Friday, 3 September 2010

Restraints on freedom

What constitutes freedom and constraints to liberty has occupied the minds of great philosophers over the centuries. We generally think that prison is a deprivation of liberty but prisoners have unrestrained use of their imagination. Is it possibly a state of mind that leads us to unrestrained freedom? Do you go to work because you have to pay the bills or do you go out to play and just happen to get paid for it?

I remember being taught one aspect of psychology in the 1980s that we should not confirm things that were wrong. Someone isn't knocking on the window as we are on the fifth floor. However this lesson has progressed. Sometimes the truth hurts and a repetition of a painful truth, like a reminder that a spouse has died, may not be the best thing to do.

This leads me to the Chilean miners. They were told that there would be delays in getting them out and it may be Christmas before this is possible. We were told that it was psychologically right to tell them there would be a delay. Then another shaft was proposed and the miners were told that they could be out sooner than Christmas. I didn't hear how this may affect the miners state of mind. I think the truth is the right way to go even if the truth hurts. If it is bad news and a further delay is envisaged then the miners are bound to find out. The way you tell them is the important part. David Blaine may think of their hardship as a basis for his next show. One person's suffering is another person's pastime and another person's source of employment.

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  1. "Do you go to work because you have to pay the bills or do you go out to play and just happen to get paid for it?"

    I'm retired but I would say comparatively few people would have this choice - most of us have bills to pay - I'm just paying them from pensions rather than salary nowadays!

    I do think there is a dangerous obsession with how much people are paid for their work to the exclusion of all other reasons for working.

  2. I agree. Many people don't think they can manage unless they get a certain percentage wage rise. I suppose that is the nature of negotiations. I have also come across people who are concerned about the wage of others for comparative purposes.