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Importance of Intellectual Freedom

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Importance of Intellectual Freedom

Prominent Greek philosopher, Socrates once said, “There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance.” It is essential for one to note the significance of these words, for it was this man that was first historically noted for defending the intellectual freedoms of mankind. This priceless ideal, encompassing not only the rights to knowledge, expression, and individual outlook, ultimately represents the inalienable human privilege to free will. As rational beings, to be deprived of this intrinsic premise is to be robbed of one’s means to both persevere, and to assert one’s existence.

The Objectivist Movement, championed by philosophical leader Ayn Rand in the mid-1900’s, presents the human being as a rational, heroic entity “with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.” Each of these parts, exclusively made possible by freedom of intellect, incorporate every facet of a human being’s life. First, as rational beings, we essentially function rationally, through the use of our intellect and our tools of cognition –the senses. Secondly, every single pursuit is sought out through intellectual means to fulfil a rational purpose. And finally, the products of all such endeavours are rooted in a rational basis, a logical need, or an intellectual desire. Without this freedom, the human being essentially becomes an automaton –a slave –an animal.

When I first came to this country, I came with the hopes and dreams of any immigrant embarking upon a voyage to the “Free World” –an apprehensive, and burning conviction to discover, not the opportunities available to the American people, or the higher standard of living assured by the American dream, but rather the knowledge that its freedoms would effectively alter my life forever. It wasn’t until a few years ago, when faced with the daunting possibility of moving back, that I realized the intrinsic role of intellectual freedoms in my life: the freedom to pursue my own virtues at my own leisure; to express them passionately through varying crafts such as literature; and to always be proud of my achievement. For these reasons, indeed, my life has been altered forever –enriched perpetually by my own intellectual potential.

Furthermore, intellectual freedom alone can be separated into varying components and applications –all of which are fundamental to one’s life. Among these are a right to knowledge, its use, and its application; to express, produce, and create; and to assert a personal stance, state of mind, or principle. The first –a right to knowledge, is the essential endowment to intellectual growth. Without it, society is incapable of proceeding in its evolutionary development, the human being cannot advance, nor could one make any use of the boundless information in our surroundings, to apply it. The second –a right to produce, involves the purpose of a rational existence, as well as the basic need that every individual holds from birth to express a thought, feeling, or ideal. Its absence obliterates ingenuity, innovation, but most devastatingly: any and all elements or art –the things that give existence any meaning: music, literature, painting, sculpture, technology, architecture, and any other initiative of the human mind. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, there is the intellectual freedom of self-assertion, whence emerges an individual’s capacity to declare: “I AM” or “I Believe”.

Intellectual freedom is about Life, Living, and the manifestation of one’s perception of that existence. It is our choice –our will, to live; to keep living; to keep struggling and creating against all odds in the universe, and in rebellion to any opposition. I am here because with every second of my existence I make a rational choice to preserve my survival; to apply my knowledge; to uphold my morality and my principles. As rational beings, intellectual freedom is –objectively- a right to Life. It is both the ideal –and the affirmation of that ideal, through every breath, every thought, every action, and every choice.

According to the American Library Association, “Intellectual Freedom is the right of every individual to both seek and receive information from all points of view without restriction.” This freedom ensures both the availability of information, and a right to the use of it according to one’s rational capacity. With it, one procures the security that regardless of the circumstances; one can attain necessary, factual information for oneself, in order to formulate a personalized perspective or position. Had it not been for the daring initiation of these trends by men like Socrates –as far back as the fourth century B.C.– who died for their pursuit and analysis of knowledge, our lives would still be ruled exclusively by censorship of records and resources. We have to accept today, just as our predecessors did then, that intellectual freedoms are universal, and should be upheld unconditionally.

To understand my primary quote by Socrates, we must first identify that the use of intellectual freedom is knowledge, and thus, its deficiency or void, represents the only true, fundamental evil known to mankind. To not think, is to not live, and to not be allowed to think, is to be deprived of one’s right to existence. Saint Augustine once said: “To wisdom belongs the intellectual apprehension of things eternal; to knowledge, the rational apprehension of things temporal.” In the sphere of any application, whether it be religious, philosophical, academic, or speculative, what matters is the freedom of thought itself, because without it we have nothing to live our life by, to base it on, or to strive for.

-J.

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Very good Jason. I think that I might link to this on my upcoming website. Also if you would care to expand upon it, I think it would make a great article.

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Very good Jason. I think that I might link to this on my upcoming website. Also if you would care to expand upon it, I think it would make a great article.

Yeah when i was reading it I was thinking, "This is the sort of thing Dwayne would like on yes website when it is up."

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My, I am definitely shocked! I think this is the first time in years that I have recieved any positive feedback for one of my posts on this site. Its alright though, because I post for the criticism and I appreciate people's brutal honesty.

-J.

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My, I am definitely shocked! I think this is the first time in years that I have recieved any positive feedback for one of my posts on this site. Its alright though, because I post for the criticism and I appreciate people's brutal honesty.

-J.

Good on you. As long as the criticism is constructive you can only benefit from putting your work out to be critiqued.

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