda bit is good advice.

The scheme for taking care of children is a horrible idea. The family unit disperses the influences on children and allows for a diversity of opinion. Centralizing that function would open the door to indoctrination on a mass level, and the utter destruction of 'mental freedom'.

I disagree with some of your education reforms. Allowing children to experiment on their own in the sciences is silly, there are methodologies which must be taught. It took thousands of years of brilliant men working around the world on the world's greatest problems to get where we are today. A first grade classroom wouldn't be able to even scratch the surface on their own. I do agree that a lot more emphasis should be placed on individual and independent research, in my opinion up to a third of school hours. But we need some instruction, otherwise there's no point in even having education.

Also, eliminating history is ridiculous. What we need is to focus history on primary sources, and for the teacher to refer to multiple interpretations of the impacts of these primary sources, instead of offering up their own take on things, which is all too common nowadays. Also, national mythologies are necessary for the functioning of any nation or society. People need something to look up to, to believe in, to aspire to, and to bind them together as a nation. You show me one successful nation which didn't rely on such myths and I'll eat my hat.
"The Collectivist experiment is thoroughly suited (in appearance at least) to the Capitalist society which it proposes to replace. It works with the existing machinery of Capitalism, talks and thinks in the existing terms of Capitalism, appeals to just those appetites which Capitalism has aroused, and ridicules as fantastic and unheard-of just those things in society the memory of which Capitalism has killed among men wherever the blight of it has spread."
- Hilaire Belloc -
Fido
Posts: 357
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1/18/2015 2:54:31 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
It stands to reason that if a person is not free in their minds they are not free anywhere. And that freedom cannot be restricted to the individual, so freedom of communication follows from there. In every sense, if a person is not free in their own bodies they are not free; and it is also possible to argue that society and even family have a moral interest in what people do with their bodies or too them.

No person can be expected to have the perspective of their culture upon the welfare of those individuals raised in the culture. The perspective of the culture is infinite, and the vision of the individual is finite. If the individual does not share some of the infinite values of his culture, then all the energy that went into raising that individual is likely wasted. Cultures simply know more than people, and it does not mean they are always correct. The individual freedom is essential if the culture will learn and advance for all people. The culture even learns something when people self destruct trying to learn what does not work. Too bad; but the lesson of what not to do is learned.
Wocambs
Posts: 1,505
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1/18/2015 4:16:10 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/17/2015 2:42:29 PM, Harper wrote:
What is freedom?
According to dictionary.com, freedom is the state of being free or at liberty rather than in confinement or under physical restraint.
However, I think that this definition disregards two very important components of freedom (possibly the most important): freedom of thought and cognitive liberty. Freedom of thought is "the freedom of an individual to hold or consider a fact, viewpoint, or thought, independent of others' viewpoints" (Wikipedia) or "the right to hold unpopular ideas" (thefreedictionary.com). Cognitive liberty, on the other hand, is the "freedom of an individual to control his or her own mental processes, cognition and consciousness" (Wikipedia) or "the right of each individual to think independently and autonomously, to use the full spectrum of his or her mind, and to engage in multiple modes of thought" (cognitiveliberty.org). Essentially, freedom of thought is the freedom to think whatever you want, while cognitive liberty is the freedom to think however you want. Unfortunately, and perhaps unsurprisingly, none of these freedoms are widely protected or recognized.
Throughout this post, I will refer to these two freedoms together as mental freedom, as opposed to physical freedom. Physical freedom is any freedom that primarily deals with an action that requires external expression, such as the freedom to go out of your house, the freedom to dress in whatever way you want, the freedom to speak your mind, the freedom to broadcast your opinion in the media, the freedom to own a weapon, freedom to assemble, etc.

Why are the mental freedoms important?
I mentioned above that mental freedom is possibly the most important type of freedom, more important than physical freedoms, including freedom of speech. Freedom of speech is widely considered to be one the most important freedoms-- but what is freedom of speech but an external expression of thought? Without the mental freedoms, freedom of speech is useless and nothing more than a charade. The freedoms to act, dress, express oneself, and assemble are also all useless without the freedom to decide on those actions in a rational and conscious manner, free from external restraints on thought.

Current violations of mental freedom
The mental freedoms, from absence of social and legal protection and attention, are violated in many different ways, including:
1)Intentional use of propaganda, both in politics and in business: every day, whether we are conscious of it or not, those in politics and business are trying to manipulate and mold the public opinion to vote for this candidate, to buy that product, or to accept said ideology.
2)Childhood indoctrination into certain ideologies by society and the family unit: children are incredibly impressionable beings, and the things imprinted onto a person's mind during their youth might stay with them for the remainder of their lives, especially if said ideologies were repeated over and over to be right and that betraying said ideology would result in extreme consequences. Many times parents will even make the ideology part of the child's identity. This childhood indoctrination keeps children from being able to consider opposing views, as their entire identity was based on the ideology they were raised with and analyzing the situation rationally and with a free mind threatens that identity. Children don't develop critical thinking skills until adolescence, making it impossible for a child to analyze and question such beliefs that their parents are teaching them to accept.
3)The infamous "one size fits all" educational system: the traditional educational system, with a teacher or at the front of the class dictating the content to be learned is another way society violates a person's mental freedom. This is because 1. Children are taught to accept the teacher's authority on the subject they teach, 2. Because of that, children are not likely to question the information given, 3. The child will end up accepting whatever the teacher says, allowing the school to mold the child's mind in whatever way they want, and violating the child's right to develop free thought.

How are we to prevent such violations?
1)Intentional use of propaganda, both in politics and in business: such propaganda mainly targets and works on the emotions of the public. It's impossible to prevent businesses and politicians from trying to propagate their candidate/product/ideology, but you can prevent the emotionalism that it feeds off of. One can learn to detach from or "turn off" their emotional responses at will. This doesn't mean that we must learn to become emotionless, but instead to control and analyze such emotions and to have control over them, not the other way around. This skill can be taught to children to prepare them and defend them against such emotional manipulation.
2)Childhood indoctrination into certain ideologies by society and the family unit: by reforming the family unit and limiting the rights of the parent to indoctrinate their children, as detailed here: http://www.debate.org...
3)The infamous "one size fits all" educational system: by making a school system which makes independent learning the basis of its program. Teachers would only have a leading role in teaching the students in physical skills such as woodworking and mechanics. Intellectual and academic subjects would have teachers fill only supplemental or guiding roles. For example, a science teacher would be there only to prevent bad or unsafe scientific practices, and give advice when specifically asked. History teachers would be close to non-existent, only there to advise the student on things like the proper way to cite primary sources. Using the classroom setting to teach history is by far the most potentially threatening to a person's mental freedom, as history class is almost universally used by countries to propagate national myths and ideologies. In detail explanation: http://www.debate.org...

So long as there is power, there will be no free society, and the things you mention will remain in place in some form or another. When you have power, you have powerful incentive to retain it, and if power remains we will spend our efforts mitigating the effects of that inherent flaw.
Harper
Posts: 374
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1/18/2015 7:10:11 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/17/2015 6:24:23 PM, Fido wrote:
I may read your post. I just want you to know that use of a dictionary is an appeal to authority. Which is normally fine; but Freedom is a moral form, what is called by some a transcendent concept. This is like saying Freedom is a spiritual sense rather that a physical form that can be measured and defined. In fact, all moral forms are infinite, and as in-fin-ites, cannot be de-fin-ed.

People use dictionaries to establish common ground, I understand that certain concepts cannot be captured with words, but it's a way to make discourse easier.

Still it is not the job of philosophy to rest on definitions, but to question definitions and to find our own as much as that is possible. If we look at these moral forms like Justice compared to physical forms it is easy to see the difference. Physical forms have a being with a meaning. Moral forms are a meaning without a being. The being of social forms is what we give them by way of social forms. Justice is a moral form; and law is a social form. Love is a moral form, and marriage is social form.

When you do read my post, you will find that I do question the common definition of freedom.

It is important to address why we have such moral forms as freedom, or justice, or love, or god. Some of these words have a tremendous long history and usually the sense of them is little changed over time. Why would humanity trouble itself with such moral forms? Think about it.. Before people had wheels or horses to drag their business they had moral concepts. Granted, that if moral forms have little weight they still must take time for people to talk about and judge by.

I guess people have these "moral forms" to capture ideas and codify them.

I would suggest that people found these concepts essential, and that deprived of enough of rights, or freedom, or justice, or love, that people died. Look at the way people in the past were prepared to die for honor, and there are places yet where people will do just that. All the people in the Trojan war were there for their honor. Read the Nibelungenlied, and see how Kremheild threw her own son into the maw of vengeance.

That's a valid hypothesis.

You see that people found life without honor impossible, and freedom and all the virtues in fact was a part of honor. To look a freedom specifically; look at the Franks who were once bound to Rome, but styled themselves The Free, from where we get the adjective and adverb: Frank, and Frankly. That free agency was the difference between being a slave and being free, and no person could be made a slave except by their own consent, so there was even a little honor and democracy in that.

I hope you do find time to read my post and give me your response afterwards. Thanks for your sharing your ideas.
Harper
Posts: 374
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1/18/2015 7:28:56 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/18/2015 10:24:28 AM, Skepsikyma wrote:
The propaganda bit is good advice.

Thank you, I'm glad you thought so.

The scheme for taking care of children is a horrible idea. The family unit disperses the influences on children and allows for a diversity of opinion. Centralizing that function would open the door to indoctrination on a mass level, and the utter destruction of 'mental freedom'.

The family unit is nothing more than a mini government, a simple agent for cultural and political propaganda. There will never be true diversity of thought with the family unit, because every parent teaches their children only what they know, and what they know is what they were propagandized into. And while I agree that centralization does carry the risk of having mass indoctrination, I would say that mass indoctrination already happens as we speak. If the child care system is implemented in the way I propose it to, children would not be indoctrinated as there will always be oversight as to how the children are being raised.

I disagree with some of your education reforms. Allowing children to experiment on their own in the sciences is silly, there are methodologies which must be taught. It took thousands of years of brilliant men working around the world on the world's greatest problems to get where we are today. A first grade classroom wouldn't be able to even scratch the surface on their own. I do agree that a lot more emphasis should be placed on individual and independent research, in my opinion up to a third of school hours. But we need some instruction, otherwise there's no point in even having education.

I never said that there shouldn't be any teaching, I just said that no ideology should be taught, just methodology. In the sciences, for example, a science teacher would teach the children how to use lab equipment, the correct methodologies, etc. And I'm also not saying that we should make children to redo science from scratch, science books will always be made available for children who want to read them, all I'm saying is that they should be able to choose: if they want to do an experiment, they can. If they prefer to read what past scientists have done, they can. It's all about individual choice.

Also, eliminating history is ridiculous. What we need is to focus history on primary sources, and for the teacher to refer to multiple interpretations of the impacts of these primary sources, instead of offering up their own take on things, which is all too common nowadays. Also, national mythologies are necessary for the functioning of any nation or society. People need something to look up to, to believe in, to aspire to, and to bind them together as a nation. You show me one successful nation which didn't rely on such myths and I'll eat my hat.
I also never said that we should eliminate history. In the post that I linked to in my original post, I simulate an ideal history class where the student chooses what they want to study and whether or not to study with others (and who/how many to study with) and where the teacher is only there to facilitate class discussion or recommend books and historians for the student to look at.
As for your second point, I think that national mythologies (as necessary as they were in the past) are more harm than good. I think it's time that humans moved past these kinds of primitive modes of thought that serve to indoctrinate and eliminate freedom. And just because something has been necessary in the past, doesn't mean that we should strive to continue such practices in the future. War is a prime example of such a phenomenon. In the past, warlike nations survived peaceful ones because war is a means of establishing unity within a society. War gives a society a common enemy to fight and strive against, benefiting the community with a surge of patriotism, loyalty, and unity. But does this mean that war is something that is on balance beneficial? Does this mean that we should strive to establish more warlike nations? If we are to move forward as a species, absolutely not.
Harper
Posts: 374
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1/18/2015 7:40:36 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
So long as there is power, there will be no free society, and the things you mention will remain in place in some form or another. When you have power, you have powerful incentive to retain it, and if power remains we will spend our efforts mitigating the effects of that inherent flaw.
Very valid point; I note the possibility of us never achieving true freedom in the last section of my post, but I don't think that such limitations to our freedom should stop us from at least trying to strive for it. I made this post mainly to make people question the this claim that many countries make that their citizens enjoy any type of valid freedom. Especially with the recent events in Paris, I just became sick of people touting their "freedom", when their countries blatantly ignore and constantly violate the most important form of freedom. The truth is, none of us-- whether you live in North Korea or the United States-- are free.
Harper
Posts: 374
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1/18/2015 7:47:38 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/18/2015 2:54:31 PM, Fido wrote:
It stands to reason that if a person is not free in their minds they are not free anywhere.
And that freedom cannot be restricted to the individual, so freedom of communication follows from there. In every sense, if a person is not free in their own bodies they are not free; and it is also possible to argue that society and even family have a moral interest in what people do with their bodies or too them.

Some valid points.

No person can be expected to have the perspective of their culture upon the welfare of those individuals raised in the culture. The perspective of the culture is infinite, and the vision of the individual is finite. If the individual does not share some of the infinite values of his culture, then all the energy that went into raising that individual is likely wasted. Cultures simply know more than people, and it does not mean they are always correct. The individual freedom is essential if the culture will learn and advance for all people. The culture even learns something when people self destruct trying to learn what does not work. Too bad; but the lesson of what not to do is learned.
I actually disagree that the "perspective of the culture is infinite" whereas the "vision of the individual is finite"-- culture is simply one ideology, one way of life and is capable of disseminating only that one way, whereas the individual mind is capable of imagining, considering, and experiencing potentially unlimited ideologies and ways of life. And a person has no obligation to share some of the "infinite values" of a culture, because an individual should consider all ways of life and all perspectives and choose from there or even create his own. A culture's value is only in how rational and sane it is, and if an individual finds it to be less than rational and sane, he has the right (and arguably the duty) to deviate from the norm-- only then does creation and revolution, and therefore progress, happen.
Fido
Posts: 357
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1/18/2015 9:33:48 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/18/2015 7:47:38 PM, Harper wrote:
At 1/18/2015 2:54:31 PM, Fido wrote:
It stands to reason that if a person is not free in their minds they are not free anywhere.
And that freedom cannot be restricted to the individual, so freedom of communication follows from there. In every sense, if a person is not free in their own bodies they are not free; and it is also possible to argue that society and even family have a moral interest in what people do with their bodies or too them.

Some valid points.

No person can be expected to have the perspective of their culture upon the welfare of those individuals raised in the culture. The perspective of the culture is infinite, and the vision of the individual is finite. If the individual does not share some of the infinite values of his culture, then all the energy that went into raising that individual is likely wasted. Cultures simply know more than people, and it does not mean they are always correct. The individual freedom is essential if the culture will learn and advance for all people. The culture even learns something when people self destruct trying to learn what does not work. Too bad; but the lesson of what not to do is learned.
I actually disagree that the "perspective of the culture is infinite" whereas the "vision of the individual is finite"-- culture is simply one ideology, one way of life and is capable of disseminating only that one way, whereas the individual mind is capable of imagining, considering, and experiencing potentially unlimited ideologies and ways of life. And a person has no obligation to share some of the "infinite values" of a culture, because an individual should consider all ways of life and all perspectives and choose from there or even create his own. A culture's value is only in how rational and sane it is, and if an individual finds it to be less than rational and sane, he has the right (and arguably the duty) to deviate from the norm-- only then does creation and revolution, and therefore progress, happen.

It is very difficult to say what culture is not, since culture pre-exists us. It is easy to say what culture is. Culture is knowledge. It is perhaps for this reason that the German word for civilization is culture. Without a certain level of knowledge, civilization would be impossible.
Fido
Posts: 357
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1/18/2015 9:33:48 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/18/2015 7:47:38 PM, Harper wrote:
At 1/18/2015 2:54:31 PM, Fido wrote:
It stands to reason that if a person is not free in their minds they are not free anywhere.
And that freedom cannot be restricted to the individual, so freedom of communication follows from there. In every sense, if a person is not free in their own bodies they are not free; and it is also possible to argue that society and even family have a moral interest in what people do with their bodies or too them.

Some valid points.

No person can be expected to have the perspective of their culture upon the welfare of those individuals raised in the culture. The perspective of the culture is infinite, and the vision of the individual is finite. If the individual does not share some of the infinite values of his culture, then all the energy that went into raising that individual is likely wasted. Cultures simply know more than people, and it does not mean they are always correct. The individual freedom is essential if the culture will learn and advance for all people. The culture even learns something when people self destruct trying to learn what does not work. Too bad; but the lesson of what not to do is learned.
I actually disagree that the "perspective of the culture is infinite" whereas the "vision of the individual is finite"-- culture is simply one ideology, one way of life and is capable of disseminating only that one way, whereas the individual mind is capable of imagining, considering, and experiencing potentially unlimited ideologies and ways of life. And a person has no obligation to share some of the "infinite values" of a culture, because an individual should consider all ways of life and all perspectives and choose from there or even create his own. A culture's value is only in how rational and sane it is, and if an individual finds it to be less than rational and sane, he has the right (and arguably the duty) to deviate from the norm-- only then does creation and revolution, and therefore progress, happen.

It is very difficult to say what culture is not, since culture pre-exists us. It is easy to say what culture is. Culture is knowledge. It is perhaps for this reason that the German word for civilization is culture. Without a certain level of knowledge, civilization would be impossible.
Harper
Posts: 374
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1/18/2015 10:16:56 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
It is very difficult to say what culture is not, since culture pre-exists us.
Culture was created by us, it came to be as we came to be and we can change it and redefine it as we please. Culture is there to help and serve us. Once it stops serving us, it is useless, and should be thrown away, replace by something better.

It is easy to say what culture is. Culture is knowledge. It is perhaps for this reason that the German word for civilization is culture. Without a certain level of knowledge, civilization would be impossible.
Culture is the beliefs, arts, and customs of a society-- it is not necessarily knowledge, rather, it puts knowledge to use. So yes, knowledge is necessary for civilization, but civilization can occur without an established culture, given that the population is free and intelligent enough.
Fido
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1/19/2015 12:13:28 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/18/2015 10:16:56 PM, Harper wrote:
It is very difficult to say what culture is not, since culture pre-exists us.
Culture was created by us, it came to be as we came to be and we can change it and redefine it as we please. Culture is there to help and serve us. Once it stops serving us, it is useless, and should be thrown away, replace by something better.

It is easy to say what culture is. Culture is knowledge. It is perhaps for this reason that the German word for civilization is culture. Without a certain level of knowledge, civilization would be impossible.
Culture is the beliefs, arts, and customs of a society-- it is not necessarily knowledge, rather, it puts knowledge to use. So yes, knowledge is necessary for civilization, but civilization can occur without an established culture, given that the population is free and intelligent enough.

Really; how much culture have you created? I may carry culture forward, and add to it; but I have created nothing essential to it. I am starting to suspect that you don't know what you are talking about; but that only means I won't be able to talk much to you. Have a nice day.
Harper
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1/19/2015 8:00:24 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
Really; how much culture have you created?
I never claimed to have created any culture.

I may carry culture forward, and add to it; but I have created nothing essential to it.
Valid point, though I would point out that I stated that "we" created culture-- all of us. I'd also point out that while you or I haven't added anything essential, there were individuals who came to be cornerstones of their culture (George Washington comes to mind in the case of the U.S.).

I am starting to suspect that you don't know what you are talking about; but that only means I won't be able to talk much to you.
If you say so.

Have a nice day.
You too, it was an interesting discussion.
Fido
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1/19/2015 8:42:23 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/19/2015 8:00:24 AM, Harper wrote:
Really; how much culture have you created?
I never claimed to have created any culture.

I may carry culture forward, and add to it; but I have created nothing essential to it.
Valid point, though I would point out that I stated that "we" created culture-- all of us. I'd also point out that while you or I haven't added anything essential, there were individuals who came to be cornerstones of their culture (George Washington comes to mind in the case of the U.S.).

I am starting to suspect that you don't know what you are talking about; but that only means I won't be able to talk much to you.
If you say so.

Have a nice day.
You too, it was an interesting discussion.

George Washington represented his culture, but he also materially changed the course of that culture; and one of the reason he and his generation were able to do so is because they had a philosophical understanding of what they were doing, and this is shown by the reference to forms in the Declaration of Independence. These people were formally conscious, and culture, and everything related to humanity can be considered as a form, and all forms like culture are forms of relationship.

The problem with attempting to judge culture is that we are contained by the element we would change, so we can have no truly certain perspective about what we are doing, and it is as bad on the basis of our culture to judge and change other culture because we do not have the means to be objective.
Wocambs
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1/19/2015 3:32:41 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/18/2015 7:40:36 PM, Harper wrote:
So long as there is power, there will be no free society, and the things you mention will remain in place in some form or another. When you have power, you have powerful incentive to retain it, and if power remains we will spend our efforts mitigating the effects of that inherent flaw.
Very valid point; I note the possibility of us never achieving true freedom in the last section of my post, but I don't think that such limitations to our freedom should stop us from at least trying to strive for it. I made this post mainly to make people question the this claim that many countries make that their citizens enjoy any type of valid freedom. Especially with the recent events in Paris, I just became sick of people touting their "freedom", when their countries blatantly ignore and constantly violate the most important form of freedom. The truth is, none of us-- whether you live in North Korea or the United States-- are free.

Of course. That's why I'm an anarchist.
Harper
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1/19/2015 6:15:15 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Of course. That's why I'm an anarchist.

As am I. The thing that irks me is when you have someone saying "Anarchy? That will never work." Because 1. of course it won't if so many people believe so strongly that it won't and 2. being an anarchist doesn't necessarily mean that you think it'll work, it just means that you refuse to support any regime. I mean, anarchy might not work, but government is just as bad.
Harper
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1/19/2015 6:19:41 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
George Washington represented his culture, but he also materially changed the course of that culture; and one of the reason he and his generation were able to do so is because they had a philosophical understanding of what they were doing, and this is shown by the reference to forms in the Declaration of Independence. These people were formally conscious, and culture, and everything related to humanity can be considered as a form, and all forms like culture are forms of relationship.

The problem with attempting to judge culture is that we are contained by the element we would change, so we can have no truly certain perspective about what we are doing, and it is as bad on the basis of our culture to judge and change other culture because we do not have the means to be objective.

We are contaminated by culture, but we have what culture doesn't-- the capacity to detach from your culture and even yourself. The human is subjective, but at the same time can consider infinite other possibilities.
Wocambs
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1/19/2015 8:57:25 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/19/2015 6:15:15 PM, Harper wrote:
Of course. That's why I'm an anarchist.

As am I. The thing that irks me is when you have someone saying "Anarchy? That will never work." Because 1. of course it won't if so many people believe so strongly that it won't and 2. being an anarchist doesn't necessarily mean that you think it'll work, it just means that you refuse to support any regime. I mean, anarchy might not work, but government is just as bad.

<3
Fido
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1/19/2015 10:49:54 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/19/2015 6:19:41 PM, Harper wrote:
George Washington represented his culture, but he also materially changed the course of that culture; and one of the reason he and his generation were able to do so is because they had a philosophical understanding of what they were doing, and this is shown by the reference to forms in the Declaration of Independence. These people were formally conscious, and culture, and everything related to humanity can be considered as a form, and all forms like culture are forms of relationship.

The problem with attempting to judge culture is that we are contained by the element we would change, so we can have no truly certain perspective about what we are doing, and it is as bad on the basis of our culture to judge and change other culture because we do not have the means to be objective.

We are contaminated by culture, but we have what culture doesn't-- the capacity to detach from your culture and even yourself. The human is subjective, but at the same time can consider infinite other possibilities.

You cannot possibly escape culture. A primary element of culture is language, and language is essential to thought. You cannot even think without your culture or communicate your thoughts on your culture without your culture. How do you expect to achieve any manor of objectivity. If you step into a another culture with another language and try to judge our culture you have only compounded your problem. I don't even know where to begin with you. I can't imagine where you get your ideas of what is possible.
Harper
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1/20/2015 3:13:08 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
You cannot possibly escape culture. A primary element of culture is language, and language is essential to thought. You cannot even think without your culture or communicate your thoughts on your culture without your culture.
Okay, but you do know that one can coin new words to that language, learn a new language or even create their own? The late author J. R. R. Tolkien proved this when he wrote the Hobbit to give languages he made up a world. Meaning, you don't necessarily need your culture to have a language and think, although I will admit it would be very difficult to break away from your culture to do so.

How do you expect to achieve any manor of objectivity.
There are several thought experiments that can help one of any culture see through the eyes of others, thus becoming less subjective, such as Joseph Weintraub's Alien Eye Method or John Rawls' Veil of Ignorance. I say less subjective and not objective because I already acknowledged that humans are subjective creatures, but that doesn't mean that we cannot become more objective/less subjective. Science is a good example of subjective humans participating in and creating something objective.

If you step into a another culture with another language and try to judge our culture you have only compounded your problem.
That's why people learn other languages-- to get a hold of other cultures. Also, the statements you make on culture apply only to people who are monolingual. What about bi- or trilingual folk? Where do they fit in your theory?

I don't even know where to begin with you. I can't imagine where you get your ideas of what is possible.
This kind of arrogance and condescension is not something I'm willing to tolerate. I have overlooked the first time you threw such a remark, but twice is the limit. This will be my last reply to you; although it was a nice conversation while it lasted.
Harper
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1/21/2015 12:05:07 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/21/2015 4:29:21 AM, Smithereens wrote:
What if I told you humans aren't free? Nor do they need to be.

That's an interesting argument; care to elaborate?
Smithereens
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1/21/2015 10:56:06 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/21/2015 12:05:07 PM, Harper wrote:
At 1/21/2015 4:29:21 AM, Smithereens wrote:
What if I told you humans aren't free? Nor do they need to be.

That's an interesting argument; care to elaborate?

In the absence of any construct that can explain satisfactorily the phenomenon of free will, occam's razor will have us assume that there is a far simpler, biological explanation.
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Harper
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1/22/2015 7:05:10 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/21/2015 10:56:06 PM, Smithereens wrote:
At 1/21/2015 12:05:07 PM, Harper wrote:
At 1/21/2015 4:29:21 AM, Smithereens wrote:
What if I told you humans aren't free? Nor do they need to be.

That's an interesting argument; care to elaborate?

In the absence of any construct that can explain satisfactorily the phenomenon of free will, occam's razor will have us assume that there is a far simpler, biological explanation.

A sort of biological fatalism? I see. Though, I would argue that freedom is a consequence of our biology along with the lack of divine plan.
Smithereens
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1/22/2015 11:43:36 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/22/2015 7:05:10 PM, Harper wrote:
At 1/21/2015 10:56:06 PM, Smithereens wrote:
At 1/21/2015 12:05:07 PM, Harper wrote:
At 1/21/2015 4:29:21 AM, Smithereens wrote:
What if I told you humans aren't free? Nor do they need to be.

That's an interesting argument; care to elaborate?

In the absence of any construct that can explain satisfactorily the phenomenon of free will, occam's razor will have us assume that there is a far simpler, biological explanation.

A sort of biological fatalism? I see. Though, I would argue that freedom is a consequence of our biology along with the lack of divine plan.

How does biology grant us freedom?
Music composition contest: http://www.debate.org...
Harper
Posts: 374
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1/23/2015 2:05:51 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/22/2015 11:43:36 PM, Smithereens wrote:
At 1/22/2015 7:05:10 PM, Harper wrote:
At 1/21/2015 10:56:06 PM, Smithereens wrote:
At 1/21/2015 12:05:07 PM, Harper wrote:
At 1/21/2015 4:29:21 AM, Smithereens wrote:
What if I told you humans aren't free? Nor do they need to be.

That's an interesting argument; care to elaborate?

In the absence of any construct that can explain satisfactorily the phenomenon of free will, occam's razor will have us assume that there is a far simpler, biological explanation.

A sort of biological fatalism? I see. Though, I would argue that freedom is a consequence of our biology along with the lack of divine plan.

How does biology grant us freedom?

Well, we have a mind that can change with our thoughts and behaviors due to neuroplasticity. Quantum phenomena has actually been shown to disprove the idea that the brain is a predictable, static part of our body-- instead it is volatile, and many times, just like the movement of electrons, unpredictable.
Smithereens
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1/23/2015 11:10:55 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/23/2015 2:05:51 PM, Harper wrote:
At 1/22/2015 11:43:36 PM, Smithereens wrote:
At 1/22/2015 7:05:10 PM, Harper wrote:
At 1/21/2015 10:56:06 PM, Smithereens wrote:
At 1/21/2015 12:05:07 PM, Harper wrote:
At 1/21/2015 4:29:21 AM, Smithereens wrote:
What if I told you humans aren't free? Nor do they need to be.

That's an interesting argument; care to elaborate?

In the absence of any construct that can explain satisfactorily the phenomenon of free will, occam's razor will have us assume that there is a far simpler, biological explanation.

A sort of biological fatalism? I see. Though, I would argue that freedom is a consequence of our biology along with the lack of divine plan.

How does biology grant us freedom?

Well, we have a mind that can change with our thoughts and behaviors due to neuroplasticity. Quantum phenomena has actually been shown to disprove the idea that the brain is a predictable, static part of our body-- instead it is volatile, and many times, just like the movement of electrons, unpredictable.

No, there are two types of neuroplasticity that are scientifically described, adaptive is the rerouting and sprouting of undamaged neurons to compensate for lost networks, and developmental is synaptogenesis, the creation of more dendrites to increase network count. In both cases freedom from a philosophical perspective is impossible to describe for.

Quantum mechanics on the other hand is exactly that. Quantum, meaning, not classical. Classical mechanics describes bodies larger than an atom, quantum on the other hand only applies to electron size and smaller. The big deal in science is to unite these two theories with a grand theory of everything. The reason being, quantum mech cannot make accurate predictions about the behaviour of matter and energy in situations larger than an atom.

The prime mechanic that allows the brain the function is neurotransmitter displacement. These electrochemical signals constitute of molecules far larger than any one atom. Hence, QM does not explain the ability for free will to exist in the brain. It's irrelevant.
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