View Full Version : Is freedom a law/right or is it just a state of mind?

17-08-2010, 11:51 PM
Basically is freedom a state of mind?

Example, you're a teenager sitting in a lesson in school, on the third floor (so no, you cannot jump out of the window :P) the door is shut and locked, but you do not know it is locked, only that it is shut, in your mind you can still walk out of that door as freely as ever. Are you still free?


I'm not sure. I think that 'freedom' plays a very large part in the way people think and react to situations. I'm interested to here what you guys come up with :P

18-08-2010, 12:05 AM
In that example, i would say both really. We are free in our minds, in that we do not know thats it locked so we feel as though we are free, making us act like we are free (i imagine we'd act differently since people want which they cannot have, in this case freedom). Whilst technically, we wouldnt be free because if we decided for whatever reason to get up and leave, we wouldnt be able to, thus making us not free.


18-08-2010, 01:23 AM
Interesting question. There is a famous thought experiment known as Schrödinger's cat that applies very well to your example.

Essentially, you have a cat locked in totally sealed metal box. There is poison in the box, which has a 50/50 chance of killing the cat. Until at such time where you open the box to observe the cat, quantum mechanics tells us the cat is both alive and dead. At no point is the cat half-dead or half-alive, but it is superposed into both states. The point of the experiment is to show that when dealing with every day things, nothing can be in both states (the cat cannot be both dead and alive) and having superposed states is a quality that we save only for quantum objects.

But I would disagree with Schrödinger and argue that the concept of freedom would follow a similar quantum principle. Until at such time you turn that handle, you are both free and not free. This isn't to say that you a free until you turn the handle and captive once you do, it is saying that until such time you turn it, you are in limbo, and the end result doesn't undo that limbo you experienced before the answer became evident.

Long story short, I'd say that while the teen is sitting in the classroom, they are both free and prisoner. They share traits with both states, the attitude of a free person with the actual confinement of someone who is trapped. It is only when the handle is tried that the state is set completely to that of a captive.

So yes, you are still free... But you are still a captive. You'd have a free person's spirit, but a prisoner's confinement, even if you weren't aware of it.

21-08-2010, 10:53 AM
People like to think they're free, deffo.

You know in school, it's a great example. I mean I've been in classes where students have thrown chairs at the teacher and shouted "It's my freedom" or something along those lines and I would just facepalm.

It is freedom, until you start limiting others' freedom or using your freedom in a way that would otherwise be deemed unacceptable.


21-08-2010, 04:06 PM
I'd say that freedom in the way you are talking about, as in the freedom to move and leave situations despite there being reasons not to, does exist. It's a social constraint that stops you from leaving the classroom, because it would get you into trouble, thought this doesn't stop everyone from doing it. There are obviously other freedoms, like freedom of expression, but again this is regulated, you can't say anything you want to but strictly speaking nothing is physically stopping you from doing it. Its a hard concept to grasp I think, in certain ways we are free to go about our business but social constraints prevent us from doing some things. E.g. it is socially and legally wrong to murder but there is actually nothing in substance to stop you doing it apart from the knowledge of right and wrong.

22-08-2010, 02:46 PM
Define 'freedom'. Some people may view freedom in different ways.

I'd say anywhere where there are laws or rules, freedom is non-existent.

For those interested in politics, is it communism and the utopia of non-hierarchical society it causes a freedom for people or is it a democracy where people vote and have a voice as another example.

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