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T O P I C     R E V I E W
Member # 2071
 - posted July 09, 2007 16:33
Last week the US as usual celebrated Independence Day on the 4th July. In fact of course none of us are independent, no man is an island, so perhaps freedom is a better word, or liberty if you prefer a fancy sounding word. What does freedom mean to you? In what does your freedom lie? When in your life did (or do) you feel most free? Do your possessions or your power or lack of these things make you feel more or less free?

To start here are some thoughts of Nelson Mandela, contained in the concluding paragraphs of his autobiography "The long walk to freedom"

It was during those long and lonely years that my hunger for the freedom of my own people became a hunger for the freedom of all people, white and black. I knew as well as I knew anything that the oppressor must be liberated just as surely as the oppressed. A man who takes away another man's freedom is a prisoner of hatred, he is locked behind the bars of prejudice and narrow-mindedness. I am not truly free if I am taking away someone else's freedom, just as surely as I am not free when my freedom is taken from me. The oppressed and the oppressor alike are robbed of their humanity.

When I walked out of prison, that was my mission, to liberate the oppressed and the oppressor both. Some say that has now been achieved. But I know that that is not the case. The truth is that we are not yet free; we have merely achieved the freedom to be free, the right not to be oppressed. We have not taken the final step of our journey, but the first step on a longer and even more difficult road. For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others. The true test of our devotion to freedom is just beginning.

I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can rest only for a moment, for with freedom comes responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not yet ended.

Member # 5114
 - posted July 09, 2007 16:49
Freedom : Be able to do anything I want within a set of rules that i've agreed upon.
Member # 934
 - posted July 09, 2007 17:13
For me, it's like this

Independence: The ability to be self-sustaining, and require the services of a specific individual. It also means not being required to do anything for anyone else. In other words, not requiring parents to support me, and to have noone directly depending on me.

Freedom: The ability to live my life much as I would like with no constraints that I personally view as "oppressive". I don't mind laws that don't interfere with me (don't kill, don't speed, etc) because they aren't restrictive really. I do mind restrictive laws like non-competes, copyright, etc.
Member # 1734
 - posted July 09, 2007 17:18
Freedom is the absence of fear.
Member # 1089
 - posted July 09, 2007 17:37
Freedom is: having DNA markers that draw nothing but blanks on federal databases.
The Famous Druid
Member # 1769
 - posted July 09, 2007 17:39
Freedom is being able to live my life as I want, subject to a set of rules that are fair and just.

"unfair and unjust" is like pornography, hard to define, but you know it when you see it.

One sure way of knowing when rules aren't fair and just is... when those imposing the rules aren't willing to be bound by them themselves. (GWB - are you listening?)
Member # 5114
 - posted July 09, 2007 18:25
Originally posted by The Famous Druid:

One sure way of knowing when rules aren't fair and just is... when those imposing the rules aren't willing to be bound by them themselves. (GWB - are you listening?)

AMEN - yeah nothing else to say except that I hope he is listening.
Member # 2071
 - posted July 10, 2007 03:13
Originally posted by TMBWITW,PB:
Freedom is the absence of fear.

Is that freedom? For me the experience of freedom usually has some (not necessarily unpleasant) fear as a part of it. The moment you jump off the highest diving board, or leave home, or fire up a motorbike, or become a parent, or fall in love. Religious people say their faith sets them free. In all cases you are releasing control, submitting yourself to forces outside yourself. It's scary stuff.
Member # 4289
 - posted July 10, 2007 03:41
I would imagine that a lot of concepts of freedom are based on the degree to which, and the way in which, individuals might feel "unfree", and this would provide an alternative to attempting to define freedom a more abstract way.

For me, freedom would need to include a sense of day-to-day physical safety, intellectual and spiritual/religious freedom, and sufficient economic independence to allow me to exercise choice as often as possible.

But then.....I've always been easily satisfied! [Big Grin] [Wink]
Member # 170
 - posted July 10, 2007 04:06
Freedom is an incomplete concept in and of itself. You must specify something to be free from before it makes any sense.

What you find oppressive defines what you consider freedom. What you find oppressive may also be what someone else defines as freedom.

Yay! for diversity of viewpoints [Smile]
Member # 2097
 - posted July 10, 2007 08:13
Every time I see this topic in the active topics I hate to say it, but only one thing runs through my head.

Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose,
Nothing don't mean nothing honey if it ain't free, now now.

True freedom is kind of a myth in many ways. It is something to strive for. Though there is always something or someone that will hold power over you. Government, people, family, obligations, work.

My personal feeling is that freedom is the absence of others telling me how I should live my life. Good, bad or indifferent. If I choose to wreck myself in every way known to man, so be it. If I decide to be the most giving or the most cruel person in the world, so be it. Anarchy.

For obvious reasons that does not work.

Freedom? Basically it's a myth. Something created by people to give a reason to end cruelty, totalitarian rule, hate and pain. People equate fairness with freedom. Or love with freedom. When it is just not true. The only way people have created fairness is through religious, social and governmental rule.

I am not saying it is wrong to want for freedom and equality. I just don't believe that it can be possible.
Member # 748
 - posted July 10, 2007 08:37
Originally posted by Steen:
What you find oppressive defines what you consider freedom. What you find oppressive may also be what someone else defines as freedom.

I can't help but agree with this. Which leads me to this definition: freedom would be when one's "obligations" aren't a burden anymore, but a fully - and willingfully - assumed consequence of the life choices we make.

Oof! that's kinda hard to accept, though. With all the social pressure we grow up with, and learn to accept, it's very hard to go and say: "I don't like this life I live. So I'll go out and do something else, break apart from all the comfort I have grown accustomed to, from the easy answers, and build myself a new life I will assume throughout." Particularly the "comfort" part - like it or not, rules (social ones just as much as laws) gives us something to rely on when we get in doubth. They make life easier to live than having to ponder everything, balancing each ones of our actions against our core beliefs.

Is this what the historical prophets and great leaders did? Rethink the rules, setting themselves free, thus becoming beacons of hope for those who have found the preceding rules opressives but didn't have the courage to break away on their own? Then each and every revolution is doomed to fail, because no personnal set of rules can be applied to another being and still fit perfectly.
Colonel Panic
Member # 1200
 - posted July 11, 2007 21:06
Seven figures in the bank.

The kid out of school.

The mortgage paid.

The ex in another country.

Throttle wide open with a 32-year old stripper who calls herself "Chastity" on the back.

No deadlines for six weeks.

Dick and George, tried, convicted and hung for treason.

Six out of seven ain't bad, though.


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