Is man born free?


JJ Rousseau wrote in social contract that man is born free but everywhere he walks in chains.

Okot P’bitek on the other hand wrote man is not born free because even at birth he is physically attached to the mother. And man can’t be free. It is in these chains that he becomes human- societal chains( brother, sister, father, mother, uncle and all).

About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

27 thoughts on “Is man born free?

  1. john zande says:

    “Freedom” of the ultimate kind would mean not dependent on anything, including the basics, like oxygen.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Tish Farrell says:

    I think JJ got it wrong, though as a pronouncement it has a fine ring to it. In fact it was one of my favourites in my formative years. There was a Russian quote I liked at the time too: ‘our prison is all the world.’ I don’t remember ever trying to resolve the obvious contradictions between the two positions.

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  3. judyt54 says:

    question with no definitive solution, but lots of opinions, depending on your definition of free. Free of what? Free from what?

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  4. maryplumbago says:

    The freest man is he who can carry all he owns, on his back….read this somewhere..

    Liked by 1 person

  5. jim- says:

    One could be born freer than normal if parents allowed it. Beliefs tend to dismantle even the best attempts.

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  6. Political theorists like Rousseau, Locke, and others are describing freedom in the context of government. People are born free from law; the social contract creates such obligations. Other restrictions on human freedom (logical necessity, dependancy, nature) are typically irrelevant to their discussions.

    Rousseau is discussing artificial restrictions on human behavior, not natural ones. There’s nothing anything that can be done about the latter.

    Liked by 1 person

    • basenjibrian says:

      But I think this distinction is not obviously a hard line. The political/social realm directly impinges on the “natural”. Is it OK to beat one’s child or wife :() Natural law is silent on this. It is social/political law that governs how a society handles these natural law issues.

      Humans are social animals, even without a formal state. How can there be natural restrictions that are not social restrictions?

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      • Natural law refers to things that are possible/impossible. There’s no ethical question. For example, a person can’t travel faster than light. That’s a natural law. There’s no social restriction on doing it.

        Looking at it from the other side, there’s no natural law against homicide. Homicide is something we’ve made up informally in social taboos all the way to legal statutes. While killing people has an effect on nature, it cannot be said to be a natural law.

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    • makagutu says:

      is it possible to be without a government or some form of political organization?

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s possible, at least in theory. An anarchist could give you a more thorough answer. I personally think that government is to human social organization that apartments are to human habitation. You can live without an apartment, but life is often easier than if you lived in something more primitive.

        But then again, some apartments get an infestation of cockroaches, and they become unlivable. So there’s that, too.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. shelldigger says:

    I don’t believe there is such a thing as true freedom. We all have restrictions placed by society or even ourselves.

    A man living alone in the wilderness would be as free as I could imagine, but even he is not free to wrestle the bear or go over the falls…

    Liked by 2 people

  8. renudepride says:

    The “freedom” is a very profound and also very confusing state of being. In believe, for whatever it is worth, that none of us are truly born free because our state of being depends on our family as well as our society and culture. Good question, my Kenyan brother! 🙂 Naked hugs!

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  9. But…but…but…our “will” is “free”, right? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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