on freedom.. June 10, 2009

Filed under: STUFF — Cosmina @ 12:22 am
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i just made this for my bro’ last night and was thinking i haven’t posted anything here in a while so.. yeah.. enjoy:

Big Brother is Watching You

Freedom is a work of fiction because of social constructs

This paper is going to approach how freedom is perceived throughout the twentieth century in order to emphasize that manipulation, socialist propaganda and control render anything more than metaphysical manifestations of the concept to mere utopia. The paper is constructed as an argumentative spread meant to deliver an objective, unbiased idea, which many philosophers have pondered upon, in an original, surprising, dark and pessimistic way, yet sadly confirmed by history’s tumultuous development. This endeavor will be supported by the testimony of time, politics and art.

Freedom is an abstract concept that people aspire to. No one knows its ultimate form because just like happiness it presents itself as the absolute superlative in terms of states yet can only be perceived individually not collectively. This axiom is the apple of Discordia clashing with the revolutionary twentieth century image that revolved around society, social and socialism in order to progress, melting individuals in a pot called mass. Ironically the most iconic wars and revolutions were led in the name of freedom in this century, most of them being fights for independence, which is the social groups’ rendition of freedom, and overthrows of power, socially staged events that played out in blood and resulted in nothing more than a change of oligarchy.

Fascinating enough proportionally with civilization and scientific breakthroughs a phenomenon of social entrapment, individual freedom fights and journeys are becoming more and more common. Applied socialism as it turns out was not the answer Aristotle made it up to be and the praised democratic-capitalist system, which proudly invokes the term and implications of freedom as advertising, isn’t either. The fictional “Big Brother” paradigm has come to be integrated in the stereotypes of freedom through religion, laws and manipulation making it seem like compromise and surveillance, social adherence and obedience are the only ways to achieve freedom. The most common clichés used in this sense are for instance the degrees of freedom, sacrificing individual freedom for collective one, freedom fighters as a euphemism for mercenaries or terrorists and so on, whilst the terminology and research that is trustworthy comes from Plato or Immanuel Kant and if nothing else it at least makes you question everything you were socially fed as truth. However Freedom regarded as work of fiction is the main conceptual dilemma the paper will tackle, whether it is an urban legend, achievable, predictable or just make believe.

This hypothesis being brought to the table is somewhat of a bold choice that was dictated and inspired by George Orwell, the reputed literary and activist figure that had the inspiration to speak the unspeakable using parallelisms, myths, fiction to convey his message across. For example a very interesting pun intended in Nineteen Eighty Four is the ideological language he makes up called Newspeak. Although my argumentation is going to be blunt and persuasive because of the democratic right that entitles and guarantees freedom of speech I had to bring homage to the writer even though as far as I am concerned true courage means he should have published the book before he fell ill but to prove my point he didn’t have neither the biological nor the social freedom to do so.

The unraveling arguments you will find in the upcoming pages are meant to sustain the mythological and utopist concept of freedom using as a literary reference George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty Four.

To predict the future we must first know the past and act accordingly in the present. This train of thought helped George Orwell, who is more or less the reference turning point icon of the century and his input nothing short of genius, because he witnesses and then goes on to depict this timeframe as accurately and sharp as a Polaroid picture. He grew up in and had the first half of the century for memories, wrote the novel in 1948 and predicted in his a fictional work of art events resembling what could be easily loosely based on the biography of an actual proletarian living in 1984 in any East European Country, on the wrong side of the Iron Curtain.

Although I apologize in advance to all socialists I must disclaim the possibility of social freedom in order to advance. Freedom and society are traditionally conflicting, incompatible notions. Freedom is not synonymous with commitment therefore the principal social unit, the family which dictates commitment, codependency and responsibilities does not overlay, overlap or intersect with the concept; this argument alone already contradicts popular beliefs. Socially freedom has been integrated to depict a certain leisure of thought and action, mainly in subsidiary concepts such as freedom of choice and freedom of will, meant to be used by social structures from political regimes to insignificant choice brands spun by capitalism and consumerism to inflict a false sense of freedom as a variable manipulation measure to be tickled at times, synchronized and implemented when called for, much like Fidel Castro reassuring his people they are free and capitalism is a plague because of his consistency, charisma and oratorical skills Cubans have come to believe him out of sheer conviction and adulation.

Independence is not freedom, being alone is not being free, rebellion, liberty, democracy, space they are concepts that use it and milk the endorsement for all it’s worth but in reality not even ration and thinking are free in the true meaning of the word because they follow a social pattern dictated by survival and preservation instincts.

Real freedom doesn’t exist because we are conditioned by death. How can you be free if you have an expiration date stuck to your forehead the second you are born? Furthermore if we take into consideration Jean Jack Rousseau’s Social Contract’s main idea that affirms people as being born untainted then we must acknowledge that freedom is granted in the initial package but lost along with our innocence. In my opinion that moment is the most free a person is ever going to be in his or her lifetime. But just like an unpainted canvas we soon suffer the first stroke of the behavioral and physical predispositions from our parents and we pick up all the social baggage from then on.

A very powerful argument formulated against freedom being something more than a romantic invention is the fact that we are, like it or not, just simple arrangements of carbon molecules. We are mostly water and behave accordingly. Human beings make no exception; they are subject to physical laws as much as any other material thing, living or not. So it starts to look like predestination and destiny leave no room for true freedom. In all the major religions and faiths in the world freedom is achieved through the completion of the Supreme Being’s will, abiding by ethic and moral unwritten laws and conducting yourself in a certain manner in accordance with the spiritual tradition, which leaves no room for freedom and excludes almost a quarter of the population in terms of avid freedom seeker numbers.

Nineteen Eighty Four is usually depicted as a warning, a prophecy or simply a description of totalitarianism. I believe it is a wise unveiling of the most powerful weapon on the planet, the word, used to manipulate, used for social propaganda, used to rule the World. The author foresees the extreme levels to which people can be controlled. He emphasizes on the fact that force alone cannot make a social mechanism work for too long. This leads me to one of the most important enemies of freedom in this social construct and especially in a totalitarian régime, censorship. The effects of censorship are both fascinating and terrifying, the infinite power exercised to control the social medium by these means is actually a daily practice regardless of time, time zone or past times that is controlled worldwide, dispersed regionally where it is revisited and filtered to fit the interests of the few over the many just like Orwell describes happens in the Ministry of truth.

One scene in the book is reminiscent of the true enslavement of humans that is of human making but transcends every regime barrier, every preconceived or conceived human idea. Winston Smith, the lead character engaged in a polemic with a peer, O’Brien, was insisting that Big Brother could not control the environment but O’Brien replied that even the environment is a product of the mind, Maya-the ultimate illusion, the illusion of life and the material worlds consequently whoever controls the mind controls the masses through the illusion of reality. The essence of the book is the destruction of any trace of individual freedom, originality and natural curiosity leading to personal and individual growth and it proves that all we know is all that we will ever know and freedom in this case represents the empiric will to know nothing that is already known. Hens people are prisoners of the environment, prisoners of their life, mind, a part of other people’s waking like. To sustain this argument George Orwell says “freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two equals four. If that’s granted, all else follows”

As it turns out George Orwell believes in the individual and individual feelings and states even though he depicts the life of an average Joe, freedom is not simply seen as being opposite to the oppressive, pervasive, invasive government but more importantly an individual trait, hope, a built in bug that Big Brother and his entourage are trying to eliminate and erase by brain washing the people, educating and reeducating them, molding their personalities as clay into a homogenized, obedient heard of sheep.

The author thinks that freedom is slavery, quote which I would normally interpret as meaning the opposite or a play on words but this time I concur on two levels with him because freedom enslaves the thinkers who obsess over it, those who seek it at any cost, those who sell themselves to the system, those who conform just to be left in peace, namely the predictable and logical level the majority would agree with as being a fit interpretation too. The second level is rather obvious but at the same time very vexed and delicate, a real sore for the pragmatic population who adapts and struggles to understand the game and get ahead in this social construct we’ve built for ourselves. Let’s say that hypothetically speaking you are as free as a human being can be. This means you have no ties to the social mechanism whatsoever. In order to do that you would have to live completely exiled from any other person although being free you have the option to interact or adopt and comply in a way freely choosing not to be free if that is what you want. But say you don’t do that just yet, you would have to survive somehow, so as the first natural law to chip off your freedom is the survival one. Of course you are free to be inert but you aren’t so you have to, depending on the environment, another conditioner of your freedom, find shelter, food and clothing. This example will go on and on until we realize that the biological needs consume about half of the freedom we have. The other half is consumed by the social mechanism, whether in a straight up fashion or in an intricate manipulating, subliminal way, so that at the end of the day it doesn’t really matter what social construct the people are in, it all comes down to a perpetual individual struggle to recover something society stole from them. Freedom is brutally, violently and tyrannically taken away in dictatorships, oligarchies, monarchies, communism, Nazism, fascism or legionary movements but more often then so it is lost, stolen, given away or ceased carelessly, willingly or in exchange for immediate material benefits.

Orwell’s book makes a fine point in representing the pyramid structure of power. And this is my most heartbreaking and dream shattering argument, I loathe myself for knowing it to be true and have come to agree that ignorance is bliss and strength and security. Typically freedom is thought as a single concept but it’s most devious ties are with a little evil step sister called consequences. The twisted social apprehension of the freedom notion means mastering the game, whether you are in the Inner circle of Big Brother’s Party or a billionaire in the capitalist medium, socially freedom equals power, influence, control over yourself and others through strategic thinking, planning and executing and the consequences of all those perks affect, ripple and reverberate worldwide. Although with great power comes great responsibility the bohemian and hippie lifestyle, which are commended for the freedom they take so much pride in, are very limited in terms of actual possibilities and the people who conduct them are just poor, powerless and constricted as for the rest of the population they are nothing more than a compound noun so the most free of the bunch are the powerful, secret society, Champaign sipping, world dominating, people who play social and win. In short money is power, power is freedom ergo freedom is money. Sad as it may be freedom is always conditioned by something unattainable in sufficient amount, quantity or quality to materialize.

If freedom is an abstract concept can people only achieve it in an abstract medium? Can freedom only be attained after death? That is not necessarily true but seeing as there is no actual testimony to back that hypothesis up I have to state the fact that a man made concept invented to address something a human mind concocted that only uses a fraction of its capabilities to function is not a reliable source of pure knowledge or one foolproof axiom I would base my most radical convictions on, because one day everything is certain and stable the next our whole perception of the universe is relative and yet I am positive measurable freedom and happiness manifest in doing what you feel thus giving everything Grey a blaze of gold.

As far as arguing mea causa I must say the social construct and freedom concept find themselves in a dualistic relationship that only permits certain manifestations of one in the other. Just like the sun and the moon appear in opposite corners of the horizon at dusk and dawn both having the same goal, to light up and enlighten, thus present themselves the two notions serving as a stepping stone in mankind’s journey, and although society can be compared to Room 101at times it’s deeply implanted in our consciousness since it’s the only modus vivendi in our range of perception. So until we find a better one that accommodates freedom and happiness the only thing this journey called life is offering is a continues hustle and pursue of some things tangible, some things intangible and a lot of stories of those quests in which freedom is featured constantly enriching our lives and inspiring us to enjoy the process.



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