The Dark Side of Freedom sort Like many in the west, I grew up in the cult of individualism. Although I didn’t believe I had much worth for many years, I still had this overriding belief that through hard work and self-reliance I could become completely free to do anything (except infringe on the freedom of others). The benefits of freedom have been well extolled by myself and countless others throughout history. Indeed, at one point, I wanted nothing more than to escape the expectations of society to become “my true self.” While I am still drawn to the ideal of liberty as the sweetest fruit, I now realize this freedom and individualism has a dark side.

identify i pill cost Google defines a commodity as a “product that can be bought or sold.” The spread of the pure commodity market (capitalism) enabled the individual to sell his time for money and spend (or save) it how he saw fit; the options for spending are endless. This freedom of choice allows the individual to break free of past ties such as family, friends, and old communities. I took this ideal to the extreme and many times professed to not like to give or receive gifts; I hated the commercialization of holidays; I didn’t want to receive more junk that I would need to store; I disliked feeling obligated to give a gift of equal value after receiving one. From an economic (capitalist) perspective, no one can give you a better gift than you can give yourself for an equivalent amount of money (value), making cash the most optimal gift. Despite my penchant for solitude, I still ended up feeling lonely fairly often. Indeed, complete freedom from social bonds almost always leaves the individual in utter loneliness, a high cost for liberty. I failed to realize a gift could be something as simple as an honest conversation between two individuals leading to an intense social bond. Many gifts are hard to quantify or value and it is not worth trying; every transaction need not be part of the traditional commodity exchange.

surpass keto ice cream to buy Strong family units and small communities have the ability to embrace a gift economy, completely rejecting the commodity market for inter-group transactions. Good citizens of a gift economy don’t keep score of every transfer, valuing every thing at a market price. In fact, commodification of and accounting for everything cheapens some of the most valuable gifts that we give one another which include the social bonds developed between the giver, receiver, and the whole group. In fact, attempting to commodify in a gift economy can literally break the social bonds and leave the individual completely isolated. For example, a son who never travels home to see his parents because the flight is too expensive and he doesn’t have time (and he doesn’t get much monetary value in return) will erode his social bond with his parents. He may not realize that his presence would be a nearly priceless gift to his parents; in return, he may never receive a priceless gift back from his parents.

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probe Modernity has fostered the complete domination of the commodity market in almost every part of the world and the possibilities for connection are endless. However, the gift economy functions best when the number of participants is relatively small (a tribe). How can we receive the benefits of a gift economy (community) in a sea of individuals? Lewis Hyde writes in The Gift: “it remains an unsolved mystery of the modern world, … as to how we are to preserve true community in a mass society, one whose dominant value is exchange value and whose morality has been codified into law.” Freedom is a seductive fruit, making it nigh impossible to go back to completely tribal societies despite the communal perks of social bonds and happiness. Is it possible to maintain a satisfactory amount of individual liberty while gaining the benefits of community? Denmark offers hope as it might be the happiest nation in the world while retaining some individualism.

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