Tuesday, September 07, 2004
Freedom and the democratic society
One of ideas that appealed a lot to my mind, still adjusting and malleable at 23, was one about freedom. From what I remember now, Dostoevsky viewed freedom as a fully blown, all consuming choice. Freedom is not constrained to certain permissible choices in a rule of law. Freedom essentially is a constant and fluid choice between all possible rights and all possible wrongs. It is an exemption from all limiting factors including morality, ethics, discipline and other sundry social codes we are encouraged to follow.
I do not know yet if this is really a practicable idea. Infact, I am probably inclined to think that it is not. I agree that benefits of conformance are manifest in plentiful ways. It does protect us from grappling with myriad choices at a certain level; indeed, it ensures that we are in a synergistic relationship with all that is around us.
However, where I really agree Dostoevsky is that conforming is perhaps a trifle 'safe' choice a society can make.The compromise is really attitudinal. Its a tendency, really, to protect from all that can go wrong than nurture all that can be productive. This limiting philosophy dictates that we learn what is already known and accept what has already been 'understood'. Oftentimes, these barriers are crossed by individuals who differ from this limiting paradigm of choices, who have either unlearnt their lessons or never paid attention in the first place. And we owe a lot to these people for all that we have today. The point, however, is that we, as a society, do not encourage such behaviour. We do not encourage reinterpretation, en masse, in our schools. Dissent is voted out by the majority in our parliaments. We do not reexamine our truths.
Therefore, we wait for our messiahs to deliver. And until they come, we live caged & safe, exactly like everybody else around us!