"Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose...."
-----Janis Joplin "Me & Bobby McGee"
Well Pearl is about as free as you can get and has been for a long time, but I don’t think it’s doing her any good. While there is definitely a certain freedom is not having many consequences left, there will always be consequences….until there truly are none left, and then it’s too late.
Recently I have been having a great exchange with one of my favorite people about “freedom”. It started out pervertedly enough in discussing whether dominance and submission affect one’s freedom in a contradictory way but then it descended into a wholesome discussion of determinism vs. dualism. As bad an influence as I try to be, sometimes even I just can’t help having a regular conversation. The following quote is what started it all:
“A submissive gives up control for freedom. A Dominant gives up freedom for control.”
Now I know I have to be one of the most cantankerous bastards around, but to me this is what you’d find inside of an “inspirational” Hallmark card if the company was run by Goreans. I hate platitudes to begin with. “Inspirational quotes” normally just inspire me to vomit. So when kinky people start writing this way I feel like a vanilla person would feel if the Pope began celebrating Black Masses. However, the quote as used in Dan’s blog was completely valid and prompted a worthy discussion, so that’s cool. It’s the quote itself that bugs me.
I get the second part to a degree. As Ben Parker advised Peter, “with great power, comes great responsibility,” and responsibility has a nasty way of making one feel less free. Therefore it makes sense that if a Dominant is taking on the responsibilities of leadership and authority while looking to do so in a way that benefits their sub, they might feel less ‘free’ to just do whatever the hell they want. But that first part? Really? How is having to obey someone else’s rules or else be punished a road to freedom? Contentment perhaps, if submission is your thing…….but not freedom.
I have rules to live by and consequences if I don’t adhere to them, and the arrangement keeps me balanced and focused…… and certainly scratches my submissive itch, but I certainly don’t feel freer because of it. I felt free before the restrictions, but that freedom led to irresponsibility at times. Now I have responsibility benevolently imposed………………or I get my ass roasted. I’m better off because…………I am LESS FREE.
But enough of that. What about ‘freedom’? Specifically “free will”? Do we actually have free will at all, or is it the neurological illusion Paul Bloom postulated? I am pretty much a determinist………………mainly because I have a penchant for eschewing anything metaphysical or supernatural. However, I do understand Dan’s point that the inability to test determinism (at least through measurements currently available) renders it a theory open to criticism. But if determinism is wrong…….what then?
Well, you get dualism. And as I said to Dan…..”if you don’t like determinism, try proving dualism.” Dualism necessitates all sorts of things that get pretty sticky pretty quickly………….mainly that there is some other aspect to us besides what we can measure. And even if one is willing to give this aspect credence, you have to ask, “what is it?” A soul? What’s that? Is there a purpose to it? If so, what gives it that purpose? Is there design to it all? Then who is the designer? Where did the designer come from? What does it want? Yadda……yadda …..ad infinitum.
And as much as Dan might bristle right now, I have to whip out my ‘Occam’s Razor’ faster than an Italian barber. Determinism may have a multitude of variables, but dualism? Holy Guacamole! Isn’t it more reasonable to believe that a combination of biological and sociological factors lead us directly to the decisions we make? Or is it better to assume that some metaphysical entity with no known motive has implanted some intangible imperative in us that somehow exists separately from our brain?
Whenever anyone has told me that what we are physically is not who we really are, but rather our identities are defined by a metaphysical soul, I have countered by asking, “then why is it that when the brain is altered by damage, disease, or chemicals, personalities change?”
But you can believe whatever comforts you. You are as free to do that as Janis was when she bought that bad batch of heroin. Too bad she just didn’t stick with the booze.