706: Freedom

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Sometimes I'm terrified to realize how many options other people have.
Title text: Sometimes I'm terrified to realize how many options other people have.


Cueball on the left, here most likely representing Randall as given in the title text, comments on the absence of physical enforcement for social norms. He tells his friend that he is sometimes shocked to realize how many options he has. Cueball then goes through a list of possible things he could do that only his conscience and learned social norms (and his cerebrum) prevent him from doing, including stripping naked, taking a plane to Fiji or just punching his conversation partner for no reason at all, with all the "interesting" ensuing events that would result, potentially life changing (he could go to prison for instance).

Cueball continues, explaining that he does understand the mental rules and also the reason, but also that at least once in his life he should exercise that "freedom", hence the title. This is enough to convince his friend who promptly exercises his option to punch Cueball in the face, perfectly in keeping with Cueball's beliefs of how everyone should do so at least once.

On the ground, Cueball remarks that he should have expected this reaction. That he didn't was the beauty of it all, his friend states, because only when the "freedom" is used to do something completely unexpected could the person doing so denounce his mental ruleset.

The title text is a restatement of the first line of the comment, but reversed to show that Randall is terrified about his realization that the same freedoms apply to other people. This is justified by the comic, as some of these people could engage in actions detrimental to others, as Cueball's friend demonstrates; combined with the fact that there are many other people,[citation needed] that makes for a lot of unpredictable possible situations.


[Cueball is talking to his Cueball like friend.]
Cueball: Sometimes I'm shocked to realize how many options I have.
Friend: Oh?
[The text is written above a half height frame with a zoom in on Cueball who shakes his fist.]
Cueball: Like, at any moment in any conversation, I could just punch the person I was talking to, and all these potentially life-changing events would unfold.
[Zoom further out than the first panel with Cueball holding his arms out and his friends taking his hand to his chin.]
Cueball: It's only my mental rules that stop me from punching you, or stripping naked, or getting on a plane to Fiji. Sure, rules have reasons. But shouldn't you exercise that freedom at least once before you die?
Friend: Hmm.
[In very big black letters written vertically between the two panels:]
[Cueball is knocked to the ground, dazed (three stars over his head) and bruised while his friend is looking down at him with his fist raised.]
Cueball: Okay, I should have seen that coming.
Friend: But you couldn't! That's the beauty!


"Your right to swing your arms ends just where the other man's nose begins."
  • "Getting on a plane to Fiji" could be a reference to the film titled The Truman Show. In the film Truman is the only one who doesn't know that his world is a film set with him as the only true-man on set. His first serious love affair, an actress, tries to tell him about the show, and is then taken of the show going to Fiji. Later Truman tries in vain to go to Fiji and mentions such a trip more than once.
  • Philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre expressed a very similar notion, which is known as "radical freedom."

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The last sentence "But you couldn't", is probably also a reference to the fact that even though we and other people have many possibilities, we never expect anyone to actually use them. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

More like we didn't expect other people to utilize the possibilities that they did. Or Didn't. Jakee308 (talk) 19:40, 8 June 2015 (UTC)

Sometimes I'm terrified to realize how many options I have 03:39, 19 September 2016 (UTC)

I think so much about this! Like, if I punched someone, what would society do? If I edited all of the comments above juuuuust a little, what would happen? If I... SilverMagpie (talk) 00:27, 9 May 2018 (UTC)

I would revert all the edits and delete your user page :]. (I'm joking. Or am I?) Beanie (talk) 14:25, 21 April 2021 (UTC)