Roland Dürre
Tuesday October 20th, 2009

“My Liberties!” or “What is Liberty?”

FreiheitI was born in 1950. Until the year 1983, I believed that, for me, liberty meant being able to do or not do whatever I want.

To be sure, you have to consider your neighbour’s liberty to some extent, just as you also have to keep in mind that liberty, just like, for instance, property, also includes some responsibility for the common good.

In 1983, I learned a new definition of liberty:

Liberty means that I am willing and able to live my life based on my own responsibility.

Yesterday, I attended a symposium at Wolfgang- Goethe University at Frankfurt about “Brains or Gut Feeling”. It was a magnificent event with great orators and presentations. Among other things, the discussion in the symposium was about how “free” people are when they make decisions. The latest neurological findings, in particular, add a very interesting aspect to this question. I was especially impressed by the presentations of Professor Dr. Gerhard Roth (Bremen) and Professor Dr.Guy Kirsch (Luxemburg).

During the presentation of Professor Kirsch, I (in the year 2009) learned yet a new definition of liberty:

I am (subjectively) free if my conscious interests complement my subconscious interests.

Now I wonder if any of these definitions are really definitions, or if they are only necessary requirements. I tend towards the latter. After all, I already found two necessary requirements for being free.

However, I assume that there must also be a sufficient requirement for liberty:

I am free if I manage to increase life both on a personal and an external level, rather than minimizing it!

Too philosophical?

Well, it would have made me happy if I had learned this kind of philosophy around, let us say, 1970. – But we all know it is never too late!

(Translated by EG)

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