Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Free to Fail

"There can be no real freedom without the freedom to fail", Eric Hoffer - social writer and philosopher.

Between my thoughts on childhood identification and hearing a Chuck Klosterman interview where he described the world around us as one that is increasingly being designed and configured as if everyone was a child, I have been focused on that fascination people have with childhood and the nostalgia of going back. There are different views on freedom, and my beloved view is that we are free to be ourselves to act in our best interests as long as we do no harm, being free to succeed, fail, pursue and possibly find happiness. There is another view, which I like to call the statist liberal view of freedom, that means all the tough stuff will be taken care of by some 'other' and you're free to have no consequences fun.

There is a huge pull towards the statist liberal view of freedom. Who wouldn't want to not have to worry about the tough stuff? I view that as a simplistically childish view. Right there is where the draw is: childhood. Consider how many people wish to relive their childhood. Consider how many people want to go back. Why? They want to go back to when life was simple because nothing you made a decision on had a major consequence, yet part of that desire to go back is so you can do things differently because so much looks so important in hindsight. Bills, the future, and where you'd live were problems for your parents to figure out; all you had to do was wake up, maybe do a chore, and then play all day long. Even at school, you followed orders and a schedule designed by someone else. If we do say that true childhood ends around ages 10-11, nothing you had in class for a subject was too taxing. The tough stuff was taken care of, all you had to do was wake up, live by someone's rules (who put the roof over your head and food on your plate), and play. It still blows my mind that idea of going back and reliving it being held by people who simultaneously would redo many things.

I am always worried about the 'tough stuff accounted for, just go have fun' freedom because of my experiences with college friends who grew up in Russia and the Eastern bloc. No consequences can lead to no conscience or no motivation. The 'important stuff' taken care of by the state can mean one set of goods for you and one set of goods for the guy who is connected. It means a loss in the freedom to choose your life, the responsibility to those you have a contract with, the reliability as an adult member of a community, not just the fun stuff, but the complete life you want to live.

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