Freedom

 “But of all the things which I have mentioned that which most contributes to the permanence of constitutions is the adaptation of education to the form of government, and yet in our own day this principle is universally neglected. The best laws, though sanctioned by every citizen of the state, will be of no avail unless the young are trained by habit and education in the spirit of the constitution, if the laws are democratical, democratically or oligarchically, if the laws are oligarchical. For there may be a want of self-discipline in states as well as in individuals. Now, to have been educated in the spirit of the constitution is not to perform the actions in which oligarchs or democrats delight, but those by which the existence of an oligarchy or of a democracy is made possible. Whereas among ourselves the sons of the ruling class in an oligarchy live in luxury, but the sons of the poor are hardened by exercise and toil, and hence they are both more inclined and better able to make a revolution. And in democracies of the more extreme type there has arisen a false idea of freedom which is contradictory to the true interests of the state. For two principles are characteristic of democracy, the government of the majority and freedom. Men think that what is just is equal; and that equality is the supremacy of the popular will; and that freedom means the doing what a man likes. In such democracies every one lives as he pleases, or in the words of Euripides, ‘according to his fancy.’ But this is all wrong; men should not think it slavery to live according to the rule of the constitution; for it is their salvation.”

-Aristotle

This is a part taken out from Aristotle’s philosophy on politics. It’s funny how a philosophy centuries ago is still applicable for our generations nowadays. Freedom, is something we are all constantly seeking for. We refuse to be constrained from the law. We repudiate to be judged and to be treated in prejudice.

Now we (some of us) are given the privilege to live in democracy. Where we’re able to speak up for ourselves, create a government tailored by the means of the people. But in human nature, we’re greedy, we take things for granted yet we ask for more. We set laws for the asymetry of the community, for establishing a regiment decree, for putting an end to wars and the revolts against inequity, yet we criticise it when we find it contradictory to our predilection.

Without proper education, freedom to the majority of the people, is to go against which ever matter that suppresses you, like how Aristotle quoted to Euripides, “according to his fancy”. Democracy is a system where human rights are protected, where an outcome of a decision of the state is with the participation of the citizens. By education I mean with realisation. The problem with our society now is we follow blindly with the flow of our thoughts. We’ve been dragged along by our possessions for too long, long enough for us to lose our conscience. We feel no guilty, but trailed them for generations and generations since centuries ago.

“It is of the nature of desire not to be satisfied, and most men live only for the gratification of it.”

-Aristotle

From the quote, he expressed that satisfaction is not we will get from what we desire, but most of us still tracking for it. Spending our lifes seeking for something that is almost hypothetical.

Aristotle also refers oligarchy as a system where the wealthy rules. The rich are living in luxury while the poor are living almost at slavery. Democracy was supposed to mark an end to this but the greediness of the ruler and the deprieciation of the citizen had consequentially made us congruent with oligarchy.

To make an equilibrium between democracy and freedom, the idea of freedom that has been deep rooted in our human traits shall be critised and re-educated. “It is not slavery to live under legislation, whereas it should be considered as a salvation.”. Which ever law it is to obey, oligarchy or democracy, there should be a threshold where one shall not surpass. If so, even the institution will collapse.

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4 thoughts on “Freedom

  1. Let us not forget that Aristotle was speaking from a position of power and luxury while he wrote his philosophies for a different culture in a different time. It is simple enough to envision what it is like for the poor and to say that following rules of a constitution will bring them some measure of duty (a virtue according to Aristotle’s virtue ethics). I wonder, however, how Aristotle’s politic might have looked were he not in that position of power. Remember, Aristotle also believed in natural slavery – that certain people BELONGED to others by virtue of their birth, and therefore had no rights. Indeed, the aristocracy might envision a democracy ruled by the majority, but the majority he speaks of are citizens and not the populace.
    To adopt this lens to view our own political system, I think we need to take a look at whose voices are heard in the government and who is being served by policy. When we have lobbyists representing companies that have protected rights equatable to the citizenry but resources vast beyond the majority of the citizenry, we are, like Aristotle, living in an oligarchy parading as a democracy.
    I hope this didn’t come off as negative. Thanks for opening a conversation about Aristotle.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the reply. I’m just a beginner to Aristotle’s philosophies, you’re reply certainly helped me to think in a different perspective. I’ll consider the next time if I’m making any comments in the future! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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