We have come to believe that having complete freedom is the road to complete happiness – but is this true? In reality, even the most capable of us is limited.
Limitation is natural.
To begin with we are mortal, therefore there is a limit to the length of our lives. But we are also limited in other ways.
As Jordan Peterson says in his talk, Virtue as a Necessity, some things about us are neither our fault nor to our credit, they are just arbitrary facts of being –
…a human being is predicated on a fundamental limitation – you are what you are and you’re not other things…
This might seem like a bad thing but I don’t think it’s at all bad – just a fact.
If there are no limitations, then there are no boundaries. If there are no boundaries then there is no being and everything is just one mush of reality.
This is not the same as oneness. Oneness means that we are all distinctive parts of a whole.
Mush is just mush.
Is there some part of us that instinctively knows that human beings really excel within limits?
If not, why is it that when we invent games we arbitrarily create ‘rules’? (see Virtue as A Necessity).
Is a dance still a dance without ‘rules’ and ‘limits’?
Or a football game?
What are the challenges we face when dealing with limits?
How do we distinguish a real limit from a limit imposed by ourselves or our societies?
For example, because immortality is not an option we can’t just choose not to die ever, on the other hand many people have achieved great things by overcoming apparent limitations. How can we tell the difference?
It is clearly difficult to find a balance between over-control and the natural, healthy limits that we need in order to keep everybody safe and help our societies to function – so how do we do that?
When does free speech become incitement to hatred, for example?
Is there a natural line?
If so, where is it (and how do we recognise it)?
(Answers on a postcard…)