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Freedom and Order


freedomBRUSSELS
, March 05, 2013 - Are we really free? And what is freedom anyway? How does freedom actually apply to our everyday lives? Does money give us more freedom? If we won 1 million Euro in a lottery tomorrow, would it bring us more happiness?Who controls us? Is it the government? Which Government? Is it the bankers and financiers? Is it the corporations? Is it money itself? And how does freedom relate to happiness? Is the pursuit of happiness fundamental to freedom? or is the pursuit of freedom fundamental to happiness?

We can go on asking these questions all day long and get many varied answers based upon different premises. None may be wrong, and yet none may be right at the same time. Freedom and happiness are subjective and intangible characteristics which are so hard to define and really understand.

 

We may think we are free, but others may observe that we live within a "psychic prison". We may think we are happy only because society tells us that we are happy.

When we turn our attention outwardly into the world, we see struggles for civil rights, fights for political rights, movements for social rights, and the person on the street striving for the right of a decent life.

Then the questions come again. What is a decent life? Is it a healthy life? Is it a wealthy life? Is it a creative life? Is it a spiritual life? or is it the right to work?

These are some of the universals for which people have fought for throughout the history of civilization.

We are born into specific locations which are the cradle of specific cultures and frameworks of life. This defines what our happiness is, be it health, wealth, right to work, or right to leisure. We found our spiritualism through an institutional religion. Cultural norms are manifested and espoused by governments through laws, defining what is right and wrong. The concept of freedom is a byproduct of the process.

Back on the personal level, does this allow one to really be what they really want to be? Can we choose the way we want to live? and, Do we have to live within the framework of our culture and the rules that society deems right for us to follow?

It appears that we have little choice in any matter. The national narratives that reinforce rules, rites, rituals, and laws espouse what is right and wrong dominate what we think and feel.

 

Who is the supervisor of the show?

Our society's narratives have become the theology or religion of this Millennium. Our national narratives tell us what we should expect at school, university, whether we should have a job or not, what we should love and hate, where our loyalties should lie, what we should fear, and what we should spend our money on. This invisible force controls our life, defining freedom, happiness, and even our very thoughts about life.

Although we need a society with rules, how far should these rules form our identities? However without rules, we would be worse off than even the lower forms of life like ants who are so well organized with elaborate sets of hierarchies and rules to maintain order. Even geese live by rules and seem happy for this.

So how far do we let society's established orders control us?

We have given over some of our freedom up to society on the assumption of a social contract. This social contract implicitly stipulates that we agree to be subject to certain rules and order, and in exchange, this order promises to solve our social justice and equity problems. We assume this social justice and equity is in fact freedom and happiness within our community.

 

We Live in the Culture of Spiritual Materialism

Along with the order of today has come the consumerism of greed. We have exchanged buying for our needs, for buying for our wants. We now seek spiritualism in our lives through buying organic, ethical, and Fair-Trade products to soothe our soul in spiritual materialism. Spiritual materialism is so powerful that it has partly given rise to China's economic growth and at the same time almost emptied the EU of industry, as corporations have fled from the regimes of strict control and high costs to new regions where rules are relaxed and costs are lower. Greed is changing the geography of the world.

The politicians of yesteryear wanted to make a difference in the world, the politicians of today want to run the world. Government and administration is now totally process orientated where the big questions of what society should and could be have been left along the wayside. Status and gaining the esteem of others may have replaced the urge to make a difference. In the end today's politicians have got caught up in the process and forgotten who they should be representing.

Governments rule for all and the easiest way to achieve this is to create a compliance society, based on the rule of law. Governments and media also initiate and develop the narratives that we live by.

Where are we headed? Are there any alternative paradigms to decrease the false messiah of spiritual materialism?

 

Going Back to the Future to Recapture the Freedom Paradigm

Our view of politics and government over the last few decades has become something of a "top down" and "centralized" panorama, where the new order has been accepted without question. Consequently, many today feel a prevailing powerlessness and are not sure why? They blame governments for something they have collectively allowed to happen.

But are we really powerless in the evolving social order of this Millennium?

Have we really lost our freedom? Do we really have to exist within the "psychic prison" of today's narratives?

Shedding these narrative seems to be the key to regaining our freedom and happiness.

So how do we reorganize ourselves? How do we regain our freedom? How do we wean off our dependence upon the false messiah of spiritual materialism?

It's a matter of ending our fixation on what is happening centrally and escaping the "top down" approach, and go back to the future.

Our empowerment and freedom will be rekindled by retaking a local orientation to what's going on. Our happiness will come from what we do within our own local environments.

We must return our values to the communities we come from. Make that community a centre of activity and enterprise, strive towards self sufficiency and rekindle that sense of community that was lost more than a generation ago.

Democracy and Government is not about any central government, it's about what we can do as a community anywhere, be it in the South of France, the Rhineland, or on the plains of Hungary. Freedom and happiness is about developing thriving local communities that 'can stand on their own two feet'. Self respect and a sense empowerment and achievement may occur through the re-establishment of these communities.

This is enough to cause a major paradigm shift and reverse central control and corporate globalization, that has gone mad. Replace the multinational bank for a savings cooperative, the chain store for a general store, imported vegetables for your own produce, and buy what you need and not what you want. This will develop new culture and narratives to live by.

One day the new politicians that emerge will be those who rise though these communities and they may one day represent their constituents again without being lost in the process.

We may learn that it's not wealth and money that give us our freedom, but rather our sense of community within a much simpler society than what we currently live in.

The choice is ours to make just like making the choice between MacDonald's and a home cooked meal with the family.

True democracy and freedom starts in our own village.

 

Written by Magdalena C. Butucea and Murray Hunter

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