Sunday, October 11, 2009

Can freedom truly not have boundaries?

I really enjoyed Sartre’s claim that freedom never encounters limits, but rather imposes them on itself. This claim in itself is very applicable to explaining the why’s in our daily life and instrumental in reassessing how things are defined. It is our freedom through which we define our obstacles, but it is always before things are encountered. That is, we first draw up the freedom field in which we will operate and be limited, then we assess various situations that arise, such as the crag. Depending on our already defined freedom, we can then understand why the crag posses such a daunting obstacle if we are building a stadium, a neutral existence if we are surveying the land, or an aid if we need a good view to take a picture.
To claim that freedom is entirely limitless and that it only imposes limits on itself is somewhat true, but it needs to be qualified. Freedom needs to be defined before anything else occurs. Just like not making a decision is in fact choosing to not make that decision and thus a choice is made, with every choice, freedom is limited. Any subsequent choice limits freedom more or alters the limit on freedom as much as the previous choices will allow. Thus any “crag” that is encountered after that first choice, where freedom is already limited will be in-itself, either “as resistance or as aid.” Thus, it is impossible to first assess the object, and then impose a limit on freedom, so that the “crag” can be defined as aid, rather than as resistance. For this reason, it is irrelevant that a freedom only has boundaries that it imposes on itself, because there is nothing that can be done to change that freedom that was arbitrarily limited before anything else happened.
However, Sartre’s claim does roughly translate into a great analytical tool. It gives us the insight into why something is occurring and provides a tool to confirm or realize that some fundamental belief needs to be changed, within the parameters of the limited freedom. Thus, the limits that freedom imposes on itself are purely coincidental with absolutely no time or any knowledge at all about future encounters that would make the limits easy to work with in the world. For this reason freedom is limited by its own parameters, but because of random chance, which essentially makes freedom always have boundaries and only before existence exists is it really limitless.

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