I am about to finish one of the most intelligent essays I have been reading in years:
“Abenteuer Freiheit” by Carlo Strenger. Western civilizations have acquired the right for freedom and need to understand that this freedom bears consequences for responsibility on every imaginable level. If everything is a matter of private choice, in return it can only mean that nobody owes anything to anyone. We have no right to claim that our individual convictions are the ultimate right ones. We have no right to believe that society owes us happiness and wealth. As much as we have the right to choose between constant self-improvement, protein powder and LSD, our choices are as individual as the paths to happiness are. The savior of religion and the one-solution-fits-all is gone, yet fundamentalism and terrorism are the exact opposite of it. Schumpeter (1943, p. 243) once summarized it as
This after all is only obvious. It should not surprise, still less shock, anyone. For it has nothing to do with the fervor or dignity of democratic conviction in any given situation. To realize the relative validity of one’s convictions and yet stand for them unflinchingly is what distinguishes a civilized man from a barbarian.
We should come to terms with our human tragedy and embrace the gift of having the right to choose the religion or the music or the political party – or whatever – that we believe is most suitable in comforting the inescapable tragedy of being. Attention: too many choices will make you unhappy!
I am finding consolation, and lots of energy to ponder over the above, in “Clear” by Cybotron.