There are two forms of freedom, “freedom from” and “freedom to“.The first contains freedom from tyranny, freedom from taxes, freedom from fear, freedom from nagging parents-in-law.
The second is freedom to vote, freedom to say what you dammed-well please, freedom to go where you want.
In western society we have a lot of these freedoms embedded in law (though not freedom from taxes unfortunately). Even better, these laws are actually upheld quite well too!
Still, I find myself struggling for freedom. And I know I’m not alone in this.
The freedom I struggle for is “freedom to do what I want” (which is perhaps the most general freedom of all). To live my life as I see fit, to do exactly what makes me happiest.
As almost all of the things I would want to do wouldn’t hurt a fly, the law hardly stands in my way. Still, the are three things opposing me.
First is “the system”. Food and a roof over my head aren’t free, so I’m more or less required to spend a fair amount of time as a bondsman to the thing they call “work”. There are ways around this, but they all require sacrifices of freedom in some other way. “Freedom from taxes” would certainly help here…
Second is “society”. There are strong ideas and beliefs about what people (which includes me) “should” (and, perhaps more importantly, “shouldn’t”) do. Things like “being polite” and “getting a job”. Again, nothing of this is immutable, but it takes time and effort to go against it.
Finally, there is “me”. A lot of what both the system and society teach have been internalized, making me fearful of going against them, making me reel against myself in my simultaneous quests for freedom and being accepted.
Perhaps a more fruitful way of looking at it is to realize that there are more things in life than freedom. I actually enjoy a good challenge (of going against the flow?). And there is fulfillment in making others happy (which at times may entail being dull and predictable and “fitting in”). In fact, pure freedom, being able to do whatever I wanted, without any restraint, would very quickly become boring and meaningless.
Freedom is important, absolutely. But it’s not the end-all of happiness. I’ll definitely continue to work towards increasing it, but in balance with the other things that make life worthwhile. Something that increases slowly, sometimes is traded for something else, something even more important / enjoyable. I’m just happy I’m free to make those choices!
I’m Bastiaan. This blog is meant to give you some insight into the things I run into and perhaps to inspire you to go in search of your own life extraordinaire.
I love to connect, so if you have thoughts, ideas or questions based on this (or another) post, please leave me a comment!