Freedom Is An Illusion

Sometimes it’d just be easier to eradicate the necessity of decision making. Remove freedom. Wipe the slate clean of guilt and second guessing and those formidable ‘what ifs?’. To be pre-programmed, wired, robotic; emotionless. To drift through life carefree. Robotic-robust-mundane.

”Robot vehicles blindly programmed to preserve the selfish molecules known as genes”

– Richard Dawkins

I’d condemn this as being painfully and poisonously cynical, but really are we anything more than robots? Does freedom even exist in reality or is it just an idyllic concept?

What even is freedom?

To summarise the Oxford Dictionary, freedom is:

  1. The power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants- absence of subjection, independent of fate or necessity
  2. The state of not being imprisoned or enslaved
  3. Freedom from the state

The absence of restriction: does that really equate to ‘freedom’? How can absence correlate to things that we have been granted, for instance; the right to vote? It’s logically impossible for absence to equate to something: the absence of sadness does not revel the subject into happiness.  ‘You can’t prove a negative’ (James Randi) so can a negative be ‘something’?

Freedom from the state: can you call a society that is so heavily stipulated by money, and the media, free? Why if we are free to do as we please do we all aspire to such similar ideals, why do we follow the same path and conform to the same standardised expectations? Complete freedom from the state would entail a society whereby aspirations were based purely on happiness rather than social, political or economic factors. Where people had the opportunity to do whatever they wanted to do rather than being pigeon holed, spoon fed and indoctrinated into a ‘career’ prescribed to them by their socio-economic status- and nothing else. Why do we feel obliged to do things that we don’t want to do? It still feels like we need to break free from the constrictive chains of society, the cyclical 9-5 ominous clock ticking lifestyle- if that’s the sentiment how can this adhere to ‘freedom from the state’?

But do we even want to be free?



All we seem to do is restrict ourselves. Walking the same paths over and over again although there’s nothing stopping us from wandering off in another direction. It’s as if we all know we’re free but there’s some mental incapability to allow ourselves to fully embrace the freedom that we’ve been granted or to overturn the constraints of society. We enjoy being comfortable, not having to worry, eradicating decision making is so much easier- but then nothing seems worthwhile. We can’t have it all.

Are we free by nature but extrinsically restricted by our own surroundings?

Intrinsically free- extrinsically constrained.

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