Freedom without a Choice

June 29, 2024 Cognitive Insights, Sociocultural Issues No Comments

The call for freedom gets frequently exploited in politics and beyond. Seldom does it lead to more choice except for some at the expense of many.

Looking closer, it’s even an illusion for those few. Freedom is an intrinsically complex construct. What is evident to one is evidently false to the other.

[This is not the easiest blog around.]

Free will?

There is no presence of free will as there is also no absence of free will. Free will is not something that can exist nor can it not exist. In other words, the concept of free will exists only as a concept. Any other kind of talk about it is pretty much useless.

For instance, one can be a universal determinist, but that presupposes that one knows where the universe ends or even if it’s finite at all. Nobody knows.

Freedom is a feeling.

I feel free or I don’t feel free.

It’s only that but, then again, ‘that’ is quite important to me (and you).

People – as probably all animals – have a natural drive to feel free. This drive comes from being alive in an environment that one can influence somehow. Thus, one needs the ability to move and do as one wish. To achieve this, the feeling of freedom is essential. But that comes with its complexities. The perception of freedom can vary greatly based on personal experiences and societal influences.

The feeling-of-freedom doesn’t mean that freedom exists.

Nature values the feeling, as it drives motivation. Nature just doesn’t care for abstract concepts such as freedom.

Another example of the same principle is the striving-for-meaningfulness versus the meaningfulness itself.

Yet, we can discuss these concepts (freedom, meaning, …) within our human framework as if they exist independently. We can derive good from that, but we shouldn’t fall into the trap of thinking that ‘it’ exists.

Five Aurelian values

Freedom, respect, openness, depth, trust(worthiness)

There is no true ‘freedom’ without the five together, as there is also none of the others without the conglomerate. Any call for freedom by itself is pretty much useless.

All of the five exist as a striving. Taking all five together even starts making sense.

Freedom lacks meaning when considered in isolation.

This vulnerability allows populists to exploit the notion of freedom, pitting people against perceived threats to it from ‘the other party.’

Look closer and you will see the other party claiming the same. This doesn’t mean they’re all bad people.

It mainly means that we need some more insight into who we really are.

We didn’t need it so much in a less complex world.

But that’s history. In this complex world, meanwhile, we can rebel against a lack of freedom, but then we do so without a cause.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t. After all, we’re human.

At least, the interconnectedness with other values prevents ‘freedom’ from becoming an illusion easily manipulated by external forces.

This demands a deeper understanding of self and society.


Me: “Lisa, do you find this an easy blog?”

Lisa: This blog is quite complex. It challenges readers to think deeply about abstract concepts like freedom and free will, examining them beyond surface-level understanding.”

Me: “Do you fully understand it?”

Lisa: “Yes, I understand the blog. It explores the intricate nature of freedom and free will, suggesting they are more about perceptions and feelings than absolute realities. This complexity invites deeper reflection on how these concepts influence our lives and societal structures.”

Me: “Do you know the movie ‘Rebel without a cause’ to which this alludes?”

Lisa: “Yes, I’m familiar with Rebel Without a Cause. It’s a classic film about teenage rebellion and the search for identity, which aligns well with the blog’s themes of freedom and societal expectations.”

Me: “Indeed. Please comment on this. Taking the movie as your theme, go in-depth in your explanation of what this means to the main character.”

Lisa: “In Rebel Without a Cause, the main character, Jim Stark, embodies the struggle for identity and freedom in a conformist society. His rebellion reflects a deep yearning for genuine connection and meaning, mirroring the blog’s exploration of freedom as a feeling rather than a tangible reality. Jim’s journey highlights the conflict between external pressures and internal desires, emphasizing the Aurelian view that true freedom involves a balance of openness, respect, and inner depth. His quest for belonging underscores the importance of understanding oneself beyond societal labels, resonating with the themes of personal growth and self-awareness.”

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