How has your idea of freedom been complicated by the readings/lectures? Pick one aspect of freedom to focus on (collective, freedom and happiness, market freedom, individual freedom, etc;) and talk about how Morrison, Dostoevsky, or Mill have complicated that concept of freedom. Response Paper 1: Freedom & Happiness I am coming to understand that prior to this class, my idea of freedom was narrow and rather simplistic. In my former understanding, freedom was the absence of oppression, the ability to make whatever choice you desire so long as it does not hurt others. Out of the theorists we have learned in this class so far, I believe my idea of freedom was close to Mill’s
“Harm Principle,” though my ideas were not similar to all of Mill’s arguments. Up until this semester, western education and my fleeting practice of religion guided me to unquestioningly believe that all people are inherently good natured and only harm other people because of existential circumstances in their lives such as mental illnesses or unhealthy upbringing.
Therefore, I was shocked during the reading of Dostoevsky’s “The Grand Inquisitor,” that serious consideration was given to characters who doubted the capacity of goodness in most people. Despite the Grand Inquisitor’s love for humanity, he does not consider them able to handle the burden of freedom.
In my mind, the expression “knowledge is power” always rang true. The further people are from ignorance, the closer they are to living productive lives themselves and to being truly tolerant of other people. However, Dostoevsky proposed through Ivan’s story about the Grand
Inquisitor and Christ that freedom is the ability to believe in something without proof. There is not confirmation or knowledge in this idea of freedom.
I used to unarguably assert that knowledge was key to obtaining freedom, as I thought that with knowledge humans can challenge oppression and know the correct choice to make to avoid hurting themselves or other people. “The Grand Inquisitors” suggests that, freedom as is defined here in the text, is a burden that humans struggle to bare and humans are therefore easily seduced by the temptations of miracle, mystery and authority to rid of this burden.
I agree that we are neither perfect like God nor purely animals of instinct. Our values and imperfections as humans puts us somewhere in between God and animals. Humans have freewill, but are imperfect so humans often make poor choices, regardless of the purity
(or evilness) of our intent. I remember questioning my mom about, if God is all powerful, why
He does not…