Integral eco-archetypal image

Integral eco-archetypal image
Integral eco-archetypal image

Friday, July 5, 2013

Negative and Positive Freedom


I posted this on my Facebook page yesterday:What does the 4th of July mean to me? It means the promise of human freedom from tyranny and oppression, the freedom of conscience, the freedom of self-expression, the freedom to imagine and create to the fullest potential of my highest aspirations, and the protection of our civil and human rights. What does it mean to you? Love, light and shadow, Jalaledin

Contextualizing some of these sentiments, far more eloquently, is Dr. Saba Mahmood, Associate Professor of anthropology at UC Berkeley, in her insightful analysis Politics of Piety - The Islamic Revival and the Feminist Subject:

"Negative freedom refers to the absence of external obstacles to self-guided choice and action, whether imposed by the state, corporations, or private individuals. Positive freedom, on the other hand, is understood as the capacity to realize an autonomous will, one generally fashioned in accord with the dictates of "universal reason" or "self-interest," and hence unencumbered by the weight of custom, transcendental will, and tradition. In short, positive freedom might be best described as the capacity for self-mastery and self-government, and negative freedom as the absence of restraints of various kinds on one's ability to act as one wants. It is important to note that the idea of self-realization itself is not an invention of the liberal tradition but has existed historically in a variety of forms, such as the Platonic notion of self-mastery over one's passions, or the more religious notion of realizing oneself through self-transformation, present in Buddhism and a variety of mystical traditions, including Islam and Christianity." (2012, pp. 10-11).

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