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Breaking down liberation and oppression qualitatively and quantitatively

Intrinsic Value

Intrinsic value is what makes everything worthwhile. In my experience, it’s laughter, it’s discovery, it’s cascading epiphanies, it’s beautiful memories, it’s spontaneous creativity with friends, it’s deep sentiment. It’s everything we live for.


Liberation is global self-determination. Liberation is when each and every one of us gets to determine what we do with our lives. We get to choose what we value, and what each of us values is diverse in such a way that everyone else gets to live a life that they value. We also create combinations and permutations of people who collectively get to determine what we do with our collective selves. This creates a positive, self-loving environmnent and a community of care in abundance. Intrinsic value flourishes in liberation.

This (flourishing of intrinsic value) is one of the many reasons why pareto optimality as a measure of social welfare in traditional economics is wrong.

Knowing yourself

The most liberating social groups are those based on the best of each individual, and utilizing each person’s unique combination of strengths. This then creates a meta-combination of strengths multiplied by strengths, where the collective is greater than the sum of its parts. That’s because there’s some multiplication going on! See how this is getting mathematical? I know some of these formulas, and I’ll talk about them later. We can also invent our own!


Self-love is the opposite of the emotional conditions that create oppression. This is why self-determined youth (free-schooling) is one of the core elements of liberation, and a staple of the long-term solutions to non-violence.


Oppression is the self-determination of a few at the expense of the self-determination of the rest. It’s the minority’s determination of the majority.You don’t have to put someone down to lift yourself up. That’s only in a competitive environment. Competitive environments are inherently oppressive: win-lose. Liberation is a win-win. Oppression is a global game of win-lose. Actually it’s lose-lose, but we’ll get into that later. If a win-win is a score of 2–2, and win-lose is 1–0, then we can start seeing how oppression is mathematical. If we can see that in liberation, intrinsic value multiplies (a positive times a positive is a greater positive), then we can see how math and game theory are useful for understanding and building liberation.


Everything is both quantitative and qualitative. Everything can be partially expressed as numbers, and partially expressed as narrative. Want to measure the immeasurable? Measure something measurable, and then note the difference when you add the “immeasurable” entity to it. I’ll get into the difference between game theory and behavioral economics later.


Anything that I’m not, that I value, I’ll just empower. By intersecting my strengths with that person’s strengths.


Always build the simplest, quickest version of what you want to see in reality. Then keep reflecting and improving.


Healing is the core of liberation work that adults need to do. Since liberation is self-determination, and oppression is the opposite, that means that our experiences in oppression have cut us off from our self-determination. That is, ourselves. Whatever parts of ourselves were not part of the oppressive group(s), we were coerced into cutting off. For example, if men are the dominant group, then anything considered non-masucline will be cut off. If you are a sensitive boy, and sensitivity is seen as feminine, your sensitivity will be cut off. If white people are the dominant group, your languages and cultures will be erased until you act white. We need to actively fight to connect with our sensitivity, our original cultures, our creativity, and the list goes on, as we awaken to the oppressions that we live in. This is how liberation happens. If we don’t heal, we will be organizing in collectives that transmit trauma to each other, and that’s a recipe for a quick and antagonistic failure. Don’t bypass healing for “the real” liberation work. Healing IS the real liberation work.

Education on power dynamics

Healing from oppression requires an understanding of oppression and how it has affected you personally. Everyone has experienced oppression, even those in the dominant groups. That’s because everyone has been a child. Children are oppressed in this society. Our need to explore and be creative and our freely expressive dispositions were exchanged for obedience and forced memorization. Which is why everyone is so boring and dead inside. I have forgiven myself for my depression and insecurities because I know they came from me not being in the right environment to support my full identity and creative capacity growing up. Now that I understand how power dynamics have shaped my undesirable qualities, I can truly self-love and self-critique in a stigma-free way where I don’t hate myself. And I can really show up for liberation in a way that draws on my experiences and strengths!

We envision a voluntary world and are committed to helping you get there.

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Vanessa Molano

Vanessa Molano

Vanessa Molano is a philosophical entertainer, putting on shows about strange loops, social structures, and what makes life worth living. Empathematics.com

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