Freedom O Freedom!

by rthieme on July 4, 1998

The Fourth of July is Independence Day in the USA, a celebration of the kinds of freedoms that matter most. Makes me think of people who communicated powerful, life-giving ways of being free.

+  the young unnamed hacker whose passion for knowledge took him across cyber-borders because he burned to understand and needed that last detail which completed a puzzle for both of us that turned us to stone like Medusa’s gaze when we looked into its eyes

+  a cyber-friend named Peter Weis, who dreamed up the Law of Progressive Complexity. Chaos is the flip side of order, he reminds us, and its yin/yang co-conspirator in universal creativity, which is why a few recursive rules generate an infinite complexity of individuals (galaxies, humans, even bacteria) who look alike but are not quite.

+  As biologist Lewis Thomas remarked, “Individual bacteria behave as if they have names.”

+  Which is why, notes Weis, democracy is a system that contains us all while allowing us the freedom to be unique.

+  and be ourselves. “Dost thou think,” Sir Toby Belch asks Malvolio, an icon of emergent Puritanism in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, “because thou art virtuous, there shall be no more cakes and ale?”

+  So party on, dudes and dudettes. Celebrate the heroes who create multiple mirror sites as fast as repressive governments shut them down.

+  and Charles Rike, who observed that human beings have all of the freedom and power that they CAN have. By which he meant the power to contribute what we have to the world and make a difference, and by freedom, the capacity intrinsic to our humanity to respond to whatever life brings with dignity, elasticity, and – when the chips are down – genuine heroism.

Yes indeed. Never forget.

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