We Poisoned Freedom
A few years ago an American magazine published a short note about how a boy, who was in the high voltage current zone, was dying in front of the crowd. The teenager could still be saved, but none of the eyewitnesses of this tragedy did anything. Everyone was literally fascinated by the picture of agonizingly lasting agony. Witnesses, as it turned out, watched this episode and evaluated it as if everything that was happening were unfolding on the home screen.
The note stated the fact and did not contain either condemnation or reflection. It was told about an event that does not go beyond the daily news chronicle. However, let's not rush to the moral assessment of this story, but try to enter the atmosphere of the episode. Is not it true that information prompts the exposure of criminal passivity or hidden asperity? It forces self-define .
Imagine yourself for a moment among this enchanted crowd. Let's ponder slowly, with the necessary inner concentration. How would each of us? How would you act personally? Would they be independent or give way to the instinct of gregariousness? Have they been capable of conscious behavior or would have succumbed to a tenacious spectacle? Have they found compassion or petrified themselves in perfect indifference to irreparable misfortune?
Such questions constantly arise before each of us. Everyday life offers us a persistent choice situation and imperiously demands an answer from us. To experience the joy of communication at a crowded intersection of life or "feel orphanhood as bliss." Wait for help from national projects or find your way to entrepreneurship? Vote as
all or discover the maturity of political consciousness? The slavish, philistine life does not bring happiness.
In the social space, the role of freedom is enormous. From ancient times a man who aspired to gain freedom, executed, subjected to sophisticated tortures, betrayed curses. But no punishments and persecutions could extinguish the love of freedom. A sweet moment of freedom was often valued more than life ... Numerous victims are thrown on the altar of freedom. So, perhaps, the history of mankind is the road to freedom, the painful way of liberation from bondage? And suddenly it is revealed: freedom is not a blessing, but rather a cruel test. Perhaps the immortal Goethe was right, who said: "Only the first step is free, but we are slaves of another ..."
In the first decades of the last century, the problem of freedom unexpectedly gained tremendous importance in connection with the coming to power of the Nazis in Germany. In 1939, Erich Fromm wrote his first work, which he called "Escape from Freedom". Then for many decades he wrote different books. But that's amazing: no, perhaps, not one of the themes of his other works of the idea that has not received its initial analysis in the book "Escape from Freedom". It can be said that from his lifetime Fromm continued to write his first book, expanding and updating its main subjects.
The thematic variety of the book is significant. E. Fromm analyzes the interpretation of freedom in different epochs, considers the concept of "authoritarian personality", talks about conformism and destructiveness in a person, reveals the psychology of Nazism, interprets the relationship between freedom and democracy ...
Let's ponder: is it true that freedom at all times was perceived as a shrine? Alas, the history testifies and about other. It is full of examples of voluntary enslavement, according to Fromm, "flight from freedom" - eloquent illustrations of the psychology of submission. Is the instinctual impulse, which paralyzes the will of man, his spontaneous impulses, been developed for centuries? What is it that many of us today are not loyal to themselves, but to the political leader? Why is the majority ready to demonstrate a fanatical commitment not to ideas, but to populist leaders?
Is man free? What is it about - the political situation or internal self-perception? The man, shackled, is extremely cramped in his actions, but his proud spirit may be adamant ... United States writer Varlam Shalamov said that he never felt as internally independent and free as in prison. Another person is not obstructed by anybody, he is free to dispose of himself, however, despite his lucky circumstances, voluntarily enslaves himself. Psychologically, it is much more comfortable for him when his life, will and mind are managed by a totalitarian leader.
Freedom has different faces. Its connection with morality is extremely contradictory. Is he, for example, independent, who curbs his own desires? How to combine the joyful idea of the sovereignty of an individual with the danger of his willfulness?
Freedom was a complex phenomenon. A person can be free in one sense, but not free in the other. Everyone can go to a foreign voyage, but at the same time for many it is almost impossible because of a lack of money. Political freedom can be constrained by economic unfreedom. A person who is free economically is not always free to display his political will ...
Meanwhile, freedom is one of the leading values of European culture. The first philosophical comprehension of freedom is found in ancient reflections on rock. Fate is the predetermination of events and actions, the totality of all that exists, which affects and can not but affect the being of a person, a people. The ancient Greeks created a cult of destiny and embodied it in the form of Moira, Tyuha, Ata, Heimarmen, Anank, Anthropos. This higher power could be personified in the image of nature or some deity.
The ancient Hellene, as VS Bibler observes, is internally, urgently subjugated to fate, cosmic fate, justice. "He is doomed (in this his courage) he destroys the destiny of destiny - predestination, in which for a century, in the change of dozens of generations are predetermined births, and the lives and deaths of clans, tribes, polices. Ellie can not and should not know (it would be a crime) her fate and the secret meaning of her actions. He must honestly play his part in the cosmic tragedy. But - at the same time and in the same respect - the ancient Hellene is wholly, individually responsible for cosmic rock, for its outset and denouement. It is an individual who is able and obliged - and by right - to judge himself; an individual capable of concentrating once, in the acme (from the Greek acte - the highest degree of something, the blossoming power - Ya. G.) of a heroic deed (the blindness of Oedipus, renunciation of the kingdom, or - fire Prometheus) - all the past and the future of many generations. " This, according to the philosopher, is an individual fully conscious (in the depths of his soul), foreseeing (in the depths of the mind) the cosmic fate of his involuntary criminal (transgressive) act, even at the very moment of its implementation. At the time of the act, the act of Oedipus the Tsar (the court of the one who knows the truth) and the deed of Oedipus the traveler (involuntary parricide) coincide. This is one act.
Follow the thought of Bibler. In the tragedy Oedipus in Kolomna The act of action is open. It is stretched into a linear trajectory "not by me of the conceived rock". Oedipus now feels unresponsive for his actions, not knowing what he is doing. However, in the tragedy Oedipus the King and the full acceptance of fate, its place and role in the performance of a cosmically tied fate, and the acme of an integral individual responsibility for this act, and that and the other pole of moral upheaval can not be torn away and erased from the (ancient) moral architectonics.
"I should be responsible for - not me started, not me tied up - rock; I must be responsible for the act, I - in full consciousness perfect; for an act in which I (the individual) I am tying and - able to untie, to save - the fateful bundles of human destinies. But, since this is so, my act is desperately tragic, and - no matter how I acted - the violation of the second pole of this collision again and again makes me guilty, invades me in the tension of moral upheavals. An ancient individual is moral only in such a tragic vicissitude of his deed. "
Catharsis - the most important moment of the development of the action in the ancient tragedy, implying an emotional discharge. Tragedy is not a simple description of sad events and terrible murders. Not the number of drams and the number of deaths creates a genre. Heroes of tragedy seek excuses for their actions. At some point, they seem to be in a desperate situation, when they have to fully comprehend their own destiny, their choice, when any decision can become catastrophic. And the hero conquers the situation, however, more often - at the cost of his own death. But that's strange: the hero of the ancient tragedy was dying, and the audience, wiping away the tears of pity, broke with an enlightened soul and heart, ready for the most difficult tests. So the Greeks discovered the great mystery of dramatic action, the mystical purification of the soul from the dirt of sensuality and corporeality. However, they also showed that the rock and the sense of freedom are related in a paradoxical way.
In the Middle Ages, freedom from sin and the curse of the church were implied, and a discord was created between the morally required freedom of man and the required religion by the omnipotence of God. Medieval society, unlike modern, was characterized by the lack of personal freedom. In early Christianity, everyone was chained to their role in a social order. The man almost had no chance to move socially - from one class to another - and could hardly move even geographically, from city to city or from country to country. With few exceptions, he had to stay where he was born. Often he did not even have the right to dress, as he liked, or there was something he wanted. The artisan was obliged to sell for a certain price, and the peasant - in a certain place, in the city market. A member of the shop had no right to transfer the technical secrets of his production to anyone outside the shop and was obliged to allow his colleagues in the shop to participate in each profitable transaction for the acquisition of materials. Personal, economic and social life was regulated by rules and duties that applied to virtually all areas of activity.
However, as Fromm points out, although man was not free in the modern sense of the word, he was neither alone nor isolated. Taking a definite, unchanging and indisputable place in the social world from the very moment of birth, the person was fixed in some structured community; his life was filled with meaning from the very beginning, which left no room for doubt, they did not arise. Personality was identified with its role in society; it was a peasant, an artisan or a knight, but not an individual who, at his choice, is engaged in one or another business. "
Evaluating the phenomenon of freedom in medieval society, the Italian-German philosopher Romano Guardini writes: "The spirit and soul of a man of Christian culture in comparison with his ancient brethren is richer in one dimension; his ability to feel, the creativity of the heart and the energy of suffering - not from natural endowments, but from fellowship with Christ. Hence the other - a great freedom of self-determination both in respect of good, and in relation to evil. Christianity gave man such an opportunity for action, in which he, if he was kind, was made better than the heathen, if evil, then worse than him. Kierkegaard's thought that the ancient world, with all its genius, was somewhat naive, and that the present age of the individual is connected with Christianity, is undoubtedly true. "
During the Renaissance and beyond, freedom was understood as the unhindered all-round development of the individual. In this era, modern individualism was born. The individual is freed from economic and political foundations. He also acquires positive freedom - together with an active and independent role, which he has to play in the new system - but at the same time he is freed from connections that gave him a sense of certainty and belonging to some community. He can no longer live life in a close world, centered on himself; the world has become limitless and menacing. Having lost his definite place in this world, a person lost the answer to the question of the meaning of his life, and doubts arose: who is he, what is he, why does he live?
The medieval church, as already noted, emphasized the dignity of a person, the freedom of his will, the value of his efforts; she claimed the God-likeness of man and his right to be sure of the love of God. People were perceived as equals, like brothers, by their one likeness to God. In the late Middle Ages, in connection with the development of capitalism, a wave of insecurity and confusion arose, but at the same time, the tendency to recognize the role of human will and human efforts was becoming stronger.
Analyzing the paradoxical self-awareness of a person in the era of the Reformation, Fromm emphasizes: "A man is free from all bonds that his spiritual power connected, but it is this freedom that makes him lonely and confused, overwhelming him with a sense of his own insignificance and impotence. The free, isolated individual is broken by the feeling of his wretchedness, and Luther's theology expresses this feeling of powerlessness and doubt. The person's appearance, depicted in religious terms, reflects the position of the individual that arose as a result of the ongoing socio-economic changes. The middle-class representative was just as helpless in the face of new economic forces, as Luther described by a man in the face of God. "
Since the time of the Enlightenment, the notion of freedom, borrowed from liberalism and the philosophy of natural law (G. Grotius, T. Hobbes, S. Pufendorf, J. Locke) has emerged. The notion of freedom as a politico-legal autonomy of a citizen arises. Individualism is strengthened as a philosophical doctrine of the correlation of the individual with society, the collective and the state, affirming the boundless needs, the extreme fullness and absolute freedom of the will of the individual. It is about the individual as an end in itself, about the unlimited needs and absolute rights of the individual, about her complete freedom and independence from society and the state.
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