None of Us Are Really Free
Although I hail as a liberal, to quite an extreme in my multiculturalism and tolerance, I feel that a true liberal is a feigned liberal. Complete tolerance will never occur as we are bound by our moralities.
It is simply integral to being human to take some things as better than others in order to even be capable of action. Anyone who calls themselves a liberal is not a true liberal, as he would be overstepping his place as a human bound by morality.
We are not free. We cannot act outside our ethical dimensions, as man is before all other things, an ethical being.
Whether or not he has choice is beyond the scope of investigation, but with apparent choice comes responsibility and individuality, in that one proclaims the separation of oneself from others in projecting oneself into the world, in making choices.
One becomes responsible for said choices in committing to them, as no one can make the choice for you.
But it is the very nature of choosing, or at least of appearing to choose, that inflicts one with the implicit notion of holding one thing as better than another.
We constantly choose to do particular actions, actions that could be replaced by others, but we hold the actions we commit to as more worthy of action, or we would not commit them.
And so we act in a particular way. We find ourselves taking up a craft in service of civilization, as without craft, we are useless to this entity. We give ourselves up to the calling but for selfish reasons.
We give ourselves up in order to hold ourselves of worth, within a society that holds usefulness to its goals as worthy. So in losing ourselves, we affirm ourselves. In service, we project ourselves.
Regardless of our self-imposed ideas of freedom, we will always remain subordinate to the calling of civilization. And we can choose to ally with it, to bring ourselves up to our inevitable fate, but will only be resisting the notion of this fate.
This fate will remain until the grip of use is broken, but I don’t think this day will ever come, as we will always remain separate from a state of nature. But alas, the point is made clear, as this state of nature is unachievable.
We will never hold all things as just as permissible. Although our demeanor as of late has swung in the direction of the liberal ideology, the human pendulum will have to swing back.
Civilization itself does not have the capability to deem all actions of equal worth, as it is tangled in our selfish ends: to project and affirm ourselves until the end.
So, through our crafts, in our need to be of use to ‘us’ and not ‘I’ we prevent ourselves from tolerating others. So it can be said that in appealing to others, we prevent ourselves from tolerating them. It is the very nature of society to prevent equality as it runs against our deep seeded impulsivity. Because we attach ourselves to our thoughts and actions we implicitly hold ourselves as better than others in holding our thoughts and actions, as better than others.
Oddly, impulsivity tends to be assigned to a facility of nature, and so in this sense, we are in a state of nature, but only as far as we are impulsive beings. We are ethical due to our impulse to affirm, and so nature leads civilization.
This is the conventional formulation of our condition within civilization.
If we were to take impulsivity as a sign of order and civility, we may begin to equate ourselves to the other (animals, plants, etc.), and so begin a return to a state of nature in more tolerance and equality.
But this pursuit is perpetual, and will ultimately fail, because of our ethics. Nature permits all. It has no morality.
Man is rooted in this state and this is made apparent in our call for tolerance.
But, we cannot return, as we are conscious, and so we can be made aware of the implicit notion of better-ness and worse-ness in thought and action. So, we will never truly be free.
Erik Bloom is a College senior from Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.