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Free Will and Altered Perspectives In Ideology

Progress towards a utopian society begins by addressing questions raised by

philosophers, political scientists and individuals. Glenn Tinder in Political Thinking raises

such questions needing reconciliation. When presented with Tinder’s questions, I was

confronted with overcoming estrangement as a political issue. I was confident in my answer

when addressing three related estrangement questions in the first assigned essay. Now, after

reading Political Thinking and Dostoyevsky’s Notes from Underground, I view overcoming

estrangement as a path towards conformity, towards a dystopian society because overcoming

estrangement requires abolishing our freedom and liberty, our free will.

In Political Thinking, Glenn Tinder asks Is Religion in some form needed for overcoming

estrangement? As an accompanying question, Tinder also asks Can estrangement be overcome

through reason? Both questions present estrangement as a problem requiring a solution. But,

before addressing these questions, I had to establish a definition for estrangement. After

struggling with a self-debate, I reasoned estrangement was the result of our self-created

conventional inequalities; in other words, I viewed estrangement as the result of our physical

differences and social inequalities. I reasoned our conventional inequalities enabled us to

divide and separate ourselves. With my definition of estrangement, I addressed the first

question, Is religion is some form needed for overcoming estrangement? After reading Tinder, my

reasoning religion can not overcome estrangement has not been changed; my reasoning has

been affirmed. Religion and religious faith have divided and continues to divide us by

breeding intolerance and hatred. Because of religion, people have divided themselves in to

separate faiths. Therefore, religion is an enabler for estrangement.

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Tinder’s next question then needed to be addressed: Can estrangement be overcome through

reason? Because I viewed estrangement as a result of our conventional inequalities, I stated in

my first essay, “overcoming estrangement is better achieved by mediating differences and

inequalities through reason.” I believed and further stated, “reason would encourage humans

to acknowledge their differences as choice and their inequalities as unacceptable.” In my

perspective, I ignored a key word: choice. Instead of addressing choice as the prime source of

our estrangement, I continued in my belief and stated “overcoming estrangement requires

progress towards eradicating inequalities in society, such as poverty, famine, and education.”

After reading Dostoyevsky’s Notes from Underground, I realized choice, our free will, must

be considered in every political question, especially questions concerning estrangement. Our

liberty and our freedom lie within our inherent right to choose between right and wrong. Our

liberty and our freedom lie within our free will, lie within our ability to make rational or

irrational decisions. In consequence of reading Dostoyevsky, returning to Tinder’s questions

of overcoming estrangement became difficult and uncomfortable.

Dostoyevsky’s writing made me cognizant of our free will. In Notes from

Underground, Dostoyevsky shares with his readers:

. . . reason is nothing but reason and satisfies only the rational side of man’s

nature, while [free] will is a manifestation of the whole life, that is, of the whole

human life including reason and all the impulses . . . 1

Reason, as revealed by Dostoyevsky, is only one side of our nature; therefore, reason cannot

fully address estrangement as a political issue. We have the ability to be rational and

irrational. Reason may help eradicate our conventional inequalities in society, such as wealth,

1No page number is provided because my copy of Notes from Underground is an ebook with page numbers
based on my view settings; page numbers can be altered with a change in the settings.

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class and education; but, our conventional inequalities are a result of our free will. Therefore,

our estrangement is not a result of our conventional inequalities as I once believed and

concluded in the first essay. I now understand choice, like religion and religious faith, to be an

enabler for estrangement. We chose to divide ourselves along invisible lines of loyalty. We

have the choice to befriend our neighbors, the choice to hate and the choice to love. Reading

Dostoyevsky’s Notes from Underground, then, pushed me to readdress my answers in a

third question presented by Tinder: If all conventional inequalities were abolished, would estrangement


Before Dostoyevsky, I would have answered Tinder’s question with a confident and

well-reasoned yes because I ignored our inherent freedom and liberty, our free will. Now, I

believe abolishing all conventional inequalities, such as class divisions by wealth and

education, estrangement would not disappear. If we are given an equal opportunity to

education and wealth, limiting separations based on class status and thus limiting poverty, we

would still be presented with a choice. With greater access to wealth, there is greater access to

commercial items, such as televisions and computers. Therefore, we are presented with the

choice to befriend televised or computerized entertainment and remain in our homes, or go

outside and befriend our neighbors. If we choose to befriend our televisions and remain inside

our homes, our estrangement will have not disappear despite having eradicated our separation

based upon conventional inequalities. So, returning to the previous question Can estrangement

be overcome through reason?, I still answer yes; however, I now understand overcoming

estrangement requires a sacrifice of our freedom and liberty, a sacrifice of our free will.

My believing reason can enable us to overcome estrangement has not been changed,

much like my believing religion can not help us overcome estrangement. However, my belief

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of eradicating estrangement having a positive impact on society has been altered. When

reading Tinder’s Political Thinking, I assumed overcoming estrangement would have a

positive effect on humans by allowing us to create a much desired utopia. Reason could enable

us to create a society based upon mathematics and science without conventional inequalities.

But such a society would require us to make one ultimate sacrifice in choice: abandon our free

will. Societies with full equality in social status, education, healthcare, wealth, food, drugs and

sex are societies may have no estrangement, but such societies are based upon conformed

ideals and passive acceptance of the status quo. Conformity better enables humans to unite as

one in a common effort, much like insects working in unison for an unknown end. But

through conformity, there is no consciousness of pain and suffering because there is no

consciousness of right and wrong. Through conformity, there is no progressive change in

ideas, there is no need for democratic debate because there is no individuality and no free will.

Progress towards a dystopian society begins by addressing questions raised by

philosophers, political scientists and individuals. Reading Glenn Tinder’s Political Thinking

pushed me to develop my personal political thinking through affirmation or change in

perspective. Discussing questions raised by Tinder affirmed many of my beliefs: I remain

confident in my answer of overcoming estrangement through reason and not religion. But,

reading Dostoyevsky’s Notes from Underground changed my perspective on Tinder’s

questions because I became cognizant of free will providing us with choice, and the

responsibility for our passive and active decisions. My altered perspective ideology views

eradicating estrangement as having a negative outcome. I stand firm in my believing

individuality is essential to the prosperity of new ideas, and, therefore, for the progress and

prosperity of choice in a free and democratic society.