Sunday, 1 September 2013

What is it to be free?

We have no choice but to think; thinking occupies our every moment and is characterized by our ability to think different thoughts. This forms the essential freedom to think at least one more thought. How do we use our freedom? This is the crucial question facing us all; the curse of consciousness allows us to ask, what should we do next?

Our freedom is not absolute; we cannot change our thrownness (i.e. the state in which we exist) because the process of being thrown into the world has finished for us (we are in the world so we cannot influence how we came into the world); thus, you cannot change the nature of a cake once it is baked; you can add ice cream to it but we are fundamentally already who we are. This means that I cannot change my susceptibility to Parkinson's.

Therefore, our limitations limit our absolute freedom; but within the boundaries created by thrownness there is space and freedom to explore; thrownness builds a house with a limited number of rooms that we must inhabit but we are free to wander around the house. The vehicle for this exploration is thinking one more thought; the structure of thought may be limited but thought can accommodate many different varieties of thinking. Part of my thrown limitations is my Parkinson's but I have the choice of what my next thought concerning my disease will be. I can be told by Parkinson's to stand still or I can resist and try to move both physically and emotionally. This choice is my freedom...

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