What is freedom?
How much freedom do you feel you have? How realistic is that compared to reality?
We tend to refer to freedom in the form of freedoms that are granted us in our society: Freedom of speech, freedom of thought, freedom of movement, freedom of information, democratic rights and other freedoms or rights.
Lockdown “took away some of our freedoms,” some people say. But is this really true? Did it really take away our freedom? Sure, we may have felt imprisoned inside our homes, but isn’t that also a perspective? Some people chose to celebrate and feel freedom from commuting, too much socialising and dress codes.
What about our freedom to think, feel and analyse? To choose our way of behaving and responding to the outside world?
Many great thinkers have discussed the nature of freedom and our relationship to it.
Victor Frankl says that “Our greatest freedom is the freedom to choose our attitude”.
Rules that limit our movements cannot take away this ultimate freedom.
In her inspirational book: “The Choice. A true history of choice”, Edith Eger writes about how we are the master of our own perspective, even in very bleak circumstances.
Going back a couple of millennia, the stoic Epictetus, wrote that, “Freedom is won by disregarding things beyond your control”.
Imagine that we could look beyond imposed limits or bleak circumstances – not to try and change them, but to stop obsessing about them.
Some specialists in creativity claim that we are more creative when we have boundaries to work within. What if we chose to adopt this attitude? The limitations imposed on us are just boundaries in which we can be creative and find new ways – of living and working.
Epectetus also advises that “No man is free who is not master of himself”. In other words, we will find freedom when we can find ways to master ourselves, our thoughts and our attitudes. While that may not be automatic, it is doable if we work at it.Nervous about going back?How much do you trust others?