Freedom is Really Slavery

I came across the above quote while reading about Monads in Functional Programming and it seemed to tie together a few thoughts that have been percolating. The article talks about self-imposed restrictions while programming (“Don’t break encapsulation”) and how ignoring these artificial constraints makes the job of maintaining or developing your work that much harder. “What seemed like freedom [e.g. doing whatever was easiest at the time] is really slavery.” A while back ziffle on Flutterby pointed to a collection of essays in which people propounded on their “Dangerous Ideas”. The most fascinating one to me was Clay Shirky’s: Free will is going away. Time to redesign society to take that into account. Now, the idea that “free will” can come and go is, in itself, interesting. But his introductory example was the suit brought against McDonald’s “charging, among other things, that McDonald’s used promotional techniques to get them to eat more than they should.” (For more indepth commentary on these “dangerous ideas”, see How to save the world.) Then, last Monday, Jeremy Zawodny criticized an editorial in the Washington Post that claimed obesity is good for the economy. While I won’t dispute the claim that obesity can have some positive effects on the economy, many of Jeremy’s criticism are my own, Now, here’s the clincher. As said, we now have a PlayStation 2. Last night, I waffled between purchasing Dance Dance Revolution and the lesser-known Kinetic. I ended up going for the (slightly) cheaper Kinetic. When I brought it home, dvfmama frowned at the money I spent (she frowns whenever I spend money, though) until I showed her the game. Then she closed the curtains so our neighbors wouldn’t see me doing aerobics. And she said it was better than my old plan. In my old plan, I’d spent a few weeks with the RCAF’s 5BX plan. was critical of the short exercise (11 minutes) and thought I needed more. And, to lose the 40lbs. that I’m trying to shed, she’s probably right. So, while our laziness has driven our economy to provide us with more and more leisure time at the expense of our health and given us plenty of opportunities to over-indulge, I’m hoping to turn that drive on its head a little by using some of my leisure time to rid myself of that excess and putting into effect some artificial constraints where — in decades past — natural constraints would have been enough. (Update: Just after I wrote this, I talked to . Basil, the seven-year-old gamer in our family, is wearing himself out with some of the “combat” mode games from Kinetic.)

One thought on “Freedom is Really Slavery”

  1. I believe

    I believe I would pay a non-trivial amount of money to watch you dance to a video game.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.