Welcome to Alternative Ideas...

Providing a platform for new and different voices...

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Is Freedom Truly Possible?

So I just picked up and skimmed through an old book of mine, F.A. Hayek's classic Road to Serfdom, and came to an interesting thought that I'd been meaning to write about for a while.  There is a section about freedom v. organization.  It says basically that they are contradictory, that you can't have organization and freedom together, that organization is the culprit.  I see where he is going, he is saying if you want to organize things then whoever is doing the organizing is collectivizing objectives and outcomes.  This in turn would inherently mean that individual freedom was infringed upon.  Ok, fair enough, if you think about everyone, how can you not alienate someone as we are all different individual people.

But what about freedom, the other way around?  If one person has the freedom to do whatever they want, doesn't that automatically impinge upon everyone else's freedom?  Inherently, if I do something, that effects another person.  If I stand on a spot, you can't stand there.  If I have the freedom to do as I wish, that means you can't do something, it takes away your freedom.  I have the freedom to yell as loud as I want, but doesn't that take away your freedom to live in peace and quite?

The bottom line to me is that freedom can not exist for all but one individual or entity.  There can obviously be varying degrees of freedom from there, but one person's freedom is another person's infringement.  There is no way around this.  We live in a social world and could only be 'free' in a vacuum devoid of anyone else.

So then what does this mean for us today?  It means that our whole political debate on civil liberties and 'freedom' is completely off base.  We talk of all the freedoms we have, how this is our ultimate goal/achievement.  But again, one person's freedom can very easily take another person's away.  Not always, but if they are contradictory actions, such as the noise example above, one person has freedom and another doesn't.  Then once you add social or judicial laws in, we actually only have the freedom to do as we're told, and as we are allowed to by law and/or society.  Doesn't sound like freedom to me.        

So why do we keep babbling on about freedom like it is attainable?  Hayek babble's on about community and organizing like it is unobtainable, that it is a great ideal, but that there is no possible pathway to it.  In fact, organization and cooperation is actually the only obtainable outcome available to us as social beings that must share our worlds with others.  We must compromise our surroundings in order to find a balance that is acceptable to all.  If we all had freedom to do as we pleased (which is logically unobtainable), the world would be chaos .  Why strive for this?  Why act as if it is the ultimate achievement?

In fact, compromise and cooperation amongst people, and the world they live in, is the actually the only possible endeavor and really the ultimate achievement.  Living with people and working together, not as individuals privately working for their own means...  Cooperation.  This is what society need to be based upon, not freedom.  

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Walking Lion

So... given the post directly below this, I have decided to become even less interesting and look into a new venture that is close to my heart.  I will never abandon this project - as ideas are the foundation of what the world needs, and alternative ones are the most important - but I can not do much with it now and I've found a way to go looking the world over for more ideas!!  Take a look at http://www.walkinglion.org/ for more.  By all means though, check both sites, as this one will still have its posts.  Walking Lion will be for the one specific project.  Thanks...  

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Least Interesting Person in the World

So here I am, by myself, alone.  Well not entirely, I do live with my parents.  So they're around.  But I'm recently single, I have no real job, seemingly little prospects of such a thing, and less and less hope these days.  I feel like I have accomplished things in life, yet find myself feeling as if I must be the absolute least interesting person in the world.


I'm educated.  I have a graduate degree and additional graduate work that has focused on people, society, and their histories.  I have studied different cultures and systems of life, and specifically how to 'clean up' after war.  I have seen a great deal of different places.  I've averaged living in a new place every five months for the last 10 plus years.  10 cities, 6 countries, 3 continents.     I have lived a great deal of different lives and entertained a multitude of different career/job choices:  Stock broker trainee in New York, Advertising/Media planning, teacher of English as a second language in both Europe and China, professional athlete, president/director of a non-profit in eastern Europe, advertising sales for a newspaper, International PR manager for a marathon, I've independently coordinated cross continent flood relief/reconstruction on my own, done telephone sales of computer software,  been a personal trainer, done door-to-door environmental advocacy work, sold specialty running shoes, stocked retail shelves,  been an Eastern European day laborer, a Graduate student – twice, a researcher at the UN archives, looked into entrepreneurial projects in China, volunteered as a teaching assistant, been promoted from marketing executive to senior analyst and head of research and development for a company working in conflict areas.  I've tried to start three businesses in the last year, been un/underemployed, volunteered in local government, done some writing, become a youth women's lacrosse official, and am on food stamps.    

A laundry list of experiences.  Scattered and discombobulated at best, but safe to say, I've experienced an awful lot in the last tenish years.  I've climbed mountains, met people from all over the world, dated several amazing women, and recently tried to settle in a bit to spend more time with my elderly grandparents.  I am overly friendly – to my own detriment – and likewise ideologically.  I  can speak a second language adequately and know my way around Europe and its cultures.  I've lived in China, I study Sierra Leone and Africa, and the conflict spots in the middle east.  I have tried to make myself capable of engaging in conversation about anything, educate myself on everything I can.  I am worldly, and I care tremendously for and about it.  I want nothing more than to alleviate world poverty, to help others and to make the world a better place, to make a difference.

Yet still, I am a lost lonely soul.  I have lots of friends, yet they are all over the world and I never can maintain these long distance relationships very well.  Being back here in America it has become even worse.  When I sit and talk to people it is as if I am a leper.  I can't talk about American TV shows or babies, I am not content with just getting a job and living that life, and thus struggle in conversing with people of these persuasions.  Of course this is an issue in America because this is what we are taught to be.  Get a career, follow it, and think little outside family, friends, and your immediate location.  I question every bit of reality presented to us, analyze it and try to find better or more productive ways for us all.  But this is not what people want to talk about.  People here don't find any of the things I bring to the table interesting.

I have seen the world, yet no one cares.  No one is interested in this.  They do not want to know about the further shores of the world.  They don't want to think about much of the lives and pains of the greater world as it may force questions that are easier ignored.  Yet, I am the least interesting person in the world because I can and actually do talk about these things.  People don't want to be made to feel bad about the lives they live, or uncomfortable about/with their own priorities.  We are taught to see the life in front of us and accept it – not to challenge it or to think it could be done otherwise or even to seek out the plights of others.

In one year back in the US I have not received even a single job interview.  Now maybe my resume isn't very good, or maybe I'm not applying to the right jobs, or there are just a million people looking for the same job.  But I don't think this can all be the case, job after job, for a full year.  I am educated and experienced.  But apparently not enough, or to much, or not in a way that people here want.  I think employers, and our society, want people that are NOT interesting.  They want people that graduated from college, never looked up, and started working.  They found a ladder and took one step up it at a time.  Never jumped off it, never looked at other ladders and certainly never thought about a live that varied from this course.  In ten years I could have slowly worked up this ladder, but I would have no REAL experience in life.  But this is just it, it is not 'life' experience that these employers are looking for, it is systemic, compliance experience.  They don't want independent thinkers, they want systemic individuals that work as they are expected and carry little ambition outside of what is allowed for us by that life and job.

So here I sit.  Unemployed, uninvolved, unloved, and uninteresting, and more and more disinterested.  I see more than sports, spouses, and babies.  My career and ideological interests make little if any sense to others, and when I talk about life people inherently end up feeling badly about all the horrors of the world that we in this country are programmed not to overtly worry about – to ignore.

This is the chief problem.  I, with all my experiences, seem to be the least interesting person in the world.  What is it that this says about us as people and about our society?  Someone who has seen others places, lived amongst truly different people, and has worked to educate themselves on other ways of life is ostracized.  I have worked hard, I have succeeded in many professional and personal goals and projects, yet I still sit here alone.  In a society that does not value initiative and success, but values ladders, followers, and involuntary social contracts.  To be whatever we 'want' to be (as chosen from a list and used in multiple choice scantron form).  I want to be more, I don't want to just drink beer and watch sports, I don't just want kids and a spouse.  I want to be a part of the greater world.  I want to understand more than the spoke and wheel that I am a singular part of.  I want to be able to be both interesting and a part of society.  Right now I feel like I have to make a choice – interesting or successful – and it is killing me!

to be continued....