defining freedom05 Nov 2019
i’ve been in several conversations over the past few weeks about freedom, each of them excellent. and in each of them, i get to work more and more with my personal definitions of freedom. at this point, i’m working with three:
- nina simone’s definition of freedom: no fear (source)
- “freedom is commitment.” - a definition i learned from some nuns many years ago
- “knowing who you belong to and how.” — me (inspired by paulo coelho)
that last one is the one i’ve been working with the most lately. it resonates so deeply because it rejects the warped definition of freedom i think is dominant in american culture. it comes from the zahir by paulo coelho: “Freedom is not the absence of commitments, but the ability to choose - and commit myself to - what is best for me.”
i think undeveloped definitions of freedom lean towards “ability to do whatever one wants, whenever one wants to.” a few weeks ago i was chatting with someone who shared that she didn’t believe freedom existed. by her definition, “action without consequence,” was impossible. and i wholeheartedly agreed! but my definition of freedom counters that other definition in a way that i think makes freedom possible.
i don’t much about riverside presbyterian church, but i like this blog post that has this line:
“…a by-product of freedom is choice…Freedom is not an invitation to aimless wandering; it is an invitation to form a purpose and then commitment…”
some of my previous thoughts about freedom:
“Freedom is not the absence of commitments, but the ability to choose - and commit myself to - what is best for me.” Paulo Coelho. The Zahir.
Personal definition of freedom: knowledge of whom I belong to (those who have come before, those have yet to come, and those who are here now) and how.
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