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An amorphous freedom: an investigation into the restrictions that cage humanity

This guest contribution to the Jura blog is by Daisy, a high-school student from Blacktown. For her year 12 Personal Interest Project (PIP), Daisy explored notions of freedom, human needs, authority, power and the relationship between freedom and happiness. She drew on her own research, a survey, personal reflection and an interview with Jeremy Kay of the Jura Collective. We congratulate Daisy on her hard work and welcome her thoughtful consideration of the issues.


Introduction

My Personal Interest Project (PIP) will be exploring individual freedom and how human needs, authority and power and conditioning work together within society and how these factors can influence, affect and shape an individual’s micro and macro world.

My focus question will be ‘Are people free?’

The aims of my project are:

  1. To determine whether freedom is attainable.
  2. To discover the perceptions of freedom across generations and to assess if they are different or similar.
  3. To assess how freedom is understood through evident restrictions.

To be free is commonly connoted to being happy, a desire that every human wants to feel. In the world freedom is a universal property that all people are in some way connected to, whether positively or negatively. It is a concept with numerous definitions and understandings.

I chose this topic to be able to grasp this seemingly amorphous concept and reflect on the importance it has on people’s lives, both now and in the past. I find it interesting how the vision of freedom can push people to do such extraordinary things that are out of their social norms, even to wage wars to try to obtain freedom. In contrast though, some individuals never break through boundaries and will never question that their life could be any different and instead remain stuck in an identity that they may hate. I want to know if freedom is an expression, an emotion, a physical state or an illusion of the mind and to understand how fear operates in this context and why it appears to be so easily injected into freedom.

My PIP will contribute to a better understanding of society and culture through the main course concepts of society, culture, persons, environment, time, power and authority, and also, technology, gender, responsibilities, identity, status, tradition, conflict, social construct and social theories. Society sets the status quo and social constructs that people need to mould into, to achieve self-actualisation in their specific environment and time. These social constructs typically can generate conformity and a fear of freedom, which in turn can disintegrate an individual’s unique self. Human motivation, need and behaviour theories explain what boundaries surround an individual on a micro level and restrict them from being free.

The methodologies used will include a survey, interview and a personal reflection. I chose the survey and interview to obtain a wide array of information including both quantitative and qualitative data. I will be surveying people from different generations as my cross-cultural component, which will show continuity and change.

The interview and personal reflection will highlight contrasting ideologies that are based upon systems evident in the Australian society. The reflection will be my own perception of growing up in Australia and the interview will involve the specialised understanding of Jeremy Kay, an Anarchist and member of the Jura Collective in Sydney.

 

Read the rest of Daisy's essay – download the pdf.