Happiness vs Freedom

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default Happiness vs Freedom

Post by anarkandi on Fri Sep 14, 2012 5:59 am

When I was 13 I was taking forward this scientific theory on what "happiness" was (I had this philosopher phase where I from 11-13 read tons of books by them and then at 13 I decided they were all dumb and that I would take forward a much better theory.)

What I got was this dilemma:

What do you value the highest? Freedom or happiness?

Example: Would you rather live a life were you were in full control of yourself, with no limits, with only say 10% happiness, or would you rather live a life where you were happy always.. but only say 10% free, and to 90% controlled by others.

There are examples of this. 1984 and Aldous Huxleys novel on the similar theme - a society where everyone is controlled. There, freedom is regarded as a low valued trait in society, and health and success is valued higher. Anybody know any books where the tables are turned around in the opposite direction?

And I know alot of people will say "If I am free - I am happy." But that is against the holy ruly of this thread. You are not allowed to say that in this thread.
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Post by melodiccolor on Fri Sep 14, 2012 3:52 pm

Too bad. I chafe at restraints, do not find myself happy at all with them. Lack of freedom also makes it far harder to be true to oneself; as fitting in with an image of acceptable behavior becomes a higher priority. For me personally, that would be a recipe for unhappiness.

It is when I am truest to myself and in full harmony with me that I am at my happiest.

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Post by tezorian on Fri Sep 14, 2012 10:35 pm

Freedom = happiness. You can't have one without the other.
This is the same as asking "What would you choose, oxygen or be alive?"

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default Re: Happiness vs Freedom

Post by anarkandi on Sat Sep 15, 2012 4:26 am

You guys really don't like working with hypothetical issues.

Fine then.

What do you value the most, freedom or happiness?
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default Re: Happiness vs Freedom

Post by rombomb on Wed Jan 02, 2013 10:21 am

anarkandi wrote:You guys really don't like working with hypothetical issues.
I think you misread them. They rejected your premise. Your premise was that freedom and happiness are mutually exclusive. In other words, you asked them to solve a problem, they responded by saying that you've misunderstood the problem, and then you replied saying *I see that you don't want to solve my problem.*

anarkandi wrote:
What do you value the most, freedom or happiness?
And here you are again asking them to solve a problem that they've told you you've misunderstood. In other words, you're using the same premise that they already rejected.

You asked for an opposing view. See _The Fountainhead_, by Ayn Rand. Its a fictional story explaining that happiness cannot be achieved without freedom. But also that freedom does not necessarily lead to happiness -- there is another requirement, reason.

I just reread your first post and I noticed something:
anarkandi wrote:
And I know alot of people will say "If I am free - I am happy." But that is against the holy ruly of this thread. You are not allowed to say that in this thread.
Here you are saying: This is my problem. I want you to solve it. And you are not allowed to criticize the validity of the problem.

But that is not the way to find the truth. Not only should we be finding solutions to our problems but we should also be continually reframing our problems. Why? Because our problems can be flawed just like our solutions can be flawed.

We should be brainstorming and criticizing not just our solutions, but also our problems.

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default Re: Happiness vs Freedom

Post by anarkandi on Wed Jan 02, 2013 3:19 pm


[quote=rombomb]I think you misread them. They rejected your premise. Your premise was that freedom and happiness are mutually exclusive. In other words, you asked them to solve a problem, they responded by saying that you've misunderstood the problem, and then you replied saying *I see that you don't want to solve my problem.[/quote]

In philosophy, we've always worked with using these forms of examples, not because they are valid, because we know they aren't, but purely to see what people prioritize the highest - freedom or happiness? Just answering "Freedom makes me happy." will here be unsatisfying, even if correct, because I agree with the point.

However, you don't argue on if the two traits can be separated from one another - saying you want happiness or security for example, could lead to you agreeing to dispose of some of your freedoms - for example by paying higher taxes. Ayn Rand would not do such a thing, I know, so his answer would still be freedom, and he will argue that freedom leads to all the good things in life - moral righteousness, happiness, joy, comfort, and growth, whilst withholding freedoms or taking freedoms from people will lead to all forms of issues and travesties. So the question won't work on anyone. ^^
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default Re: Happiness vs Freedom

Post by Dreamspace on Wed Jan 02, 2013 8:23 pm

It's a pretty vague question, so it's difficult to answer. The specific example is still pretty general and doesn't really flesh out any details, so it's more difficult to really visualize, but I would reckon if I were 90% happy, there would be very little I would wish to change because I'm content with the status quo.

The socialist versus capitalist question is a better real-world example: Would we be better off with free enterprise, or would we be better off with strong central planning where the government controlled everything? The only problem is that if capitalism is the analogue for 'freedom' here, it sort of implies socialism will be happiness, and that the socialist system automatically does bring about greater happiness.

But this is a hypothetical question, so I'll pretend in this world socialism results in even distribution of wealth and all the essential social services I could need (not saying it could or couldn't in real-world practice, either — that would need its own thread). Now I'll say the lost freedoms would be the ability to start my own enterprise, fewer choices as a consumer because the government runs everything and we have protectionist trade policies putting exorbitant tariffs on imports which dissuade most foreign companies and so there's only one (at least affordable) brand for any given product, and I just don't have that much disposable income because so much of it goes to taxes to pay for all these services, and the price of commodities is higher due to lack of free trade and competition reducing my effective purchasing power, and so forth.

I think the idea that I would always be 'secure' would be nice, and that I could go to school at any given time, get medical care if I needed, and so on. I personally don't need very many material goods so not having that much disposable income is fine since all of my living expenses are covered. There would be a good chance I could get by just working a thirty-hour workweek in such a society, as well, so in a way I think I would have more free time, which is a form of freedom, but maybe I should overlook this aspect of it since it sort of goes against the spirit of the question. I don't think I would mind there being limitations on the products I could purchase.

I guess I would be happier living in this socialist country. But everybody would choose happiness over anything else; the point of freedom is that it makes you happy. If you could be happy without it… you wouldn't want it. The only way you would miss your freedom would be if you were unhappy with the situation.
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default Re: Happiness vs Freedom

Post by rombomb on Thu Jan 03, 2013 12:39 pm

anarkandi wrote:
I think you misread them. They rejected your premise. Your premise was that freedom and happiness are mutually exclusive. In other words, you asked them to solve a problem, they responded by saying that you've misunderstood the problem, and then you replied saying *I see that you don't want to solve my problem.

In philosophy, we've always worked with using these forms of examples,
You mean hypotheticals (aka thought experiments)? You didn't give us a hypothetical situation to consider.

anarkandi wrote:
not because they are valid, because we know they aren't, but purely to see what people prioritize the highest - freedom or happiness?
Such prioritizations are meaningless. You also assigned numbers to freedom and happiness, which is also meaningless. This makes it vague. We don't know what you mean by those numbers.

If you want us to consider a hypothetical situation, make one that asks which action we will choose and by what reasoning we will make our choice. And in our explanation of our reasoning, you will be able to examine how we understand the relationship between freedom and happiness.

anarkandi wrote:
Just answering "Freedom makes me happy." will here be unsatisfying, even if correct, because I agree with the point.
Freedom alone doesn't cause happiness.

Freedom allows one to make decisions that cause his happiness. Note that he makes *his* judgments according to *his* values.

anarkandi wrote:
However, you don't argue on if the two traits can be separated from one another - saying you want happiness or security for example, could lead to you agreeing to dispose of some of your freedoms - for example by paying higher taxes.
Paying taxes is not anti-freedom.

I want protection from foreign invaders. Today, the best way we know how to do that is to have a government with military capacity. And I voluntarily pay taxes for such protections.

anarkandi wrote:
Ayn Rand would not do such a thing, I know, so his answer would still be freedom, and he will argue that freedom leads to all the good things in life - moral righteousness, happiness, joy, comfort, and growth, whilst withholding freedoms or taking freedoms from people will lead to all forms of issues and travesties. So the question won't work on anyone. ^^
I don't know what question you're referring to that won't work on anyone.

I don't think you know Rand's ideas enough to know how she would answer a question about the relationship between freedom and happiness.

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Post by rombomb on Thu Jan 03, 2013 1:14 pm

Dreamspace wrote:It's a pretty vague question, so it's difficult to answer. The specific example is still pretty general and doesn't really flesh out any details, so it's more difficult to really visualize, but I would reckon if I were 90% happy, there would be very little I would wish to change because I'm content with the status quo.
90% happiness is not meaningful.

Dreamspace wrote:
The socialist versus capitalist question is a better real-world example: Would we be better off with free enterprise, or would we be better off with strong central planning where the government controlled everything? The only problem is that if capitalism is the analogue for 'freedom' here, it sort of implies socialism will be happiness, and that the socialist system automatically does bring about greater happiness.

But this is a hypothetical question, so I'll pretend in this world socialism results in even distribution of wealth and all the essential social services I could need (not saying it could or couldn't in real-world practice, either — that would need its own thread). Now I'll say the lost freedoms would be the ability to start my own enterprise,
and the inability to choose your own profession,

Dreamspace wrote:
fewer choices as a consumer because the government runs everything and we have protectionist trade policies putting exorbitant tariffs on imports which dissuade most foreign companies
BTW, tariffs are anti-freedom, and most democracies today still do tariffs. Its racist.

Dreamspace wrote:
and so there's only one (at least affordable) brand for any given product, and I just don't have that much disposable income because so much of it goes to taxes to pay for all these services, and the price of commodities is higher due to lack of free trade and competition reducing my effective purchasing power, and so forth.

I think the idea that I would always be 'secure' would be nice, and that I could go to school at any given time, get medical care if I needed, and so on. I personally don't need very many material goods so not having that much disposable income is fine since all of my living expenses are covered.
What if you suck at work? Do you still continue to have an income?

Dreamspace wrote:
There would be a good chance I could get by just working a thirty-hour workweek in such a society, as well, so in a way I think I would have more free time, which is a form of freedom, but maybe I should overlook this aspect of it since it sort of goes against the spirit of the question. I don't think I would mind there being limitations on the products I could purchase.
So instead of being able to buy an ipad, you'd have to buy some shitty device made by some company whose employees and managers and executives have no incentive to make a good product, since their sales are not dependent on the quality of their work.

Dreamspace wrote:
I guess I would be happier living in this socialist country. But everybody would choose happiness over anything else; the point of freedom is that it makes you happy. If you could be happy without it… you wouldn't want it. The only way you would miss your freedom would be if you were unhappy with the situation.
So, lets say you got a certain set of grades in school, and the socialist system decided that you are going to be a civil engineer, but you love theoritical physics, not civil engineering. Will you be happy?

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