To be free

What is it to be free? We invade foreign nations under the banner of “freedom.” Mel Gibson shouts the word, heartrendingly, as his character’s flesh is being torn asunder in Braveheart. People kill and die for the idea of it. But what, really do we mean when we say “freedom?” Do we mean the freedom to rape and pillage? Do we mean the freedom to buy all the consumer products we desire? Do we mean freedom from oppression, freedom from definition, freedom from poverty?

We are chained to our physical bodies, we are determined by our particular circumstance of placement by birth, nation, and society, we are locked into our own selves, as all others are distinguished and separate and locked into their own individual selves. Is escaping such confinements even possible, and does the escape thereof constitute complete and total freedom?

We talk of the United States as a free nation. Free from what? The rule of the British? I do not feel free. I have to work 5 days a week to feed myself and put a roof over my head. I have to wear clothes. I have to go pee frequently, and poo at least once a day. I have to speak in an intelligible language to be understood. I have to drive on the right side of the road. I have to watch my language around children and fart quietly in public spaces and click that “I have read and agree to all terms of service” whenever I install a new software program. I DON’T FEEL FREE, goddammit!

Really, I have to say that it appears there is no such thing as complete and total freedom, unless you are nonexistent, and thus bound by nothing.


Author: manderson

I live in NYC.

3 thoughts on “To be free”

  1. freedom: the state of not being a prisoner or slave; fact: we’re prisoners of our own society and slaves of the technology => freedom doesnt exist.
    freeman: a person who has freedom : this must be imaginary. well yeah i know only one guy and that’s “morgan freeman” but im not sure about the rest of the world.
    so the only thin i can say is: im free this afternoon, get outta my sight i wanna sleep ;-)

  2. Having applied some more thought to it, since I’ve been sick the past coupla days and have nothing better to do, I think maybe I’ve come closer to a definition of what freedom in this day and age might be:
    to be wholly self-reliant, dependent on no consumer markets or bureaucracies or systems other than your own two hands and ingenuity. While still being bound to yourself and your physical and mental limitations, you are however freed from strictures of dependence on inhuman structures. I think that’s the closest to freedom we can get.

    Which demonstrates all the more how so little freedom most of us have today. We are nearly wholly dependent on the nationwide and global market for our shoes, our food, our entertainment, everything. We are completely dependent on hydro-carbons for our lifestyles, which will be a pretty big problem soon.

    If one can grow one’s own food–that seems like one of the biggest steps toward freedom one can take, as long as the growing of the food is only for oneself and one’s family and a small local market and not bound to the so-called “free” market.

    It’s weird to think that after this whole movement of all the world from rural to urban based societies, there will be a reverse movement when the need for local grown food arises again. Suburbs, perhaps, now representative of the waste and sprawl of urban lifestyles, will one day become real communities with food grown in their backyards instead of sterile water guzzling lawns.

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