Every little increase in human freedom has been fought over ferociously between those who want us to know more and be wiser and stronger, and those who want us to obey and be humble and submit.
--- Philip Pullman, The Subtle Knife


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At 2/15/2006 9:31 am , Blogger ejl said...

i love the way philip pullman throws in such contemporary and mature themes into what is essentially a children's storybook.

he's out to subvert a whole generation of children. i love it!

but as an aside, i think freedom(s) must be carefully classified as positive rights or negative rights, i.e. you can have this right to freely do this thing, or we're not saying anything so you are free to do or not do it.

it makes a lot of difference substantially. the former empowers you to do things. the latter merely disguises itself as a right to freedom, but in fact only serves to perpetuate the status quo.

it's funny how the OB-markers issue is both a positive and negative right at the same time, they giveth with one hand what the other taketh away.

At 2/20/2006 8:47 pm , Blogger NARDAC said...

I'm not sure why half your commentors are trying to reword the original.

Perhaps they think there isn't any worth in beauty or knowledge, or that it doesn't exist. If so, why even bother having a debate?

At 2/21/2006 8:55 pm , Blogger NARDAC said...

I see where you're coming from but I also have this suspicion that you think freedom is dangerous because you think people use it against others.

Freedom is only dangerous when people choose to use it maliciously against others. What is wise doesn't have to necessarily be chosen by consensus either. If beauty, truth and knowledge do exist in their absolute undebatable form, then surely the understanding of them wouldn't need education. Therefore, we might be wise enough, without consensus or education, to use or freedom wisely, non-maliciously.

Unless, of course, you think people are naturally bad and do horrible things without malicious intent out of just exercising their freedom.

Anyways, being an artist, I think the notion of absolute beauty and truth is something I have a hard time acknowledging, or even arguing for. The idea of beauty, an abstract, in my mind exists, but only according to my definitions. I have no idea how we could take something so intimate in understanding and make it into a universal definition.

Unless of course it's Mozart. I draw the line at Mozart... but of course, there's so many people who disagree with me on that.

It's the same way you never really know if someone really loves you. You really only have the physical proof, but the interior knowledge is something only known by the individual.

I'm no philosophy major, so don't get too heavy on the jargon with me.


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