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 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. 


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.


Views: 153

Comment by Minethere Always on August 13, 2012 at 12:04pm

hehe...but 'triggering' is a good thing, as long as the discourse remains mature...lol [not sayin urs aint!! lol]

I see the problem as deeper tho. Go here http://www.nsopw.gov/Core/Portal.aspx?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1 and you will see a searchable database of names. When you go to individuals. You will see what they were arrested for. Now, a further search will give you how that 'term' is defined. And there, you will find how the 'pure' ideals have been corrupted. Go ahead...open your eyes folks. And this does not address that ALL these ppl have also had the 'sex offender' label stuck to them...which severely restricts pretty much ANY freedoms they have in our 'free' society.

Now, how did all these people get on these pages? Well, some are in fact guilty of breaking a law [not going into whether or not the law should even be on the books], some were falsely accused and couldn't afford proper legal representation, some were likely bad ppl anyways, and this is just a string of other problems on their 'arrest records'. Nevertheless, what you will always see, when you look further into many things, is the corruption of 'pure' ideals.

In addition, most local jurisdictions now provide databases where these ppl can be seen to actually live...I know mine does....and I saw several in my own neighborhood [and I live in a sparsely settled area]

Depending upon how much an individual can 'see', and what they wish to believe...this is either a very good thing, or a seriously flawed government in action.

But should I be discussing this in elf clan's blog?? lol..i dunno

Tis a sad things to behold...

Comment by Wayfinder Wishbringer on August 13, 2012 at 12:55pm

I think the thing I find "wrong" here is the unbalance.  Prison is supposed to reform.  If it cannot reform, then that's what permanent solutions are for (capital punishment or life imprisonment).  To consider a man a "life long danger" because he once committed a crime... is that a perversion of the "second chance" concept for which prison is intended?  Do they really have a second chance if their face is spread all over the Internet, whether they've reformed or not?  Or alternately, what if they were innocent in the first place and imprisoned because justice failed.  15-20% factor there, not an insignificant amount.

If these men are considered perpetual threats... then how about murderers?  Armed robbers?  Cat burglars?  Kidnappers?  Muggers?  Why aren't their faces and records placed on the Net?  These men are either perpetual criminals and should have been dealt with in a permanent manner, or they have been rehabilitated and given a true second chance. 

To single out "sexual crimes" from any other crime... is that just?  I don't have an answer (actually I do, and it's below, but that's not how our society works).  I don't really have an established opinion in this; before today I never really considered the issue.  I'm just throwing stuff out there in debate-form for anyone who wants to comment. 

* My personal answer to the criminal justice system:  Prison is inhumane and an abuse of justice.  Generally people fall into two categories:  criminal and non-criminal.  If non-criminal (ie an accident or mis-judgement) then reparations can be made.  If a person is of criminal mind and a threat to society I believe in capital punishment to remove that threat from society.  I don't believe in incarceration for years or even life at the expense of the public (including their victims).   Jail should only be used as a very temporary holding place until trial can be held... or at most for a short-term "shock treatment" not to last over three months (which can be quite effective with some people).  Alternately, mental rehabilitation and therapy can prove beneficial. 

Once someone has made public reparation their debt should be over and paid, without further disgrace or punishment.  Those who commit "inexcusable crimes" such as rape, kidnapping, etc, should be executed and that threat removed permanently.  That's my opinion based on historical observation of many societies throughout history.  Other personal opinions, pro and con, are welcome on this board (respectfully stated of course.  To new posters, please follow the current examples of courteous discussion, as this is a potentially emotional issue).  : )

Comment by Minethere Always on August 13, 2012 at 2:11pm

I totally agree..there is a serious imbalance in our judicial system. Personally, tho I used to watch these things more closely, I see it as very bad for our society.

I never saw prisons as a reformation..in fact, there are stats around showing recidivism is very high. http://www.prisonpolicy.org/scans/e199912.htm And I do believe they should be used much less sparingly than they are. But, society has been going towards more and more, longer and longer prison terms, and more reductions of the rights of felons and sexual offenders, for a while now. Heck, I recently learned if you are a felon you can't even get food stamps..which makes -0- sense to me.

As an aside, re: griefers...I always saw them as I know the main hackers in the world think..that being....to expose vulnerabilities in a system. [I am NOT referring to the nameless masses who participate in DDOS attacks unknowingly by way of malware/viruses put on their computers]

For example: most software used to be VERY easy to hack [via keygens/hacks to the .exe file/etc.] Nowadays it is not so easy to get free software...tho, of course, there are new ways [not that I use them, mind you]

As another aside, microsoft removed 99.9% of its free hacked software on the net when it instituted online validations. And thus, increased it's profits amazingly.

All this means...regarding software..is that I can no longer get free software..which really annoys me as I used to have a ton of really great stuffs...[i be joking!! ok..they deserve their monies!!]

As well, one of the 1st internet browsers..http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mosaic_(web_browser) referring to Netscape [as the time differences are not that far apart] used to charge for it. Once internet explorer [IE - Microsofts browser used by most nowadays] came out, Netscape made theirs free.

But, I digress...

Comment by Wayfinder Wishbringer on August 13, 2012 at 3:32pm

The logic that hackers help companies spot software vulnerabilities is accurate... but that is not usually their motive.  Their motive appears most often to be ego and a desire to destroy.  The bi-product of their activities makes those activities no less criminal in nature.  As an example, bank robbers may prompt banks to increase their security systems... but they're still bank robbers.  Since they force banks to install big, heavy, very expensive vaults, have caused loss of life and limb, and ruined people... one realizes they are the problem, not the solution.  (Mind you, many bankers have been just as much thieves.)

Same with griefers.  If it weren't for the griefers, VR wouldn't have to worry about security issues.   Companies can hire their own security agents if they need security. Griefers forcing them to install that security (at great expense) to prevent griefing strikes me as paradoxical.

The evidence is in what griefers do:  they attack people, most usually those who cannot defend themselves.  They try to provoke anger and emotional harm.  Their purpose most often is to cost the company customers, damaging the company's bottom line (and thus ultimately, the customers). 

Those who hack rather than grief are often trying to exploit weaknesses rather than reveal them.  Some very few contact the company immediately when they find an exploit... but they reveal themselves (even if anonymously), tell the company how they did it, and sometimes even help the company arrive at a fix (those are the guys I'll thumbs-up). However they should probably let the company know in advance that's what they're doing.  They might even pull a decent job as security analyst or a finder's fee out of the deal.

Others though don't contact the company, reveal the exploit to their cronies (witness Copybot) and wind up damaging innocent people (such as merchants who have worked months or years to develop their wares, only to have them destroyed by a hacker). 

I've never met a griefer I respected.  I've known a couple of hackers I respected, but that's because they respected others and tried to do no harm.  I know one hacker who has discovered several exploits;  He also got very angry when someone even hinted at using that information to play a prank.  That's the true hacker... the geniuses who have helped promote the computer field from day one.

Those who do damage either need therapy-- or judicial action.   There's no honor or courage in hiding behind a keyboard to do the dirty work... and that's exactly what griefers do.  Like you state Mine, those who perform DDOS or malware attacks aren't people I respect (unless of course, they inform the company and even possibly help them plug the hole).  I appreciate the thrill of the "hunt".  But at some point people should benefit from their efforts... not suffer.

Coincidentally that's really the point of the original post too:  when griefers use their freedoms to the damage of others, they infringe upon the freedoms of others.  That's why freedom must have boundaries to be real.

Comment by Minethere Always on August 13, 2012 at 3:54pm

nods...and simply adds, i was referring to those kinds of hackers [a minority] who are ur 'true' hacker types

for an example...anon...the major hacking group who runs DDOS's against major companies [and smaller ones also for various reasons] used their LOIC and got it passed around to umpteen more ppl during the wikileaks scandal.

anon is basically a small group, with tons of minions...those who control the triggers are very well hidden. I think, tho i dont know any of those few at all, that some of their intentions are possibly justified, or, at least, have some basis in 'doing the right thing'...in that, if you are a person who agrees with julian assange http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julian_Assange you would have seen their DDOS attacks on some major companies websites as justified...however, the laws of the world have done their darndest to persecute him.

If you are on the side that does not agree with jullian, then of course, you see him as wicked and evil..and justify all the calls for his death in your mind.

so, freedom, as with how it is defined, is a thing in motion, and evolving...

hugs ya..nice discussion...makes me remember some things

Comment by Minethere Always on August 13, 2012 at 3:57pm

i should add that 'cloud' computing has made DDOS attacks pretty much a non-issue for those who can afford it...it is why they couldn't take down amazon.com despite their best efforts...but, did cause problems for paypal [at the time]

Comment by Wayfinder Wishbringer on August 15, 2012 at 1:23pm

How does cloud computing make DDOS irrelevant?  Curious as to how that works as I haven't researched cloud computing hardly at all.

Comment by Minethere Always on August 15, 2012 at 5:01pm

took me a bit to find a relevant article..lol...this is a couple years old, my research i did on the matter http://www.infoworld.com/d/cloud-computing/can-cloud-computing-save... looks like some links for further research from there, but i didnt explore further.


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