The Problem of Freedom and Morality

Tom Facchine

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Channel: Tom Facchine

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AI: Summary © The speaker discusses the concept of positive and negative freedom, which is the ability to write or create artwork based on one's capacity. They explain that negative freedom is a result of a limit on one's ability to create artwork and that it is impossible to achieve freedom without breaking boundaries. The speaker also discusses how corporations and people have different ways of thinking about freedom and identity, and how it is impossible to achieve freedom without breaking boundaries.
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But

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there's two types of freedom in political theory, one is called negative freedom, and one is positive freedom. Okay, so negative freedom is sort of a freedom from other things, okay? There's this sort of limit, and I want to be free from that limit. And so I obliterate the limit, so that I'm free to do what I want. Positive freedom, on the other hand, is the freedom to write the freedom to do something. And that comes back to actually capacity, right? Let's imagine, you know, I'm not an artist, okay, I'm really bad at art, okay, I don't have the positive freedom to create a beautiful piece of art, I would have to train, I would have to understand this is how color works.

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This is how paint works. This is how you put it on the canvas. And then with training, I would develop that positive freedom to be able to make that piece of artwork and the same goes for morals, right? If I want to be generous, okay, that's a positive freedom. So right now, maybe, say, I'm a stingy guy, right? You come over to my house, and I just give you cornflakes, I'm not going to give you like the good food that I have. Okay? In order to become truly generous, I need to train myself, I need to discipline myself so that I develop this sort of positive freedom. Now I have the freedom to act virtuous, I have the freedom to act in a good way. Okay, one of the biggest problems of our

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society in North America right now is that we only think in terms of negative freedom. We do not think in terms of positive freedom at all, hardly at all, except for little pockets that have to do with like martial arts or sports or things like that. Most people, they're fixated on negative freedom. Okay, there's problems with that, not just that it's out of balance. But there's a problem with negative freedom in and of itself. And that is that it necessitates always finding another limit to break, right? If the boundary is your parents, then we have to undo the family, if the boundary is the spouse, or the boundary is the kids are the boundary is gender, the boundary is

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sexuality, whatever the boundary is, it creates this logic that in order to feel free, and autonomous and fulfilled and satisfied that I have to constantly agitate and militate against these boundaries, whatever's holding me back from being me. Now there's an irony here. But before we get to the irony, we have to realize, first of all, that it's an impossible task. It's a fool's errand. We are defined by limits, even just having relationships implies limits, right? We can't have our cake and eat it too. If you're going to have relationships, you have to have limits, right? We call them bonds, you know. And that's actually a really significant word because it has a double meaning

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right bond, and it's something that connects to people but Bond, also something that limits you like bondage, right? It's right there altogether. If were to imagine this individual that broke free of every single bond, they would have a horrible, meaningless life with no relationships. But there's an irony to it. Beyond that, beyond that, this is an impossible task. There's an irony to it, and that people's ideas of what to rebel against, and what to free themselves from are not their own ideas. These are things that are cooked up in academic conferences and in papers and in mass media. And corporations think about these things like all the time, it's not even your own ideas. It's not

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even your own freedom, right, you're simply just trying to be free, like everybody else, individual like everybody else. There used to be a Dr. Pepper commercial, it used to make me laugh, because it was like the concept of the commercial was everybody's walking around, and they have different clothes on and then like, they take off whatever clothes they have on the outside, and it's a Dr Pepper shirt, okay, but there's some text on it that says something like edgy and individualistic or something, you know something about your identity or whatever. But the irony was and the people who made the commercial didn't realize at the end that they everybody's wearing the same shirt. So it's

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a perfect symbol of how people relate to freedom and identity these days, because everybody's got something maybe a little bit different written on the shirt, but it's all the same color. It's all the same shirt. Okay, you think that you're being different by dyeing your hair blue, calling yourself non binary, doing all this other sorts of things. You're just like everybody else, you're just like everybody else, right? Negative freedom is not where it's at positive freedom, virtue, morality, discipline. That's the real way to satisfaction and that's the real way to happiness.