Education as a Yarn for Freedom

Peter Heintel, professor for philosophy and group dynamics at the Alps-Adriatic University of Klagenfurt for many years, spoke in Fresach about the pros and cons of freedom. Freedom has developed over the centuries from dependencies. It is therefore associated with positive feelings and is regarded as an instrument of self-empowerment. In authoritarian systems and dictatorships it is restricted and prevented, while in the democracies it is often abused and excessively exploited. Examples of this are the guileless handling of the environment or the liberalization of financial capitalism.

For freedom to be used responsibly, it takes education to know what freedom is, the philosopher emphasized in a whispered conversation with ORF correspondent Sonja Sagmeister. In our “multi-option society” freedom is primarily the sum of the available possibilities. Any decision for something is at the same time a decision against something else. Thus, freedom has an exclusive character.

And precisely because freedom itself thereby restricts itself, it is elementary, that it can return to itself again. If this does not work out, there are constraints that result in the collective loss of freedom. This can be observed, for example, in the increasing instability of globalization or the over-arching bureaucratization of European democracies. The associated impotence is one of many forms of diffuse anxiety. It is the price we pay for our freedom. (sk)

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