Your browser has JavaScript turned off.
You will only be able to make use of major viewing features of this page of The Self-Sovereign Individual Project website if you turn JavaScript on.

Natural Social Contract Annotations

Freedom and Liberty

The reader will only be able to understand the purpose and meaning of this annotation and its relationship to the Natural Social Contract (NSC), if s/he has first read the Introduction section of the NSC and its explanatory and elucidating annotation.

1) I have found it useful to relate the concept of human Freedom to the physical concept of degrees of freedom, even though the former arose historically before the latter (and, in fact, the latter took its name from the former). Their relationship follows from the fact that the System of human Actions and States may be seen as an instance of a physical system. Just as with the Material Existents, forces and energy states of a physical system, so also with humans, Actions and States, their independent degrees of freedom are the particular Types of Attributes of the Members of the System of which they are a part, and the amounts of each degree of freedom are the Attribute a-Values of those Attribute Types or their Intervals of a-Values. Just as the number of such Attributes and their potential a-Values or Intervals of a-Values for an Object (which can be thought of as a simple System) are proportional to its size and Complexity (a State Value that is directly proportional to the number of Attributes and their potential a-Values and Intervals of a-Values, contained in the State), so also for a Freeman are hir set of Potential Actions proportional to hir complexity. Similarly as the degrees of freedom of an Object are reduced by each constraint applied to it or encountered by it (which reduces its complexity because it reduces the number of State Attributes and/or their potential a-Values or Intervals of a-Values), so too are the Potential Actions of a Freeman (a SubCategory of Objects) reduced in Attribute Types and/or their potential a-Values or Intervals of a-Values, by Constraints. However, for the Category of Freemen it is necessary to introduce the additional condition of awareness1 without which it makes no practical sense to say that a Potential Action is actually Available to hir. The need for the awareness condition may be seen to arise in the following manner. If a Freeman lacks the Information that would otherwise make hir aware of some Potential Action (ie. an Action of which s/he is capable - which is a potential for hir to Perform when s/he is not Constrained), to that extent the complexity of hir mind is less (the State of hir mind has fewer Attributes, lower Attribute a-Values or smaller Intervals of Attribute a-Values) than if s/he were so aware and, therefore, it follows that hir degrees of freedom - hir number of Potential Actions, and/or the scope of hir Potential Actions, are also less. Note in this regard that mere thoughts are among the Actions of any human, which alter the Attributes of hir mind.2 Moreover, this reasoning also shows why and how thinking creates more Available Actions (and thus more real Freedom) - thinking increases the Information content of a human's brain, and thus, hir complexity, particularly of hir mental State.

2) Before proceeding to craft well-defined Categories of Actions, Events and States, it is necessary to clearly distinguish Actions from their Effects and from the Events of transition which the Actions create, which in turn result in some State as the temporary product of the original Action. Here the reader is advised to revisit the definitions and annotational explanations of these terms. Although the difference between these is generally clear, people often get them confused, and when it comes to placing particular instances of them into Categories, the distinction is all important. In addition, the Category in which an Action, Event or State will be placed depends greatly on the precise definition of the Action, Event or State in question. For example, if I am talking about the situation related to trying to touch my toes with my hands, whether or not this is a Potential Action depends on the conditions that I put on the Action (keeping knees straight, required to touch bare toes, etc.) and on whether the situation is described in terms of an Action - moving my hands to attempt to touch my toes, or an Event - actually touching my toes. For example, if I am wearing shoes, then I am certainly free to move my hands in a manner which would sometimes cause them to touch my bare toes, so that Action is clearly possible for me, but the Event of actually touching my bare toes is impossible (not a result of a Potential Action for me) unless I first Perform another kind of Action, which is altogether different, of removing my shoes and socks.

3) Before proceeding it is also necessary to talk about restrictions to Potential Actions/Events/States, in general, in order to dismiss at the start certain types of statements which have the form of conditional restrictions but that are essentially not conditional at all (in the sense that they can never be removed) because of their universal validity. Logically a statement of restriction may be expressed in the form: If restriction A is in place (ie. is true), then Action B is not possible (ie. "B can be Performed" is invalid) or Event B cannot be achieved (ie. "Event B can exist" is invalid). However, this form of these statement can also be logically converted into the form: {restriction A holds} and {Action B can be Performed} is invalid, or {restriction A holds} and {Event B exists} is invalid.3 The famous adage "you can't have your cake and eat it too" is a simple example of the former, since having one's cake (maintaining it UnChanged) can be viewed as a restriction to one's Action of eating it. Thus, expressed as a statement about a restriction, this adage becomes: "If you restrict your Available Actions to those which do not Change the cake (ie. allow you to still have it), then the Action of eating it is not possible". Still there is a major difference between the cake example and the general case relating a restriction A with the impossibility of doing an Action B. Because eating the cake logically negates maintaining it UnChanged (and vice versa), the cake example is a special case which is a purely logical restriction. Definitions are another form of a purely logical restriction, since A implies not-A is always invalid (or, alternatively, {A and not-A} is always invalid - A cannot be both true and false at the same time and place). Because logic is absolute in place and time (if not, then the entire basis of Reality and of thought is undermined, and worse - no such basis is even possible), an exception to any logically invalid statement is not even a potentially possible Action. Therefore, logical restrictions have not been made part of the concept of Constraint defined in the NSC. This is also the reason why Permitted Social restrictions to Available Actions are also not considered to be Social Constraints. In effect, my definition of Compulsion is such that one cannot Compel oneself. Permission is essentially equivalent to a definitional or logical restriction and therefore is again outside the realm of consideration with respect to whether any Action/Event/State affected is Potential or not.

4) Before deciding that the simpler definition of a Freeman's Freedom used in the NSC would be sufficient, I had dissected the concept into the distinct ideas that I will now define and describe. These ideas will first be examined with respect to one Freeman apart from Society (a Robinson Crusoe type of situation), so that the Social aspects of these ideas are clearly distinguishable and distinguished from the Actions/Events/States only of/on self and other Existents that are not other Freemen or the under the Ownership, Possession or Control of other Freemen (ie. all Actions that are not Social).

Non-Social Actions/Events/States Diagram

A human's Absolute Potential Actions/Events/States are independent of time, place and the current state of knowledge and technology anywhere in the Universe (represented by all points inside the rectangle of any of the Action/Events/States diagrams). Time Change Actions/Events/States Diagram A human's Current Potential Actions/Events/States are dependent on the current state of knowledge and technology on Earth, but independent of hir own knowledge (awareness) of them or capabilities to do them. The Time Change Actions/Events/States diagram at right, shows a black circle containing a particular human's Current Potential Actions/Events/States and a grey circle containing the Potential Actions/Events/States that were "current" at some previous time for that same human. The area outside the gray circle but inside the black circle represents the gain of Potential Actions/Events/States during the time Durations between the circles for the same human. For example if the human is 50 years old, then 40 years ago the Action of journeying to the moon and the State of standing on the moon were not even a Potential Action or State for hir (at that time), but now they are. However, even though perhaps small and relatively insignificant, everyone also loses Potential Actions/Events/States as time proceeds, which is the portion inside the grey circle which is outside the black circle. For example, 40 years ago a human who is now 45 could take the Action of getting through a small hole in an otherwise impenetrable wall or attain the State of being on the other side of that small hole, but now s/he cannot. Thus, today's Current Potential Actions/Events/States for that human are an enlargement of those of 40 years ago which encompasses all Actions/Events/States that have become Potential for hir within the last 40 years and still are, less any Actions/Events/States that were Potential in the past but no longer are. Furthermore, this gain and loss of Potential Actions/Events/States continues every day of hir life.

A few additional examples are needed to illustrate these definitions, but at the same time I will modify the shape of the Constrained and unawareness partitions of the diagram to enable all logical combinations of areas to be shown after the introduction of a third partition, Social/Non-Social Actions/Events/States, which is a necessary preliminary to a discussion of the Social aspects of Actions/Events/States.

As first example, one involving only Non-Social Actions/Events/States, suppose you are in a cave whose main entrance has just been sealed by a small avalanche caused by an earthquake. This Act of nature has most certainly Constrained your previous Available Action to simply walk out of the cave and thus, has made that Action now UnAvailable (it was in the area B of the Actions/Events/States Diagram but is now in area C). Your Absolute Potential Actions/Events/States may still include attaining the State of being outside the cave by several Actions, but they do not include the Action of walking through the wall since that is and always will be physically impossible (it is completely outside the Actions/Events/States Diagram). Your Current Potential Actions/Events/States include digging out the entrance blockage with a pick and shovel, but they certainly do not include using a large sonic rock disintegrator, because such rock disintegrators do not exist at the present time on Earth, although they are not forbidden by the laws of Reality as far as is known, so they are still likely among your Absolute Potential Actions (and therefore would be in area A of the Actions/Events/States Diagram). Social/Non-Social Actions/Events/States Diagram Your Current Possible Actions/Events/States include using your hands plus the knife and hatchet, that you do have with you, to sufficiently enlarge the covered entrance (which Action would be in area B of the Actions/Events/States Diagram). However, your Current Possible Actions/Events/States do not include using a pick and shovel that you do not have with you (which as a logically impossible Action is completely outside the Social/Non-Social Actions/Events/States Diagram); nor do they include crawling out of a small exit hole in the rear of the cave the existence of which you are unaware (and is therefore in area D of the Social/Non-Social Actions/Events/States Diagram). However, if you are too large to fit through the rear exit hole, that Action is already not even an Absolutely Potential Action/Event/State and is not within the Social/Non-Social Actions/Events/States Diagram. Your Current Available Actions/Events/States include using your hands plus the knife and hatchet, but they do not include crawling out an exit hole in the rear of the cave through which you will fit, but of which you are unaware (although perhaps it is in your Rational self-interest to become aware of this by thoroughly inspecting the interior of the cave before attempting the arduous task of trying to free the known entrance). In addition, unless and until some Action is successful in accomplishing it, your Current Possible States do not include being outside the cave. Since it is a Current Possible Action, once you are aware of a small exit hole in the rear of the cave and have sufficiently enlarged it, then crawling through it to the outside becomes an Available Action and when completed being outside the cave becomes an Available State (ie. the Action moves from area E to area C when you become aware, and then to area B after you enlarge the hole; and the State of being outside the hole moves along with the Action, slightly delayed since the Action has to be Performed for the State to come into Existence). There are actually more Classifications of Available Actions/Events/States for you with respect to this example, but descriptions of these and how you Choose which to Perform and to attain are left to the annotations to the definition of Choice. A second example involving only Social Actions/Events/States can be very simply created by supposing that the desired Action/Event/State of the person in the cave in the first example is a Social Action/Event/State eg. the person in the cave wishes to InterAct with a friend or drive a rented car both of which are outside the cave. The analysis will proceed as in example one, with B, C, D, E replaced by F, G, H, I respectively. Note that the Constraints of the Actions/Events/States delimited by the arc of the Social/Non-Social Actions/Events/States Diagram enclosing areas C, E, G, I are still merely those physical Constraints imposed by Non-Social Actions/Events/States and are quite different from the Social Constraints discussed in paragraphs 7) and 8) below.

5) In formulating the definition of Freedom I have not ignored the fact that each human has a unique set of Attributes and capabilities. This fact of Reality means that certain Events (eg. touching bare toes without bending knees), which are Available to some humans (those with good flexibility, bare feet and who are otherwise UnConstrained), are often extremely difficult for some other humans to achieve (eg. those with barely sufficient flexibility, but note that the Action of attempting to touch toes is not Constrained), are not among the Current Potential Actions/Events/States of some other humans (eg. when temporarily standing in a narrow shaft - since then not only is the Effect Constrained but even the Action that would normally cause that Effect is also Constrained, but again only for some people in such a situation, because an exceptionally flexible person may still accomplish it) and perhaps are not even among the Absolute Potential Actions/Events/States of still others (eg. those wearing shoes or with amputated feet - both logical restrictions). Since these are simply facts of Reality, any notions of wrongness, unfairness or injustice have no meaningful application to them; a fact of Reality simply exists. Graphically these differences mean that the partitioned areas within the circle on the Social/Non-Social Actions/Events/States diagram will vary in size from one person to another and over the same person as s/he physically Changes and/or acquires more awareness of Possible Actions/Events/States. As a person ages, initially many Actions/Events/States, will move from areas C and G (aware but Constrained) into areas B and F, respectively, as s/he grows generally more competent (ie. an increase in both Non-Social and Social Freedom - but some will also go from B to C - ie. s/he can no longer get through a small hole) and then, with any physical and/or possibly mental dysfunctions over time, some Actions/Events/States in area B and F will move into area C and G, respectively (ie. a decrease in both Non-Social and Social Freedom). However, any improvement due to increased awareness (the movement of Actions/Events/States from areas D, E, H and I into areas B, C, F and G respectively) should always be continuing with time unless there is memory dysfunction due to aging. The movement of Actions/Events/States from E and I into C and G respectively, as one ages and gains more information, will, at the least, make them amenable to attempts to remove one's Constraints to them or to make their Potential known to those people who have no such Constraints, neither of which were possible when those Actions/Events/States were not even known to be Potential.

Social/Non-Social Actions/Events/States Diagram

6) Moreover the uniqueness of humans implies not only that it is generally impossible to equalize any two with respect to their Non-Social and Social Freedom, but that it would also not be compossible for anyone else to attempt to equalize them where it is actually possible. As an example of the former, it is not possible to equalize a short person with a tall person so that the short person can, without aids, reach as high as the tall person - without cutting off the arms or legs of the tall person, that is. Equalization would not be compossible because person-A could not be made to have the same Available Actions/Events/States as person-B without either reducing the Available Actions/Events/States of person-B (reduction of all to the lowest common set of Attributes) or transferring some assets from person-B or some third person-C to person-A (which in either case would create an Event of Harm to person-B or person-C). Instead, all that can be achieved by a consistent and complete, Reality-based Freeman Society is to provide an optimal environment for each Freeman to compossibly accomplish whatever equalization (or anything else) s/he desires by:

7) It is important to note that while most writers appear to make little distinction in meaning between Freedom and Liberty, I have defined them quite separately. In effect, Liberty is the Social aspect of Freedom in a similar manner to which Self-Owner is the Social aspect of Self-Master or Ownership is the Social aspect of Possession and Control. That this is so can be seen if one imagines a human alone on a desert island. In such a State it is clear that the notion of the ability to Perform certain Acts, the mastery of himself (in the sense of intimacy of perception and Control of his Person) and the Control of whatever things external to himself to whatever extent he finds Valuable, are all essential to his survival and his continued Happiness; but the notions of Liberty (applying only to those Freedoms that are capable of being Constrained by other humans - ie. Socially Constrained) and Ownership (that he should have a Property Entitlement to Possession and Control over both himself and certain Existents and/or Information external to his Person) have no practical use. On the other hand, within a Society, the distinction between Constraints which reduce Freedom and those which reduce Liberty is both meaningful and important, since all manner of natural occurences by UnOwned inanimate nature, lifeforms or oneself, can reduce one's Available Actions/Events/States (ie. move Actions/Events/States from areas B and F to areas C and G on the Social/Non-Social Actions/Events/States diagram), but not reduce one's Liberty. Freedom, Liberty and Social Constraints Diagram For example, if you accidentally break your leg, your Freedom is reduced because the Action of running will no longer be Available, but by my definition you still have full Liberty to do it (the Action moved from area B to area C on the Freedom, Liberty and Social Constraints diagram); whereas if your legs had been shackled, then you would not be at Liberty to run (the Action moved from area B to area J on the Freedom, Liberty and Social Constraints diagram). Additionally, note that if some other Freeman-B was the Effective Cause of your leg being broken the Action of running would have moved from area B into area L since it was a Social Constraint that made the Action physically impossible. Once you are fully Restituted by Freeman-B, even if you still cannot run, the Action of running would move from area L into area C. As with the example above of the person stuck in the cave, if the desired Action were a Social Action, eg. to fulfill a contract playing basketball, the analysis would be the same, but the referenced portions of the diagram would be the corresponding areas beneath the horizontal Social/Non-Social line.

Liberty, then, is the set of Potential Actions/Events/States, both Social and Non-Social, which remain when a Freeman is Socially Constrained (which, by definition, means such Constraints are without hir Permission). In effect, Social Constraints have removed the Actions/Events/States, both Social and Non-Social, that are inside the small oval shaped regions from inside the circle of Potential Actions/Events/States, so that they are now outside the circle and part of area A (think of the circle as now a donut with two holes). This is the true effect of Social Constraints since, even if you are aware of them, such Constrained Actions/Events/States will be thwarted every time that you try to actualize them, ie. they are not even Potential Actions/Events/States. The definition of Social Constraints as a subset of physical Constraints and therefore of Liberty as a superset of Freedom should be carefully noted because not all Violations are physical Constraints that reduce Available Actions/Events/States and, thus, reduce both Liberty and Freedom. Liberty (and Freedom with it) is only actually reduced by those Violations which result in the complete elimination, the elimination of some of the Attributes, or the reduction of the a-Value or the Interval of a-Values of some Attributes, of a Freeman's Available Actions (contrast this with the definition of Choices). This implies (and it is highly important that the reader should note this!) that under the definitions given in the NSC, Violations which result merely in Negative Alterations of the importance weightings and occurrence expectations of parameters being considered when one is Estimating Choices (all defined in great detail within the annotations to the definition of Choice), while certainly altering a Freeman's Choices, do not reduce his Liberty or Freedom because they do not actually alter his Available Actions. Here is an example to illustrate these differences. If someone chains you to an immovable object, this clearly decreases your Type and Interval of Available physical motions and, thus, reduces your Liberty and your Freedom. However, if this same person merely points a gun at you (even one which you think is loaded and ready to fire) and says: "if you move from here, I will shoot you", your Available Actions are still precisely as before - the only change is in the likelihood of each of those Actions having the same effect as before (ie. your Choice Estimations for each Available Action have been Altered). This is a very important change, but it cannot correctly be seen as a reduction of Liberty and Freedom unless and until the threatened Compulsion actually occurs (and thus, a de facto Social Constraint is created). It should again be noted that this is a very different definition of Liberty from that used by most natural rights philosophers, and from what is understood by most people. However, I have defined Freedom and Liberty in these novel ways because I am convinced that these definitions are necessary to understand the important differences of the various examples of Non-Social and Social Actions/Events/States with respect to Social Constraints, to thus attain philosophical consistency, and finally to achieve a valid and effective Social Contract.

8) Having defined Freedom and Liberty as I have done, if I temporarily apply the definitions to past and current Societies, replacing Freemen by Members of those Societies, it can be seen that the percentage, 100 x Liberty/Potential Actions/Events/States summed over all Members of the Society and then divided by the number of Members, may be reasonably used as a measure of the Average Relative Liberty of a Member of the Society. In the same manner, the Average Relative Freedom can be expressed as: 100 x Freedom/Potential Actions averaged over all Members of a Society. While the average Freedom in the US (as the most extreme example) has greatly risen within all past Durations (50, 100, 150, 200, 250 years, etc), because of the tremendous increase in Potential Actions/Events/States created by scientific and technological progress and the increasing fluidity of Information about many goods and services, it is not at all clear that the Average Relative Freedom has also risen. In addition, while the average Liberty of a US resident has also clearly risen because of the same enormous rise in Potential Actions/Events/States, it has not risen nearly as fast as the Average Freedom and it is even less clear that the Average Relative Liberty has increased. In fact, it appears to be very clear to many that the average Liberty/Freedom ratio has drastically diminished. The reason for this is that while people in the US today clearly have far more Potential Actions/Events/States than ever before, the direct Social Constraints of those Actions/Events/States (not to mention the Negative Alterations of the Choices of Members with respect to all Available Actions) by a vastly increased array of Social Constraints, laws, regulations, and eliminated Choices due to government monopolies has increased even more. Thus, the appearance of having a better and more fulfilling life than that of past generations (which really depends on the relative number of Potential Actions/Events/States that are not Socially Constrained), of which most people are currently convinced, and which is constantly promoted by all governments as having been created by them, is actually quite false.

Since the Actions/Events/States of Social Freedom are all Available Actions/Events/States which affect or Connect to other Freemen (area F on the Freedom, Liberty and Social Constraints diagram), the theory of Social Meta-Needs clearly implies that no Social Constraint of any Actions except possibly Social ones is necessary to enable all Freemen to jointly optimally increase their Total Future Happiness (ie. Social Meta-Needs implies that areas J, L, N and P should be empty - or shrunk to nothingness).Freedom, Liberty and Social Constraints Diagram Instead of the vast and unnecessary reduction of Liberty, which is present in current Society, even in the face of greatly increased Potential Actions/Events/States brought on by technology (ie. movement of elements in area A into the circle of Potential Actions/Events/States), what should be aimed for in order to allow each human to optimally increase hir Lifetime Happiness, is the maximum possible compossible Liberty (ie. the minimum possible reduction of those Potential Actions that can be mutually attained by all Freemen at the same time - the smallest possible areas of K, M, O and Q on the Freedom, Liberty and Social Constraints diagram) and the minimum possible Negative Alterations to Choices (see the extended diagrams in the annotations to the definition of Choice). The Natural Social Contract is an attempt to give a detailed description of the minimum compossible set of Social Constraints which maximize both Current Freedom and Current Liberty and enable Freedom to increase as fast as possible. Related to the Freedom, Liberty and Social Constraints diagram, this means that all Actions/Events/States in areas J, L, N and P move into areas B, C, D and E, respectively, and as many as possible of those in areas K, M, O and Q move into areas F, G, H, and I, respectively, thus making the former areas as small as possible. However, it also implies that the rate of movement of Actions/Events/States from areas C, D and E into area B, from areas G, H and I into area F and from area A into the area of Potential Actions/Events/States will be maximized.

1. I use aware to mean: "marked by realization, perception, or knowledge" - Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged. Merriam-Webster, 2002. (5 Oct. 2005). I fully realize that the concept of awareness is fraught with problems since many people will declare that certain Actions of which they were not aware were therefore not even a potential for them and others will use the excuse of unawareness (either never having known or simply having forgotten) as a reason for not Performing certain Actions, even though it was in interest of optimally increasing their Total Future Happiness to be so aware. Even so, I think that the State of awareness has a clearly definable meaning which can be useful for analyzing the Actions of humans, with respect to whom awareness attains its clearest and most potent level of expression among all known lifeforms. In fact, if a person wishes to optimally increase hir Total Future Happiness, then s/he must Act (can only achieve that desire by Acting) to increase hir Independence by becoming aware of all Current Potential Actions.

2. Thoughts are in the Category of Internal Actions, rather than the External Actions, which are more commonly thought of as being real Actions (deeds). However, even this last is a distinction from common usage since words or writings are still Externalized Actions, even though they are, by most people, not considered to be deeds.

3. Curly brackets, { }, are used to make the logic of complex sentences and phrases clear.