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Re: "Freedom" Discussion

Posted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 12:26 pm UTC
by MrGuy
What will you do with that freedom?

Re: "Freedom" Discussion

Posted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 12:52 pm UTC
by neoliminal
"I want you to punch me as hard as you can."

Re: "Freedom" Discussion

Posted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 12:52 pm UTC
by EnRohbi
vole-in-hand wrote:Plane to Fiji? Has someone been watching the Truman Show?

I thought the same thing while reading it :P

Re: "Freedom" Discussion

Posted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 1:14 pm UTC
by webb.am
Wow, my first real GOOMHR moment.

I think about this all the time. When using a knife I think about how easily I could shove it in my face if my 'mental rules' broke down.

Also, does anyone else think about punching/headbutting the person they're talking to, and then worry that the person might have seen a mad gleam in your eye as you did so?

Re: "Freedom" Discussion

Posted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 1:19 pm UTC
by webb.am
Oh, and the other common one: the inexplicable urge to throw your phone/keys/wallet into a lake/river...

Re: "Freedom" Discussion

Posted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 1:34 pm UTC
by monkeyman8
wackojacko1138 wrote:Ooh! Ooh! I know what this is! It's called Existential Angst!

Edited to remove bad pun.

ah yes, utter freedom, and crippling fear at the prospect of exercising that freedom. Well at least I can punch the next person I have this conversation with. Can't wait for my philosophy class on Monday.

Re: "Freedom" Discussion

Posted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 1:40 pm UTC
by Svix
Oh this one is good!

Like many people in this thread I often think about doing the most dangerous/inappropriate things to the point I can almost see myself doing them. Yesterday I wondered if anyone has murdered someone just for the sake of it, creating a seemingly motiveless crime, it's kinda disturbing!

Re: "Freedom" Discussion

Posted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 1:45 pm UTC
by littlelj
Comic JK wrote:This is how people with vertigo feel. "Sure, I'm safe as long as I don't fling myself over the edge like a crazy person. But what if I did?"

That's the reason I have to get my husband to lock the car doors when we are on the motorway. I just get an irresistible irresistible? irresistable? dammit they both look wrong *rummages on Google* "did you mean irresistible" urge to open the door and jump out.

I am not allowed to sit next to the emergency exits on planes, for the same reason.

Liked the comic lots.

Re: "Freedom" Discussion

Posted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 1:54 pm UTC
by BioTube
The main reason we naturally follow the rules is because it avoids conflict(without which life really would be nasty, brutish and short) and we benefit when others follow the rules. Thus we agree to surrender some freedom in exchange for a better life - if people couldn't be relied upon to follow through most of the time, we wouldn't have anywhere near the technology level we do now(which relies extremely heavily on division of labor to work).

Re: "Freedom" Discussion

Posted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 2:17 pm UTC
by reject0
littlelj wrote:That's the reason I have to get my husband to lock the car doors when we are on the motorway. I just get an irresistible irresistible? irresistable? dammit they both look wrong *rummages on Google* "did you mean irresistible" urge to open the door and jump out.

I am not allowed to sit next to the emergency exits on planes, for the same reason.

Liked the comic lots.


Yes, I frequently lock my doors when riding as a passenger because I've caught my hand moving to the door handle before. Somehow the urge never hits when I'm driving though.

Re: "Freedom" Discussion

Posted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 2:31 pm UTC
by stubborndogmom
Does it disturb anyone else that many of the posted 'freedom' thoughts are violent in nature? I mean, I have to drive to work here in a couple of hours and apparently what is between me and utter motor-vehicle chaos is a thin veneer of civilized behavior that many are tempted to forgo. Between dodging the swerving vehicles and random bouncing bodies it is going to be one tough commute.

Better have a big breakfast...

Re: "Freedom" Discussion

Posted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 2:44 pm UTC
by Armadillo Al
Violent, or simply chaotic?

The reason the violent thoughts are the ones that are being considered here is, by and large, those are the only ones that are discouraged by the 'veneer of civilization'. Thus, once the veneer is removed, they are the only ones that must be considered anew, since most of the other ones were already possible.

On a quasi-related note, I've been terrified many times by the thought that, should I so choose, it would be ridiculously, amazingly easy to ruin my life forever.

Re: "Freedom" Discussion

Posted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 2:51 pm UTC
by webb.am
Yeah I think most of these thoughts are about ways you could ruin your life easily and quickly. Examples include:

- punching your boss
- punching a pregnant woman
- calling your girlfriend fat
- going on a gambling website, going straight to the roulette and putting all your money on red

Anyone got any better/funnier ones?

Re: "Freedom" Discussion

Posted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 3:18 pm UTC
by Coffee
webb.am wrote:Yeah I think most of these thoughts are about ways you could ruin your life easily and quickly. Examples include:

- punching your boss
- punching a pregnant woman
- calling your girlfriend fat
- going on a gambling website, going straight to the roulette and putting all your money on red

Anyone got any better/funnier ones?


Calling a member of the Australian SAS a "wanker?"

Re: "Freedom" Discussion

Posted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 3:38 pm UTC
by SlyReaper
Shupersean wrote:I think this "freedom" is the main reason I balk at sociology. Predict how someone *should* react as much as you want, there will always be that person who decides to ignore convention, compulsion, or impulse and do something completely unexpected. Actually...I think if someone could live in that space, they would be truly interesting.


I think we call people who make a habit of that "sociopaths".

Re: "Freedom" Discussion

Posted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 3:40 pm UTC
by thefoolofemmaus
reject0 wrote:
littlelj wrote:That's the reason I have to get my husband to lock the car doors when we are on the motorway. I just get an irresistible irresistible? irresistable? dammit they both look wrong *rummages on Google* "did you mean irresistible" urge to open the door and jump out.

I am not allowed to sit next to the emergency exits on planes, for the same reason.

Liked the comic lots.


Yes, I frequently lock my doors when riding as a passenger because I've caught my hand moving to the door handle before. Somehow the urge never hits when I'm driving though.


As a passenger I once shifted my girlfriend's car out of drive, into park while we were stopped at a red light. Hilarity did not ensue.

Also, Chaos: not just a theory, for some a way of life.

Re: "Freedom" Discussion

Posted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 3:45 pm UTC
by ttremblay
Because of this comic, I made a promise to myself: today I will do something completely weird.

I'll follow up.

Re: "Freedom" Discussion

Posted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 3:46 pm UTC
by Semiraghe
Comic JK wrote:This is how people with vertigo feel. "Sure, I'm safe as long as I don't fling myself over the edge like a crazy person. But what if I did?"


I'm not sure if there are two types of vertigo, but having been diagnosed with it once in high school I can say it is nothing like this. The version I had just made me feel like I was spinning all the time. I probably would have thrown up a lot, but moving that fast and hard would have been even more torture. To give you an idea of how awful you feel this is what the doctor said to me after diagnosis.

"I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy."

Man that sucked. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vertigo_(medical)

Also, someone said that violent actions are the only ones we suppress. I find that hard to believe. There are also plenty of rude actions you avoid, such as streaking, public self stimulation, defecating in the hallway, vomiting on a baby, telling dirty jokes by yelling in church. There are also sets of nice actions that are avoided due to them being outside of social norms and people thinking you are strange. Such as saying hi to everyone you meet on the street, talking to people on the subway you don't know, picking up hitch hikers (admittedly this one has safety reasons as well).

I think the reason we think of violent actions is because we actually have those urges more often. Everyone has at some point been so mad that they want to punch someone so this is easier to visualize. Not every one has wanted to stand in Times Square naked and offer free sex to anyone who is interested, thus it is harder to imagine.

Re: "Freedom" Discussion

Posted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 4:30 pm UTC
by bmonk
Yes, we are free to act however we wish--but there are consequences to our choices. And we all expect others to act according to certain standards. A student once told a college prof in a course (Ethics, I think), "There are no rules of behavior that I need to follow unless I choose to follow them."

The prof responded, "Great to hear that. Tell you what--in that case, I choose not to read any of your tests or papers. I'll just give you all Fs. It'll save me the bother of trying to meet the rules of the University about grades in your case."

Needless to say, the student very quickly saw the point, and had a change of heart.

Re: "Freedom" Discussion

Posted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 4:35 pm UTC
by SirMustapha
I think about this sometimes.

Q: What if, in the middle of this conversaion, I just punch that person in the face?
A: I'll be a complete dumbass.

Q: What do I do if I'm totally freaked out by the most basic, trivial philosophical dilemmas I can face?
A: I WON'T vent my frustrations in a webcomic. I have dignity.

Re: "Freedom" Discussion

Posted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 5:04 pm UTC
by thevicente
Cool, a stick figure drawing with a fist.

Re: "Freedom" Discussion

Posted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 5:22 pm UTC
by Technical Ben
What age were you when you realised your actions had reactions/consequences? I can remember doing one or two things as a child without thinking of the consequences, and a couple where I thought "why not?". Suffice to say I quickly learnt the reason not to shout in public or punch people talking to you (I only did it the once! :( ).

Re: "Freedom" Discussion

Posted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 5:36 pm UTC
by Almost in register
macho wrote:Randall, I don't know if you're reading this, but I'm a little bit freaked out. This is the fourth or fifth comic you've made where you express thoughts that are identical to mine.

I wish people would stop saying this. Every time someone says "Get out of my head!", I think to myself, maybe we all just have ordinary thoughts and Randall just happens to articulate them.

Re: "Freedom" Discussion

Posted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 5:38 pm UTC
by Coffee
Almost in register wrote:
macho wrote:Randall, I don't know if you're reading this, but I'm a little bit freaked out. This is the fourth or fifth comic you've made where you express thoughts that are identical to mine.

I wish people would stop saying this. Every time someone says "Get out of my head!", I think to myself, maybe we all just have ordinary thoughts and Randall just happens to articulate them.


Wow! I keep thinking the exact same thing. Get out of my head! (being silly)

Re: "Freedom" Discussion

Posted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 5:46 pm UTC
by MarkGyver
"Sometimes I'm terrified to realize how many options other people have."

Sometimes? Only sometimes? For me, it's more like oftentimes, so I've become somewhat desensitized to the thought of other people going crazy like that. I rationalize the desensitization by telling myself it isn't my fault when people go berserk around me. I think I'm more worried about the blame than the (possibly deadly) consequences. I'm still quite scared of myself, however (especially after waking up from a dream where I do things that I'd like to think myself mentally incapable of doing).

Edit: This comic's "free" sounds like Free as in Destitute....

Re: "Freedom" Discussion

Posted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 6:13 pm UTC
by Sappharos
Yes, I too can definitely relate to this one. When walking along a reservoir dam, I imagine myself letting go of my phone and dropping it over the side, staring at it as for a few seconds it falls away from me, then collides spectacularly with the concrete wall - I'm constantly a split second away from actually doing it - amazingly, a few seconds later I realise that I thankfully haven't done so, but I still could... Same sort of feeling when I'm walking next to a road or railway, or talking to any female. What would happen if I just... grabbed her boobs? Spat in her face? Did a handstand? Made a noise like a banana? Any of these could happen at any moment, and instantly my current social status would become forever irretrievable. What if these sort of thoughts actually make it more likely? If it's after all so unlikely, why can't I just forget about the idea? I fear myself, and envy the apparent mental stability of others.

Re: "Freedom" Discussion

Posted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 6:30 pm UTC
by scotty2haughty
webb.am wrote:Oh, and the other common one: the inexplicable urge to throw your phone/keys/wallet into a lake/river...


Get out of my head, webb.am

Re: "Freedom" Discussion

Posted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 6:34 pm UTC
by heyytonytony
Has there been a study yet on stuff like this? In any case, obligatory "goomhr"

I'd also like to think (as a previous poster stated) /most/ people share these thoughts. But the only evidence of such are my friends, and I can't say they're the most normal bunch.

Then again, what's normal anymore?

Re: "Freedom" Discussion

Posted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 6:35 pm UTC
by Robstickle
Sappharos wrote: I imagine myself letting go of my phone and dropping it over the side, staring at it as for a few seconds it falls away from me, then collides spectacularly with the concrete wall


I did that once from the top of a multi-story carpark, the collision was disappointing but at least it still worked.

(The phone was very cheap and old, would never do that with my current phone)

Re: "Freedom" Discussion

Posted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 6:37 pm UTC
by scotty2haughty
webb.am wrote:Yeah I think most of these thoughts are about ways you could ruin your life easily and quickly. Examples include:

- punching your boss
- punching a pregnant woman
- calling your girlfriend fat
- going on a gambling website, going straight to the roulette and putting all your money on red

Anyone got any better/funnier ones?


- Go to school naked
- cut of a finger
- Blow up your car
- Set your couch on fire
- Quit your job, sell your house, use your entire life savings to buy survival gear and move to the Amazon jungle (that one sounds a little fun...)

Re: "Freedom" Discussion

Posted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 7:16 pm UTC
by Noah1989
Yesterday I chucked in studies and decided to work full time as a programmer. Today i told my parents - well they didn't see that coming either! But that freedom was kinda weird. When i handed in my exmatricilation request i felt like "many people would think that this is not right, but they cannot stop you!"

today i saw that comic and thought "GET OUT OF MY HEAD, RANDALL!"

Re: "Freedom" Discussion

Posted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 8:04 pm UTC
by xmrsmoothx
I'm thinking "plane to fiji" is a reference to The Truman Show.

Re: "Freedom" Discussion

Posted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 8:21 pm UTC
by Phael
Re: the options other people have:

I have this thought often as well. In fact, the first time I had this thought was the first time I took a few steps back from that yellow line on the subway...

Re: "Freedom" Discussion

Posted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 8:38 pm UTC
by Arancaytar
Sometimes when I talk to an idiot, I protect my sanity by mentally punching him in the face.

Fortunately, none of them have ever suspiciously asked why I was smiling.

Re: "Freedom" Discussion

Posted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 8:41 pm UTC
by Elaro
Yeah. Of course you could. And then you would have to face the consequences of your actions. This is amazing why, again?

I mean, I was (and still am, in many respects) an iconoclast/freethinker/asocialite/individual. "Going against the grain", so to speak. In my experience, while my opinions may have been correct (or correct for the information I had) my methods, influenced certainly by the counter-social idea, were less than optimal for getting interpersonal support.

Oh hey, look, I'm doing it again!

Anyway, on the subject of existential angst. It's not anxiety-inducing because freedom is daunting, it's anxiety-inducing because it's entertaining the possibility of our selves not doing what we intend for them to do. It is the quintessential betrayal. What can we count on, if not ourselves?

There's also the idea that thinking about the things we could do, but shouldn't, is a waste of time and brain processing cycles. Also, what are our mental faculties for if not to weed out the bad options from the good ones? People want certain situations to occur, and have limited resources to make those things occur, and may want new situations along the way, and can take action. From these principles we can derive fundamental human morality (be kind to others, discourage those acting evilly, etc.).

Yes, I've been trying to justify the exertion of (good) judgment since I was 8-ish, can you tell?



tl:dr: We can do things contrary to our interest, we shouldn't. Also, we are motivated by what we want. (Can I join the tautology club?)

Re: "Freedom" Discussion

Posted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 8:49 pm UTC
by Phael
From these principles we can derive fundamental human morality (be kind to others, discourage those acting evilly, etc.).

I don't disagree with you, but would just like to point out that from those same principles one could easily derive the very opposite of what most people would consider moral (depending on the situation you find yourself in).

Re: "Freedom" Discussion

Posted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 9:09 pm UTC
by Twelfthroot
I'm interested that a couple people have seen a similarity between the comic and the style of Calvin and Hobbes. I agree to an extent, but did anybody see this one as vaguely Schulzian? Something about it felt very Linus-Lucy-like to me.

Once, my friend decided to demonstrate her ultimate freedom of will and the separation between her consciousness and physical body by stabbing herself in the arm with a hot fork.

You can do whatever you want, but perhaps you shouldn't.

Re: "Freedom" Discussion

Posted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 10:14 pm UTC
by ttremblay
Another thought: this reminds me of Lost.


Although everything reminds me of Lost. Positive, or negative? Go.

Re: "Freedom" Discussion

Posted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 10:21 pm UTC
by NotMyTrueName
logixoul wrote:Dysaniak, I love you.

As much as I don't like this forum, I had to register to say "Ditto".

Re: "Freedom" Discussion

Posted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 10:35 pm UTC
by Mr. Coffee
It's I do this far too often, curs├ęd existential angst. It hasn't helped my social life but it prevents me from trivializing dangerous activities like driving or making toast while I take a bath.