3.b.2 – What freedom do we really need?

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March 18, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

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 What freedom do we really need?

Being free to do what doesn’t interest us or what we do not want to dois not a great luck, it would be a freedom without value; the value of freedom depends then on what it allows us to do, the importance of the activities that allows us to perform. According to this criteria, it is sufficient to ask ourselves what are the most important activities, to get the answers we seek.
Our animal nature imposes some needs to be met; in particular the freedom to move is deeply rooted in our nature, it is a physical and psychological necessity we can’t do without; prison has always been used as a punishment for criminals, people often tough and accustomed to everything, but to be locked up for long is hard to bear even for them. Then if we prevent someone from meeting his even more fundamental needs like eating, drinking, sleeping and getting warm, we enter the field of torture.
Our innate sociability leads us also to have contacts with our fellow creatures; it is an important psychological need and should therefore not be surprising that the insulation is one of the most common punishments additional to imprisonment, or one of the sacrifices that the religious people like hermits impose themselves, further to fasting and to sexual abstinence, to test and exercise their strength of will.
Closely related to the above basic needs are those economic and social in general; to have a home, maintain a family, then to have a job, to educate the children (and thus have some time for them), to have at least the hope of being able to climb a rung of the social hierarchy to which we belong, which mean career prospects and social prestige. To have the freedom to meet at least these requirements means having the opportunity to live in dignity and feeling rightly realized.
It’s easy, however, to read on any history book that, at different times, all the freedom associated with these demands were denied: sometimes after the imposition of various forms of slavery by one population to another, sometimes because of very strong cultural traditions also related to family, such as sexism and consequent enslavement of women.
If we want to study how to better protect the value of freedom, it is from here that we should start: what are the fundamental types of freedoms and what are the dangers that today can threaten it.

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