Skip to content
February 12, 2020 / Congau

Uncatchable Freedom

The meaning of freedom can’t be grasped. Once you think you’ve got it and are holding it in your hand, you must wrap your fingers tight around it so that it doesn’t slip away and escape again. You must capture freedom. Freedom must not be allowed to be free.

This play on words serves to illustrate the impossible contradiction of freedom, for it’s more than just a play.

Freedom means the ability to do whatever you want, but once you know what you want, your choice is restricted to only that; the free choice has vanished and freedom disappears the very moment you gain your freedom.

That’s why any philosophical explanation of freedom will be unsatisfactory. Great schemes have been built to fit the individual will into laws that are designed to represent its higher form. We want to live in a great society where all individual action is directed towards the common good for all, including our personal good, and if you don’t want that, you are simply wrong about what you think you want.

There is a lot to be said for this argument. We really don’t know what we want, and even those who have the greatest genuine attachment to their own wishes and needs, have an imperfect understanding of themselves. General human psychology can teach a person about his own self, and good social laws are a benefit for everybody, including the individual. The textbook provides lessons in individual freedom, and the theories can be wonderfully executed in a totalitarian state. Thus the contradiction is again complete: Freedom means lack of freedom.

Well, don’t try to grasp it, then. Follow any momentary whim and forget you are human like the others. Congratulations, you will be a slave of your passions, an irrational animal, and not at all free.

What then? Neither grasp for it nor let it go? Stop fighting for freedom?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: