Thursday, July 4, 2019

A Revised Look at American Freedom : Happy Independence Day




We, as human individuals, voluntarily congregate into an institution we recognize as our society. Each of us relinquish parts of our personal freedoms in exchange for membership. These personal freedoms are what the founders of the United States referred to in the Declaration of Independence, as "inalienable rights".  

The simple act of joining a group unlocks a cornucopia of new possibilities, while also chipping away at an individual member's personal freedoms. The larger the group gets, the more freedom is expectedly lost at the individual level. Friedman mentions this several decades in the past, while today, we are a global society supported by a global economy on which the sun never sets. 

What does this mean about one of the most important documents written in the history of the US? One may argue that the Declaration served its purpose during the Revolutionary War, and that the Constitution was put in place to maintain American freedom, from then on. The problem with this contention is that it ignores the significance of our "inalienable rights" being the center of concern during the creation of Government, at the birth of this country. 

We utilize these rights numerous times a day without needing any keen awareness of the what they are, or why they exist. From the time we wake up to the moment we fall back asleep, we exercise lifestyles that boast of American freedom, without any clear understanding of what it is, or how to take care of it. When asked to clarify our understanding of freedom, we provide answers that studiously reference the disadvantages of living in other countries. The tendency of conversations on this topic to predictably veer in this direction seems to be a howling reminder about our lack of consensus on one of the most foundational concepts that grant the celebrations exploding across the country, every year on the 4th of July.  

To perceive the gravity of the founders' decision to focus on our natural freedoms and rights in their authorship of the Declaration, it is necessary to harness a basic comprehension of what it means to be a human individual. Much like our many animal counterparts, we are hit with a barrage of requirements and wants, from mere moments after being born. Unlike them, we dedicate our adulthoods to constructing our lives around missions to pursue the things that will perceivably bring about satisfaction and happiness. 

To get the things we want, we need to exact changes on the external world. This world is our shared reality. Also considered the objective reality. It's the space in which we are able to make agreements that lead to transactions which allow us to keep Society functioning. We anticipate our actions to yield some return that respectably matches our expectations. The changes imposed on the objective reality are reflected in price shifts that ripple along the of production lines involved in actualizing [a] given transaction, sweeping through the lives of large parts of a population in increments. 

Internally, we constantly rebuild and update our sense of freedom, based on our experiences. This is our subjective reality -- the window to Reality which is customized to (and by) an individual. The world we see through our subjective lens needs to approximate what we see through the objective lens.  These world views can easily come into conflict, but are ideally meant to be interdependent and noncompeting. Without the anchor of the collective definition, we are left on our own to decide what it means. 

Being left on this independent journey may seem like liberation at first glance, but freedom is larger than our own subjective realities and emotions. What the founders called "liberty" is a feature built in to the biological structure of human existence, that drive us to engage in planning, investing, speculating, waiting, and other economic behaviors that help us help ourselves achieve the happiness we are each seeking. 

Institutional interests in protecting our freedom heavily imply that there exists a shared understanding, that our economic system must be flexible enough to smoothly adjust to the ever changing nature of consumer demographics and desires. 

The freedom we share together in our objective reality is intrinsic to the freedom we feel internally. When complications arise (seemingly) randomly throughout the system, getting in the way of people's dreams, our psychology for handling this uncertainty is modeled with some defense mechanisms, and some more sophisticated faculties which help us perform optimally beyond our initial reactions. 

When learning about cases of censorship, exploitation, malicious targeting, enslavement, and other forms of hardship endured by other individuals on the same networks and platforms that we use regularly, each of us should be triggered with alarm. Wrapped in the focused concerns of our personal ambitions, we often write these instances off as simply being unlucky in a system which usually works. 

Because freedom exists both externally and internally, exposure to this information should be enough to motivate us to mobilize against such attacks on freedom, for they will eventually find their way into our inboxes and onto our doorsteps, otherwise. This knee jerk trigger can be avoided however, by living in a society where the individuals only nurture their subjective ideations of freedom, with little regard to the freedom that is experienced collectively. 

Despite our biological setup, as long as our paths to our own dreams remain uninterrupted, we keep our noses to the grind and label this as "minding our own business". Convinced that our personal freedoms can thrive without the support of external forces, we make ourselves points of vulnerability to enslavement -- the very opposite of freedom. 

Like freedom, enslavement is presented within both subjective and objective realities. The telling of American history as done through textbooks make it almost natural for us to maintain an exclusively institutional perspective on slavery, and an exclusively individualized perspective on freedom. This is an imbalance mindset that is governed by laziness: it allows to forget that freedom is not granted by an external source (other than our "Creator", as mentioned in the Declaration). With this, we also forget that to be affected by slavery, the enslavement need not occur via brute force, by any external party. 

This mentality casts a blindspot for the individual, on the opportunities of self enslavement that litter our shared reality like minefields, furnished by high ranking  professionals in the industries of advertising and public relations. Their jobs are to hack human individuals (and groups) for consent. Engineered consent is the key to the popularized term "modern enslavement". When this term is mentioned in live conversation, it is usually followed by nervous laughter. 

The Declaration of Independence was never expected to protect Americans from all the possible ways personal freedom can deteriorate. Nature itself mercilessly sabotages all possibility for the most intricately planned and highly anticipated happenings, with a single bug reeking havoc on an immune system. Freedom can degrade gradually (through natural as well as rigged processes); it can be eliminated entirely, in one blow; and it can be manipulated to dysfunction, or the serve others (outside of an individual's body). The sensitivity of this organic material requires vigilant monitoring -- something that the founding fathers of the United States clearly knew.