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Monday, February 9, 2009

True Freedom

Freedom is defined as the right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance.  I don't know about the rest of the world, but I have a pretty easy time thinking what I please without hindrance.  But what about other more complicated things, such as going to school, or marrying someone of your choice?  The dictionary definition of the term is most undoubtedly limited to life in Western countries.
Is there such a thing as true freedom?  We are bound by the laws of our societies, our families, our friends, our social circles, even ourselves.  We are not islands unto ourselves.  There is a certain amount of cooperation in life.
I grew up in a very strict society, in a family that watched your every move.  Anything you did could ultimately put your family in jeopardy.  We lived in fear of scandals that would ruin the reputation of our larger families.  I still live in that reality.  As a teenager I believed the only true freedom was death.  That is a somewhat morbid way of looking at it, but at the time, I felt this desperate need to break free from what I was bound to.
Living in the U.S. only makes my understanding of the concept fuzzier.  Everyone boasts about living in a free country, but all around me I see laws and restrictions.  Even the notion of "freedom of speech" is not completely true.  But my point is, where is there ultimate freedom?
My life here is free in most senses, but there is that lingering feeling over my back at all times. I know there are many roadblocks in my way, but I somehow will overcome them.  All I have to do is free myself from worrying about restrictions brought on me by others.


  1. That is a very good point. The lines of freedom are extremely blurry.

    Just some thoughts:

    I really think that many people would go crazy without restrictions though. Literally insane. I think that all of these restrictions and social norms are a way for humans to try to create meaning in their lives.

    If people don't have a law to live by, then what's the point? [some might ask] If you think in terms of religion, people use it to try to understand what they're supposed to do. They're looking for a higher authority to guide them.

    I think people think they need /have the want for religion because they're uncomfortable with guiding themselves.

    What do you think?

  2. With "true" freedom come responsibility. If you want to know more on that thought - read John Locke (or take a class from Michael Forman).