Sunday, September 13, 2009

Freedom, Expression, and Deadlines. Oh my!

A few classes ago we discussed Kierkegaard’s focus on the relationship between freedom and anxiety. We talked about how taking singularities and moving them to the universal tends to limit one’s freedom. However, this limitation of freedom also limits anxiety, therefore this sacrifice appears acceptable and even advantageous to many, who choose to make distinctions and assumptions relating to the universal realm, remaining complacent with their limited freedom. One thing we did not discuss, however, was the way in which the decisions of individuals limit the freedom of others rather than their own freedom. Is there an unlimited amount of freedom for everyone to express or is there a finite amount, a large pot of “freedom” from which everyone draws, like a cauldron of soup or some other vaguely irrelevant and imperfect simile that serves no purpose other than to draw this blog post ever closer (at an agonizingly slow rate, I might add) to the magic number of four-hundred on the word count tool? Is everyone completely free to maximize their own freedom even if it infringes upon the freedom of others? Being undeniably awake and substantially attentive, I pondered these and other equally substantive thought before definitively concluding that in my opinion, whether or not there is a set or infinite amount of freedom is irrelevant. Either way people are always going to infringe upon and limit the freedom of others, even if it does nothing to maximize or increase their own. For example, I exercise my freedom by playing “Purple Rain” obnoxiously loudly at 4 in the morning with open windows and a cranked volume knob, angrily waking a large portion of the inhabitants of second-floor Robb. In maximizing my freedom, I severely limit that of many others in an incredibly disproportionate fashion. And, in retaliation, the disgruntled, half-awake mob exercise their freedom beat the ever-loving crap out of me (and therefore exercise their freedom to sleep peacefully through the night). This pits my freedom against that of others, an extremely common occurrence. If my freedom is to be truly stretched and increased to its full potential, others will suffer a loss of freedom.
In another example of a different sort (yet still completely hypothetical in its nature), Professor Johnson exercises her freedom by assigning blog posts to be submitted by the end of the week to her class, granting her the freedom to keep her class and assignments on schedule and, to an extent, keep the rampant procrastination of her students in check. However, this limits the freedom of the completely hypothetical students to procrastinate to their hearts’ contents. Such inequalities of the expression of freedom and the limits it creates for others is so common that many of us see it as merely a part of human interaction.

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