You're Not In Control

The modern world is full of communication channels and with everyone expressing their opinions it seems that everyone knows best. Along with their criticisms comes their prescriptions for others. So much of the internet is just people telling other people how to think, how to live and how to vote and I find it to be overwhelming pretentious, self-righteous and annoying.

I'm not sure why everyone wants to control everyone else. Ok, that's not true. I get that everyone is power hungry but why are they so confident? They speak with such certainty and aggression it is as if they think that if everyone just did as they said the world would be perfect. This sounds like an overbearing parent to me. Maybe those who demand subjugation are reenacting their perception of moral nurturing. In demanding others adhere to their ethical framework they are telling others they care and want the world to be better but since their only model for teaching such methods is through demands they bark orders instead of negotiating toward a solution.

This applies more obviously to those that lobby the state to enact their brand of justice. Many hold the government as the ultimate in paternal enforcement and moral justice and it is reasonable to think this way as the government does have the power to take, punish and demand but for those that do not accept that these means are justified, the government is merely a group of control freaks trying to tell us what to do. What is curious is how everyone seems to think that they are in control of others and while many comply with the will of others it is not because the demander is in control.

I think we are only as free as our ability to choose but we are not infinitely free. Nor are we infinitely oppressed. We long for freedom and find those that impede it an enemy. It seems that given enough time humans tend to rebel and fight oppression. I suppose that those that wish to fight the power structure require the means to fight and the alternative has to be worse than fighting so some choose comfort and stability over revolt. This seems true in North Korea, although I am not sure if a significant proportion of their population actually believes they are being oppressed. They might be brainwashed into thinking they are free or at least protected, loved or otherwise part of a meaningful group.

But if the people of North Korea decided to band together and fight their "Great Leader", Kim Jong Un would find that he is not in control anymore. And if someone from inside his own party decided to assassinate him he would find that he is not in control. If he were to get cancer and die he would find that he is not in control. We are not in control of much it seems.

We humans can barely take credit for controlling ourselves but somehow so many think they deserve to control others. We should not be so quick to offer our cure for the world's troubles. Instead, we should focus on our immediate environment, make that better and then work outward. This does not mean we should not act to help others or create change but it does mean we should not be attempting to control others through megalomaniacal demands, force, or shame. We should be humble and honest about our lack of understanding about humanity and about what is best.

I would prefer to think of the Freedom From perspective. This means that I want to be free from others' oppression and impediments. Freedom of association and participation means not being forced to be on someone's team or contribute to someone else's notion of morality. Freedom from laws that force me to go against my beliefs about what is right and wrong. It also means taking responsibility to deal with the consequences of my associations and actions that affect others. I don't believe we should be seeking Freedoms To do whatever it is we want or make others act in a way we want.

I realize that I am prescribing what people "should" do in this while criticising those who do the same but I think that what I want to do is highlight the difference between trying to influence thought and trying to control behavior. Those who try the quick route of influence via force and coercion are adding tyranny to the world while those that use words and ideas to influence are introducing alternatives that can be disregarded or adopted based on its value and accuracy.