Friday 22 October 2010

Is complete freedom possible?

I have wondered many times about the oft repeated word "freedom." As children, freedom would mean to not complete homework or staying home and missing school. We would often complain: "We don't have freedom to take leave as we want." That was freedom those days. As years passed by, freedom took on many hues and definitions. Prime among them were the freedom of speech, religion and expression.

At different stages, within my limited parameters I weighed the thoughts on freedom in life. I pursued different schools of thought which passionately dialogued with liberation of the self and freedom. I tried that process of "liberation." I succeeded for two and a half days.

Whenever India celebrates its Independence day, I wonder whether we were really free. Though we were free from our colonists, we possess the colonial hangover in every facet of our life and so much so, we happily wear it on our sleeve!

There is no complete freedom. Only degrees in pockets here and there. If we don't worry too much about the thought processes and the like, we are "free" from the chains of "freedom." But if we choose to debate on whether we possess actual freedom, we are chained. Chained not by not being free, but by worrying too much about freedom.

While pondering on freedom, I cannot but help think of the last two lines from Auden's The Unknown Citizen
Was he free? Was he happy? The question is absurd: 
Had anything been wrong, we should certainly have heard.

Hmmmmm. So do you think you possess complete freedom or is the question absurd.
Image: Internet


  1. absolute freedom is a myth...if i had absolute freedom i would be ruled by my own conscience which would of course restrict freedom of those around me based on my moral compass...

  2. I agree with you that "there is no complete freedom" not on the public level not on the personal level.

    Frankly,I'm afraid, complete freedom would turn us all into devouring animals

  3. read a poem somewhere which ends like, agreed you have freedom to move your hands anyway you want, but it ends at the point were another person's nose starts.

  4. Su,

    clichéd but I can't help but say it, freedom comes with a right and a duty. Harish hand example is apt...

    I'm sure you would have that essay, Priestly I think.. on Liberty

    But about it, if what will we do with absolute freedom...Adam had absolute freedom but he was unhappy.. mmm not a good example, I'm thinking what we will do if we have... I'll mail u if I have interesting finds :P

    Tk, and rest well

  5. Susan:

    My thoughts on freedom seem to run along the same thoughts - however they say it much better then I:

    “I know but one freedom and that is the freedom of the mind.”

    Antoine de Saint-Exupery quotes (French Pilot, Writer)

    “Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.”

    Mahatma Gandhi quotes (Indian Philosopher,

    “While we are free to choose our actions, we are not free to choose the consequences of our actions.”

    Stephen R. Covey author

    “Man is a being with free will; therefore, each man is potentially good or evil, and it's up to him and only him (through his reasoning mind) to decide which he wants to be.”

    Ayn Rand author

    “Any existence deprived of freedom is a kind of death.”

    Gen Michel Aoun

    My thoughts as I said on freedom run along these similar quotes, and according to what is going on that rise the question of freedom, at times it may mean having the courage to order to remain 'free'

    However, we are not totally free until all our 'brothers and sisters' are free in this world, for it creates 'master and slave. domination.

    “There are only two kinds of freedom in the world; the freedom of the rich and powerful, and the freedom of the artist and the monk who renounces possessions”

    Anais Nin author

    such serious thoughts for a week end,,,, much love and joy to you dear Susan.


  6. Have a blessed week end!

    I posted something today. Good to be back but not sure i can post as often as i would before due to work.

    But it's good to be blog walking when i can again..


  7. A deep question, Susan. And certainly not one to be answered superficially. But, in few words, I can say that I do believe true freedom exists... but only within the individual. I have come to firmly believe that there is no such thing as a free society. Societal freedom is a social construct/belief. We can declare ourselves a free country... but at the end of the day... that is not the case. We are still tied down by the bigger picture... by expectations... and decrees... and norms.

    Wishing you a lovely weekend, Susan!


  8. Well the problem is we want freedom so much... that when we have it, we don't know what to do with it. We then realise... so what, no big deal.. life goes on same as before Or at worst.. more worrying becos with freedom comes more responsibility!!! Blessings

  9. There's NO absolute freedom.
    But I believe that there's freedom of thought/mind for every individual
    Well said, Susan, another great post of yours.

    Have a relaxing weekend, my friend!

    B xx

  10. I agree the most with Nevine. I think there are different types of freedom political, personal and spitiritual. I am seeking an inner freedom, perhaps an enlightenment of sorts that will free me from my false beliefs and misconceptions, that will allow me to see Truth and therefore bring me the inner peace required to be truly free regardless of the exterior circumstances. I think some persons have been free this way, in spite of being physically imprisoned.

    Anyway, great food for thought and perhaps the topic is too vast for this venue.

    Have a great weekend. I wish you freedom.

  11. “While we are free to choose our actions, we are not free to choose the consequences of our actions.”
    Stephen R. Covey

    "There is no complete freedom. Only degrees in pockets here and there."
    Susan Deborah

    "Freedom... I've only been near to experience."


  12. Freedom in the truest sense is in our own minds - free to wander and form and even feel.

    Unless we live like hermits, and that is our free choice, outside of it we are bound by culture, society and law - our children, our parents- , can we run away from responsibility, can any action not have a consequence on another?
    We could be free too, IF we freely choose to live within those boundaries and we accept happily, those limits.
    That is rare.

  13. there is freedom, we have freedom but freedom is always is it freedom? But it has to be! if we were free to do anything without regard to others life would be a chaos. Even in our blogs, we must take into account who reads.
    Is there really freedom? Yes, I think there is
    great post as always

  14. ...o yes... you're definitely right... we, Filipinos, were once under many colonialism... we've been occupied by various races: Spaniards, Americans, Chinese, Japanese, etc.... and yes, whenever we celebrate our independence day.... i can't have but wonder if we ever have that what they call 'freedom'... in literal sense, yes... but in manner of speaking, the way we act, the way we dress, and many more, we're not totally free... we maybe freed physically but mentally there's that chain that keep each of us still caged under occupation... i, personally, was a product of various races... for i was recently found that i'm a mixture of Spanish-Filipino-Chinese blood... mom revealed it to me... a bit surprised but not so big deal for me...^^

    ...still, on the positive side... i still have to be thankful for if it wasn't because of those colonizers we weren't able to meet Jesus Christ and weren't be baptized as Christians... i've enjoyed my read... thank you my friend!!!:D

    A Blessed Sunday!!!:)


  15. Absolute freedom is as elusive as absolute perfection. As long as we live in society, there is no such thing as being completely free. I recently had an 11 year old client tell me they wished they were an adult so they would be 'free' drive, buy a house, not go to school. I broke the news to him that there are other rules that constrain us as adults. Like you don't have the freedom to drive at whatever speed you want. You don't have the freedom to say whatever you want to your boss without consequences. Things like that. Don't think he got it though! :P

  16. You always bring up the most interesting subjects.;)
    Absolute freedom just like absolute happiness is difficult to achieve, as it depends on our own views of the world, as the same time as it depends on the world it self.
    I feel free enough to decide over things that I find to be vital. But freedom has also to do with control and i believe that a complete control over every aspect of our existence is not possible.;)
    Have a lovely Sunday dear Susan,

  17. Firstly, i want to say..thanks Susan for being such a sweet person! I have been touched by your kindness, and i am challenged by your wit and intelligence. You think deeply.. and that is quite challenging to me. I suppose, i do that a lot at work already and when i can- i really enjoy breezing around just blank minded. :D

  18. Then, secondly- in relation to what you mention about freedom.. i think i like it expressed best by E Archer who said that "It's an honorable creed for slaves, but not for free people. We are free, but never free from the consequences of our actions. If we confuse the words 'freedom' and 'power' well then, yes, there is no absolute freedom/power. We are free to stop eating, but not free from the consequences of doing so. There is an order in life - there are some absolutes, and out of them, life as we know it is manifest. If life is good, then there is right and wrong, and from there we either live in accordance with the Natural Law or suffer the consequences. Man must be free, he has no other choice. "

  19. Brian:

    It is definitely a myth. Now I wonder about the link between conscience and freedom. If one is quite a conscientious person, then is freedom not within that?


    Even personally we have our own limits, dear DUTA. We compromise on many levels. Don't you think so?

  20. Harish:

    Nice to see you after long. I liked your analogy. Can't we go beyond a certain point, then? How do we define freedom then?


    Adam wasn't unhappy. He just disobeyed. I wonder . . .

  21. Joanny:

    I liked all the quotes you painstakingly typed out for me. I am trying to assimilate all the thoughts by great minds. So many thoughts but no answers. perhaps freedom is like that as well.


    Yes, dear Nevine. Sometime freedom weighs heavily on us. I am still wondering about the word. Hope your weekend was swimming and lovely :)

  22. Gaia:

    If we want it, we should know what we want to do with it as well.Life goes on and then . . .


    True. There is no absolute freedom. Even freedom of thought changes as the years pass by.

  23. Myrna:

    Thoughts: That is why I love this medium. Reading what everyone has to say is absolutely engaging and engrossing. I am so glad to read what you have to say, dear Myrna.


    Freedom is lots of responsibility. I am close to freedom only when I sleep :)

    Big hugs dear Dulce.

  24. BM:

    You have beautifully expressed your thoughts on this post. Freedom has its own boundaries. We are fools to think that freedom only means no limits.


    We all possess our own freedom in pockets. It is nicer that way than trying to achieve complete freedom in all levels.

  25. Kelvin:

    I am glad you choose to see the positive side. Your faith will sustain and uphold you. I wish you a wonderful week ahead dear Kelvin.


    Yes, quite true what you have expressed. In every phase of life, we think the next would be freer but alas! we don't know what lies in store.

  26. Zuzana:

    Batcat is freer than all of us. A different world-view. Zuzana, it is better not to think too much on topics as these.


    A big hug in welcoming your comments again. I am so glad to see you. Being blank-minded is quite a task but then it is very essential to us. One cannot be thinking deeply always. It becomes a killjoy.

    Now it is my turn to thank you for your kind and sweet words. Silver, you always get what you give. You exude kindness and warmth and you also get it back. No surprises here :)

    Many confuse freedom and power. Man must be free but within a certain boundary. 'Freedom in chains' describes it all.

    Big hugs dear Silver.

  27. Freedom is non-existence, I've read. Makes a lot of sense.

    PS:Your picture for this one is very cool. :)

  28. The main reason of downfall of communism was ppl were not free enough

    Human yearn to be free of any controls/constraints. BUt then we are not destined to be free.

  29. On freedom, I only remember the beautiful words by Kahlil Gibran - on fettered freedom

  30. Mridula:

    True. Only here and there.


    I guess we just are conditioned not to be free.


    Lovely words by an wise man. I enjoy reading his works. "The Prophet" is a book that can be read during any time of our life.

  31. you guys say absolute freedom is a myth..!!
    well i am going to get it.. i know people who enjoy it.
    of course they gave up some things in their life, i am also ready to do that..

    i think it worth it.. to be free...

    My name is anoop. and I am saying here "I WILL BE FREE IN THIS LIFE OR I WILL DIE FIGHTING FOR IT"

    i just want you guys to know there is someone who takes this thing seriously than just discussing over it.
    have a good day...

  32. Anoop:

    Welcome. We have expressed what we have felt and so have you. I'm glad that you take your freedom seriously. All the best for your ambitions and hopes. Bravo.



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