The 7 Sins of the Modern World.

In Western society we have all heard of the seven cardinal sins. And, whilst it’s a Christian concept, pretty much every person in every society can see why they are viewed so negatively. Pride is not only unpleasant to be around, it can motivate people to act in their own best interests rather than those of the group. Wrath is dangerous to a society, the wrathful person and their victims. Envy can be a motivator behind violence and more unpleasant activities. Lust undermines the romantic and political structures behind human relationships. Greed can encourage people to focus only on themselves, or to work only for unconsumable rewards, again interfering with society’s function as well as being irritating. Gluttony can make the sinner unhealthy as well as risking an imbalanced divide of consumables, causing starvation. Sloth makes people unproductive, encourages them to rely on the work of others and is a general bane to society.

And, just as most people in most societies understand the problems the cardinal sins bring, most people and most cultures have their own examples that spring to mind when these sins are mentioned. In the West, we picture the arrogant businessman with an inflated sense of self importance as Pride, the angry harpy beating her boyfriend over every misdemeanor as Wrath, the teenager keying his wealthier classmate’s car as Envy, the amateur “stripper” with a partner count in the 100s as Lust, the elitist CEO driving third world workers to death as Greed, the morbidly obese hedonist gourmet-meets-gourmand as Gluttony and the bone-idle thirty-something shutaway living off their parents and the dole as Sloth.

But we have these views because they disconnect us from the reality of these sins. These extreme examples are extreme because of how massively they impact those affected. But they are hardly the most common manifestations of these sins. Each is more common and just as extreme in our daily lives, and whilst the impact of one or two people engaging in these behaviours is small, their collective impact is destroying our society.

Pride = Entitlement

Pride is an overinflated sense of self-worth accompanied by an expression of that sense and often poor self-esteem. Basically, a proud person believes they are very important whilst harbouring volatile insecurity beneath the surface. Hence “pride goes before destruction”, as the inevitable result of pride is the cracking of the shell.

And nowhere is pride more evident in our society than in our fragile and all-encompassing sense of entitlement. Often confused with narcissism, this form of pride comes young. Children already display it in a way not evidenced in tribal or pre-1900s societies. It is the obsession with your own worth, the idea that you deserve everything you want, that every denial is injust, that everyone who dislikes you is jealous and everyone who loves you does so for the right reasons. It is born of a combination of easygoing parenting, extreme wealth and a deep fear of abandonment and hatred. Whenever pride is denied or the illusion is broken, a feeling of resentment and fear ensues.

It may manifest as an expectation that you’ll get a certain gift for valentine’s, a desire to be deeply loved by everyone or a need to get your ideal car, at your ideal price, regardless of all context.

Wrath = Stress

Wrath is intense, uncontrolled anger, normally born from vengeful desires. Basically, a wrathful person is quick to anger, sensitive to other people’s anger, quick to act on their anger and often paranoid.

Wrath in our society is actually a more subtle sin. Due to careful indoctrination in schools, extreme policing and careful observation of our social rules by both individuals and organizations, there aren’t many vents for anger. Not only is this bad for general irritability, as bottling your anger isn’t very good for you, but it’s even worse in terms of wrath. When you bottle rightful anger and wrath together, you can lose sight of what is a helpful emotion designed to tell you what is harming you, and what is a rooted desire for vengeance and destruction. When this happens, we begin to pile straw onto the camel’s back. Everything gets mixed up and causes stress. Because we’re angry, frustrated, wrathful and can’t express it, identify it, deal with it. Stress is your body’s response to danger. And when we harbour wrath we can’t act on, we feel endangered, hurt and start to become stressed.

Of course, not all stress is born of wrath. A lot of stress comes from exhaustion, overworking, etc. But, then again, some of the most effective stress release therapies involve violent outbursts. Boxing, pillow-screaming, stress balls, punching pillows, martial arts… Think of how many people do that to let off steam. Consider how much wrath could be behind their stress, unaddressed.

Envy = Debt

Envy is a desire for something that someone else has, usually largely because they happen to have it. Basically, an envious person wants to own the things that others have. They would not want them if the other person did not have them or enjoy them. They feel an acute pain when someone else has something good and they desire it.

Just to be clear, I am not saying debt is envy. Rather, a lot of debt in modern Western societies is the manifestation of envy: its physical result in the real world. Some people will be in debt due to a crisis: sudden unemployment, illness and injury, fire in an uninsured home, etc. But this isn’t the case for the vast majority of Western people. The vast majority are in debt because we spend beyond our means, buy pointless things and always need to upgrade. Students who get engineering degrees are rarely in debt for very long. They get out, get work and pay off their debt. But students who aren’t bright or qualified enough for an engineering degree would rather accumulate debt they can’t repay in a marxist film theory degree than be “outshone” by the engineers. People with good money can afford yearly new cars and £1M houses. People without good money will use credit, mortgages and installments to live a good money lifestyle.

Most individuals are in debt because a friend, relative, celebrity or random person on TV showed themselves to have more than the individual had, so the individual got a degree, a car, a house, etc to compete with everyone else. Keeping up with the Joneses is envy that begets debt.

Lust = Porn

Whereas envy is a reactive desire: wanting what someone else has because they have it, lust is an active desire: wanting something because it is. Lust is perceived as an integral, animalistic drive, following your baser instincts rather than taught behaviours. It is usually connected to sex, as sex is the strongest source of spontaneous attraction to humans, often coming before food.

I know this one has been done into the dust, but it has because it’s true. Lust in our society manifests primarily in our consumption of pornographic materials. And boy do we consume them. Pornographic content is available at the touch of a button online, composing around 5% of websites and getting more traffic than Netflix. There are also forums and message boards dedicated to it. And where it’s viewed as a man’s problem, people are starting to become aware that when women feel the urge, we are just as likely to go to a porn site. To add to that, we have the traditional sources of porn: magazines, erotica, photos, both in their old forms and online forms. Furthermore, we have become so obsessed with sex that we need to talk about who is or isn’t having it, what is appropriate to do in your private bedroom and whether breastfeeding is sexual. We are so obsessed that we now use sex icons to sell fairly innocuous products and all sorts of items, for men, women and teens alike, are sold using sex.

When we watch videos worshiping the female behind, when we buy a product that was sold using sex, when we consume erotica, pornographic videos or “soft” pictures, we are indulging lust. And almost nobody is exempt.

Greed = Workaholism

Greed is “excessive aquisitiveness”, or the desire to possess more than you need. Basically, the greedy person is a hoarder, wanting to accumulate beyond what they could possibly ever use. They never have enough, whatever they add to the hoard becomes the new “baseline” they never want to drop below. They just keep accumulating.

Greed in our society is manifest as workaholism. Now, again, we’re not talking about the actual medical condition where someone is basically addicted to the work itself. We’re talking about the far more common form: the addiction to earning. These are the people who ate their jobs and do the bare minimum for their hourly pay, but will do extra hours, extra work and take on secondary jobs to get more money in the bank. They will then use that money to buy material goods to hoard or boast of, or events and experiences to boast of. All that matters is accumulating enough wealth. And most people indulge in greed to a degree.

Yet thanks to a combination of greed, pride and envy, we don’t realize how greedy or jealous we actually are, as we will spend right the way to the edge of every paycheck trying to keep up with the Joneses. Plenty of people survive on 4-10k/year in Western countries. Yet a workaholic with a 200k paycheck and 100k in debt feels like they are living a bare basics lifestyle when, in fact, they are consumed by greed and envy.

Gluttony = Obesity

Gluttony is often confused with greed. Gluttony is the permanent desire for consumable goods and an overconsumption of them when they get them. Basically, a glutton is someone who longs for more food than they need and regularly indulges that longing.

And our manifestation of gluttony is obesity. Now, you could argue that gluttony is also manifest as gourmets, gourmands and bulimics. But these people, even added up, do not make up a half to two thirds of any given population. We are surrounded by food and the only people who are not truly gluttonous are those who eat the amount they need to sustain themselves and eat largely if not wholly for sustenance. So two thirds of the population is already excluded and that’s without counting thin people who suffer from binge eating disorders, who obsess over food, who eat only for pleasure and not for health. In short, we live in such a time of abundance that not only is the temptation to be greedy strong, there are few among us who haven’t succumbed to it.

Sloth = Infantilism

Finally, we get to sloth. Sloth is an aversion to work or activity, not at all limited to the physical. Basically, a slothful person will be work-shy, physically idle and therefore unfit, uninclined to make up their own minds about anything, needing to have their opinions and ideas fed to them, fond of mindless entertainment, etc.

As you have probably guessed, sloth is as prevalent in our society as pride, gluttony and envy. Probably more prevalent. And it is because of taught infantilism. Infantilism is the state of being mentally younger than your biological age. Taught infantilism is when that state is not a result of disability, but of upbringing. And every generation is more and more infantilized. We are hand-held through life. Our parents guard and protect us from bad images on TV, insults and fights with siblings. Our parents can’t punish their children efficiently any more. The government coddles and stunts children. We know no suffering, no pain, no fear, no injury, no insult. Too many children never hear “no”. Between weak parenting and government intrusion, many people don’t mentally mature beyond the age range 8-13, leaving them overly sensitive to insult, insecure, with abandonment issues, unable to look after themselves, relying heavily on the government for their income, safety, education, security, decision-making, etc.

The results of infantilism are fairly evident. Children need to look up to their parents, trust teachers and siblings, learn from their elders, rely on others to make decisions for them, etc. That is the natural order. But in an adult who should be robust, mature and independent those behaviours are just slothful. Someone who needs a comfortable car to go everywhere, who needs to be told who to vote for, who needs someone to protect them whenever they choose to intoxicate themselves, who needs to slap them on the wrist when they hurt themselves… that person is as slothful as someone who never gets up from the sofa.

Sins = Chaos

So there are the seven cardinal sins, why they are a problem whether you are Christian or not, religious or not and how they manifest in our society. You needn’t have any faith at all to realize that cardinal sins are sins because they mess things up for everyone and shouldn’t be done.

But as a population and as individuals we regularly indulge the seven sins. It’s quite likely that at least half the population gives into all seven over the course of a week and doesn’t even realize they have done it. We expect to be catered to by everyone and guarded from ourselves by the government, but we don’t see our pride and sloth. We obsess over earning more, getting good credit, all so we can get a car that our mate Dave has been showing off, but we don’t see envy, greed and pride. We overeat and get fat, but we don’t see gluttony and sloth. We long for every item we see for sale, but we don’t see greed, lust, pride, and envy. We get overly anxious at work because we aren’t earning enough and need a promotion to pay off our mortgage faster, but we don’t see greed, envy and wrath. We treat each other as objects, trying to extort money, sex, attention, all sorts of things out of the people who pass through our lives, but we don’t see lust, pride and greed. As a population we are consumed by the seven cardinal sins. And our society is a perfect example of why these sins are so much of a problem.

We can move beyond it on an individual level. We will all succumb to them from time to time, but we can at least strive to be modest, unselfish, calm, kind, loving, active, restrained and mature, to make the most of what we have, enjoy others successes, strive for our own success and be moderate in all we consume and use. But unless 99% of the Western world adopted that approach, we will be a drop of water in the ocean.

What do you think? Do you agree on the modern representations of the sins? Do you fight them, or do you “enjoy the decline”? How do you deal with people who display all these problems? Share your thoughts, knowledge and experiences in the comments!

TTFN and Happy Hunting.

Humans Cannot Act Against Human Nature

“We are exactly as nature “intended”. We couldn’t exist otherwise, as the process of evolution would have cut us from the tree long ago. Our minds are exactly as nature “intended”. All nature “intends” us to be is successful or dead. Our minds have made us what we are, have made us immensely successful, and that includes our rational decisions regarding our own instincts. As we are still alive, it’s safe to assume nature “intended” reason to be part of our human nature.”

Again, as always, let’s be clear on the definitions of “human nature”. The Oxford English Dictionary currently defines it as:

“The general psychological characteristics, feelings, and behavioural traits of humankind, regarded as shared by all humans.”

So, that would make “human nature” better defined as “human behaviours, feelings and other characteristics”. By paying special attention to the word “psychological”, we note that we are not talking exclusively about actions committed, ideals or instincts, but a combination of all three and more. By paying special attention to the word “regarded”, we note two things. Firstly, the opinion of human nature is not an absolute. It is perceived to be, or “regarded” as shared by all humans, however this does not mean that any specific behaviour actually is. Secondly, as an opinion, it is subjective. Need I say more?

As the view on what constitutes “human nature” is subjective, generalized and broad, we must try and regard “human nature” without trying to make it objective (implying complete knowledge of the human condition and mind), absolutist (making it automatically incorrect, as an absolute is either right or wrong and one exception makes it wrong) or specific (forcing us to focus on the nuances rather than the entire state). To do so, let’s say that “human nature” is an abstract concept. It’s intangible, we can’t witness it, but it is necessary and at the very core of our every behaviour, feeling and characteristics. It is the puppet-master behind the scenes that triggers everything we are, say, think and do. Human nature is everything that makes a human human.

Now, here is where most find their first and final pitfall: we often confuse human nature with pure instinct. We assume that, as every aspect of human nature must stem from our biology and, therefore, our instincts, that the purest form of human nature is animal instinct. That, if we act against our baser drives to eat, fight, mate, flee, or our simplest impulses we are somehow acting against human nature.

Yet, if you observe how humans behave, this Freudian simplicity is… well, too simple. Humans are social animals. Humans are rational animals. We may feel an impulse to eat, but first inspecting the berry is wise. We may feel an impulse to mate, but mounting the Alpha’s partner is unwise. We may feel an impulse to flee, but to first scan the area, follow a lead or consider other evasion tactics is also wise. The right, rational decision can make or break our success. Our behaviours are just as much influenced by our minds and society as they are by our impulses and environment. Ergo, our human nature is just as much rational and social as it is instinctive.

In fact, our minds are what make humans distinct from other animals to begin with. Instinct and impulse did not create metropoli. Sure, you could argue that the desire for food, mates and safety created metropoli. But, without our minds and social natures, humans would, like so many other animals, have settled for following the migrating game and gathering seasonal produce, forcing ourselves upon suitable partners and defending ourselves through evasive and defensive means. Our minds are absolutely necessary to explain our successes. Our social structures are also necessary, as, without intricate hierarchies and extensive bonding and trust, sedentary life and all the things that can be created within it would be impossible. Without our minds, we are animals. Without society, we can’t use our minds. When we have both, we are human. The take-away message is that, if our minds and society make us human, then anything created by our minds and our societies also stems from human nature.

“If we take the angle that reason and society are also parts of human nature, then we can understand why people act against their instincts or best interests. The woman who kills her own child does so, not because of an instinct or an impulse, but because she believed it was the best option. An anorexic starves themselves, not because of an instinct or an impulse, but because they feel they should. Humans engage in unnecessary risk-taking, not because we are following an impulse but because we consider the reward to be worth the risk. We use our minds to overcome our instincts, and often to excellent results.”

This goes a long way toward explaining that which Freudian simplicity and the absolute perspective of instinct=human nature fail to: why is it that humans act against our instincts, our impulses, even against our own best interests? If all of human nature could genuinely be boiled down to our base instincts, the survival of our genes, or sex, food and survival, then many behaviours are hard to explain. For example, faith is not instinctive, about your genes or about survival. On the contrary, faith often requires humans to make sacrifices, act against their basic reproductive instincts and even die. Yet faith continues to form part of our lives, as it fulfills emotional, social and spiritual needs that go beyond what an animal requires, but are necessary for humans to thrive.

Likewise, a mother who plans to kill her child, a man committing suicide, an anorexic starving themselves or a voluntary celibate are acting directly against their main biological imperatives. Often, they are viewed as “outliers”, or “exceptions” that act “against their nature”. However, this is just an excuse for a limited, absolutist view of human nature; a way of arguing that the absolute view is still correct, rather than accepting that it has been proven incorrect by a variation. Yet, these “exceptions” are very much the norm. If you wish to argue that the main driver of human nature is survival of the individual, then you must ignore the fact that most humans engage in risk-taking that threatens their lives, directly or indirectly, often for no apparent reason. If you wish to argue that the main driver of human nature is the spread of our genes, then you must ignore the fact that humans without access to contraception are very consciously selective about their choices of mate, rather than going by their horniness alone. On the other hand, if we take the angle that reason and society are also parts of human nature, then we can understand why people act against their instincts or best interests. The woman who kills her own child does so, not because of an instinct or an impulse, but because she believed it was the best option. An anorexic starves themselves, not because of an instinct or an impulse, but because they feel they should. Humans engage in unnecessary risk-taking, not because we are following an impulse but because we consider the reward to be worth the risk. We use our minds to overcome our instincts, and often to excellent results.

Of course, you could then say that the mind is an add-on that complicates matters. That, without the mind, we would still exist. That to act without the mind is to act the way our bodies were made to act. But to deny the mind is to deny humanity. By negating the mind, you are implying our entire lives would be better if we were instinctively driven, as “nature intended”. But nature did not “intend” us to be irrational beasts. Nature made us as we were and we took what we were and turned into what we are today. If applied to everything, the negation of the mind would cause society to disintegrate and humans to devolve. If we exclusively ate what felt good, we would get ill. But it’s natural to eat what feels good. If we exclusively eat as our ancestors ate, we would suffer famines, poisonings and malnutrition. But it’s natural to eat following nature and the seasons. If we exclusively mated with people we see as “hot” and did so whenever we wanted, we would have many illegitimate, attractive children that would die from lack of social structure, creating a bottleneck. But it’s natural to want sex with lots of hot people. If we exclusively mated with those who are functional and were very selective about ever mating before bonding, matings would be few and few matings would result in children. But it’s natural to select the very best mates we can obtain. If we acted on every impulse, would we be being “truer” to our nature? Even if acting on these impulses killed us en masse, resulting in another bottleneck or even the extinction of the human race? We are small, weak, maladaptive animals with extraordinary brains. We are exactly as nature “intended”. We couldn’t exist otherwise, as the process of evolution would have cut us from the tree long ago. Our minds are exactly as nature “intended”. All nature “intends” us to be is successful or dead. Our minds have made us what we are, have made us immensely successful, and that includes our rational decisions regarding our own instincts. As we are still alive, it’s safe to assume nature “intended” reason to be part of our human nature.

“If you are currently trying to explain why you choose to act on your instincts rather than not, you are making your instincts a matter of reason. If you try and rationalize how you embrace instinct and reject reason, or how you decide which instincts and impulses are to be followed and which not, you are making this a matter of reason. If you try and explain why all reason is, at its core, instinct-driven, you are making this a matter of reason. As a rational animal, the only way you can escape your rational and social nature is by rationalizing yourself into a state of unreason or opting for a lobotomy.”

Society, culture and faith are human. They stem from our needs and are an integral part to how our minds work. To argue that instinct trumps culture in the game of “what should we do” is, as explained above, to regress. To act against all society, all culture or all faith is to destroy these structures. By destroying social constructs we remove society as we know it, which removes the need for humanity as we know it. Therefore, we must act in accordance, or at least in harmony with our society. And that includes culture, trends, fads, religion, etc. As a human, to choose to act against your instincts is part of your nature, as you are a rational animal. As a human, to consider society in your reasoning is part of your nature, as you are a social animal. Of course, you may choose to reject religion and insist there is nothing out there. But that is also a belief, replacing the absence of a belief in a faith. You may choose to join or create a counter-culture or even an anti-culture. But that is still the formation of culture. You may choose hermitage, but that is still a socially-motivated choice. You can’t escape your human nature.

Finally, let’s consider that your choices and actions matter more than your instincts. Indeed, if you are currently trying to explain why you choose to act on your instincts rather than not, you are making your instincts a matter of reason. If you try and rationalize how you embrace instinct and reject reason, or how you decide which instincts and impulses are to be followed and which not, you are making this a matter of reason. If you try and explain why all reason is, at its core, instinct-driven, you are making this a matter of reason. As a rational animal, the only way you can escape your rational and social nature is by rationalizing yourself into a state of unreason or opting for a lobotomy. Even then, no success is guaranteed. Your mind makes you human. It makes you who you are. It gives you the choices that let you embrace or reject instinct, embrace or reject society, embrace or reject faith.

And, as a human, as a rational animal, your only biological imperative is to make whatever choices you believe are correct. If you believe you should not reproduce, you are acting against your genes’ desires, but in accordance to human nature. If you wholly embrace your basic instincts, you are acting against your reason, but in accordance to human nature. If you strictly control your diet, you are acting against your basic impulses, but in accordance to human nature. You may be biologically successful or not. Socially successful or not. You may embrace nihlism and reject any concept of success in this world. Move and behave according to your goals. But don’t try and pretend you, or anyone else, is acting against human nature. That is a complete impossibility.

Liberty, Libertines, Liberation.

Inspired by Sunshine Mary’s recent post and the responses by Okrahead and John R, I decided to compose my own stream of consciousness regarding freedom.

First of all, we need to define freedom. As Wittgenstein repeatedly stated, the ways we use and interpret words, especially abstract words, shapes our view of the world, our understanding of it. And freedom is an abstract and subjective concept. We all think of something different when we think of freedom.

However, what we CAN say about freedom, we must. Freedom is the absence of something to hold you back. Ergo, complete freedom is an impossibility. As John R pointed out, if you are free from the Devil, you are enslaved to God, if you are free from morality, you are enslaved to sin. Furthermore, as humans are individuals, all with some degree of control, you can’t grant freedom to one without eventually taking it from another. Not to say that reality is a zero-sum-game. You can have a situation where everyone is largely free. Yet, for absolute freedom to be granted to one, no matter how innocent their desires are, some trivial desire, whim or need will inevitably tip the scales against someone else. Also, as society is comprised of individuals and no individual is wholly innocent or wholly harmless, to grant equal freedom to all becomes impossible. Some people wish to be free to abuse little boys or “free” mice at the expense of years of research and the animals’ lives, this means that their freedoms must necessarily remove the freedoms of the young boys, the autistic and schizophrenic people who would have benefited from the advances and even the mice. These groups are basically asking for the same freedom everyone else has: the freedom to do whatever you want. However, what someone wants (the financial security of marriage, the ability to grow your own food, time to paint) may be far more reasonable than what someone else wants (the license to rape, the ability to kill someone, the right to steal money through divorce). You could give the first person everything they want, make them happy and not hurt anyone. If you give the second person everything they want, then you enslave others. We require laws to ensure that one person’s freedom does not take excessively from another person’s freedom.

Therefore, you can only be “free” by either exclusively desiring that which doesn’t harm others or by removing the freedom of others. The individual is free when he only wants simple, harmless things (innocence) or when he seizes the freedom of others (tyranny). A society is free when it only wants simple, harmless things (vulnerable) or when it controls that which individuals can obtain (legal restrictions). It is far, far more likely that your freedom entails the restriction of someone else than that you are harmless.

Secondly, freedom requires an opposition. We are all generally free to breathe, to think, to scratch our elbows. Few but the dead are likely to ever be in a situation where any of those things is inhibited. That is why we don’t have activist groups demanding these freedoms. Which, technically, means they aren’t freedoms at all. They’re just facts of existence. Until an opposition arises, there is no “freedom”. The same way a room can’t be “dark” until you’ve experienced “light”, or you can’t feel “better” without having felt “bad” you can’t desire freedom without being captive.

However, captivity itself also requires freedom. You can’t be captive without having been free. Someone who used to own millions but now owns 100K feels captive and longs for the freedom of the millions. Someone who used to own nothing but now owns 100K feels free. Someone who has always owned 100K doesn’t understand what the fuss is about. So, in order to desire freedom, you must be captive and in order to feel captive you must have been free.

Finally, your “freedom” can be inhibited by many things: your own mind, your own morality, social norm, laws, individual enforcers, biological restrictions, etc. If the inhibition is entirely internal, then only you can exercise power over it. If the inhibition is another human, you must assess their power over you. If the inhibition is a legal power or a Higher Power, you must yield or act covertly. If the inhibition is a fact, you must yield.

Yet the modern concepts of “freedom” and “liberation” don’t allow for that. You are expected to desire “freedom” above all, even if you have never been captive and will never be captive. This leads to a culture of victimhood, where everyone feels captive, but doesn’t understand their captivity. It is also assumed that any limiting factor is a threat, a danger that must be removed. Your desires are always righteous, good, necessary. Anything that stops you from attaining them is always evil, restrictive, oppressive. We invent an enemy to enslave us, to excuse or explain our behaviours and unhappiness. We believe that our invented enemy is real, that we are captive, that we will someday be free, although we don’t know what this freedom is.
When someone is told that women generally regret one-night-stands, the response isn’t to assess whether one-night-stands are biologically natural or morally correct. The assumption is that if someone has a one-night-stand, they’re exercising their freedom, they must want the sex. Therefore, biology and morality don’t matter, they should get what they desire. So, if they regret it, we look for a cage, an inhibitor. We accuse the partner or rape or manipulation, or we accuse society of brainwashing the women who regret one-night-stands. Because there is no way this “freedom” to be a libertine could become an obligation to be a libertine. The women do feel captive (albeit restrained by their own morality, a desire for something better, a need to behave according to their biology), so they seek an answer and society tells them that they’re free to have sex, but enslaved by social norms and shame. They campaign to stop the shame, even though this shame is internal and based around your core morality and a biological drive not to get an STD or get pregnant by a man who will leave you and the child to starve.
When someone talks about their right to have children, they ignore the fact that having children is a biological act. There is no “right” to having children. Unless you live in a society where babies from certain parents are culled or certain people are artificially rendered infertile, you either can have children or you can’t. The adoption system doesn’t exist for anyone’s “right” to have children: it exists to meet children’s need for and right to care, to a loving family. The fertility industry doesn’t exist for anyone’s “right” to reproduce: it exists to exploit the existence of infertility for material gain. We assume that because those systems exist, they should cater to the infertile, when, in reality, they are perks. They aren’t restoring a “right”. I repeat, you have no right to reproduction, you either can or can’t. What these systems do offer, is the option of having children for people who don’t have them. It’s luck of the draw, like good-looks or a scholarship. Are you infertile, yet a suitable parent? Congratulations, you can adopt. Are you infertile, yet wealthy? Congratulations, you can get a lab-made baby. You don’t pass the tests and have no cash? Bad luck.

It may seem ridiculous to some of us, but this mindset of entitlement is ubiquitous. Indeed, many of you shook your heads through the above examples. A few probably closed the page in anger at the fact I could say such a thing. But it’s the way things are. Which leads to the central point: we live in a society where “freedom” is almighty, your end-goal, the “key”. We believe that liberation has made life better. Yet we feel worse. So we seek more liberation, to make life even better. When someone feels bad for engaging in libertine behaviour, we assume there is some external factor influencing their feelings. The idea that their feelings may be legitimate, internal, part of them, founded on something solid, is beyond the scope of our imagination. Because they are “free”. As “free” people, we assume we will do whatever we want and that doing whatever we want will make us happy. As I have discussed before, happiness isn’t about liberty, possessions or reaching “that goal”. Happiness is about being happy. Yet modern society says we should be “free” to do whatever we want, that this behaviour will make us happy, so long as we engage in it enough. And, as few to none are happy in this society, we believe it and engage in libertine behaviour. “If I want to get drunk, being drunk must make me happy!” “If I want to have anonymous sex, anonymous sex must make me happy!” “If I want to hurt someone, hurting someone must make me happy!”

Then, when we are inevitably UNhappy, modern society says that there must be someone or something ruining our happiness. Libertine behaviours will make you happy. So unhappiness must come from a limiting factor. This leads to everyone feeling unhappy, everyone feeling discriminated against, everyone feeling oppressed. It excuses our unhappiness without pointing the great finger of blame at our own heads, our own liberty, our own society. Because, if we aren’t happy, then surely something is hurting us? And if something is hurting us, then surely we are enslaved to it, or incarcerated by it? We become focused on ourselves, our own internal feelings of fear, shame, disgust, anger and general unhappiness. We assume that others never feel the same, that we’re being oppressed by something they don’t experience or understand. We become little martyrs to the cause of our own happiness and refuse to accept that “liberation” may actually be the problem.

As John R mentioned, he would rather be enslaved to God than the Devil. There is no other option. So, likewise, my solution is simple. Enslave yourself to goodness and happiness. Sure, you may want to sleep around. That’s what society tells you to do. But, if it makes you unhappy, you must stop. Your duty lies with happiness. Sure, you may want to kill someone. That is an impulse within you, a drive stemming from a biological state. But, as killing is not good, then you must not kill. Your duty lies with goodness.

Of course, the problem we now encounter is that modern people seek a morality that allows them to be “free”, because they have prioritized “freedom”. So they view engaging in random conflict as good and a source of happiness, because they are “free” to act on impulse. Anything that limits their individual “freedom” is against their personal morality. This is just a symptom of our sick society. The one way out is to find someone else, something else to attach your morality to. Whatever you do for yourself can’t be considered moral until you have stopped believing that “goodness” and “happiness” originate from “liberty”. Everything you want must, for the sake of sanity, be assumed to be amoral and analyzed. Not until you feel confident that you have rewritten your own laws of morality can you decide what is “good” and what is not. Your moral compass is broken and you need to reset it.

So, as a conclusion, this is my advice:
Turn away from what you want and focus on what you need. Your desires and impulses are irrelevant, when you act on them you become a mindless animal and this will make you unhappy in the long-run. Act to make others happy. Whether you seek to make a relative, a friend, a partner or a Higher Power happy, always think of how your actions may affect them and strive to do right by them. Always consider the repercussions of your actions. If your action will bite you in the butt, then don’t look for an “oppressor” to blame or attack, look for a reason. A slut feels shame not because she’s shamed by society but because she’s impulsively acting against her own morality. Focus on being happy and being good. Freedom is a wild-goose-chase. You will never be “free enough” and it will never give you what you want or need. You want to be happy, so make yourself happy. You need to be good, so strive to be good. An obsessive belief that freedom is the magic cure to every mental, emotional and social ailment will only make you deeply unhappy.

 

[EDIT: Legionnaire’s recent post on freedom is also worth a read.]