How much of your life is controlled by others? Where do you find autonomy?
We all have obligations.
We are legally required to certain laws.
We need to fulfill expectations of the people we work for (even if self-employed).
And/or most of us have moral or personally agreed-to obligations to family members to various degrees.
Some of us may have the freedom of making a lot of our own choices.
How much freedom and obligation do you seem to have?
In what ways do you feel personally free, or personally obligated?
You've explained well the socio-economic responsibilities we all have. If we don't adhere to these we become classified as either criminals, pariahs or insane. But to get to the autonomy we have beyond these and from my own perspective, I feel I have a wide range of autonomy. Then again, I am a retiree.
I would say that I have a lot more autonomy than I had some decades back. I have no 'boss' or employer to order me around - though my wife of fifty-five years standing still attempts to do so at times. In the volunteer organisations to which I belong or have belonged, I was always free to take one to two choices: stay on or leave. (Couldn't do that when I was in the navy!)
I can stay in or go out according to the dictates of the 'outings' I've arranged and agreed to myself. If I don't want to do something, or take on a certain role I'm not shy in refusing. In other words, I'm far more confident in myself than I was when younger.
However, what is freedom? I read in a book somewhere, "That total freedom is total unconcern with the self." How many of us are that free?
Great question. I like how it is presented. First the 'how much' followed closely with 'where'. Writing a bit back for another about a hypothetical proposition becoming a conditional proposition there is the key element of time. In other words there are deviations, which with frequency become a trend and then with duration become traditional. Then a deviation occurs again and the process begins anew or renews.
That said my personal life was, is, and will be primarily controlled by time. So, it would seem that portion of my life's time controlled by others would be the 'How much' of my life is controlled. Autonomy to my understanding is being 'self-governed' in essence, however philosophy presents it may be very complex.
Or, the ability and capacity to manage the time I am blessed with will be where I would discover autonomy. By exercising free-will followed by an action autonomy is that discovery, even though something (time) always is influencing. For instance I may decide to watch TV. The autonomy is deciding since once watching my time is now controlled. Without oddity that is by others. Perplexing.
I don't think I am controlled by others. But as you said, we have certain obligations and responsibilities to fulfill. They may not be legal as well, but I know I have to fulfill my duties and responsibilities and I am myself bound (or controlled) by that. It is my choice--personal, moral, social or otherwise.
I am independent to take my decisions and be prepared to face the consequences as well--good or bad.
My wife and I strive to have a "well balanced" life. We make a point of always having something on the calendar to look forward to. Whenever one feels as though they're being controlled or drowning in obligations it's because they've (chosen) to ignore their own needs. You can't give your best unless you feel at your best.
I believe one's mindset has a lot to do with whether or not they feel they are being controlled by others. For example being in a relationship, getting married,having children, owning a home, and a pet, are all (choices) a person wanted for them self!
It's a little disingenuous to later say these things are "controlling" us when in fact it's only the (effort) required to maintain what (we) wanted!
No one is required to get married, have children, or even own a pet. However if we (choose) to have these things then the best way to view the (work) or obligation required to maintain them is as:
"A labor of love"
The reality is most of what we have in our lives are (choices) we've made. Whether it's electing to buy a home over renting an apartment. Afterwards a homeowner may complain about property taxes, having to maintain a yard, making repairs and so on. It's almost as if they forgot (they could have chosen to rent) an apartment where the landlord would have taken care of those things. Someone once said; "Every blessing comes with a burden."
It's seems as though it's human nature to only see the "burdens" after awhile. Perception is reality. It's important to schedule fun.
The world may not owe you anything but you owe yourself the world!
The reason we can be controlled by others is that mostly we are always looking at how everyone and everything outside ourselves affects us. If we would, instead, look at how we affect everything and everyone around us and affect them in the way we intend, we would put the control of our lives back into our own hands.
The day I truly felt like I was in control of my life is when I stopped worrying over what my parents and other relatives thought about the things I did and didn't do. I think when one is sincerely in control over his or her life is when that person is brave enough to say, "I think we will have to agree to disagree on that one...I will have to say no to your request...I will not be able to attend that event...I must admit your opinion of me, my partner, children, life decisions, etc. doesn't matter anymore." When one can say these things out loud and also believe them within, I would say that he or she has "arrived" in life. You are truly in control--free to be who you really want to be!
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