The Freedom Paradox: Towards a Post-secular Ethics by Clive Hamilton

By Clive Hamilton

Why is it such a lot of folks lack contentment, regardless of the entire wealth and freedoms we enjoy?

The previous centuries added person and political freedoms that promised unheard of possibilities for private fulfilment. but voters of prosperous nations are inspired to pursue lives of consumerism, unending selection and the pleasures of the physique. Clive Hamilton argues that the anomaly of recent client existence is that we're disadvantaged of our internal freedom via our very pursuit of our personal desires.

He turns to metaphysics to discover a resource of transformation that lies past the cultural, political and social philosophies that shape the bedrock of latest western proposal. His seek takes him to an unforeseen end: that we can't be actually unfastened except we dedicate ourselves to an ethical existence. the results of this end are profound, they usually problem many deeply held ideals in glossy secular society. the liberty Paradox is a daring and demanding paintings that is going to the center of what it ability to be human.

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6 The good life is similar to the Aristotelian idea of eudaemonism. It can be thought of as a life devoted to developing and refining one’s capabilities and thereby fulfilling one’s potential. This can include deep contemplation. 8 The former is an intensely subjective idea of wellbeing explored 16 paradox-B format 22/12/10 12:55 PM Page 17 Types of happiness through notions of positive affect (or emotion) and measures of life satisfaction. It is easily, but not very reliably, measured by surveys of subjective wellbeing.

3 In a peculiar way Hayek put forward the same argument. Yet we imagine that the forces of the id that are so alarming in children somehow become legitimate when the child graduates to adulthood at age 18 or, in some countries, 21. Perhaps we are not sufficiently in command of our ids until we are 40 years old, or 60; perhaps some people never learn to control their most basic urges. Culture and social structures themselves have a defining influence on the level of maturity. If it is true that people in Western societies are becoming more self-centred— so that we are placing short-term gratification before longer term development goals and are entering relationships to extract maximum pleasure—then we are becoming less mature.

It is worthwhile trying to gain a better understanding of the relationship between liberty, individualism and happiness, and an exposition of the nature of happiness is a good place to begin. 5 The pleasant life, or life of pleasure, is one motivated by hedonism—the desire to maximise the number of emotional and physical ‘highs’ that is the signature of modern consumer capitalism. It is possible to learn the skills necessary to foster the pleasant life, including skills in amassing income that can give greater access to hedonistic pursuits.

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