What is freedom?
Freedom, generally, is having an ability to act or change without constraint. A thing is “free” if it can change its state easily and is not constrained in its present state. In philosophy and religion, it is associated with having free will and being without undue or unjust constraints, or enslavement, and is an idea closely related to the concept of liberty. Wikipedia.
I think human beings love concepts. And we have invented a lot of words for things that don’t exist. I personally love the word freedom. It’s a beautiful idea, a beautiful goal, a beautiful thing to think about. And it’s beautiful to think you have it, and even live by that thought. As if you could possess such thing.
All of us think we should be able to do anything we want, whenever we want, with little to no repercutions to it. If we are not able to, then apparently, we are not free. The funny part is we think we know what we want and what we need. Yeah right, because we are oh so wise!
I came upon two concepts of freedom that called my attention:
Imagine you’ve been a prisoner for 50 years, enchained to the floor all this time. You obviously don’t want this situation, do you? Eventually you are freed from your chains. What do you do now? You haven’t been in the outside world for 50 years. You don’t even know where to start. But you are free to go and figure it all out.
Negative liberty Vs. Positive liberty.
Negative liberty is freedom from interference by other people. Negative liberty is primarily concerned with freedom from external restraint. Wikipedia.
Freedom from. This is where it begins. In real life we have tons of restrictions. Probably more than you think. Because basically since we are born society puts invisible chains on us. You have to dress, for starters. Let’s not even talk about how you have to dress a certain way, let’s leave it at: you have to wear clothes. (Unless you are born in a nudist society, if so, great for you.) Have you ever seen a kid having a tantrum because they don’t want to get dressed? Sometimes they even are allowed to run around naked, man, what a beautiful life, parenting done right.
Truth is because we live in society we obviously have to have rules and norms in order to prevent chaos. No, you can’t kill your neighboor for being an ass. No, you can’t go on if the light is red. No, you can’t steal that even if you need it. This is only the legal part. There are things you can do but you probably avoid because YOU KNOW. So no, you can’t scream in a church (is it illegal?).
Then you have to act a certain way, this is the really bad part. You can’t wear a skirt if you are a boy. You can’t have a tattoo on your face if you want to be a highschool teacher. Girls don’t swear.
All this lack of freedom to do, to be. It’s all imposed so hard on you by the outside world that you start to impose it on yourself and generations to come. You don’t even realise, that’s just the way it is. Some are necessary, but some are ridiculous. In the end, who decides which is which?
Positive liberty is the possession of the capacity to act upon one’s free will. Wikipedia.
If you are free from, you are free to. I think this is the hardest part. If you were free to kill anybody, would you? With great power comes great responsibility. If you had total freedom, it wouldn’t mean you’d know what to do with it. It wouldn’t mean you’d choose right.
You see, freedom from has no real meaning if you don’t know what to do with it. First you have to discover who you truly are. Who are you without all those restraints? Nothing is really stopping you from wearing that skirt, boy. So why don’t you? Chances are you don’t even want to wear it, because it’s not meant for you. But skirts are super comfortable, I swear. Don’t let your masculinity be that fragile, don’t make wearing a freaking skirt make you feel insecure.
Talking about politics and countries for example. What does a country do after it’s free from their government? What comes next? It has to build something new. But what? How?
Important note: You’re freedom ends where mine begins.
Hurting someone because you can, doesn’t mean you are free. It means you’re a dick. And you are a prisoner of your dick-like thoughts. Sorry.
My vision of freedom is to be yourself. – Osho
So in the end, is freedom a real thing? If you want to be 100% free, you should get into a forest and live forever alone. There is no way to have a society free of norm and rules. Those will always exist. And then, you have a human body. You have limits, I’m sorry. You can’t fly (or can you?). What you can hope is to have enough courage to be yourself.
But note that being yourself means a lot of things, it doesn’t mean doing whatever you want. Chances are “whatever you want” are just thoughts programmed in your brain by external sources too. You have to reprogram everything you think you are. This is one hard task.
We indentify ourselves with too many things that have nothing to do with us, and we end up believing we wouldn’t be nothing without them. Who would you be without your past? So many things have shaped you in what you are today. Some of those you don’t like. But you can’t help it. Except you can.
This is not about change, it’s about becoming. Becoming what you already are. It’s like peeling an onion. Your true self is hidden in the center. Around you there are tons of masks. Fears, customs, traditions, insecurities.
You’ve had many voices inside of you up until now. The voice of society, the voice of your mom, of your dad, of your friends. All telling you what’s right and what’s not. What’s cool and what’s not. Where’s your own voice? Go figure it out. And don’t be afraid of what you may find. Or do, but don’t let fear stop you.
HONESTY. Remember? Haven’t you heard?
Truth will set you free.
They say you should always trust actions instead of words. But I don’t think this applies 100% of the time.
Have you ever done something you regretted later? Have you ever taked bad decisions? Have you ever done things to hide what you really think? Or feel?
“Don’t trust their words, trust their actions, because they will show you why words are meaningless.”
Yeah right, because actions can’t be meaningless too.
Some people have a really bad idea of themselves, and they portray themselves as something entirely different from what they really are. This goes both ways. There’s people who preach about being super cool, when they are not. Some people say they are the worst, and they are not.
And then there’s people who seem super cool, but they warn you, first thing, they are not. It can take you a long time to figure out what they’re talking about. Until you finally realise you should have trusted their words first.
But we are not black or white, we are human beings, which means we have tons of shades.
Some people can’t see themselves clearly. Most of us can’t. We have many blind spots where we lose ourselves. The best thing we can do is try to be honest with ourselves first, so we can be honest with the world later. Easier said than done.
I am one of those who warns the people around me. The closest to me get it worse, because I try to let them see my worst sides, so if they stay, it’s because they really like me. Honesty can be brutal. It can break someone in so many ways, into so many little pieces. But it’s the best we can do.
It can break you. Being brutally honest with yourself is one of the hardest tasks you can manage. Not only is it difficult, but it’s heartbreaking, not to mention scary. It’s exhausting. But it’s something we must all do, if we are trying to learn anything about our existence.
We have to try and look into all the dark rooms in our minds and hearts, look at the darkness straight into the eyes and say: I see you. Only then can you own it, before it owns you. Only then can you avoid breaking yourself and others through lies, it doesn’t matter if it’s words or actions.
The more honest you are with yourself, the more honest you can be with the world, and the closest will your words be to your actions.
Actions lie too.
If you don’t even know yourself, if you don’t know who you are, how do you expect your actions will define you? If you are scared of who you are, of how you think and feel, how will you act according to your words?
And as I said, this goes both ways. Chances are you will meet someone who has made awful decisions in their life, but they turn out to be amazing human beings. These are the ones that learn from their experiences. Keep them around. You might learn a lot too
Sometimes words do tell you the truth first.
If you meet someone who wears warnings all over, trust their words. Also these people tend to be some kind of wonderful, just because they have managed the honesty part. But then again this doesn’t mean they are entirely as bad as they think they are.
You have see a person as a whole. Not just their actions and not just their words. Everything they do and say, is telling you something about themselves. The contradiction tells you something, and the lack of it tells you something too.
We love honesty, but no one is that good at it. So before you ask the world to be honest with you, look yourself in a mirror and be honest with yourself first.
Have the courage to accept who you are, with all your flaws, your weird psycho thoughts, your stupidly intense emotions. Be brave enough to explore yourself so it can’t surprise you, don’t let the darkness use you just because you don’t know it’s there. Trust in your light. And trust the light of others.
We all have some darkness.
And that is beautiful too.