Freeman

ARTICLE

Hello

JANUARY 01, 1968 by JOAN WILKE

Miss Wilke is an advertising writer.

If you’re familiar with English detective stories, you know that "hello" is much more than a salu­tation. It’s a surprise!

It’s what every good English detective says when he stumbles upon a previously overlooked, won­derful, important, delightful little clue that is sure to unravel the whole mystery.

That’s why "hello" is such a fine greeting — whether to a stran­ger or an old friend. It’s the ex­pectation of discovery. The an­ticipation of some new and won­derful revelation… or some new meaning in something long fa­miliar.

Freedom is the only philosophy that treats life realistically—as a mystery that will unravel surprise by surprise.

Only freedom can accommodate the day-to-day surprises that arise from truth and error, wisdom and folly, the simple and complex, the limited and limitless.

It allows for disappointments and failures as well as success. Everyone benefits freely (and willingly!) from success when it happens, but no one is forced to share another’s failure unless all futures are bound up through a collective. So freedom magnifies and spreads success and minimizes and confines failure. Collectivism does just the opposite.

Freedom offers no pat answers to pat problems because it always anticipates some new discovery or variation.

Collectivism proudly asserts it has the answers, and concretizes them into laws, thereby perpetu­ating the old and obstructing the new.

Freedom treats life as a proc­ess, not a thing. A continuous hap­pening, not something that hap­pened. So it is an invitation to life, not an encroachment on it. It is a beckoning, not a coercive force. It recognizes life as a series of be­ginnings.

All forms of materialistic col­lectivism treat life as though it’s over, in the sense that it is pre­dictable. It is so preoccupied with the present that it rejects the past and considers the future a projection of the present.

It worships "change" but, being oriented to the current situation, considers change simply a rear­rangement of existing conditions, intellectually contrived and polit­ically manipulated. It never an­ticipates real change… only repe­tition of existing conditions.

In limiting life to its own pre­dictions, it necessarily brings about the conditions it predicted, since life only repeats itself when restricted.

Freedom recognizes that life’s secrets already exist and lie un­discovered, waiting to be stum­bled upon in a series of delighted "hellos." Collectivism drearily lim­its itself to the idea that what is discovered is what exists, so it me­chanically distributes the accumu­lated surprises of the past with­out allowing for the continuing surprise of new discovery.

Freedom is nourished by expec­tation.

Collectivism cannot survive without fears… real or imagi­nary… grouped together and therefore exchanged and exagger­ated in such hand-holding gath­erings as unions and pressure groups or any combination formed for the force that will allay its fears.

The future is determined large­ly by the choice individuals make between expecting the best or the worst.

Whereas fear paralyzes, expec­tation energizes.

The most remarkable person I know… and the freest… al­ways seems to have this air of anticipation about him. When he comes through a door or around a corner, he has the manner of one who has heard a firecracker go off and has come to see what the celebration is all about. He’s in a state of perpetual "hello!" With his attitude, I doubt that he’s ever disappointed, because he would see the most ordinary thing with extraordinary delight.

His attitude strikes me as that which is most appropriate for a free man.

ASSOCIATED ISSUE

January 1968

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For centuries, hierarchical models dominated human organizations. Kings, warlords, and emperors could rally groups--but also oppress them. Non-hierarchical forms of organization, though, are increasingly defining our lives. It's no secret how this shift has benefited out social lives, including dating, and it's becoming more commonplace even in the corporate world. But it has also now come even to organizations bent on domination rather than human flourishing, as the Islamic State shows. If even destructive groups rely on this form of entrepreneurial organization, then hierarchy's time could truly be coming to an end.
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