Are We Doomed to Be Free? The Connection Between Freedom and Choices

Lucas Charbonnier

Lucas Charbonnier

Jan 12, 20244 min read


Are We Doomed to Be Free? The Connection Between Freedom and Choices

The concept of freedom is deeply ingrained in the human experience. It is the ability to choose the direction of our existence in certain given situations. But is freedom itself a matter of choice? Can we choose not to be free? In a way, choosing not to be free is still a choice. This raises the question: are we truly condemned to be free?

Philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre famously stated, "Man is condemned to be free." According to Sartre, freedom is an inherent quality of human existence. It is not a static state but rather a historical process. Freedom is an ongoing liberation, encompassing intellectual, moral, and political aspects, against all forms of dependency. It is an inalienable natural right, even to oneself. Slavery cannot be considered a right. The only natural right is the right to be born and remain free. Rousseau also argues against the idea of voluntary submission, seeing it as contrary to human nature. He denounces the "false social contract" proposed by Hobbes, which he interprets as a contract of submission between the wolf and the lamb. Civil or political submission can only be a disguised power relationship.

Rousseau further asserts that we cannot renounce freedom. We are free by nature, and this freedom is always contextual. We do not choose our family, our era, or our circumstances of war or peace. These situations are given to us without our determination. Living in times of war leads to different choices (resistance or collaboration) than those we would make in times of peace. Sartre even argues that the more constraining the situation, the more freedom we have. Man is not a fixed nature but a radical freedom. He chooses his existence entirely and is fully responsible for it. "Existence precedes essence." According to Sartre, we are "condemned to be free." Invoking physical, psychological, or social determinism is a form of bad faith, a way of seeking excuses to avoid taking responsibility for our freedom. Radical atheism intensifies the concept of freedom. Its loss can only be the result of an alienation that makes man dependent on a superior and unjust force.

On a different note, let's explore the Greek alphabet. The letter gamma, when four uppercase gammas are assembled, forms a cross called gamme. This symbol was initially associated with the sun before gaining a notorious reputation. The letter chi represents an aspirated C, transcribed as CH and pronounced like in the word "orchestra." Lastly, the letter xi combines the sounds of K and S into a single letter in Greek.

As we examine both topics, we can find some common ground. Both the concept of freedom and the Greek alphabet highlight the idea of choices. Just as the Greek alphabet presents different combinations of letters to form words, sentences, and meanings, freedom allows us to make choices and shape our existence. Just as the letter gamma transforms into a cross, representing a shift in meaning and symbolism, our choices can have transformative effects on our lives and the world around us.

Incorporating unique ideas and insights, we can draw a parallel between the freedom to choose and the power of language. Just as the Greek alphabet provides a framework for communication and expression, freedom provides a framework for individual expression and the shaping of society. Both concepts rely on the ability to make choices and the potential for transformation.

With this in mind, here are three actionable pieces of advice for embracing our freedom and choices:

  • 1. Embrace Responsibility: Recognize that with freedom comes responsibility. Accept that the choices you make have consequences and be willing to take ownership of them.
  • 2. Challenge Limiting Beliefs: Question any beliefs or ideologies that seek to limit your freedom. Don't fall into the trap of thinking that you are bound by external forces. Remember that you have the power to choose and shape your own path.
  • 3. Cultivate Self-Awareness: Develop a deep understanding of yourself and your values. This will help you make choices that align with your authentic self and lead to a more fulfilling and meaningful life.

In conclusion, the concept of freedom is deeply intertwined with the choices we make. Just as the Greek alphabet provides a framework for communication and expression, freedom provides a framework for individual expression and the shaping of society. By embracing our freedom, taking responsibility for our choices, and cultivating self-awareness, we can navigate the complexities of life and create a meaningful existence.

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