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Old 13-Apr-2009, 06:49 PM (18:49)     1        23425
Gurdur
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pinko When fighting for freedom destroys freedom

I'm going to be doing a long series of posts on how the attempts to bring about more freedom have actually had exactly the opposite effect, and discuss what we can do about that. This is going to be a very long topic, and will cover a great deal of range and many other subjects, ranging from Afghanistan and Iraq, to paranoia, greed and sociopathic selfishness, to psychiatry/antipsychiatry, to game theory, the Cold War and the MAD doctrine, to economics, neoliberalism, Friedrich von Hayek and James M. Buchanan, and so on. So what I will do is break it all down into a connected series of OP's, seperate threads, so each subtopic can be discussed properly. All this will naturally take a good deal of time. I will also be bring up this thread of mine from before, one I still have not yet completed by any stretch yet, and which needs much more development.

Do feel very free to interrupt any time with your own concerns, questions and points!

To start with, I will be using a BBC documentary as a kind of structure, but I will be going off on side-tracks all the time. The BBC docu in question is The Trap: What Happened to Our Dream of Freedom. Very unfortunately, this BBC production does not seem to be available on DVD anywhere (but if anyone does know of any offer, please do let me know). But some clips of it are available, and I will end this OP with the first clip.

I will also occasionally be referring to another BBC docu, The Power of Nightmares: The Rise of the Politics of Fear.

But for a start, here is the first clip (there are many more to come) of The Trap: What Happened to Our Dream of Freedom.

The docu is in three parts,
Section 1: Fuck You Buddy
Section 2: The Lonely Robot
Section 3: We Will Force You To Be Free

Below are links to videos of the first program, in parts per video.

The Trap - "Fuck You Buddy!"

Part
1
, Part
2
, Part
3
, Part
4
, Part
5
, Part
6

Last edited by Gurdur; 11-Mar-2010 at 03:52 AM (03:52).
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Old 13-Apr-2009, 06:50 PM (18:50)     2        23426
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And I will move this thread from Politics to Philosophy. The range of discussion will be very wide.
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Old 29-Apr-2009, 03:36 AM (03:36)     3        24116
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Well, Gurdur, I watched the first little segment you posted here.

Wouldn't it be safe to say to start things off a fear based authoritarian society will have a different definition of what freedom is from a more nurturant empathetic based members of a society?

Last edited by B.H.; 29-Apr-2009 at 03:44 AM (03:44).
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Old 29-Apr-2009, 03:45 AM (03:45)     4        24117
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Also, in your opinion isn't it a mistake to speak of human nature? Should we speak about different kinds of human natures?
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Old 29-Apr-2009, 04:07 AM (04:07)     5        24123
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Some people/they* say freedom doesn't exist neither democracy's have it because they must give it up to be free, nor anarchy has it because the total freedom destroys our freedom.
Humans think, know, understand, and feel we can never truly be free.

Yes its that famous they. =D
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Old 29-Apr-2009, 04:45 AM (04:45)     6        24126
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B.H. View Post
Also, in your opinion isn't it a mistake to speak of human nature? Should we speak about different kinds of human natures?
Oh bingo bingo bingo! Oh, yes indeedy! Or IOW I fully agree with you.



I will be continuing all this, but not today, since I am kinda wiped out today.
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Old 29-Apr-2009, 07:14 PM (19:14)     7        24142
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gurdur View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by B.H. View Post
Also, in your opinion isn't it a mistake to speak of human nature? Should we speak about different kinds of human natures?
Oh bingo bingo bingo! Oh, yes indeedy! Or IOW I fully agree with you.



I will be continuing all this, but not today, since I am kinda wiped out today.
Not to mention the power of nurture.
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Old 29-Apr-2009, 07:21 PM (19:21)     8        24144
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Indeedy, atheist of peace, indeedy. But I will get to all that --- natures /nutures / niches / free will & choices.

I'm still wiped out by a very long day yesterday, so I will be slow in answering, my apologies, and it will be much later tonight, or tomorrow, before I answer, but I will.
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Old 29-Apr-2009, 07:24 PM (19:24)     9        24145
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gurdur View Post
Indeedy, atheist of peace, indeedy. But I will get to all that --- natures /nutures / niches / free will & choices.

I'm still wiped out by a very long day yesterday, so I will be slow in answering, my apologies, and it will be much later tonight, or tomorrow, before I answer, but I will.
Really man, it's cool, no need to tell me ever time your not gona be posting fast. ya know if we had some kinda messaging system like rep you could tell me like that =D
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Old 11-Mar-2010, 12:10 AM (00:10)     10        38072
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Interesting proposition.

I have had similar thoughts about this; that for example it was giving governing powers to the nobles in England which led to increasing oppression of the landless and untitled, who then fought for rights themselves, so that more and more men gained rights, which led to increasing inequality for women, and led to women fighting for rights to equal those of men, so that now the only ones without ( real ) rights are children, which inequality of power has become an issue in its turn. But each new set of rights and/or freedoms requires more rules and more policing.

It reminds me of the Sorcerer's apprentice, whose efforts to tidy up the first mess led to even greater chaos. I think it all goes back to the "Fall" myself, which I situate around 12,000BC-10,000BC when people starting eating gluten for the first time, ( a new plant protein, containing food opiods, which appeared at the end of the last ice age in the Fertile Crescent ), which I believe altered/strengthened the effect that language had on people, by making it seem more 3D, and by causing an alienation from the body which has only intensified over time. People began to create laws, with language, instead of with the body alone, and with every law they wrote they created more and more to clean up.

People in the far east didn't have the same sort of galloping alienation from their environments/the universe for several thousand years afterwards, when they introduced wheat into what had been principally rice ( gluten free ) eating cultures till then. Notice that in the rice eating east religions tend(ed) to not be theistic, writing when it was invented was less abstract, more pictographic, and technology remained much more grounded in the human scale and practical.

I think another reason that I am reminded of the Sorcerer's apprentice is because I have read several excellent stories about magicians, eg. the Earthsea Trilogy, in which magicians say things like "preserve the balance", and "do as little as you need to, no more", etc etc etc. I think when people started to grow more food than they needed to eat, out of fear of not having enough of what they craved, and to trade in the surplus, we lost touch with the wisdom of only doing what is needful.

I think that a lot of the development of civilisation has been driven by addiction; to gluten and its food opioids to begin with, ( the Egyptian and Roman Empires were founded on it, soldiers paid in it, etc ), then milk, with its opioids, ( which previously they had not eaten after infancy ), and in the last 1200 years, sugar, ( which was used by the grain by arab surgeons as an anaesthetic in operations, and by the Sultans as bribes, people found it so irresistible, one of those white powders made by boiling and purifying a plant juice ), with all the struggle that addiction tends to engender, the efforts to control oneself which come with it. Even the slave trade may have been ( at least partly ) fuelled by the growing sugar addiction of europeans.

The rigid living arrangements in the earliest big towns of the Neolithic, ( that Steven Mithen remarks on in his book "After the Ice" ), with their rectangular buildings and identical patterns of rooms, suggests that control became an issue, that freedom became something artificial from that time on, something which we would need to construct with language, a kind of prosthetic for what we had lost. Bulls horns buried in sculptures of breasts also suggests that something had gone wrong with natural consumption, had disturbed the instinctive balance of hunger and satiety, so that it seemed to need controlling.

I personally am wondering when children will demand the rights that John Holt wrote about in "Escape from Childhood" and other books. At the moment they are both infantilised and exploited, exactly as women and blacks used to be, and the reasons given for not giving them equal rights are the same.

Just my thoughts!

...

.

Last edited by ouinon; 11-Mar-2010 at 12:41 AM (00:41).
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Old 11-Mar-2010, 12:29 AM (00:29)     11        38077
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Many thanks, ouinon, I always wanted to get back to this one, and thanks for reminding me!
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Old 11-Mar-2010, 03:41 AM (03:41)     12        38092
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video has been removed.
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Old 11-Mar-2010, 03:45 AM (03:45)     13        38094
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Popper's paradox of tolerance

"Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them. In this formulation, I do not imply, for instance, that we should always suppress the utterance of intolerant philosophies; as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be most unwise. But we should claim the right to suppress them if necessary even by force; for it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument, but begin by denouncing all argument; they may forbid their followers to listen to rational argument, because it is deceptive , and teach them to answer arguments by the use of their fists or pistols. We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant. We should claim that any movement preaching intolerance places itself outside the law, and we should consider incitement to intolerance and persecution as criminal, in the same way as we should consider incitement to murder, or to kidnapping, or to the revival of the slave trade, as criminal."
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Old 11-Mar-2010, 03:56 AM (03:56)     14        38095
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Quote:
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video has been removed.
I have edited the OP to include alternative video clips of the same program. Thanks for the heads-up!
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Old 11-Mar-2010, 12:13 PM (12:13)     15        38134
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Nice quote from Popper, Alicat. I like paradoxes, and that is another of those ones, like using a belief ( in my case that everything is god's will ), to handle/cope with dismissing beliefs, which reminds me rather of the yin-yang symbol, the eye in each of the other colour, and I think it ties in with my post, ( which I realised afterwards might have seemed very off topic ), because it's part of the same dynamic, an unnecessary dualism created by language, ( after we ate the food opioids which turned language into a virtual reality rather than a mere tool ).

Once lose touch with the instinctive/natural balance of hunger and satiety, as soon as want more than need for health/survival, and demand more, more rights/freedom/security etc, ( which then have to be protected by increased laws/regulation ), other people, who were not part of the first group demanding more, experience themselves as deprived, and ask/demand more in their turn. As, for example, men have begun to demand more of certain things in response to changes in women's rights.

Are people happier, in general, than they were 1000 years ago? Do people feel freer than they did 2000 years ago? Or is the social construct of freedom, ( a creation of language ), like a product which people will never be able to, get enough of, so long as they believe in it? A mirage, a constantly receding illusion, based on our always wanting more than we have, a kind of addiction.

When did an entire society ever ask for more freedom ... from what or whom? It is always relative, always in comparison to what others have, like a vast and artificial pecking-order, never ending. In the wake of one lot of increased freedoms/rights another group will feel more oppressed, become "aware" of oppression. Is the branch any bigger for moving up it for a while?

I think that freedom, like most, ( if not all ), abstract social constructs, creates/assigns value, and, freedom being a positive value judgement, whatever it is applied to people will want more of ... the thing is that the things it is applied to keep changing ... like fashion, ( who, or what, is in charge of applying the label "freedom"? ), which means that people will always be feeling oppressed, if they allow themselves to be influenced by the value judgment ( belief ).

.

Last edited by ouinon; 11-Mar-2010 at 12:43 PM (12:43).
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Old 11-Mar-2010, 05:39 PM (17:39)     16        38147
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Interesting video. Reminded me of this:

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Old 22-Sep-2010, 03:35 PM (15:35)     17        41099
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Interesting video.

I have kind of mixed feelings about it - it looks more like a political video designed to promote certain viewpoint than a scientific or philosophical treatise. On one side, they are right to criticize certain widely held assumptions, but on the other hand i think they are oversimplifying the other side of the argument and making several logical errors ...

They repeatedly criticize the pessimistic assumptions about human nature, yet are there not enough examples in history to justify taking these assumptions? The failure of communism which tried to ignore them is a prime candidate. However, i agree with the speaker who said that the error of some of these theories is that they neglect to take into account the irrationality of human beings. So, while humans definitely are motivated by self-interest, this is not the only motivation, and it is not always rational.

In the psychiatry examples they imply that the fight against the oppression of the "elites" is the cause of another kind of oppression - i think this is a non sequitur except in the most trivial sense. Just because another kind replaced it doesn't mean the original idea was wrong. Especially if the "experts" really didn't know what they were doing.

Also, there is a dangerous tendency to label the new psychiatric methods as "scientific", "objective", ... just because they use mathematics and computers to evaluate the patients. The obvious catch is - who designed the questions? Who decided that certain behavior is not normal? The subjectivity is still there, it is only hidden behind a wall of numbers. The result of more than half americans having some kind of disorder could be interpreted in two ways - either that mental illness is widespread, or just that the psychiatrists continued to label normal behavior as not normal, just in another seemingly objective way.

And last thing, regarding the politics - i think Buchanan was right when he said "If our success depends on the goodness of politicians and bureaucrats, then we are in real problem". There are more than enough examples of politicians acting in their own self-interest to make his theories valid. Also, his warning against ideologues is spot on - in fact this is precisely the same concern i have about morality, just applied to politics. A politician who thinks he knows best can be more dangerous than any politician who is just corrupt - because the corrupt one can still be influenced.

What i think is the real problem is that the theory is incomplete. The notion of offering incentives to allow market mechanisms to work is a good one, but there is still a hidden subjectivity - someone has to decide what is considered success. The one who has power to decide this can still subtly manipulate the rules by creating market incentives in such a way as to satisfy his agenda. One example of this is a case of health care reforms where the politicians lobbied by insurance companies decided to reward doctors who prescribed less examinations. The goal was off course to save money for the state and insurance companies, but at the same time it punished good doctors who really cared about their patients and had good skills. The danger of this system is that the punishment was not obvious - previously it would be clear who is the oppressor and the public would know it was the politician, but under this system the market itself seemed to play this role - and people were complaining about the incompetence of doctors instead, taking the heat off politicians (at least partially that is). So, the problem of this solution is that it doesn't always really liberate, instead it can allow the oppressors to hide behind market mechanisms, and pass on the responsibility to the now supposedly free employees and citizens.
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Old 01-Sep-2011, 08:43 AM (08:43)     18        44551
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Default Nash equilibrium

I didn't yet have time to watch all the videos, but it struck me early on in the first video that they completely misrepresent the Nash equilibrium.

In the video they represent it as 'selfish actions yield best results'. As I understand the theorm (I have not actually done the deep math), it says something close to the opposite: there is at least one optimal solution in a spectrum between the interest if individual selfish actors and the common interest. This spectrum is often drawn as a triangle with party A lower left, party B lower right, the common interest at the top. Somewhere in the area of this triangle of interests there is an optimum.

The implications are the opposite of the Randian take the video gives it. Sometimes individuals being selfish works best, sometimes individuals purely following the common interest works best, generally it's somewhere in between.
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Old 01-Sep-2011, 03:10 PM (15:10)     19        44556
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Quote:
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... The implications are the opposite of the Randian take the video gives it. Sometimes individuals being selfish works best, sometimes individuals purely following the common interest works best, generally it's somewhere in between.
An interesting and pretty much true point; I believe the video makers may well have agreed with you, but they set out to show that the Nash etc. view was flawed from the start ("Randian") by hidden assumptions and missing components.

Last edited by Gurdur; 01-Sep-2011 at 03:17 PM (15:17).
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Old 01-Sep-2011, 09:19 PM (21:19)     20        44557
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@Lucifer:
"Also, there is a dangerous tendency to label the new psychiatric methods as "scientific", "objective", ... just because they use mathematics and computers to evaluate the patients. "

I agree and that's the main thing I take away from these videos. Mathematics does not congruence to reality guarantee. The eminent mathematician Stokes once 'proved' that heavier-than-air-flight was impossible.

I recently chatted with a highly intelligent psychology postgrad, who is thinking to demonstrate some very interesting correlations in people's behaviour and background for her PhD - if only she had the math. She read a book about a related subject and was highly impressed, because it had graphs and equations. This of course meant it was unassailable from her point of view.

As I see it: mathematics and reality exist in different realms - the question is almost never whether the math is correct, the question is whether or how it applies to reality. And that is where the situations in the video went wrong.

p.s. Suddenly realised I'm responding to a comment from almost a year ago. Still, I'll hit enter just because.
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Old 02-Sep-2011, 12:38 AM (00:38)     21        44558
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogering_Rabbit View Post
..... p.s. Suddenly realised I'm responding to a comment from almost a year ago. Still, I'll hit enter just because.
Well, I am really glad youi did choose to comment, despite the age of the thread. This is a subject I neglected too long, and it's an important one. Since at the moment I'm in a science-communication conference in Britain, it will take me a little while to write up a proper reply to you, but I will.
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Old 02-Sep-2011, 06:19 PM (18:19)     22        44560
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I'm glad this thread was reactivated too, I am still slowly wading through many areas of the Hub I've not been and finding older threads I would like to bring up/back for revisiting. This is encouraging me to do just that. I need to finish watching these video's, I assumed math and psychology meant 'statistics' at first. Formula's for psycho related diagnostics? Really. This goes far into the 'is there really altruism' argument as well, an area I've slipped on many times throughout my life.
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Old 20-Oct-2011, 11:48 PM (23:48)     23        44801
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Math only describes observations. It doesn't explain them.

The reason that the U.S. is a constitutional gov't is that the founders were pessimists. Three branches of gov't because they didn't trust one single branch. Nor did they trust "the people." For that matter, they tried to limit the power of the gov't.

From what I've observed (not from knowing individuals, but from my reading) I think that a semi anarchist mindset is best. Nothing is allowed to be big.

A marble in a randomly rotating bowl has a lot of freedom. If one adds another marble, the amount of freedom is cut down. Marbles of two sizes will result in less freedom for the smaller one. Magnetic marbles clinging together have the least freedom and, moreover, their society results in less freedom for the individualist marbles.

Question: is there a mathematical model that can describe the most freedom in this physical model?

Would you want to create a gov't using the mathematical model?
I wouldn't, but insofar as it also describes human activity, it might yield some insight.
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Old 22-Oct-2011, 09:12 PM (21:12)     24        44804
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Ever read 'Stand on Zanzibar'? I'd like to see how many square feet of viably supportive land exists on earth for each person. Just for shits & giggles.
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Old 28-Oct-2011, 04:03 AM (04:03)     25        44817
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That was an awesome reply, Muddleglum... But now he's gone and can't see it. *sniffles*

Damn you, work...
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Old 20-Jul-2012, 02:28 PM (14:28)     26        45306
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Just a couple of quick comments on freedom. There is a difference between freedom FROM and freedom TO.

Considering the physical limitations of the human body and whatever limitations nature puts upon it, how free are we actually able to be?
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Old 21-Jul-2012, 03:19 AM (03:19)     27        45310
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As free as our bodies and the bodies of other people let us be! Of course, there may be consequences down the road....
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Old 21-Jul-2012, 06:37 AM (06:37)     28        45312
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As free as we can make ourselves, and within those limits as freeas we choose to be.

Of course, that leaves a large range.
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