Slaves of desire

Freedom is a meaningless word. It is cursed with such ambiguity in the modern era that it has lost all significance. It is without form because it it takes many shapes. Ask a thousand people what freedom means to them and you will get a thousand different answers. To the poor man it means being able to have enough money to quit a job he hates. To a rich man means being able to use his wealth however he pleases. It is bent by the whims of whoever interprets it.

Many take advantage of the sorry state of this word. It is a popular platitude for those who wish to been seen favorably in the eyes of others. Countless ideologies, movements, and politicians have hijacked ‘freedom’ as a rallying cry. Don’t like where you live? You simply haven’t been given enough freedom to escape it. Don’t like who rules over you? They are tyrants who have taken your freedom. Do you feel powerless to change your life? Don’t worry, it isn’t your fault, you’ve simply been oppressed.

Freedom is effective as a political tool simply because it shifts the blame away from the individual. It moves it on to shady cabals and devious oppressors who seek to destroy all of the good things in life. The problem is that these people simply do not exist. Every election and revolution starts out with the same premise: liberate the oppressed and crush the oppressors. The outcome is always the same. Not everyone can be “free”. Some men are born to rule and all others must follow.

In modern society, many see freedom as a synonym of permissiveness. It means the freedom to do whatever they want, whenever they want it. It does not matter how it effects the external world. This attitude can be seen every time nature is crushed to make way for a new freeway, every time a couple aborts a child to extend their prolonged adolescence, and every time politicians kick today’s problems further down the road for future generations to deal with. Let the good times never end. It’s not our problem. It will just go away if we sweep it under the rug and keep it there long enough.

To be free in this sense is a desire to live in a world without consequences. It is to be responsible for nothing except your own whims. This is a form of cowardice. Those who run away from responsibility do so because they are scared of it. It stems from a complete lack of self esteem. When you are responsible for something, it means you have the power to create or destroy it based on your actions. When one runs away from responsibility, he is essentially admitting he is not up to the task. He is afraid that by taking responsibility over something, he is more likely to hurt it than help it.

The tragedy of this mindset is that it destroys any possibility of having a meaningful life. If you look towards your ancestors and search for what gave their life a purpose, you will see that every great accomplishment required taking on a great responsibility. Whether that takes form in preserving a culture, defending their land from invaders, or making a home and raising a family in it. Modernity’s complete rejection of these values has created a vast wasteland without purpose. Reclaiming the world so it is full of meaning once more requires us to give up on the illusion of false freedom. Only then can we take responsibility for the things that matter most in life.

Society without sense

“Do the ends justify the means?” Throughout most of human history, there was no doubt to this question.  One simply has to look at how the actions of ancient societies to see that the ends always justified the means.  For most of their existence, humans were very similar to the rest of wildlife on earth: they were focused on survival above all else.

Another way to phrase this common question is simply to ask whether consequences of an action are more important than the reasoning behind it.  Anytime necessity of survival shows itself, there can be no doubt.  Morality becomes plain when it is a matter of life and death.  That which allows for continued survival is good, that which harms is bad.

Survival is no longer a hard task for anyone.  Even the most unfortunate amongst our societies can scrap together a meager living from the pity of others.  Abundance is the rule, not the exception.  What becomes of our morality then?  Our primary mandate from nature has disappeared.  Should not the morality that drove each decision disappear then as well?

This is clearly not the case.  If anything, modern society has become filled with more preachers of morality.  Nature abhors a vacuum.  We see people telling us how to we should act each time we leave our homes, turn on a TV, or go on a social network.  Yet, this sort of moralizing seems to fulfill another purpose entirely.  More and more, we are told to do the right thing rather than to be the right thing.  Modernity has taken away our purpose for survival and replaced it with the goal of appearing to have a purpose.

With each generation that passes, society continues to move farther away that which initially drove us.  Each new generation has its own causes and own morality.  In the United States, their are two prominent moral issues that appeal to the latest generation more than anything else.  If you ask almost any young adult their opinion on marijuana legalization or gay marriage, you will see almost complete consensus for both.

In each case, there is an almost complete reversal of opinion from prior generations.  Where once people saw gay marriage as against families, a basic building block of any society, the youth today see as an issue of allowing love and equality.  Pot was once seen as unproductive.  It was a drug that prevented any motivation.  Now, it is seen as simply another outlet for recreation.

Regardless of your opinion on these matters, the great shift in opinion is something to take note of.  In each case, the argument against the issue was based on the outcome that both of these behaviors caused.  The argument for each issue is now based on the intention behind each action.  The opinion has shifted away from judgement and towards personal freedom.

Judgement requires a purpose.  To deem an action as unwanted, it must first be understood as detrimental to some goal.  Societies require this goal to be shared amongst the populace for a consensus to arise towards any judgement.  Modern morality can be described as the complete lack of this shared consensus.  As each year passes by, consensus will continue to wear away until no one will be able to be judged for any action.

Ultimately, this is how societies perish.  Societies are formed as a way to encourage a set of behaviors beneficial to all members.  A society that is unable to judge is a powerless society.   Nature and her consequences no longer have any bearing or meaning.  This It is the ultimate form of collective hubris.  A society without any values is a society detached from reality. A society, like any living organism, that does not respond to reality will eventually be proven wrong.  There is only one outcome for those that choose not to heed nature’s rules: death.