Byung Chulhan in his book psychopolitics defines freedom in two ways:
a. He defines it as an interlude which the subject feels when passing between lifestyles or ideologies. This is a somewhat cynical approach to defining liberty especially when we pay mind to the use of the term subject. Subject is often used when describing an individual or entity. That is in literal terms being subjugated or brought under control freedom in this sense is just the absence of the natural order of things of in: A rare moment not being subjected to a certain lifestyle. What if we remarketed and rebranded this word: age of neoliberalism has led to a shared belief that we are projects to be worked on rather than subjects to be dominated this process of projection however is really just a more efficient form of subjugation instead of any sort of all-powerful disciplinary instrument coercing us to be something we coerce and constrain ourselves to become what we think we want to be.
b. The second idea of freedom is a little bit more cheery. Freedom is to be among friends to have a successful relationship with others; it signifies a relationship as noted by the common root shared across indo-european languages between the words freedom and friendship.
This (b) may seem strange especially in capitalist societies where individual freedom is far more valued than this idea of self-realization through others. Psychopolitics is a thesis where Byung made sense of the word freedom.
Wittgenstien might say language is in some sense a community consensus. So can this word “freedom” be realized via consensus? If so, was freedom squandered? Chomsky successfully points out there is a human condition and biases in the very nature of language itself. Across different cultures the origins of the words friendship and freedom is striking indeed.
"Philosophers, (the later) Wittgenstein believed, had been misled into thinking that their subject was a kind of science, a search for theoretical explanations of the things that puzzled them: the nature of meaning, truth, mind, time, justice, and so on. "
While he does not explicitly mention freedom I suspect he would have easily added it to the list.
Could Wittgenstien or anyone even define freedom? I suspect the answer would at best be a private language game. But at the age of 10 the word freedom may be a different private language game than it is at the age of 25. But then I suspect we fall into the trap of the first definition (point a) and perhaps the reader should again re-read from point a.
I find myself asking is it possible to coherently hold onto a set of insights?
- There exists a notion of freedom
- Wittgenstein - Language is a community consensus
- Chomsky - Biases in humans and language exist
- Our thoughts on various matters are informed by interactions with our community
- (The opposite of) Byung Chulhan - Freedom and Neoliberalism are not at odds with each other