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A Fresh Look at Freedom and What It Means in Your Life

Bill Abbate
Photo by David Peterson from Pexels

Most of us desire freedom in our lives. Freedom to do the things we love to do, to go where we want to go, and to be with whom we wish. There is nothing else quite like it.

Freedom remains ours unless we choose to forfeit it. The most important freedom we possess is the freedom to choose. This freedom exists in our minds and remains so long as we have functioning brains. Thus, while we can choose to give up our freedom, no one can take it from us.

"Freedom (n.): To ask nothing. To expect nothing. To depend on nothing." - Ayn Rand (1905-1982)

Freedom and maturity

To be free means accepting responsibility for ourselves. To do otherwise is immature. Using the definition of maturity as the acceptance of responsibility, we are usually immature whenever we choose to give up our freedom. Better to remain mature, don't you think?

"A man to be truly free must accept responsibilities.' To be relieved of responsibility means to lose freedom and liberty. Thus it can come about the real enemy of man can be the state." C. T. A. Sparks.

True freedom and giving it up

How many of us give up our freedom to others and the government? When you become dependent on someone or something else, you give up a certain amount of freedom for what or for whom you are dependent upon. Absolute freedom means you depend on yourself, not someone or something else.

When you give up freedom to any person, organization, government, or even nature, you become bound by them. This loss of freedom is why debt is so bad to have in life.

"Save part of your income and begin now, for the man with a surplus controls circumstances and the man without a surplus is controlled by circumstances." Henry H. Buckley (1813-1888)

It is undoubtedly true that you give up a certain amount of freedom by not having enough money. I remember when I had no money in the bank and depended on that next paycheck to eat. I lost so much freedom during that time it made me work hard until I took my freedom back in the form of having money in the bank and not being dependent upon work and money itself.

Always remember, however, the debts you incur can go far beyond money. When you become indebted to anything or anyone else, you give up some of your freedom. So if you can avoid it, never go into debt for any reason. It isn't worth the freedom you inevitably lose by doing so.

When it is necessary to forfeit freedom

Like many things in life, we must compromise on occasion. There are necessary restrictions on certain freedoms to maintain a civil society. In this respect, no one has complete freedom in all things.

"May we think of freedom not as the right to do as we please, but as the opportunity to do what is right." - Peter Marshall (1902-1949)

Things that restrict freedom for the greater good will rarely find few who disagree with them. We must obey laws put in place to protect us. Paying taxes is necessary for a free society. I admit too much of it goes to waste in our poorly run, largely ineffective, and inefficient government. Government funds (our money) also put too much authority in the hands of the wrong kind of greedy, power-hungry people. But that can be fixed by the freedoms we have, such as voting. Maybe one day enough people will wake up?

Sadly, were it left to too many of those in power, we would lose a great deal of freedom. Power corrupts, which is why we have a Constitution with its Bill of Rights and 17 other amendments in the United States to protect certain freedoms. For freedom to reign in any country, things like those mentioned in the first amendment: the freedom of religion, speech, assembly, petition, and the press, are vital. Each of the other twenty-six amendments is just as crucial to maintaining a semblance of a free society as well. If even one of these amendments is ever stripped away, we will lose a great deal of freedom.

"I am an American; free born and free bred, where I acknowledge no man as my superior, except for his own worth, or as my inferior, except for his own demerit." - Theodore Roosevelt

There is so much more to say about freedom it would take volumes to begin to attempt to do so. Fortunately, freedom has been a popular topic written about for centuries, with so much material existing no one could read it all in a lifetime. Still, it is a subject well worth studying any chance you get!

Final thoughts

A summary of some of the thoughts about freedom in this article include:

  • When you become dependent on anyone or anything else, you forfeit a certain amount of freedom.
  • You always have the freedom to choose
  • We must be mature, accepting responsibility for ourselves as individuals to retain our freedom
  • To acquire debt of any kind, monetary or otherwise, enslaves you and costs some of your freedom
  • Many choose to give up freedoms to be taken care of by others or the government
  • The Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights with the other 17 amendments protect precious freedoms
  • In honor of maintaining a civil society, it is necessary to restrict some freedoms

To remain a free people will require standing up to those who abuse power in whatever way we must to remain free. Everyone who has a right to vote should do so in every election. If we are to remain "the land of the free and the home of the brave," as Francis Scott Key wrote in 1814, we must remain vigilant!

"We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it." - William Faulkner (1897-1962)

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Semi-Retired-Leadership/Executive Coach -Personal & Career Growth Expert -Editor and Leadership Writer at Illumination -Author

Richmond, VA

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