Wherein I Feel Like a Raskolnikov

It happened at last. After so long and so much thought, that tiny moment of carelessness and I am undone. But now that I have the luxury of retrospection I am not so sure that I was unprepared for it. I had paused in worry about it, at first, before I left the room. I could have done something – but was I perhaps, innards churning in turmoil, seeking some form of release as well? Maybe, maybe. Maybe subconsciously I was sick of it all, the hiding and the lies.

But unlike Raskolnikov I don’t hold that much romance in my heart. What’s done is done, and I can’t undo it. If it turns out for the better then so be it. And if it doesn’t, there’s no point crying over spilt milk.

But I do so hope it turns out good.

What am I blabbering about in this post? Something personal, too personal and which I am not privy to revealing here. My guts don’t extend so far. But suffice to say it was important that I want to remember this day – which explains the post. Perhaps subconsciously, though I want to reveal my secrets, which explains why it’s public.

Ah, blither. Speaing of unspeakable acts, here’s an article by Ward Churchill about the 911 “attack”. Ward writes of the bad Americans having only themselves to blame for the (not) terrorist attack. Personally, I think the allegation that the people who died in the crash were not merely “innocent victims” and had it coming is a little too strong, and definitely isn’t going to sit well with the American public. Granted, the employees in the towers were probably quite highly educated, upper-middle class citizens who could not possibly have been ignorant of the issues outside their own country. And yes, they supported(statistically) a President who sanctioned “deliberate genocide”. So really, they should have expected retaliation. You hit someone, someone’s gonna hit back. Hell, the Americans sure as heck hit back when they were hit.

The allegations serve their purposes, though, in making aforementioned bad Americans sit up and look around them at what they’re doing to the rest of the world. I’m not a Yankee-hater myself – after all I am a culturally-dereft-Americanised-bastard, so it’s difficult for me to accept that what the country whose media I take in so readily can be so bad.

But it’s got me thinking about life, and about the much-vaunted freedom that Americans treasure so much(it’s something of a luxury here in Singapore). You see, back in Philosophy 101 I learnt about the definitions of Freedom, of which there are at least two. There’s positive freedom, in which you have the right to do things, such as the right to education or the right to nutrition. Then there’s negative freedom, which is the more intuitive concept of simply not being restricted in your actions.

The thing is, we usually talk abot negative freedom when we do talk about idealistic freedom, but in practice we usually implement positive freedom. This rather rowdy friend(unnamed, to save embarrassment) I once had was constantly going on and on about how she had the right to do this, and that, and no one should restrict her because she had the right. I broached the topic of her rather narrow view on rights. She had fallen into the rather sad trap of believing that rights were somehow given to her, that there were things she was entitled to. But she never saw that in reality she had given up her negative freedom, the kind that starts you off with nothing, and yet everything.

She failed Philo 101, by the way.

What I’m trying to say here is that too many of us have fallen into this trap of taking our rights for granted. The right to education, the right to employment, the right to marriage – all these are societal concepts and laws set out to protect you. These rights don’t exist naturally, and when they do they exist for a reason. For example, the right to education is not so much about human dignity as it is about improving a country’s economic strength – you don’t really deserve any education.

I hate people who emphasize their rights like God-given sacraments. These people usually never stop to think why it is that they have these rights. And the more rights you have, the less freedom. How so? Because rights are actually limiting factors to negative freedom to protect ourselves against intractions from other people. The more of them you have, the more restrictions you put on yourself too.

I’ll explain next time. Too late now to be thinking about this sort of thing.

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