Before we start: I’m still struggling with these ideas so forgive any inconsistency you may notice. Don’t take it personal and start attacking me, like I said: still processing the ideas here. Don’t get too worked up. Honestly, just leave now.
It’s important to undertake the difficult task of defining happiness and freedom before we begin in order to clarify what I’ll be talking about because they’re too broad and they’re words you can’t have set and fixed definitions for.
What is happiness? Happiness is being satisfied, content, delighted, and any cheerful emotion along those lines or maybe all of them at the same time. It’s something you know you’re feeling when it happens. There are a few conditions, however; in order for you to truly be happy. Can you feel happiness if you haven’t eaten for two days? Will you take delight in the birth of your first child if you’re afraid for your life as well as that of your family? Probably not. These things practically fall under human rights and some entity should be accountable for providing them regardless of whether or not it actually does.
What about freedom? We stuck to a fairly traditional definition of happiness. The kind of freedom I’ll be referring to here is a more complete kind of freedom. We’re not talking about freedom of speech or the freedom to dress the way you want, we’re talking about the kind of freedom where you can do whatever it is you want to do. The freedom you get when there’s no government or system to limit, restrain, or punish you. Anarchy isn’t exactly what I’m going for, but if it’ll get you there then sure think of it as anarchy. The freedom to not have to pass through an educational system and get certain grades in order to work in a certain career. You announce yourself an architect. If people think you’re a fraud well they’re free to not use your services, but the government can’t shut you down. Don’t think this kind of freedom makes it okay to hurt others, it’s just that still any form of punishment you receive for hurting someone else won’t lie in the hands of a group of people using rules or laws to judge everyone equally. It will probably be in the hands of the person you hurt or those around him or her.
In this kind of system, or rather the absence of one, there doesn’t have to be chaos but at the same time things aren’t as well defined and as clear as they are in the world as we know it. You may have a shortage of miners, bakers, or scientists. In the absence of a system very few will have the desire to produce and help society evolve simply because there’s no society. At the same time people can be anything they want so the majority of the population may deviate towards a few professions at the expense of others.
Can you be happy living with this much freedom? This IS the height of freedom. There’s no oppression. There’s no system dictating what you should and shouldn’t do. There’s no entity to provide you with your basic human rights such as food, shelter, clean water, an education, and health services. You’re on your own. If this kind of system went into action tomorrow, and given enough time for people to take off their shackles, would you have factory workers? Probably not. Maybe people who already have commitments would find it too risky to try something new but there will definitely be strikes and demands.
Younger generations would refuse to work for someone who makes triple their salary who ultimately works for someone who makes dozens of times their salaries. After all they’re not forced to do this because they weren’t rejected from doing something else such as entering college. They’re free to do whatever they want.
This doesn’t sound very sustainable, does it? So who makes the bread in this scenario? Will there be enough bread for everyone? How can you sleep safely at night knowing that there’s no established punishment for anyone who robs you or kills someone you love? This is absolute freedom though, right? But it hasn’t protected you, fed you, or educated you. Your basic human rights, you have to fight for them now. Someone mugs you in the street well there’s no law enforcement. There’s no law. If you want your money back you’re going to have to look for them yourself and retrieve your things. There’s no police so you can file a report then continue your day and go to work. Where’s the happiness?
That’s why we’ve given up our freedom. We’ve accepted systems that limit our dreams and ambitions because they give us functioning societies. We’ve accepted that if the system says I can’t be a doctor then it’s probably right, after all the system gives me my basic human rights.
We think “The system knows what’s best for us and I accept it even if it means I can’t follow my dream. Tomorrow I’ll get over my dream. I’ll have bread and live a relatively safe life and things will get better. I’ll be happy.” You, me, and so many of us have given in. We need a system because we need the bread. Who doesn’t? In exchange for our freedom, at least we’re happy. To be more accurate at least we believe we’re happy.
What about the factory worker or the baker? Are these their dream jobs? I doubt it. Would they be happy if we lived in total freedom and they had to fight for their basic human rights? I doubt it. For you and me not getting into the college we want for instance and getting into another one it’s a downgrade but it’s OK. We’ll be led to believe that we’re happy eventually. What about the baker? He has his human rights and he accepts his role because society necessitates it. Is he happy? I doubt it. We’ve given up our freedom and settled for less. We’ve given up his freedom and he just accepted it.
What is happiness?