The beguiling exhortation “freedom at any price” has resounded for thousands of years. Be they Jews, Christians, slaves or union workers, the oppressed sooner or later rebel. People want to be free … free to decide what they will be, what they will do.

However, is there really such a thing as freedom? In the physical sense it is obvious when we are not free. Imprisonment or threats of incarceration certainly limit mobility. Many people suffer under tyrants. More subtle but just as effective are the intricate rules of hierarchy … be it imposed by government, religion or a caste system. All societies dictate behavior. Think of the many restrictions you submit to:  do not run naked in the street, drive your vehicle according to the prescribed law. There are thousands of do’s and don’ts. Very few places on earth are exempt from controls, from their arbitrariness, insidiousness and invasiveness. Most of us submit. We want to survive with as few hassles as possible.

So, are you free? Can you be free? No. Not physically. Whether you are submitting to societal restraints or to your body’s needs:  hunger, sexuality, safety and comfort, you are always yielding to what you must do or should do. There is no way to function without adapting.

But is there another type of freedom? One that is not physical? Of course. The inner ‘you’. The true ‘you’ who exercises this freedom every day. When you think and feel, when you contemplate choices, when you imagine, when you appreciate beauty … you are FREE. You decide how you react. You develop your own attitudes. You choose the YOU that you want to be. And most important you can decide to love. THIS IS YOUR GREATEST FREEDOM:  to care for something or someone, to ‘have a relationship’.

And consider this important aspect of ‘bonding’:  You can be more yourself with someone you love, someone who cares for you. For your inner feelings can be shared. You are free to be you. Marriage or a very close relationship allows you to express yourself. Someone listens, understands. Someone knows you. You know them. What joy there is in this freedom to LOVE.

It is sad therefore to see how many people today do not appreciate this unique freedom:  ‘true loving’ that leads to self-realization, to self-fulfillment. Selfishness, encouraged by materialism and hedonism, determines the lives of so many. Is it any wonder that finding love is so difficult? But it is NEVER to late … to LOVE, to be truly free.



©2007-2008 Edwin O'Shea and All or part of only one topic, including all definitions and essay, may be used without written permission. Please see full copyright notice on home page.