Individuality and Freedom

Authors such as possibly Foucault, but I think especially Deleuze can be read as glorifying schizophrenia. The story may go, very roughly, something like this: through institutions, norms and rules human beings are being subjected. At times, this may be read as oppressed, i.e. constrained in our freedom. The rough story would continue stating something along the lines that florid schizophrenia defies precisely such norms and rules, allowing for one to be a truly free individual.

(as for Deleuze, I am not so sure, but Foucault certainly had more nuanced periods in which such an evaluative judgment about these structures imposed on the human being would not be possible. To be subjected, on such a reading, would just as much mean to be turned into a subject. If taken seriously that may point to the very necessity of said structures to allow any subjectivity as we know it to become possible in the first place.)

Much may be said about the rough story. I read it as pretty much a fair interpretation. I have issues with the evaluative conclusions that are drawn from it though, the glorification of schizophrenia. Such surely does not match my experiences. Hence, suppose the rough story is correct, combine that with the experience of schizophrenia, should we then not conclude that we need to re-evaluate our appreciation of individuality and freedom?

I see every individual as unique, that adds to the beauty of life.

About freedom, it’s limited. We have freedom of choice, but I don’t think that’s the freedom you mean. What does freedom mean to you, really?

Something that involves possibility and opportunity to pursue one’s goals in life. The, I think, rather pessimistic view of sociality would have it that almost each of terms used in the previous sentence would be subject to oppressive social structures. For example something along the lines that my goals are projections of society’s expectations. Opportunities are limited by power-structures and so on. What makes it sound pessmistic to me is the view that we could/should do away with these. Sure, things may be changed for the better. Yet, at times, a much more radical thesis is advanced, one that seems to want to do away with sociality per se. I would embrace the notion that personal goals to a large extend reflect societal influences. Yet that is precisely why I would maintain we need social structures that allow us to realize these goals and hence freedom… I suspect some have a notion of the ‘atomic human’ as an ideal conception of freedom and individuality, one that is complete in itself, only to be hindered and undermined in both its freedom and its individuality by conforming to others.

There’s no actual solution to that problem. If we abolish societies need for work force with technology, we are left with the creative fields and social sciences. Would it broaden or diminish our life goals? Thinking in work of course, goals are much more than that.

For me true freedom lies in the other part of it, some climb mountains, others cross oceans, others invent stuff, but the notion of fulfillment varies from person to person, either by contributing to society or to self realization.

I thrive for a simple life, that’s my life goal. Not ambitious at all, maybe a house by the beach in my middle age, after little family is left. Maybe kids, someone to love. As for my contribution to society, I hope for more activism and to help special needs kids. Small and simple goals.

Some thrive for ambitious things, and that’s freedom too.

The limits are set either way.

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