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Sunday, January 23rd, 2011, 8:56 am

What Freedom Means in Relation to Control

What freedom means to me is not the same freedom that is preached to the masses by broadcasting companies. It is neither freedom of choice nor freedom that relates to cost.

In its most fundamental state, any person is not tied to anyone else except perhaps the community which is family, extended family, and sometimes more than that. In that case, a person is familiar with/to all peers, which is also what enables trade without currencies. There is a level of trust.

As societies grow bigger and bigger (moving into mega-cities, as noted in the previous post) trust gets replaced by control. Rather than trusting one’s peers people increasingly dominate and reign over other people; it’s means of peer control and it regulates one’s behaviour.

In the software world too there is a move from small communities of privileged developers with access to expensive machines; these days, a lot of people have access to computers and moreover to the Internet, which connects many of these disparate people. Mechanisms of control rather than trust are over time being put in place and these range from simple censorship to all sorts of artificial restrictions.

Freedom is always hindered by control. It is a relation of opposites. Control is antithetical to freedom assuming that control is not one’s own. Whether in a society as broad of ours one can ensure total freedom is very much questionable, but one must always keep in mind that if freedom is the goal, then control by others is a threat; sometimes it is a necessary and legitimate threat, but often it is (mis)used as a pretext for someone else to take control over others.

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