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Freedom is the power to make choices. Achieving and protecting freedom is a goal of communism expressed in the slogan of the French Revolution and national slogan of France: Liberté, égalité, fraternité, Freedom, equality, brotherhood. Capitalism is dependent on the people being available for exploitation as workers, soldiers and consumers because their power to make decisions has been alienated by social disorganization, destruction of culture, expropriation of natural resources, and accumulation of capital.
The slogan of "Liberté" was appropriated and incorporated into law by the capitalist class as the right to trade, to contract, and to hold property in individual and corporate pursuit of profit, wealth, and power. This was particularly true in the United States where the due process clause of the United States Constitution was held repeatedly in the late 19th and early 20th century to prohibit social or economic legislation which restricted economic freedom in any way, for example, it was held that a law establishing a shorter work week was an impermissible restriction on "liberty". Eventually, during the Great Depression, as pressure for social and economic reforms increased, this line of constitutional interpretation, substantive due process, was replaced by deference to legislative power to regulate interstate commerce under the Commerce Clause. Thus the liberty to engage in racial discrimination was restricted if it affected "interstate commerce".
Pre-capitalist, and contemporary traditional cultures, while they may have barbaric elements of freedom, the culture of the Plains Indians comes to mind, are often quite oppressive, locking their members into rigid patterns of thought and living.
Freedom as a concept
Freedom is a concept that is relative to the definitions of the conceptualizer. Definitions in common include political freedom, and the metaphysical concept of free will. The scientific method, even that of hypothesis, has not lent itself to the pursuit of knowledge about other definitions of freedom, before the advent of the use of Wikipedia:Magnetic Resonance Imaging and other ways of detecting brain activity.
There exists a common emotion of freedom that humans feel, that is part of the emotional reward system and thus a driving force behind efforts to maximize political freedom, and to determine whether metaphysically, humans have free will that supersedes Fate (which, as with many either-or scientific diversions such as Nature-Nurture, is best resolved and furthered as, A Bit of Both). As with many emotions, it is likely that advances in the field of Psychology will, if not give new insights, at least standardize a definition of the stimulii and responses that are commonly perceived by humans as Freedom or being free, and its social, behavioral, and neural manifestations.
The concept of novelty was proven to be an emotion in common with all humans due to the presence in the brain of a center that analyzes data as either novel or familiar in the late 1990s. This discovery showed as practical, attempts to stimulate this center, eg named Eye Candy in the mid 1980s
In the same way, the results of MRI observation can verify the practical application of the techniques social agencies of both Art and Science to enhance humans feelings of freedom and being free, assuming this is also such a neurally substantial distinction and there is a social equivalent in place such as with Eye Candy (E.g. perhaps, begging the reader's indulgence for suggesting a wholly hypothetical and subjective list, but for the purposes of clarification: E.g. dangerous sports, the random living espoused in the Dice Man series of books, interactive video games, or equivalents). If not, such research points the way to these agencies to create one.
Freedom does not have to be something restricted by society. It can be a blueprint for society's activities. Desire Paths are the trails developed by erosion caused by animal or human footfall. They deviate from existing constructs such as roads or pavement, and usually represent the shortest or most easily navigated route between an origin and destination. The width and amount of erosion of the line represents the amount of demand. These social trails, that nonetheless deviate from those executed by social structures such as local government, nonetheless can be used by those same agencies to provide feedback and insight into the most user-friendly path, or at least an indicator of activity concentration. The National Park Service unit at the Yosemite National Park, for example, uses this indicator to help establishing its General Management Plan.
Freedom is also commonly used in the context of negatively associated phenomena, to describe their absence.
- Thomas Pink. The Psychology of Freedom. Cambridge University Press. http://books.google.com/books?id=o-SV54IfxIoC&printsec=frontcover&dq=freedom+psychology&hl=en&ei=xxQiTY7pCImqsAPOv4W5Ag&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CC8Q6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q&f=false.
- Luke Rhine. Dice Man. Peter Mayer Publisher. http://books.google.com/books?id=VGM_x5GOzjgC&q=Dice+Man&dq=Dice+Man&hl=en&src=bmrr&ei=Mx0iTZ3ANoOosAPBqJyYCg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCMQ6AEwAA.
- Wikipedia:Nature versus nurture
- Wikipedia:Free will Caveat: The capitalist end of Libertarians and Anarcho-capitalists are very active on Wikipedia
and has put an awful lot of uncited material, if not fringe science or even Original Research, on this page.
- Wikipedia:Desire path
- Page 3, "Marx on Evaluating Pre-Capitalist Societies" essay by R. Nordahl originally published in Studies in Soviet thought, volume 31, pages 303 to 319 (1986) reprinted in Karl Marx's Social and Political Thought: Critical Assessments of Leading Political Philosophers Second Series, Volume Vi, edited by Bob Jessop and Russell Wheatley, Routledge, Taylor and Francis Ltd (1999), hardcover, 2928 pages, ISBN-10: 0415193265 ISBN-13: 9780415193269
- Pages 1 and 2, "Marx on Evaluating Pre-Capitalist Societies" essay by R. Nordahl originally published in Studies in Soviet thought, volume 31, pages 303 to 319 (1986) reprinted in Karl Marx's Social and Political Thought: Critical Assessments of Leading Political Philosophers Second Series, Volume Vi, edited by Bob Jessop and Russell Wheatley, Routledge, Taylor and Francis Ltd (1999), hardcover, 2928 pages, ISBN-10: 0415193265 ISBN-13: 9780415193269
- "MRI emotion"-Google Books search
- "nature vs nurture developmental systems theory behavioural genetics" Google Books search
- PFunctional MRI: applications in clinical neurology and psychiatry, Mark D'Esposito]
- Writing, Reading and Research, 7th Edition: The earliest instance of this phrase in a Google Scholar search
- The emotions: a cultural reader by Helena Wulff
- Dice Man, Luke Rhinehart, Peter Mayer Publishers
- "freedom from"-Google Books search