Regenerating Freedom: Part of a Bigger Vision
Regenerating Freedom is one of the three initiatives announced in The Calling. Despite the initiatives being able to stand on their own, each relates and reinforces one another to create a bigger vision. To highlight that relation I decided to preface each initiative’s overview with a passage from The Calling that makes that clear:
1. To achieve any human goal, you need to have a measure of freedom from necessity. By necessity I mean the basic needs. Without those needs satisfied, any human endeavor becomes practically impossible to achieve.
2. If you find a way to satisfy the basic needs, a question naturally occurs. Now that are you free from necessity, what will you use your freedom for?
3. If you decide upon a certain use for your freedom, given humans tend to live together in groups and/or countries, it’s important to live under socio-political conditions that allow you to exercise your choices.
Regenerating Freedom deals with the first issue. Achieving freedom from necessity in a way that doesn’t harm the environment, depend on the government, or require the servitude of others. Its goal is to use modern technology to achieve that with the minimum amount of labor.
Philosophy Reborn deals with the second issue. By reviving the original meaning of philosophy, it aims to facilitate our quest in understanding our world and what we should do in it.
Filiki Eteria deals with the third issue. For once we do come to some conclusions as to what we should do and why, we want to proceed into building a life that enables us to do that. To have that liberty, presupposes a socio-political framework that allows for that possibility. Filiki Eteria deals with creating such frameworks, finding ways to overcome the theoretical and practical challenges inherent in such initiatives.
These initiatives constitute the vision of Idealism in Practice.
Regenerating Freedom: An Overview
The end of the Industrial Revolution gave rise to an unfulfilled promise, that technology would liberate us from the struggle for existence and create enough freedom for everyone to fulfill their highest aspirations:
“Beginning in the early nineteenth century and continuing for over a hundred years, working hours in America were gradually reduced-cut in half according to most accounts-and this is true for most modern industrial nations. Few other economic or social movements lasted as long or involved as many people. Few developments excited the imaginations of so many or encouraged such hope for the future. Counted as one of the great blessings of technology, the process lasted so long that observers during the first decades of the twentieth century agreed that it was bound to continue. No one predicted that it was going to end. On the contrary, prominent figures such as John Maynard Keynes, Julian Huxley, and Dorothy Canfield Fisher regularly predicted that, well before the twentieth century ended, a Golden Age of Leisure would arrive, when no one would have to work more than two hours a day. Humans seemed to be on the verge of meeting the ancient economic challenge. Able to ensure everyone the necessities of life at last, technology would soon present humanity with what Keynes, the best-known economist of the century, called its “greatest challenge”:
“Thus for the first time since his creation Man will be faced with his real, his permanent problem-how to use his freedom from pressing economic cares, how to occupy the leisure, which science and compound interest have won for him, to live wisely and agreeably and well.”
However, the shorter-hour process stopped after the Great Depression. Since then we have had little or no decrease in our work. Abandoning hope for the abundant life Keynes so confidently predicted for us (his grandchildren), we moderns for some reason no longer expect work to ever become a subordinate part of life. We no longer look forward to gradually getting enough material goods and services so that we are able to turn our main attention to the business of living free. Unlike previous generations, we no longer worry about leisure’s challenge. What happened?” 1
Perhaps many of you have had the same question. The book I quoted above provides an answer as to what happened. However, I believe the more interesting question is:
Can we make it happen today?
Is it possible to create the conditions that will usher Keyne’s Golden Age of Leisure where, for the first time since creation, we’ll be faced with our real permanent problem – how to use our freedom to live wisely, agreeably and well?
Can we create an open, replicable, adaptive, decentralized, regenerative and iterative framework dedicated to the minimization of unwanted human labor and the maximization of spare time, without harming the environment, depending on the government or requiring the servitude of others, that anyone could build anywhere in the world at a low cost and achieve a dignified life with only ~2 hrs of necessary labor a day?
That is the challenge. If you want to be part of a team rising up to meet that challenge, sign up here.
Click here for a more detailed description of the challenge, where you can also find what is meant by each of those terms (open, replicable, adaptive, etc.) and the problem and situation related to the challenge.
Click here for the moral vision behind the initiative.
Click here for an elucidation of key terms and distinctions (like freedom and autonomy) relevant to the initiative.
- B. Hunnicutt, Free Time: The Forgotten American Dream, (Kindle Locations 13-24), Temple University Press, 2013, Kindle Edition.