What Defines Real Freedom?
The world we live in gives so much weight to the word freedom. Countries the world over are in a constant struggle to achieve the culmination of a world wherein real and perfect freedom exists. A quick web search for the meaning of the word on dictionary.com came back with at least 12 definitions of the word. However, the most basic explanation for the word meaning is ” the state of being free or at liberty rather than in confinement or under physicial restraint.” I believe that this is the most basic definition that can be compared to say, a person who has spent time in jail and was eventually released.
Another way to look at the word would be to consider freedom as being able to freely make decisions for oneself without worrying about any repercussions stemming from the said free decision. Such a state of freedom can usually be found under the democratic form of government that is commonly shared by the so-called democractic or free nations like the United States of America.
The truth is that freedom is viewed differently by people depending upon their location or status in life. Ask some people and you will probably get a Libertarian type of definition for the word. What is the Libertarian definition? Well, Libertarians tend to define freedome as simply going your own way provided that you don’t step on any else’s civil liberties in the process. Meaning that a person who pursues his right to freedom will not end up commiting fraud, or in the process of enjoying his freedom, take away the same right to freedom of another person. And this is where a clarification regarding the word freedom becomes necessary. There is a difference between the word Freedom and the term Freedom From although both define an actual state of freedom as defined by the existing situation.
The word “freedom from” connotes that a person has once been in the control of another or being trapped in a certain way. As such, freedom from is actually a subjective, physical, and relative term. Allow me to give you a concrete example of such a term usage. A person has been afflicted with a disease for more than half his life. He is therefore “trapped” by this illness that limits his mobility and freedom to enjoy the finer things in life that he could have enjoyed if he were illness free. Then one day, a cure is found for the disease and he is finally “free from” the illness and is able to finally live his life. The person has been freed from his entrapment and therefore now has his “freedom from” illness and is able to enjoy his life to the hilt.
Freedom on the other hand reveals a thought process and an actual state of mind. I would personally define this as the act of being able to choose between the options that present itself to us throughout life. Each day, we practice this freedom as we make decisions that directly impact our lives. For example, if I say “I want to climb that tree.” I can go ahead and just do it. That is the freedom that I have, the ability to pursue my ideas and dreams openly and see what will happen once I have acted upon the quest for the choice I freely made.
So, you might ask, is there a definitive purpose for freedom? Indeed there is. The purpose of freedom is to learn the pitfalls and successes of decision making and how it affects the decision maker and those around him. It is the ability of man to make informed decisions without fearing any repercussions from the outcome of the said decisions. Freedom is, the ability to pursue one’s happiness and ambition with the hope of eventual success regardless of unexpected chain reaction result might stem from its completion or failure.