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André Glucksmann
The Original Birth of Freedom « Back to Story

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Krzysztof Kezwoń. March 27, 2014 at 3:32 AM
For Polish thoutght Professor Andre Glucsmann is very important thinker and philosopher. He inspiers me. I admire Him. Christopher. Poland
Andrea GLUCKSMANN is really a great thinker and would like to be in touch with him .is it possible to have his email and i share with him some experiences and also seek advice ?

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What I get from this is Ron Paul 2012!I am free man and I support other free men and women in the world.
This is a very challenging article. I especially admire Mr. Glucksmann's division of the types of freedom, favoring, myself, "tragic freedom." Of course, historical change is wildly messy and out of control.(Philosophy and Social Science is always picking up the pieces.)
I do think that the Greeks would never have embraced the Christian idea that each and every soul is equal. Nothing could be more alien - this was seen as against nature, insanity. Yet this idea surely underpins the topsy-turvey democratic states we have around us.
Hello. And Bye.
Please repair the Odiogo - it's out of order....
Wonderful essay. It will take some time to absorb this.
The message was to go to Joseph Fishwick, and was not a comment by him --- sorry.
Humanity --- what as mess of self-deception and conceit. To try is what matters; or is it what matters that we try. It's forever illusive --- heaven on earth. Yet, we all have this vision....
Humanity --- what as mess of self-deception and conceipt. To try is what matters; or is it what matters that we try. It's forever illusive --- heaven on earth. Yet, we all have this vision....
Richhard Burnett Carter December 28, 2010 at 5:01 PM
Athens, the cradle of Western democracy!

How sweet it must have been to own a dozen or so slaves who could do all your dirty work while you at the Agora or Assembly decided the affairs of the city!

Oh yes! They also executed, on bizarre, trumped-up charges, the man, Socrates, who Xenophon termed the wisest and just man he had ever known.
jan ten brummelhuis December 28, 2010 at 9:51 AM
I have seldom read a better article on the most difficult of themes, freedom. How close live superior freedom enjoyed by man (in speech, in behaviour) and the total destruction of society (man living without inhibitions, and lacking in respect towards the other) together in one state. How to keep or to reconstruct the balance?
The true source of human freedom, this author should know, is of course divine transcendence. As Maimonides taught us, Aristotle as the most accomplished Greek philosopher believed in the eternity of the world and therefore had no sense of time, history and freedom. The Greeks inhabited a rather predetermined realm with little freedom to speak of. That's why Socrates had to die. Shalom
I really like that the author applies his philosophic to two contemporary examples - the financial meltdown and the Iraq war. I find have a similar view about both but was delighted at the example of Bush and the shoe hurling reporter. As I read the section about Antigone I was reminded of the Buddhist idea of an absolute and a relative world. I think that notion is also helpful in understanding the human urge to create perfection on earth - from religious fanatics trying to erase sin to Marx's dream of an earthly worker's paradise. The common human mistake is to try to impose the absolute on the flux opposites in the relative world. While I personally happen to accept the Eastern idea that it is possible for the individual ego to learn to merge with the absolute, I am constantly grateful for the Greek tradition of skepticism and self questioning. I think any attempt to approach the absolute - individual or collective - is fraught with the dangers of self delusion.
And for his greatness, the Athenians put Socrates to death...on a charge of impiety.
student of a student of December 27, 2010 at 10:10 PM
"It is the first step in sociological wisdom to recognize that the major advances in civilisation are processes which all but wreck the societies in which they occur: like unto an arrow in the hand of a child. The art of free society consists first in the maintenance of the symbolic code; and secondly in fearlessness of revision, to secure that the code serves those purposes which satisfy an enlightened reason. Those societies which cannot combine reverence to their symbols with freedom of revision, must ultimately decay either from anarchy, or from the slow atrophy of a life stifled by useless shadows."

Alfred North Whitehead - 'Symbolism, its Meaning and Effect'
In Thucydides history of the 30 years war between Athens and Sparta, it is clear that Athens was an imperialist aggressor demanding tribute (taxes) from the rest of the Hellenes.
If the author thinks that Marx understands freedom, then the author does not understand Marx.

The hundreds of millions of victims of marxist-socialist oppression caused by his bastard philosophy of life are the facts that betray any claim to freedom he may make in his fanciful ruminations.
The corollary of "crisis as [being] intrinsic to freedom" is "crisis as being intrinsic to reason," which is the crux of Aristotle's highest form of reason, practical reason, or Phronesis. Henceforth I shall present crisis as the appropriate setting for Phronesis.

Always reasoning towards the “right mean,” Aristotle conceived of a non-methodological application of general principles to particular situations, the praxis of which is guided by the particulars of the situation and with no pre-determined end.

The words of the Gods may be "doubtful and impure," but isn't that same Greek insight linked to the perception that an absolutely unchangeable law was known to Their domain only, and never to ours?

I think that I comprehend Aristotle's meaning of the seeming mutability of Natural Law as the consequence of our impure and imperfect interpretations of it. But I can never discern whether he also meant to say that Natural Law is in itself changeable, inasmuch as it is unable to contain all possibilities of actuality - all that we know in the human realm - within its nature.
The author speaks of a so-called "balance", where too much freedom can lead to chaos, and too little leads to tyranny. The "right mean" described by Glucksmann... the equilibrium he speaks of, is not something that we as people or citizens can or should determine. The problems and upheavals that we've faced throughout history are a result of human beings trying to engineer that "right mean equilibrium". In a truly free society, such as the way America ought to be... that equilibrium is found in the free-markets, elections, public opinion, supply and demand, etc. There should be no restrictions on freedom whatsoever. In such a society, chaos CANNOT necessarily follow because you likewise cannot infringe on the freedom of another. You're free, but not so free as to murder another, because in that case HE would not be free. If we start entertaining discussions of restricting freedom in order to prevent something like murder... then we are deviating from those principles of freedom altogether. The author implies that we should entertain such discussions, lest we become "too free" and thus "chaotic". It is the arrogant belief that there is a righteous balance that human beings can decipher, that is the real reason for chaos and/or tyranny.

Before going all out to treat Socrates's death as an anomoly, I recommend reading Maccabees, and comparing it to earlier accounts of Jews being conquered. The Greeks were not just oppressive overlords. They were out to persecute.
You cover so much!

The dream of a harmonious world has become our modern superstition. The hubris of modern democracy, ie. the laws of man now supersede the laws of the night; is leading to a tyranny of the majority (a majority not of the world's population, but a majority of the ruling elite of just a few of the major powers)...

The result? Collapse of the western world from within and without; a thousand year conflict with ignorance if we are lucky. A nuclear annihilation of our major cities and with it our intellectual elite, if we are not.

The Coming Dark Ages...
Odd, I just read an article in the National Interest that says that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 was not due to the revelation of the death camps.

What Rawls Hath Wrought - John Grey

the Holocaust did not figure in the deliberations that led up to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the UN in 1948.

“across weeks of debate around the Universal Declaration in the UN General Assembly, the genocide of the Jews went unmentioned in spite of the frequent invocation of other dimensions of Nazi barbarity.”

genocide was by and large considered separate from (and perhaps less important than) human rights.
There is a scab on a small scratch on the face of history. It reaches from ancient Athens to modern DC. It thinks of itself as the complete human history. It is a tiny scab. We worship ourselves, foolishly.
Excellent article. Perhaps the author would further enlighten with an article about the possible aftermath of democracies collapse?
There seems to me an invisible presence in this essay: Muhammad, the enemy of everyone who is named.
It is highly gratifying to learn that someone can make a living parsing a subject that common folks, such as myself, have no interest in. Not one of my 84 years has ever been troubled with the conundrums of philosophy. That is not to say that philosophers have had no effect on my life or my country.They have, but so did Pablo Escobar, whose empirical philosophy was make as much as you can any way you have to. For us peons, it is enough to have to think about the basics of surving the day. We suffer the consequences of philosophers without recourse.
If you have freedom you have to be prepared to defend it and this is where most democratic nations fail. Sir Neville Chamberlain failed but Roosevelt didn't even show up. Eisenhower failed to defend the Hungarians after US broadcasts urged them to rise up. The US Senate pulled the plug on South Vietnam at the behest of left-wing senators. Just before that LBJ told Breznev that Czechoslovakia as an "internal matter".
Vladimir Val Cymbal December 26, 2010 at 10:11 PM
Freedom was described as having nothing left to lose in a song. Another definition of freedom is not being encumbered with any restraints to do whatever one decides. The usual definition of freedom does not include any form of restraint, especially consideration of others. Unless one lives completely outside of any society with not interaction with anyone, individual freedom includes denial of freedom to others, a burden of inconvenience in the least. Judeo-Christian definition of freedom requires a sense of responsibility.

The most obvious example is budgeting one’s income. Purchasing items, such as a home requires reasonable plans of paying for it. In the case of a home purchase freedom of facilitating such a transaction requires responsibility on all parties involved. The consequences of irresponsible action in this case will cause inconvenience to others in the least and contribute to an economic decline that affects a whole nation or even several nations in the worst case (as we have experienced lately).

Responsible action needs to accompany exercising one’s freedom.
Remarkable piece of philosophy.