martin sheen on true freedom and community

last week i was listening to a rerun of on being which i usually don’t do, but this one felt worth it. the interview, which was with martin sheen, i remember as being particularly good and i also kept not being sure if i’d heard it before. i’m glad i listened through it.

among other things, krista and martin got into a really good conversation about freedom. it was in the context of spirituality, but it was very clear to me that the framing relates strongly to broader world circumstances.

Ms. Tippett: You said somewhere, or wrote, I think, “I don’t know what salvation means in a personal sense. For me, a better word is freedom” — which I think for you is connected with this idea that you keep bringing home about your core of gratitude and community and love and these things as the basis for your action. I mean, you’re not talking about freedom as autonomy or isolation or mere independence — I mean, it might have a quality of independence. You’re talking about freedom as connected to community in some way, I think. That’s what I hear coming through.

Mr. Sheen: Yes, exactly. So often people get stuck — and I did, myself — on the spiritual journey, if you will, with piety. And that is a terrible stumbling block. I have nothing against piety, but I think that piety is the road. It is not the destination. If being pious leads you to a form of personal reflection and acceptance of a higher power, then it has its purpose. But it has to be discarded, in the larger picture, in favor of the community. Because piety is something that you do, or you tend to do, alone. And true freedom, spirituality, can only be achieved in community

i love that thinking about freedom not as isolation or autonomy, but as connected to community. he says true freedom is spirituality (and it may be) but even if you don’t make the pitstop at spirituality, it still can only be achieved in community.

that just feels so important right now.

it reminds me of the incredible irony of the american “independence” day. there is no such thing as independence. we are all interdependent. and the people that i know who are the most “independent” seem to have really difficult lives. that’s, of course, not to glorify the interdependence necessary for survival when you’re poor. but when it’s obvious to you (because you’re not rich) that you need other people to survive, it just seems like a much more genuine, true way to live life. rather than living life with money which allows you to obscure the fact that your life (especially the lifestyles of the rich) is intricately connected with people and their work (both physical and emotional labor).

words / writing / post-processing
260w / 10min / 10min