Freedom Due to Bondage

This discussion was on Facebook a while ago, and I thought it would be good to share here.

Me: There is a bond between all free men that makes them free, without that bond they are all slaves. That bond is divine law.

Person 1: This doesn’t make sense. If all free men are subject to a bond, and the bond is divine law, then by definition they are less free than if they weren’t subject to any law.

Me: Sigh, I guess paradox is a lost rhetorical art. Let me see if I can explain it better through analogy:

In marriage two people vow to death do they part to cherish the other while forsaking all others (among other holy vows). They are bonding to each other and are no longer “free” to find a relationship but they are more free to love each other.

In living (as in a city) when one plants themselves in a town they lose the freedom to stay on the road but find the freedom to establish relationships with the other people living in the town…. See More

A weaker analogy (but funny to think about) is clothing. Each day we bind ourselves to wear pants, shirts, and so on. We have bound ourselves to wear anything to protect us from the elements and to express ourselves. There is no “Emperor” roaming the streets as he would be less free – he would have removed the fetters but find that he is bound by a trickster rather than a common bond.

Historically people of the past have bound themselves to ideals and have made people free. Like Martin Luther King Jr. he bound himself to the divine concept that all men and women are created equal and that slavery of any kind was wrong.

My point (however obtuse it may be) is thus: That the Law is King. To find true freedom – and not the Nietzsche freedom of non-ethics – one must bind themselves to divine law. That way they can be bold warriors like those who have gone before.

By the way I found this claim in my old debate notes – it was some exciting round… poor judge thought I think he (she? don’t remember) was so confused.

Person 2: How does this argument interact with what Aristotle says about the city? That the only people that live outside of cities are either beasts or gods?

Me: You will have to remind me where that idea is – I tried to find it in my small Aristotle collection and could not. So take my response with that being said, I am more of a fan of Augustine’s City of God myself.

But with what I remember from that idea of Aristotle presents (which is more of an Bernard Shaw idea in “The Quintessence of Ibsenism” to my understanding) I can answer here. Man is neither a beast nor a god. When he lives outside the ‘city’ he is neither free from being a human nor is he free of morality; in fact he finds himself free from the blessed bondage of human politics (in the Aristotelian sense: which is one of the definition of being a rational human). I would bind myself to be a man not free myself to be otherwise.

Man cannot live truly without law nor rule himself with his own law. We either bind ourselves and find true freedom, or free ourselves and find true bondage. The meek (not the Superman) have indeed inherited the Earth as was prophesied. The story of ‘Manalive’ is a prophecy of today…. See More

Let me try a different approach (one that would suit Aristotle more – whom I need to study more): If we bind ourselves to Truth, as what he wants all philosophers to do, then we are not free to participate in falsehood. However with the bondage to Truth we participate in the wonders of the world not just live in spite of them. Beasts do not partake in the discovery of the universe and gods (as in the Superman) do not care.

Person 2: Its in the Politics 1253 al

So you are saying that humans have a drive to bind themselves together through marriage, friendship, laws, etc?

The drive to bind ourselves, you say, comes from divine law because of the ethics/morals of divine law? In contrast to Nietzsche’s idea of non-ethics?… See More

Where is the mutual exclusivity of divine law providing ethics/morals and thus a reason for binding ourselves to one another?

Me: Thanks. I think I’ll have to look that up.

I’ll need to think about your questions a bit.

Person 3: Aside from the plenty of Bible verses where god endorses slavery, including the 10th amendment, how does religion make us free? Furthermore, how does a lack of religion make anyone a slave?

Me: I was waiting until you said something – I can always rely on your powerful questions!

Let me answer Ernest’s question first (before I forget): Man as a creature makes creeds. It is a fundamental aspect of mankind. What is the good of telling a community that it has every liberty except the liberty to make laws? The liberty to make laws is what constitutes a free people. And what is the good of telling a man (or a philosopher) that he has every liberty except the liberty to make generalizations. Making generalizations is what makes him a man. This is not a social contract because the contract was made from necessity and from the midst of chaos (depending of course on the specific views of the philosopher).

I’ll give a different example. Every boy (I am sure) dreams of being a super-hero. To soar above in the clouds, to swoop down and rescue people, to stop the oppressive evil of common thugs. Even Superman is bound not by Newtonian physics but by the law. Can you imagine if Superheros operated by the Nietzsche ideal?

There is no mutual exclusivity because it is inherent. It has been pressed on our hearts as created beings. The abstract is meeting the practical.

Now to the question about religion.

First a comment: Perhaps it’s been a long time since I sat down just to read the Constitution but I don’t think the 10th amendment implicitly endorses slavery nor the Bible endorsing a Western view of slavery (but I just started reading the latter Old Testament law so…)

That being said let me get to your concern proper. I know I cannot do this question justice without taking time to think about it. I suggest before I attempt to give an answer that you read through the wonderful book ‘The Everlasting Man’ be Chesterton (It’s in the public domain, so it’s free if you find it online)

The unstated premise of my argument is that man is a religious being. He must worship something: Either the Creator, the Earth, an unmoved mover, a ‘numinous’ of some sort, or even his own reason (I put the atheist here).

So in that categorical sense everyone raises something beside themselves to the position of a higher authority. They bind themselves to that larger thing. Take away the ability to follow that power, let’s take reason for example, then the freedom from that is not true freedom. Without reason how can philosophy and even knowledge exist. Even Heraclitus used reason, even Nietzsche used reason; we would become a slave to our non-reason.

Take away where Truth comes from and we can have no laws.

Another book on this topic would be “The Myth of Religious Neutrality” by Clouser (not in the public domain).

Person 2: You can’t just claim something is inherent about human nature without proving it. Eating is an inherent part of human nature but there are reasons for eating such as nourishment.

in your argument you say human beings bind themselves to each other in order to live the best possible life and that this is a part of human nature.

The reason you give is we need to raise something up above ourselves and you also give two possible ways of doing this, by looking to something metaphysical or to something physical like reason

Is the logic (A v ~A) or is it (A v B)?

Me: Of course my argument depends that tabla-rasa is false (which of course in my opinion it is). We start with some intangibles – much like the pleasure of eating beyond the nutritional and the pleasure of binding oneself beyond the social.

Instead of starting from the abstract, just observe mankind and work backwards. Every society has laws, and … See Moremany of these laws even in different cultures have the same basis. Nonetheless even if they did not have the same basis people have grouped themselves under law. When these laws (for example slavery) contrast a greater law then the greater law prevails (like with William Wilberforce).

Let me clarify: I said (I think, check me if I contradicted myself) that human beings bind themselves to divine law (for even reason is subject to that because it completes it) to find freedom. We don’t raise it above ourselves, that would indicate that it was not above us to start. We subject ourselves to it, thus we find Truth – from Truth law – from law freedom.

Person 3: Sorry, I meant the 10th commandment, not the 10th amendment, even though both were widely used to justify slavery.

I neither worship nor see my reason as divine. All minds are fallible and none, not even our own, should always be trusted. With all the neurotransmitters and hormones pumping throughout, prompting hallucinogenic chemicals to release… See More, the brain’s judgment will sometimes be wrong.

Natural laws are the closest thing I have to a god. The four forces of nature coupled with chemical reactions define and dictate everything. I see no reason to believe in anything else.

Me: I yet again agree with you. We cannot trust our own minds (perhaps the reason is different, but that’s an argument for another time).

Many honorable writings have been used to justify slavery, eugenics and other evils in the world – but now I understand what you were saying (thanks for the clarity).

It is good to see that you believe in something wholesome and honest. The natural world never lies, never misleads, and is a source of great imagination. Sometimes I wish I was like the pagans of old (not the evil ones that gotten corrupted by power and pleasure but the ones who saw the power of the world around them), because their worship was that of a search.

Person 2: The natural instinct of eating is for nourishment, eating for ‘fun’ is not why we get hungry to begin with. indeed most animals eat only when they are hungry and not for fun. Similarly only humans and dolphins have sex for fun. The natural instinct for having sex is to procreate not to have fun.

Define what makes a law greater than another law please.

You said that, “in that categorical sense everyone raises something beside themselves to the position of a higher authority.” I believe you were at that time talking about laws, marriage, etc. I do not agree that there is something naturally above us. For example reason. Reason is a part of being human and to say that a part is greater than the whole makes no sense logically. Putting your girlfriend on a pedestal is similarly bad because that leads to dependent relationships etc. … See More

If I can explain why human beings created laws without appealing to divine law then why assert that it is even involved? Divine law seems superfluous.

Where does Truth come from and how do we know when something is True?

Me: Don’t worry, I have not forgotten about your questions. They are pointed and reach into the heart of what I am proposing. Thus I will need some time to think about them.

I can always could on you to issue great philosophical challenges.

I guess I did forget. No worries I’ll post something like this soon. That way we (and others) can finish (or continue) the discussion.

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