The World is our World

There are two kinds of universes. Firstly, the kind that is perceived in different ways by each and every perceiving entity (Universe A), and, secondly, the universe that encloses and supports these perceiving entities (Universe B). The latter is that which allows perception to take place and part of it is the World. The World is the space in which conditions allowing for consciousness via a conscious, knowing, sapiens life exist.

This description of reality gives us a basic truth: the World is the part of the Universe made purposeful through Sapiens’ perception of it, and each sapiens entity has his or her own singular universe constructed according to the possibilities granted by its place in space and moment in time. Likewise, these individual realities are enriched by the possibilities engendered by the imagination of each and every sapiens entity BUT enclosed within the physical necessities that make up the form of the all-encompassing Universe that is the prime necessity making Sapiens possible.

The World is our world, open to all our possibilities, but at the same time restricted by the physical laws of the Universe and the fragile equilibrium that makes life on Earth possible. Each sapiens stands at the centre of the Universe (as the creator of his or her universe), but depends on the World and its ability to produce and maintain life (and life’s possibilities) primarily for its purposeful existence and, secondly, for its possibilities within the restrictions of that existence.

 These restrictions are determined by each subjects’ position in time and space. Possibilities are modified by our accumulation (through education and culture and through the other possibilities allowed or disallowed us by societies).

By anchoring ourselves with the metaphysical truth, we are able to find an equally true teleology or final purpose, and through that a general purposiveness for sapiens entities.

The metaphysical truth that there are two kinds of universes, points to an inseparable connection between the multifarious universes coming from Sapiens’ individual perceptions and consciousness and the reality of the all-encompassing Universe itself. Both forms of the Universe need each other, and must never betray each other. So tightly are they linked that any betrayal would mean the annihilation of both universes. The existence of one, therefore, depends on the existence of the other.

The perpetuity of this existence, however, depends on certain laws that must be, firstly, discovered by Sapiens, and secondly, respected.

The general purposiveness (and meaning) in life has to be anchored to the idea of maintaining a perpetual relationship between universe A and universe B, or between Sapiens and the World.

Through perception, Sapiens has the ability to reveal the Universe whilst, through the creative powers of the Sapiens’ imagination, humans are also able to fashion different worlds of our own, each one replete with its own culture and society.  

Sapiens’ creativity is a fundamental feature in the relationship between universe A and universe B. Through universe A, the universe B is not only brought into a purposeful Being (I am known, therefore I am ), it is also enriched and enlarged through the worlds imagined and created from that imagination via the inventive and creative power of Sapiens’ minds and their arts and technologies.

In our relationship with universe B, therefore, we have two purposes that fold over into a singular circular meaning of life: to know that universe and to create within it according to our own imaginations and use of the knowledge we accumulate through contemplating the universe we know.

The first law of purposiveness for Sapiens therefore, which is also a moral imperative, is to be creative and knowledgeable.

But from this conclusion arises another question. If this is an authentic moral imperative for humanity: How can our societies go about fashioning the creative and knowledgeable sapiens entities that are so imperative for a purposeful relationship with the World?

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE, SAPIENS, AND TALKING TO THE ANIMALS

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The idea of a World Will as a Will-to-be-Known has become a pivot around which our positive philosophy of real necessity is concerned. Through it we hope to find the human-motivator, inspiring a positive impulse for a development of intelligence as a creative movement away from our system of vulgar competitiveness and its anti-human economy of alienation and differentiation.

Let’s sum up our main point of departure: a thorough revaluation is necessary. This needs to be anchored in necessity in order to redirect progress away from the current juggernaut, all-consuming destruction of the biosphere and ecosystem. Now, up to now we have assumed that this revaluation could only come about through a humanity made up of intellectually and morally advanced Sapiens societies, and because of this our philosophy is a new positivism, or positive humanism. Nevertheless, this same positive end may very well be achieved via less human-positive means. The acquisition and perpetuation of knowledge may well be far better ensured not by our Sapiens’ carbon-based minds, but by silicon-brain intelligences created by us. It may well be that the evolution of the homo sapiens will be into this silicon form, fixed in more durable and resilient bodies that can survive in even the most adverse climatic conditions allowing for space exploration and even the survival of intelligence in a post–apocalyptic lifeless-earth scenario.

If real Being in the universe is to come about by the universe itself being known absolutely and perpetually, then humanity, as we now understand it, falls short of guaranteeing such a portentous destiny. However, even if we are too fail as survivors in the universe, perhaps we might be capable of creating the real Sapiens and intelligence and knowing will find its ultimate realisation not through a final evolutionary leap, but rather through a development of our present technological know-how and the creation of an intelligence far superior to our own.

The idea of humanity being superseded by intelligent, self-reproducing machines of its own creation is a common nightmare of science-fiction narratives. From the internecine struggles between machines and humans in the Terminator or Matrix sagas to the madness of HAL in the Space Odyssey or the complex android psychologies in Ridley Scott’s creations, the idea of a collaboration with a robot that has superior intelligence is a deeply disturbing one. And yet, in all futurology it seems that the presence of the super-intelligent robot is essential. We cannot imagine progress, even if that progress is a suicidal one, without it. In fact, the dawning of the nightmare is already upon us and anthropomimetic robots that can think more or less like a human child have already been created.

Yet twenty years ago scientists like Roger Penrose were proclaiming Artifical Intelligence to be an impossibility.[i] Twenty years ago researchers were stumbling through an erroneous association between intelligence and logic, believing that decision making was a logical process. In reality cybernetics tells us quite the opposite. The binary algorithmic brain, whilst being very good at making calculations and winning chess games, can only go so far in answering meaningful questions. Human reason is more poetical than logical and the anthropomimetic work taking place in robotology demonstrates a link between the human corporal reality and our intelligence, or our form of intelligence. In order to construct a silicon brain that can communicate effectively with humans that brain will have to be inserted into a humanoid-type body, with human-type sensors. In other words, if a manufacturing leap into a more than human body is to take place, it will have to to be created out of our own image. We might be able to build robot octopi or robot insects, but we will not be able to communicate with them on any deep meaningful level for even an octopus machine fitted with a cyber-capacity for self-learning would need to teach itself a language appropriate to its own unique perception of the world. A perception that would be incommunicable to humans, or at least at first.

Perhaps the most profound discovery being uncovered by research into Artificial Intelligence will be a mechanism allowing us to interpret the languages of different kinds of animals. Research is being carried out to find ways of communicating with apes and dolphins, but no great in-roads will be made until we decipher how the corporal experience of different species and their very non-human sensory perceptions create their own knowledge of the world around them. A knowledge which we should not underestimate. A true Sapiens will not only benefit from communication on a complete human level, but from an even greater communication with diversity itself. True wisdom may only start once we can talk to the animals.

In this sense the creation of insect-like or octopus-like robots may have an interesting Sapiens purpose. Perhaps such robots could be designed to act as translators, allowing us to have conversations with ants and birds and elephants and dogs. But for we will ever be able to ever do that we have to firstly learn how to communicate properly with our neighbours.

[i] See Roger Penrose, THE EMPEROR’S NEW CLOTHES

Where are we now? and What’s to be done?

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We live in a two dimensional society: there is length and width but no height or depth. Our world is a flat plane, a cartoon reality replete with caricatures. Lacking is the third dimension that will pull us out of the flatness and allow us to properly see things for what they are, by allowing us to perceive things from all angles. The artist knows that depth is achieved by adding perspective, by understanding illumination and being able to master the shadows cast by the impenetrable and opaque. Depth is added by knowing and only by mastering shadow and perspective can liberation from the monotonous flatness of our two-dimensionality begin. Only when we have depth because we have been able to pull the flatness up will we know what to do.

The tautological knowledge creates knowing is profound. Knowing is a continual process of becoming, it is the process of unveiling, which in turn is a process of pulling forth, lifting up, stretching out, moving around, flying over and crawling under … All the things which we cannot do on the flat plane unless we know how to manipulate the art of generating perspective.

This is not a concern confined to the present: historical and futurological perspectives must also be deepened. Objectification is also required: an artist’s ability to step outside of the paradigm that is being described and lived – to stand at a point outside of the space, and outside of time, in order to perceive everything that has been hidden and understand real necessity. Objectification is needed to be able to stand over the current of the river of time in order to understand where the continuum has been flowing from. In order to perceive the reasons and mistakes that have determined certain courses of history; in order to redirect rivers, ensuring cleaner, more transparent waters that are capable of irrigating the possibilities of our optimistic futurologies. Muddy rivers will only give us a muddy, carp-full ocean of little future hope.

And so we have two tasks to concentrate on: a) the act of discovering perspective and uncovering depth, and b) that of eradicating the factors that cloud our rivers and have been pushing the historical continuum to a false inevitability for centuries.

The answer to the question must ultimately lie between what ought to be done and what has seduced our attention away from the goal. The utopia is No-Place because we are not going there. We will never get to Timbuktu if we are walking across the Americas, but that does not mean that Timbuktu cannot be reached. Maps must be drawn so that we can see why we are trapped in the maze, but in order to draw such maps we must achieve altitude and be able to stand over the labyrinth. It is a contradiction that turns the path back in on itself and to understand the labyrinthine nature of the system we must reveal the tremendous contradictions which work in its favour.

GLOBAL THERAPY

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If there is to be a Great (and positive) Transition in the globalised world, the dominant global culture – which is the western-inspired, economic culture – will need to be radically transformed or completely abandoned.

Of course we are talking about wiping away a system, an operation that not only would require a complete change of blood but a re-plumbing of the entire artery system… Or perhaps not…

Before the drug therapy clinic suggests radical cures like blood-changing, it will first try psychiatric therapy. The primary option should be to change the patient’s attitudes, alter their desires, or perhaps even create a new “will” for the patient. But let us go even one step further and say that: if we don’t create this new will then, even after a complete blood and artery overhaul the patient will fall back into his or her vice, which, in our universal case, is the vice of “wanting more”.

While the cultural-economic model is driven by this will to wanting more, all political or economic changes will be doomed to failure. Capitalism’s greatest success has been its nurturing of greed, even displaying an ability to transform greed into a “norm”, convincing an entire world that it is a part of “human nature” to want more. That is the basic notion that we must now attack, and the only way to do so is to revaluate the system by dissecting its own libido-ego relationship and offer a different, profound, scientific and metaphysical vision of what humanity could really be – driven not by a desire to have more but by a will to operate according to necessity, with an optimistic rather than nihilistic vision of humanity within the world.

It could be argued that we already have such ideas, propagated by religious institutions and spiritual leaders – yet religion has not only always been used by capitalism, as Marx said, as an opiate for the people, but also as a way of anchoring its own nihilistic ideology of “freedom” with a morality that the free-market in itself does not possess. The Church saves the multi-nationals from the complete chaos that they themselves would otherwise engender. But the churches and mosques, even the communist party now are all part of the system. The world needs more than just a permanent cure. It needs a new, let us repeat, scientific-metaphysical conceptualising of our place in the universe – one that can seduce not only the nihilists and sceptics, but also the devoted to their useless religious dogmas – a profound human will for absolute necessity.

Uroboric Will, Hegel’s Spirit & The Godless, Purposeful Universe

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We have already mentioned the Uroboros and the Uroboric Drive or Will on numerous occasions in these blog entries and it is an important concept for us. In our article “Ecology as Ideology and the Uroboric Drive” we stated:

“A vicious circle is already unravelling itself, only to take hold of its own tail again in order to swallow itself. But perhaps this most ancient image of the Uroboros, the tail-swallowing serpent, is the final revelation: that our drives are magnetic ones, folding us back toward the Uroboric state of an autarchic relationship with the world which is the perpetual result, if only in a perverted way, of any attempts to revaluate or reinvent our circumstances. Capitalism’s final end is to become a Uroboros, even if this is not its conscious eschatology. The System, whatever form it has, is manipulated subconsciously towards the Uroboric, autarchic paradise which we lost so long ago. But while for capitalism the Uroboric autarchy is a Utopian dream that can only end in a complete annihilation of the tail swallowing serpent, the ecological Uroboros has to be imagined perfectly intact and healthy.

The Uroboric drive is in Eros as much as in Thanatos. It is the ultimate unity, representing where we have come from – the autarchy of the foetus in the womb – and where we are going – our final conversion into dust or gas. At either end of the unity the condition is an ecological one. A return to the Uroboric state of being is the Being of the Great Mother, the planet Earth. As an Eros-driven force, our will to freedom is an autarchic will, as is our will for love; our sex drive; our will for community and our desire for isolation; our will to communicate; our creative drives; our willingness to share; and also our need to be protective and cautious. The essence of all of this is in autarchy.”[i]

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We think Hegel was describing this Uroboric Will when he described the Spirit as “that which has being in itself,”[ii] or “that which relates itself to itself and is determinate,”[iii] or “it is other-being and being-for-itself and in this determinateness, or in its self-externality, abides within itself; or in other words, it is in and for itself.”[iv]

But this Uroboric nature of Hegel’s Spirit is only one side of its total substance. It must also be “the knowledge of the spiritual, and the knowledge of itself as Spirit, i.e. it must be an object to itself… a sublated object, reflected into itself.”[v] Which means, in our terms, it must be in possession of an intelligence.

A need for intelligence is, in the Uroboric universe, an instinctive drive, coming from an instinct for Being and a sense of the most necessary potential. Even though the matter being driven is blind, deaf and senseless. The Uroboric Universe wants to be perceived and known, even though it has no idea that it does. Nature wants to know, but does not know that it wants it.

It has to be blind and ignorant, if not there would be much more intelligent life in the Universe. If the Universe were driven consciously by a conscious Creator, there would have to be more success stories; more stars with inhabitable planets. Likewise, if Consciousness has existed from the beginning, then there is no pressing need for intelligence. That is the narrative of most religions: humanity is not at all necessary. In fact most of the time, despite Christ’s attempt to fill us with hope and self-esteem, we are a despicable species in the eyes of God, a failed mutation of something which should have been much better. But none of this makes any sense if the Creation was planned from the outset.

So, there is no Creator, there is no God, but…  there is most certainly a purposefulness in the Universe.

Our cosmologists tell us that the Universe is finely tuned and that it has to be tuned exactly this way in order for life to be even feasible. In a numerical sense we are positioned in the centre of the Universe, between the ultimate macrocosm at 1025 and the microcosm at 10-25, in a centre that we have to be in.[vi]This anthropocentricism is not an anti-nature one of human dominance and superiority. But it does imply purpose. We are here for a reason, and that reason has been determined, not by a God, but by the Universe. It implies a partnership, the partnership between the Object of Reality and the Subject that can perceive that reality, and make reality Being. It is a partnership between Sapiens creatures that know that they know things, and the Universe that allows a space for these knowing creatures to know It.

The fine tuning of the Cosmological Constant[vii] is so precise it could hardly have been accidental. But this does not mean that the fine tuning needed a Creator. Science does not need to embrace God on this issue, and nor should it – the idea of the Absolute has been a nihilistic, anti-life pessimism that has flagellated humanity for millennia. We know from thousands of years of experiences that the Idea of God does not make us better human beings, and that in fact it has been responsible for some of the darkest periods of history and some of the most violent, cruel acts that mankind has committed. If God exists, we’d do better just let It be and ignore all the power-driven dogmas that have been born out of the idea of the One.

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[ii] Hegel, PHENOMENOLOGY OF SPIRIT, Preface, §25)

[iii] Ibid

[iv] Ibid

[v] Ibid

[vi] SEE Martin Rees JUST SIX NUMBERS (THE DEEP FORCES THAT SHAPE THE UNIVERSE), Perseus, 2000, pp. 6 + 7 )

ON NECESSITY

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Authentic necessity is rooted firmly within our relationship with the world. Because of this Ecology is a science of Authentic Necessity. It is time for us to stop treating this science frivolously: it is not a New Age fantasy, nor should it be the object of cynicism or disdain that the politics of capital often tries to turn it into.

Real necessity is a constant. Our environment can be affected, even changed, but such alterations will be catastrophic if they are not carried out through a science of Authentic Necessity-Ecology. Authentic Necessity is what the world needs to maintain its environment in such a way that intelligent life, that knows itself and the world and can act creatively accordingly, may flourish within it.

Of course we are not preaching to world or a God but to ourselves. Authentic necessity is our necessity. It is what we must do in order not to upset the balance and maintain the conditions needed for existence, the perpetuation of existence and real progress to happen.

 

REALATED ARTICLES ON THIS BLOG:

https://pauladkin.wordpress.com/2013/08/27/the-abrupt-climate-change-scenario/

https://pauladkin.wordpress.com/2013/11/25/sing-or-swim-how-to-escape-the-ocean-of-false-necessity/

THE WILL TO NECESSITY IS STRONGER THAN THE WILL TO SURVIVAL.doc

https://pauladkin.wordpress.com/2012/08/17/freedom-and-necessity/

https://pauladkin.wordpress.com/2012/05/26/162/

https://pauladkin.wordpress.com/2013/11/21/the-ideologies-of-anti-reality/

https://pauladkin.wordpress.com/2013/11/01/ecology-as-ideology-and-the-uroboric-drive/

 

 

DOXA AND ALETHEIA – TRUTH AND THE ARTIST (PART THREE)

Magritte - La traicion de las imagenes

The dilemma of the artist is: I know there is something buried here, but how do we get it out? And here, the plural we must be emphasised: when the artist thinks how do I get it out, he or she is denying doxa; and without the objectivity of doxa the aim of creating true art must invariably fail.

            If doxa/aletheia is seen as reality/imagination then we also see how art is making what we can imagine become manifest in the exterior world, for reality is the exterior and our imagination can only ever be sure of its authenticity if that outside world doxa approves of its validity. But the task of art is not to say that this monster I see is real – as something that exists in the material – but rather it is a statement that we can all believe that it could exist. Here we see the conditional nature of art: this is not reality, but it could be. This is why the honesty of Magritte’s “This is not a pipe” is so comic. We all know that it is not a real pipe yet the admission is so obvious that we take it for granted and even lose consciousness of it until the artist Magritte throws it in our face. We look at his painting, see the representation of a pipe and then are told that it is not a pipe which we gradually realise is true, that it is a mere representation. But it is not the revelation here which is comic, but the absolutely pedantic statement that Magritte throws at us: “This is not reality, but it could be.” Yet this seemingly, over-pedantically absurd statement is also deeply profound. It is describing in one simple image, commentated with one simple statement, not only the essence of all art but the very essence of all human perception of reality, for the real representation is actually being projected onto the screen that everything you ever perceive is projected onto – in your mind. rene-magritte-the-false-mirror

            The aletheia in Magritte’s painting is the truthful disclosure of the lie. Perhaps it is the most revolutionary comment that one could make about art and human perception – that the truth rendered real is a lie, and yet it is a necessary illusion. The reason why we turn to art in some form or other over and over again is that this lying/truth is a fundamental part of the human condition. Not a paradox but another continuous dialectic between our two realities – interior/exterior; subjective/objective; real/imaginary; rational/irrational.

Heidegger makes the comment that disclosure is a concealing,[1] a revealing and concealing of truth at the same time. Art does this, but the spectator is always aware of the trick whenever he or she is able to appreciate that what is being contemplated is a work of art. Magritte’s over-statement is funny because no-one (with apologies to Duchamp and his urinal) had made it before. The truth is a lie, but we would prefer even the falsification of it than to ignore it. In art we see the reflection of something that we know but cannot really pin down ourselves. What surprises us in art is the fact that someone has been able to create a reflection of something which we had sensed but hadn’t been able to put our finger on before. It is not the thing that we know or imagine  internally but it seems like a good attempt at recreating it in the external of the doxa. Art is a sharing of the internal – either as presentation of what we all intuitively sense, or as a revelation of something we have never sensed before. In this way art as a presentation can be an epiphany for the observer.

The “moving” capacity that art has, is buried in the completion of a communicative cycle. When art moves us, it resonates in us. The original disclosure of the internal has now become submerged and recognised in the internal of the observer. It has become intersubjective. And so we come to a definition of art as that which creates intersubjectivity, in an albeit imperfect way, that communicates truth in a likewise imperfect way.


[1] Martin Heidegger, “On the Essence of Truth,” in Basic Writings, p. 136

Being in the World

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In Dasein, subject and object are unimportant as opposites. One is the subject and the object just as the world is subject and object. I open my eyes and see the world or the world before me is mirrored in my gaze, projected on the screen of my mind. The world outside is within me as projection, within us. We are in the world and the world is in us. But no sooner is it within than our mind projects it outwards again. The mechanics of perception is a vital example of the inextricable bonding of the interior and exterior realties of reality. When you see me I am mirrored in your eyes. You are my mirror and I am yours. We are the world’s mirror created by the world.

ON BEING

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We don’t create Being, but we illuminate it through our perception of it. Being, through us, who are part of Being, is able to perceive itself, understand what it is and what it has accomplished. Here may lie the root of all psychological difficulties – for how much does a human mind conform to the needs of Being? In the objectification needed for reason to know, isn’t there also an alienation occurring that pulls us away from the pure experience of Being into the experience of knowing Being? But even if this is the case, that experience must be desired by Being because of the illumination it receives in exchange.

Heidegger expressed this idea when he says that man is “gathered toward preserving, by that which opens itself.”[1] Heidegger’s poetic-philosophical image is that of a world that opens itself before us, drawing us towards it, in a certain sense seducing us. A seduction which is irresistible because the nature which desires to be illuminated by human intellect is the same nature that has created that intellect, and through illumination becomes Being.

From this it becomes useful to separate the concept of nature from that of Being. Existence is that which is whether it is perceived or not, whereas Being is existence fulfilled by illumination.

The human relationship to Being is not the only one, and all life that perceives illuminates, but this is not our debate. The real essence of what we’re saying is that our real meaning for being-in-the-world needs to be found, perhaps even measured, by the way that we can illuminate existence and contribute to Being. From this comes a simple ethical statement: that which illuminates and contributes to Being is fulfilling experience and therefore good; that which contributes to Non-Being is bad.

In this way our relationship to Being can be analysed qualitatively through the notion of knowing. Presencing existence maybe enough to illuminate it, but understanding it establishes a relationship on a deeper level. To be is to be known, but to be understood is to be enriched in that knowing, and it is through that relationship of enrichment that we come to the concept of authentic Love. Through knowing the object or thing, through knowing its reasons and objectives, we enrich it. The search for truth is always a search for authenticity in knowing. Only truthful knowledge can really be enriching for the Being of the object at hand. Only an authentic relationship built on an authentic desire to know and understand can be considered an authentic relationship through the process of being cognised. The perverted love, on the other hand, masks its authenticity in order to be taken for something it would be, but is not. But herein lies the psychological condition of the human being as the inauthentic one, the one who lives behind, not one, but a collection of masks, all designed to embellish themselves before the humanity we are all made to stand before. Lacan’s mirror stage – we face the world and try to become as they would have us. Human psychology, and the cultures and civilisations that this psychology itself perpetuates, drags us away from authenticity itself. Before we are capable of knowing who we are, we are already convinced that we should be something else. But, if this is the case, how can human consciousness ever authentically know anything else? Yet, this question is irrelevant because self-cognition is impossible, and for this reason our cognising of the other is so important. The subject can only know itself through the judgement of the observer. And so we come back to the starting point – our authenticity lies in our being-known. In fact, what is important is not how we see ourselves, but how we are perceived by others. Yet, how should we take this – that the embellishment is good if we are favoured by it? Of course this contradicts our earlier conclusions, or seems to. Perhaps it just describes our perverted condition of continually turning our backs on authenticity in order to embellish our reality. It does not negate the existence of those who through concerted effort through spiritual exercise or perhaps even through what we would call innocence, reject the mask and strive for, or maintain, an authenticity. Neither does it negate the idea of authenticity as an ideal of a goal. Mankind is not forged from metal and the psychological make-up of our natures is malleable, depending very much as Heidegger pronounced it, on the metaphysical perspective of our age. What we are proposing is the alteration of that metaphysic which will have an effect on the very psychological condition of our age.


[1] Martin Heidegger from the essay THE AGE OF THE WORLD PICTURE, in The Question Concerning Technology, p. 131

Freedom and Necessity

What is freedom? Freedom to do evil is, of course, unethical. While humanity has a conscience, individual or collective, and a capability of making value judgements, either quantitatively or qualitatively, absolute freedom does not exist. An ability and permission to choose is not freedom, because otherwise freedom might accept the right to choose to do evil. While anything is considered wrong, while anything is judged as being bad – freedom does not exist. It is time to stop kidding ourselves that there are free societies and un-free societies. What we have are cultures that allow and tolerate certain things that others do not allow or tolerate. What exists are different values, but values are not freedom. Freedom of speech is freedom of speech, but that is not freedom. Even freedom of speech is regulated by the negativity toward telling lies, or even telling defamatory truths. Freedom has its consequences and those consequences are regulated, mitigating freedom, putting limits to it, or drawing a line of acceptability through it. And how can we have less freedom or more freedom? In the pure sense freedom shouldn’t accept such conditions. We either have freedom or we don’t have it.

But, as we are well aware that abolishing the term’s common usage will be impossible, let’s see if we can make “freedom” and its usage a little more meaningful at least. In most cases it seems that “freedom”, as we use the term, is concerned more with necessity than with freedom. The freedom to protest becomes important when there is a need to protest, and legislation in a free state would take that into account, but conflict arises in the interpretation of what is important enough to warrant the staging of a legal protest. A freedom to take drugs is important when there is a need – a need to escape from an otherwise insipid and unbearable life –, but drug taking is regulated and prohibited because there can be an indulgence in drugs when there is no real need, or an indulgence simply because one is addicted. Taking drugs without any need to take them is pointless… Ok, but the conflict comes when an individual feels that he or she has a necessity to relax or escape that the society does not or cannot accept. In a labour-oriented society in which coping with the stress of life is considered one’s duty, for example, relaxation and escape may be considered luxuries that must not be abused.

In any case, freedom has to be grounded in necessity. Necessity must regulate freedom in order for freedom to be meaningful. Because of this the problem of freedom is a deontological one. It becomes an issue only when our needs are denied us, because someone has decided that my needs are not necessary. To do or not to do? The answer resides in necessity, and it is in moments when needs are very clear that we feel most liberated. When necessity is unclear, even getting out of bed can be a chore. Psychologically, the worst thing about being unemployed in Western culture may not be the lack of necessary income, if one is getting benefits, but the lack of necessity. If necessity is freedom then futility is oppression. The burden of the depressive is the snowballing futility of life, and for many of them in the system, their lives are ultimately empty. For the majority of us, capitalist expansion is not reason enough, and that makes us all potential depressives.

Sartre says that he found his freedom in the permanent possibility of abandoning his book. Sartre’s question was: keep writing or not keep writing? But Sartre was mistaken to see the freedom in the mere question. The freedom is really in the decision, otherwise freedom loses all of its positive connotations. Freedom has to be positive and ennobling., otherwise why have such a concept. If Sartre did not have a choice of writing or not; if he had been obliged to write, he would probably first of all lose his need to write and through loss of necessity lose his capability, and through loss of capability lose his freedom. If, on the other hand, a writer was locked away and ordered to come up with a book… if that writer was a real writer who had a real, vocational need to write, then the obligation would be carried out happily. The depressing reality of being locked up and robbed of his or her need to breathe fresh air and exercise his or her limbs and senses, would be oppressive, but not necessarily unbearable. A real writer has his or her liberty taken away from them if he or she is denied the option and capability of writing, or is denied the possibility of writing about what he or she needs to write about – through censorship or market-place apartheid, for example.  Paradoxically, a writer who needs to write about injustice and oppression would be stifled by a society in which injustice and oppression were hardly tangible, or apparent problems. This ideal situation would create a disorientation in the freedom-fighting writer, and he or she would be forced to find other necessities to inspire them in order to allow him or her to breathe the air of freedom again.

The nihilistic, liberal, or existential worlds are absurd, for they are worlds that mitigate and undermine the power of necessity. Lack of need is a perfect condition for the Wall Street Whale system. The system oppresses us by downplaying necessity or twisting it by creating false or superficial necessities. Necessity is not relative anymore. There are things now that really need to be tackled, things that really need to be done, changes that really need to be made… but the system prefers to push its head deeper into the sand.