Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Freedom And Choice

I have often wondered about free will, our right to do whatever we want; a freedom to choose what we will. This freedom is a curious notion - I think. Simply because by accepting the truth of free will, I must also accept that I am free to be good or bad; to persevere selfishly or selflessly. Our institutions have worked hard to present laws and guidelines, towards knowing right from wrong; but whose right is right and who decides what is wrong? Perhaps freedom (free will) has nothing to do with right or wrong but if that's so, then is free will a gift or our curse; leading every so often into confusion. It is within the right of a 'Good Samaritan' to help others, as much as it is within the right of a tyrant to commit murderous acts. However, the fact that those actions are within their right, is unrelated to good and bad, i.e., the choice is what leads to 'good or bad'. So what is good and what is bad? More so, who decides? Ultimately, it is human morality but how does morality come into play? It is possible a combination of factors, external and internal, mould an individuals sense of morality, and together with experience we can build a framework for discerning good from bad, right from wrong. But is that framework everlasting? Is John's perception of good the same as Jane's? Will Jane's wrong be the same today as it was twenty years ago? It seems that the human collective acts, in this sense, as a compass where a majority 'vote' discerns right from wrong, and institutions are established where learned individuals settle disputes of right and wrong. This is all done while accepting our right to choose to do; our right to be human. Perhaps these institutions are less necessary than we believe them to be... Now, in our modern era, these institutions have great command over what is right and wrong, which in some circumstances hampers free will and another's sense of good. But this is as much a good thing as it is a bad thing... An institution is not a separate entity, we the constituents form a part of them in one way or another; granted this may be in varying degrees, the next statement is still valid. We the people are the ones who decided and will decide, regardless of the notions and frameworks. But this once again raises the questions that were asked earlier in this post. Perhaps an individual's free will in its most primal from, leads to a choice between two things, to be selfish or selfless. A wealth of words are said, categorising the selfish or selfless acts that are good and those that are bad. For example, a revolutionary pushing for what is perceived by the individual as positive change, can be branded a criminal and therefore bad; even though the act was selfless. Another example is a single individual driven by ego and selfish needs, who succeeds in peacefully ending a major dispute. That act although driven by selfish needs will be regarded as good; still these choices are a result of our freedom to choose. Perhaps this freedom to choose is more a curse than a gift, a confusion in itself or perhaps not. Maybe it is each individuals task to understand good and bad. That said should we be all good or all bad? Either scenario is unlikely because they are intricately connected with choice and there is always the choice. Just as there is the choice to read the words of this post, or to agree or disagree with its idea. Both aspects of this choice are important because they form part of our experience, so that we can make better choices. Freedom presents a primal choice of polarity, good or bad, using the moral compass developed by internal and external forces, I choose to be good; most of the time... © 2012 by Pthasse Amadeus

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