At the art college I attend, I have a new brief where I have to deal with the concept of freedom. Seems easy enough for me, since I have an idea of freedom. But when we gathered yesterday morning and were asked our idea of freedom, I kinda felt like that idea was under attack and thus becoming more confused. Have I ever defined freedom on this blog? Either way, it’s time for me to sure up my conviction.
Freedom, or liberty if that works better, is the condition of not being controlled or oppressed by the government, or any other overarching entity that can manipulate you (because sometimes it’s not just the government who can oppress you; spare a thought for those who erode our freedoms using the power of money). It is the condition in which you can say what you want while having that speech oppressed by no one, not even the public. It is the condition of being able to express yourself as you see fit, believe whatever you want, and think how you please. It is the condition of being able life your life for yourself, and in any way you choose (provided you have the means). It is the condition to pursue pleasure, joy, and happiness without oppression. It is freedom from banality and from being forced to live with mediocrity. It is freedom of sexual expression, to explore sexuality in anyway you wish without being oppressed by the ignorance and traditions of the prudes (you know, as in sexual repression). It is the condition of having the power to forge your own path and make your own road to walk. Freedom is power.
But freedom and liberty also carries responsbility for your actions. You see, if there is no one to control you, then it is now YOU who must be accountable for your actions, and you are the sole person responsible for protecting your freedom. Some might even argue that freedom or free will is essential to morality, probably based on the idea that one can only make moral or immoral choices if he is free to choose them. Anyways, if your liberty is threatened, you must oppose whoever, or whatever, dares threaten it. You must prepared to refuse, reject, resist anything that threatens your freedom, be prepared sacrifice whatever is necessary or can be sacrificed in the name of freedom. And don’t forget to protect your freedom, for it is something that can always be broken by evil individuals who seek authority or to take advantage of the weak and the ignorant. This most often requires independence, strong will, and some self-reliance. Be warned, apathy shown towards your freedom and your power will lead you only to slavery and oppression, for the apathetic are the easiest to control.
There’s a kind of freedom we had as children: the freedom to enjoy life. That classic joie de vivre in our minds that gets killed when we become adults, because we become trained up as hamsters for the machine, and eventually, most of us surrender to the pressure to conform and be a slave, and the desire to enjoy life is replaced by the fear of debt. Hell, how can anyone call any society free if you’re afraid to tell your boss to fuck off? But who now will speak for that freedom? The freedom of joie de vivre? The freedom to enjoy life?
I should take care to mention that I do not care much about systems, and am more concerned about freedom, mainly because every time I try to create or find a system supposedly designed around freedom, I run into problems. Besides, what’s the point of sacrificing freedom in the name of system supposedly designed around it?
And that’s what freedom means to me: the great sacred value equalled only by justice, that is to be cherished as such, like a sacred flame.