A very basic freedom that I see as incredibly important, is the freedom to abdicate. I’m not saying that abdication is necessarily a good thing by saying this. The abdication joy will cause sadness and the abdication of food will cause hunger. However, the abdication of duties is a necessary principle for any duty to be voluntary.
Abdication is not a virtuous thing, but a necessary thing in respecting one’s self. Abdication is necessary to stand up for one’s self when you feel you are being mistreated. If one is employed by an asshole, abdication is virtuous in the sense that one should be free to cut ties with him. This is not always the case due to poverty, but abdication from poverty is itself a virtue.
I do not see many young students recognize that they can abdicate from school. I do not see many students recognize that they have at least some locus of control over their lives. To me, this is one of the most horrible things about education, that it has convinced the masses that they have no power to leave and be free of a relationship they did not endorse nor enjoy.
There are many other things about education that disturb me, but the idea that children cannot abdicate from poor relationships or mistreatment I believe directly funnels into their belief that they cannot abdicate from bad careers or bad relationships. There are often more things at play, I will recognize that, but I do believe a massive factor in abusive relationships of any kind is the idea that the scorned cannot abdicate from their abuser. Whether a teacher and student, two spouses, a boss and an employee, the freedom to abdicate is necessary for preserving one’s self in the face of cruelty and disrespect.
I hope that you will abdicate from anyone who abuses you, either human or institution. Genuinely.
Until next time,