The first thing I want to address is "freedom from" vs "freedom to". In most cases the difference is not very obvious, as in "Freedom to speak freely, or Freedom from oppression that makes it impossible to speak freely". To gain further knowledge about freedom, I want to dig into a Thing that happened last year and put a torch light on the possible problems with our constant talk about Freedom. My contention is that when we speak of Freedom, we really speak of Control.
As it turns out, it would seem that we can't have any freedom if we don't have any control in the form of checks and balances. As with Freedom, Control has it's flavors. Control of, control over and control by for instance. What I think we are really talking about is Freedom from oppressive and excessive control by a powerful hierarchy and Freedom to be a worthy and mature member (exerting some kind of self-control) of a sustainable and resilient and open society. No control at all means we are slaves under our own freedom.
Enters The Thing that made me learn this lesson the hard way. After several years of dreaming and visualizing a more independent lifestyle and a start of some kind of ecovillage concept, I found the perfect location. After a month of talking to various banks I realized that this wasn't going to fly, but my (then) friend "H" called me and said she was interested in being part of it. We had been discussing the subject for at least two years, so no flags went up for me. She was in a position to actually finance the start and I jumped in without a second thought. We were after all part of a bigger group that were very keen on Freedom etc. What I have learned by now, is that some things may only be taught by direct application of rubber on road. In short, it turned out that she is a psychopath and she played me like a Stradivarius. What I want to delve into is the lesson I learned about Freedom.
Freedom was very important for H. She was very reasonable about it and interested in discussing it and its permutations. The moment she arrived with all her belongings to the new house, I learned the other side of her ramblings and that freedom for her was to have total control over everything around her. I was turned into her slave. After not so many days I realized that the rest of the gang were also her long standing unwitting slaves. All hell broke lose which a few months later led me to the brink of bankruptcy as she use her "friends" to finance her lifestyle and this adventure cost me half my normal annual income. You may understand this situation had my full attention.
To have a meaningful conversation about freedom, it needs defining. Freedom, as in total freedom to follow any whim and be a total ADHD victim to any and all impulses isn't freedom at all as you are a slave to your own capriciousness, even if I now understand that this is how this gang perceives it. (I lost five "friends" in this melee, btw.) The definition of Freedom needs Control to work properly. There is a huge difference in Freedom to choose my path in life regarding interests, work and friends and Freedom to do whatever I like in any given instance. Even a totally free society wouldn't work without control. The issue is "who is exerting the control".
H could promise things and then, when it was time she suddenly had planned something else, or she was in pain (usually) and couldn't take part in things. She promised, and even signed a contract, to split costs in half with me, but she ended up paying for a fraction of her dues. It turns out she has turned minor robbery like this into perfection and has a knack for taking just the amount that will make it too small to follow up legally. She has been roving the land like a swarm of grasshoppers for years feeding off people like this, claiming to be ill, lifting a hefty pension, but still needing the extra dough for her vacations and trips around the world doing part time "work". So I would add Trust into the definition of Freedom.
In order to have a working society, we need trust. In order to build something that is bigger than yourself, you need to cooperate, which in turn need a foundation and some kind of framework. You may have as much freedom as you like, but if you can't trust the people around you, it may kill you. The physical world is such, that it is hard to survive alone. We need a group to thrive, we are geared into flock behavior and we know how to work more efficiently by dividing work and/or cooperate. But without trust this falls apart.
So how would OWS be able to define the freedom we are speaking of in order to make ourselves understood? Many around me think OWS is just a bunch of fucktards yelling for Love Peace and Understanding - didn't work last time either... They think we need some kind of "order" and in the dualistic thinking style of most people Freedom equals anarchy and is opposed to Order, therefore they rather choose Order thank-you-very-much, even if it turns out to be full-blown fascism.
Is there another, better term for freedom that encompass the usefulness of self-control and building of trust that is needed between individuals in order to build a free and resilient society?