DebateMy Personal Holism

My Personal Holism

Reading time: 3:20min | Why perspective is crucial and how my perspective works. Your mileage may vary.

The young woman in the picture is Jessica Watson. She finished her circumnavigation three days before her 17th birthday on 19 May 2010.

In general, perspectives on things is driven by interest. There are many reasons for different interests. Some people want to have the things untouched, want them to be kept as they are, ideally for eternity, at least as long as they live. Such people tend to lean to a conservative perspective. Others want to develop their business, earn more money. They tend to have a liberal view of things (liberal in an economic sense). Still, others want to change things, wait for progress to the (alleged) better, and have a progressive perspective.

My perspective on things is driven by my desire to live in freedom. That seems easy at first glance, but trust me, it isn’t. If you dig deeper into the term freedom, you will find that freedom is not an idea but a principle. Freedom only exists if anyone else is entitled to the same freedom you enjoy. That’s basically Immanuel Kant’s categorical imperative, nothing particularly new. Our western democratic, open society, and political culture, even our rule of law, rely much on his findings; we breathe Kant. But do we really?

The standard view is that Kant’s categorical imperative is foremost a legal issue, with far-reaching consequences, of course (he uses the term law). But since I’m living in a free, open society, I can say from experience that I still have to fight for my freedom daily – even though Kant’s proposition is deeply rooted in society. Why is that?

First, freedom, the feel to be free, seems to be more than just a principle of equal recognition before the law. Freedom is also the absence of authoritarianism on all levels, including everything else, not only law-related issues. There’re billions of examples where we are victims of encroaching fellows, often with well-intended motives. And all that is quite different to issues like gay marriage or contraception, let alone racism or women’s suffrage. These issues collide with Kant’s categorical imperative (whose consequences adjust with society’s development). Many are solved by law; other issues are still waiting.

For me, freedom is equal recognition on ALL levels. That recognition must be extended to the unborn generations of the future because, in times of climate warming, our consumption has a direct consequence for the freedom of future generations. In Kant’s time, there was no scientifically predicted threat to humanity’s future, partially or caused by the living generation. Natural disasters in his time happened at god’s will. And there was never a link to future generations. But today, we live in humanity 2.0. We have to adapt and apply our best recipes to the new challenges.

If we fully embraced Kant’s famous sentence in the full meaning, we would be much better off in all consequences. In a way, the German Bundesverfassungsgericht acknowledged this idea with their ruling from 24 March 2021, forcing the Bundestag to rewrite the climate-protection law enacted on 19 Nov 2019. You can read here more on this subject. Since I know a bit about colour and art in general, I apply Kant on this subject as well, hence the topic of the liberation of colours.

I’m a father of two kids, which makes me connect the principle of freedom to their future and extend that to the following generations. And because I’m a director for TV commercials, I like to think about the consumer world from a Kantian and an artistic point of view. This is my personal holism defining my perspective on things.

It’s all in this sentence from 1785: Act only according to that maxim whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should become a universal law.