Elf Clan Social Network

-- a commentary by Wayfinder Wishbringer

Some time ago I wrote a saying about freedom.  It goes something like this:

True freedom must contain boundaries, for freedom without constraints invariably infringes upon the freedom of others.

 

Zauber put a term to this concept:  the Freedom Paradox.  I think that is an excellent term.

 

Simply stated the Freedom Paradox is this:  as human beings we do have certain rights.  Those rights include basic freedoms to think and act as we please-- to a degree.  In order for freedom to be real, we must be willing to accept reasonable constraints.

However as with so many things associated with humankind as a whole, we often take the concept of "freedom" to an extreme.  People propose that we have a right to do anything we want to do so long as it "doesn't harm anyone else".

The problem with this concept is that it takes for granted that we as individuals have the ability to consistently and accurately judge the consequences of our actions on others, or upon our environment.  Therein lies the rub; our history as a species clearly indicates that as a society, we tend to grossly misunderstand the world around us and to make very bad decisions. The current state of the environment should be strong indication we really don't manage ourselves very well.

 

The idea that we should be able to do whatever we want has a correlation to something we are all acquainted with:  two-year-olds.   There is no one more self-centered, self-focused and individualistic than a two-year old.  They are so narcissistic that we refer to that age as the terrible twos.  Why?  Because two year olds are concerned with one thing and one thing only:  whatever they want.  Hopefully the restrictions imposed upon us by our parents helps us through that stage so that we learn a degree of self-control, imposed by boundaries. Their guidance, their restriction of our desired freedoms, help us mature.  We discover the freedoms we insist on when we were two weren't necessarily in our best interest, nor in the best interest of those around us.

 

However that is not the only time in our lives we go through that phase.  We are all acquainted with teens.  Most of us remember our teen years, how insufferable we were, and wonder how our parents had any patience with us at all.  Why?  Because teens, like two-year-olds, often go through a phase in which they think they know more than others and are interested only in one thing:  whatever they want.  Most of us go through that stage and thankfully, survive it.  Hopefully we grow, become more mature and learn from those wiser than we.  Eventually we become adults and wonder how we ever got through our teens without someone killing us.  Unfortunately some can't make that claim; they paid the ultimate price for their insistence on "freedom" without limits.  They did not understand the paradox of real freedom-- that it must be exercised with wise boundaries.

Unfortunately many people fail to learn the lessons of childhood and the teen years.  They enter their adult years still believing they know more than anyone else and that, yes, they should be able to do whatever they want.  It is a repetitive cycle that many never outgrow.

THE FREEDOM PARADOX

The point of the Freedom Paradox is this:   true freedom means accepting limits on freedom.  Those of us who survived our youth generally recognize this to be true.  It means that freedom cannot be truly exercised and truly enjoyed without setting reasonable and wise boundaries.  In order to have freedom one must be willing to curtail freedoms, to set logical limits. 

Ideally this should be done at individual levels.  But since we as individuals simply don't know everything, since we are not omniscient, we give up some of our individual freedoms to form greater freedoms.  The labels we attach to this are civilization and society... an organization of individuals dedicated to a common goal.   We empower that society to pass laws and enforce those laws.  We set a police agency to enforce those restrictions on individuals who refuse to recognize the wisdom of them.  As a society we do recognize that some limitations must be employed on individual freedoms to protect the safety of the whole.  Those who refuse to recognize such limitations we refer to as criminals or sociopaths.

Despite this recognition of reality, there is still a tendency among society as a whole to insist on massive whims, desires and whatever they want... despite quite obvious and logical reasons against such.   Our history is full of the failures of society:  the Crusades, two world wars, the pollution of the earth.  We could spend all day, next week, next year and the rest of our lives detailing and debating how even society fails to properly handle "freedom", but all of them come down to a simple concept:

Just because society wants to does not mean it should.  Just because society thinks something is right  does not make it so.  

 

This of course is a problem, because if we cannot trust society to exercise proper wisdom, who do we trust?  When we, as individuals or as a civilization, insist on the concept that we know enough, are wise enough and competent enough to do whatever we want... we suffer the danger of crossing the line from freedom into anarchy, from reasonable boundaries into no boundaries, from society into chaos.  The result is in the breakdown of society, the failure of civilization, the descent into anarchy.  Three steps forward, two steps back. 

THE MICROCOSM OF ELF CLAN

A few of us were discussing why it is that Elf Clan is popular, why our lands are peaceful and harmonious, why people enjoy living on our G-rated, family-friendly lands when they could experience greater "freedoms" elsewhere.  The answer is obvious:  Because Elf Clan lands offer true freedom, not the illusion of freedom without constraints.

 

Yes, our group has "rules" and guidelines.  Some of them are basic, some of them are specific.  That very set of guidelines lets people know where they stand.  We establish a set of freedoms along with restrictions.  Within the safety-net of those restrictions our members know they have all the freedoms necessary to enjoy our lands and group.  We recognize as a group that our harmony, our peacefulness, our limited drama are not by accident.  As individuals we are willing to sacrifice some individual freedoms to ensure a far greater and more harmonious freedom.  We call that freedom Elf Clan, and it is quite unique.

We see the results of unbridled freedom elsewhere.  In truth griefers insist on such "freedoms" and like a two-year-old failing to get what they want, they engage in tantrums (griefing).  In other areas we see folks who speak however they want, dress however they want and act however they want, without any regard for the individuals around them.  Their excuse:  this is an "adult" grid and we can do whatever we want.  By insisting on their own freedoms, by ignoring the concepts of ethics or morality, they encroach upon the freedoms of others and "pollute" their environment with that attitude.  People are aware of this.  It is palpable.  You can feel it when you travel elsewhere.  It is stressful.

 

I don't consider that freedom; I consider that anarchy.  Anarchy breeds chaos.  Chaos breeds destructive attitudes, discontent, abuses, drama and the issues we see throughout virtual reality worlds.  That's why people come to Elf Clan.  That is why we will sometimes receive IMs or notecards from visitors telling us how beautiful and peaceful our lands are.  That is why people make their homes with Elf Clan.  People come to our lands to unwind and de-stress.   They know that when they come to Elf Clan they will find the opposite of what they find elsewhere; they will find real freedom.

I by no means condone limitations or restrictions on real freedoms.  People do have rights to live their lives as they wish, without someone persecuting or harassing them for doing so.   But is it wise to go to the extreme opposite and condone "anything we want" as being freedom?  Freedom without constraints invariably infringes on the freedom of others.

In order to have true freedom we must be willing to accept limitations.  That is the Freedom Paradox. Those limitations and restrictions are for our safety, our harmony and to moderate those who do not seem to know how to moderate themselves.  Boundaries help us protect ourselves from ourselves and further, serve to protect the very environment in which we live.   That is what the Elf Clan Charter is about, what our group is about... and is why we enjoy real freedom.

--o--

Views: 152

Comment by Hecatya Idimmu on July 26, 2012 at 12:15am

Wonderful post Wayfinder, i totally agree with you.

Comment by Minethere Always on July 26, 2012 at 6:31am

and yet again, i must agree with yet, another, well thought out and timely weblog. However, tho this is understood by thinking people, it must needs be pointed out that the word 'Freedom', in and of itself, is basically defined by individuals. We see instances of this throughout history and in all countries. What is considered free by one country and it's inhabitants, is totalitarianism by others, fascism by others.

I am sure the lowly Chinese peasant who toils the rice fields, with little interference from authorities other than making sure their allotments are procured, feel themselves to be free. But the rest of the modern world knows clearly this is not true at all.

I am sure Roman Aristocracy felt themselves to be free, and equally, their slaves were not.

I totally agree that with the current thinking of Civilized behavior, there are restrictions to freedom, in the guise of 'what is good for the many', is also good for the few'. But I would hasten to point out, this has changed very much throughout history. And it is very much defined by the few who wield the authority to enforce their viewpoint on others, in a 'this is the right and correct behavior, deal with it, or suffer the consequences'.

This is the way of humanity, it has always been so, and always will be so, unless, as some science fiction movies and books have posited, humankind evolves onto some other plane of existence.

Rules of society change with those who are in the positions of authority to enforce their own ideals.

I am a fan of the 'bell curve'..the bell curve is, or maybe now, was, the standard way of teaching...taking an average of, for instance, grades, being at the top of the curve, with those lower grades to the left, and higher to the right. This changes, thus prompting a review of the direction the bell curve has moved, thus requiring a review of how to teach to the evolving direction of the bell curve.

This is used in politics in modern societies, as it gauges the masses. The direction of the general populace in their thinking..thus giving marketing people direction in where to put their resources.

The average person resides in the center, high part of the bell curve...people to the left go towards anarchy, people to the right go towards fascism. This is a known tool and can be easily further researched on the net.

As one progresses to the far left or right, there are many permutations of freedom. It is a 'curve', which can be longer or shorter, depending upon current civilized thinking.

I do not know the answers, but I do know that there are tools, I have researched it, and it is fascinating stuff. take care, my elven friends...smiles

Comment by Minethere Always on July 26, 2012 at 9:03am

just doing a small bit of a primer on the science of sociology...an interesting starting point to what wayfinder discusses

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sociology

Comment by Hecatya Idimmu on July 26, 2012 at 9:55am

Hello, just a few little ideas that i will share on this blog comments: Maybe a true free person is the one that can rise upon the social, historical even religious ideas of its times and place where it lives. Also is understanding contextes. But maybe  this means an inside freedom, a mind freedom, not a freedom of actions. 

Comment by Minethere Always on July 26, 2012 at 12:50pm

i have often thought of that idea, a mind freedom, relating to ppl in oppressed societies, or who are slaves, and ppl in prisons for years...i dont understand how they can live that way at all...but yet, they do, and find ways of coping somehow.

I think it goes into the human ability to adapt to most everything we do...i also have thought that much shorter prison terms would suffice for the majority of offenders against a societies current laws.

then of course, to further skew things, even specific societies change...in america, it was once just fine to have parents determine when their children could drink alcohol, then the state made it 18, and now it is 21.

of course it was once fine to wear guns everywhere and now there are many rules governing guns...tho it does appear the bell curve of that issue has been moving further to the right for some time now.

the inherent problem is that humans are fallible..heck, that's cool, but it means we will never have a perfect society.

personally i feel consensus is the best way to go, bu then i look at Rome, the longest running civilization in history and the pharaohs a close 2nd i think, but im not going to look it up right now..lol..those societies were basically run by one person and they certainly lasted more than any of the current governments have so far.

all things said tho, i prefer a society run by consensus..even if it is just 3, you can get a majority...5, even better...i think in many countries in europe they have multiple judge panels...but i prefer juries myself

a jury in a vw would be something wouldn't it....wow, what a concept...a judge to adjudicate and a jury of peers to decide, based upon the evidence...omg

if someone steals this idea and uses it, i better get royalties!!! hehe

but seriously, that will not happen, because tho some ppl like to believe vws are societies, they are in fact, not, they are companies with a product and we play in them..that is all they are, and nothing more

Comment by Hecatya Idimmu on July 26, 2012 at 1:38pm

Another idea: as long as we live in a society, like a society(even it ressembles with an economic company), no matter what kind of type it is, there is always somehow a common denominator that is asked, because we are all so different, so there are always some sort of rules, types of rules, so some sort of "restrained freedom" of the individual. That is why i brought in disscution the inside freedom.  That might be the only true one possible in this moment. Probably in time, the entire human kind will evolve somehow(like you said maybe like it is seen in SF stories and movies) and the human society entire itself will see the things differently. But is a long way until then:):)

Comment by Minethere Always on July 26, 2012 at 2:46pm

yea...lol....i love science fiction...i've read books where humans evolve into a more spirit type form..tho even then, they squabbled among themselves...lol

but who knows what the far future holds for human kind...wouldnt it be nice to just think on that, this future human, who is no longer really human...finally at total peace with itself...what a wonderful concept!!

my feelings tho, with vws, is the next shiney will come along, and vws will go the way of so many interesting things that have happened on the net in its few short years....so far it is a minuscule blip on the greater internet and that internet a grain of sand in humanity, and that humanity an even smaller bit in time...even if you consider humanity itself has only been around 6,000 years or so, i forget exactly, and i dont feel like looking it up...lol

Comment by Wayfinder Wishbringer on August 13, 2012 at 9:30am

Yes, despite scientists claiming homo sapiens is "millions of years old"... evidence indicates human society has been around about 6,000 years.  They try to use "carbon dating" to indicate otherwise, but that is a flawed method of research (it's kind of like saying a house is 200 years old by taking a sample of a piece of wood.  It's flawed reasoning.)  I am a scientific person by nature, but I have to admit that a great deal of "science" today is based by bending "evidence" to pre-disposed beliefs rather than solid research and analysis.  Thus some areas of science become more of a faith-based religion than earnest research. Odd paradox there.

As Hecatya states, freedom can be a state of mind and exists despite external influences.  But those influences themselves can limit that freedom to the point even the state of mind is impacted.

Yes, Rome lasted a very long time.  But I have to say I wouldn't want to live under their kind of rulership: insane emperors, slaves, forced gladitorial participation, and a anti-moral clime that gradually destroyed the very fabric of their society.  Imagine living under the rule of Hitler and his descendants for hundreds of years... and we get some idea.  They achieved some amazing things- along with some of the worst barbarism in recorded history (the terror-reign of Caligula was especially disturbing).

As a note, I believe Egypt was the longest-running nation in history, beating out Rome by quite some time.  It was founded in 3150 BC and fell to the Persians in 343 BC... which gave it a run of almost 3000 years before losing power.  Even then it remained as a nation and continues to this day.  That's a run of some 5000 years.  Of course there were multiple forms of Egypt during that time, the "dynasties"... and Egypt today is not the Egypt of ancient times.   

I'm pretty sure China has a long history as well.  Comparatively, the U.S. is a toddler.

We believe we are "free" in the U.S. and to an extent that is true.   But are we the "most free" nation on Earth?  Many countries that consider themselves to have greater freedoms (and far less crime and violence) would disagree.  That's likely a philosophical debate, but I know that while I can choose what I do from day to day, I definitely don't feel "free".  I have to have a passport to leave this country.  We have to pay taxes on property we already paid for and own.  The costs of driving a car are "oppressive".  Purchase price, insurance, maintenance, gasoline.  At one time one could drive across this nation and cost of gasoline was almost irrelevant.  But now we don't feel "free" to drive to the store any more; we have to consider the cost of gasoline (is it worth 5 bucks worth of gas to go see a $10 movie?).   

The grocery stores govern how well we eat or don't eat by their greed in charging for food.  Society is ruled by wealth and a corrupt legal system.  Is that true freedom?

The reason government makes laws (supposedly) is to moderate those unable to moderate themselves.  People in general are easily manipulated and don't think for themselves.  They are easy prey for those who have no respect for morality and ethics.  People do not make good decisions; they often are incapable of moderating themselves.  In general people are selfish, insisting on what they want instead of what's good for those around them.  Look at how many people speed down the highway, fail to use turn signals and drive like morons... and that's with laws and government.  Imagine how they'd be without.  But government itself easily becomes overbearing, bureaucratic and corrupt... and the larger it grows the more real freedom lessens.

We need rules and laws, limitations to freedom, for freedom to truly exist.  The problem is that just about everything we touch becomes eventually corrupt... and the fine balance between freedom and abuse of freedom, reasonable limitations and oppression, morality and hedonism... becomes very blurred.

Comment by Minethere Always on August 13, 2012 at 11:05am

I agree that societies need laws..and for the same reasons you state above...that being 'some' ppl need to be governed as they can't do it themselves.

My problem with laws is that of the 'slippery slope' concept. And I will tell you an example of two I saw as a problem, which have in fact become much more than they were originally intended.

That is of the so-called 'sexual abusers' laws. What started as a pure and good idea, has extended to all sorts of laws which ruin peoples lives.

The problem with government is that once you unleash it, it has a tendency to keep going...adding more laws on top of laws, more restrictions to freedoms.

Warren Moon [hall of famer] had to deal with spousal abuse charges [which he and his wife actually helped to bring about and advertise] http://www.nytimes.com/1996/02/23/sports/pro-football-jury-rapidly-...

I understand the need for both of these, don't get me wrong please....but they are just 2 very good examples of laws that have gone far past their intended original use and ideals.

It is a great idea, in concept, to have laws punishing sexual abusers and wife abusers...but once these laws, and others, are put in place...governments always are then free to easily corrupt them, as governments are wont to do. Most people don't fully understand this, and thus we have people who are accused of things, whose lives are now able to be dissected in ways before unheard of or even allowed, by governmental bureaucratics who could care less, and who wield way to much authority over our personal lives.

Comment by Wayfinder Wishbringer on August 13, 2012 at 11:42am

I couldn't agree more Mine.   In response I want to state up front there is no one more against sexual abuse than I am, no one more against predators or pedophiles. 

That stated, I remember a case of a 16 year old boy who got his 15 year old girlfriend pregnant (surely criminal intent there, eh?).  He was willing to marry the girl, but the parents went all vengeance and had the boy arrested for "molestation of a minor" (disregarding he was a minor himself.  The law didn't cover that.)  As a result he was tried an adult and put in jail for 20 years. 

Myself, I was outraged when I read of this.  Talk about a perversion of justice!  These kids did what kids have been doing for thousands of years... but our society judged him a criminal and sentenced him to 20 years?  When he was willing to do right by the girl?  Talk about a miscarriage of the law and abuse of government.

An acquaintance once stated to me: "In the U.S. a man can go to jail for something that in other countries is considered a natural cycle of life."

Now I have to point out that for thousands of years women have been abused, especially younger ones... but it wasn't usually because of what age they were permitted to be married.  It was due to manipulation by parents, society and government regarding their treatment.  I don't think many people would realistically argue 16-18 year olds are "too young" for sexuality or a relationship.  They may well be young and inexperienced and may have no idea what they're getting into, but frankly I'm not sure we do at any age.  When it comes to relationships, we all pretty much fly by the seat of our pants.  If we wait until we're "old enough" or "mature enough" or "established enough"... we may wind up being too old to procreate safely.  Physically, age 16-25 is pretty much prime energy and fertility, yes?  (Myself I do believe people are better if they wait to mid-20s to marry... but how old were our grandparents when they married?  If they'd waited... we wouldn't be here.)

Now, if society really wants to protect teens, that's fine with me.  Make it law:  you cannot even date until you are 18 years old.  But do they think that's going to stop sexual activity among teens?  Do they think 17 year old girls aren't going to fall in love?  Do they think 19 year old guys aren't going to be attracted to a girl because she's 17 instead of 18?  Seriously?

Where is the balance?

So at that point one has to wonder whether some laws are set to protect  us... or deny/abuse our nature.  I certainly am not one to emphatically state or judge at what age a person has a right to engage in romantic activities.  Personally I fully believe in and support "ring before fling" (ie, I believe in marriage and think people are generally happier if they reserve themselves for one special person).  I think marriage is treated with disrespect in this country (and many others), as is sexuality itself.  That's my personal belief.  But I also believe as you state Mine, that many laws in this country are based on arbitrary whims rather than reality, and are more harmful to freedom than they protect it.  When we jail people because they follow the laws of nature (procreating at prime physical ability)... surely our system of "freedom" falls short.

Sexuality isn't the only area of such abuse of freedom.  I remember seeing a movie where two men got in a fight in Australia.  They pretty much punched each other out and blackened each other's eyes.   Neither one pressed charges but both were arrested for "disturbing the peace" (they were on their own land and no one but themselves harmed in the process, so what peace were they disturbing?).  When brought before the judge, the judge stated:  "Seems to me we have a case here of two blokes having a disagreement.  They both did pretty well by themselves.  I don't see as it's the court's business to butt in."  As a result the two men left the court considering their differences settled.  While I don't advocate "punching it out", I do admire the insight there.  The moral of the story:  sometimes government should just butt out.  Sometimes freedom dictates we solve our own problems.

Rambling here.  You triggered some old peeves with our legal system.  I surely agree with what you say.

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